Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Late Night Love, the Westward Ho, and Louise Nevelson

Katie Johnson
Pool hopping is a Phoenix bucket list must.
Welcome to the Phoenix Bucket List. Robrt Pela and Amy Silverman -- two New Times contributors and longtime Phoenicians -- have put together a list of 100 things to do in this city before you die. Each week we're presenting another 10; in March we'll wrap it all up in a cover story in New Times. For now, stay tuned to Valley Fever for more installments and be sure to share your suggestions in the comments section. Today, Amy Silverman presents the next 10 items on the list.

Sneak Into a Hotel Pool
Now, I'm not going to tell you which pool to sneak into, or just how to make it happen -- but I will say that there's a wide selection here in the Valley of the Sun. It may not make for the most relaxing experience, and the nicer the pool the better the chance you'll get kicked out, but it's the definition of a cheap thrill. Pass the sunscreen.

See also: 10 Best Pools in Metro Phoenix

Benjamin Leatherman
The Sepanek house -- you can't miss it.

Drive by Lee & Patricia Sepanek's Holiday Light Display
Metro Phoenix is a mecca for holiday displays. Theories abound -- perhaps it's because the temperate weather makes it easier to put up and take down tens of thousands of lights. Maybe it's the fact that we don't have a lot of traditional Christmas cheer dotting the landscape. So let's drape a cactus in lights -- or turn our entire front yard (and sometimes even the interior of the house) into the electric company's idea of paradise. You can drive all over town looking at displays -- people rent limos and make a night of it -- or you can do what I do and satisfy your Christmas cravings in one fell swoop with a drive-by of the home of Lee and Patricia Sepanek. The trees are so tall, the lights so bright on this Arcadia house, you can see it from 44th Street. Be prepared to wait in line. It's worth it, trust me.

Go to a Reading at Changing Hands Bookstore
I'll never forget the first time I saw David Sedaris live. It was before he commanded large spaces like Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts or Gammage Auditorium. It was, of course, at Changing Hands. A young woman with dark curly hair stood up to introduce him and brought down the house when she presented Sedaris with an ashtray and an invitation to smoke in the store. Today Cindy Dach is one of the store's co-owners. Real locals still pine for days when CHB was on Mill Avenue, but if you've never been to the location at Guadalupe and McClintock, you need to go. Check out the schedule at -- it includes writing workshops, book discussion groups and live readings. The central Phoenix location of Changing Hands is slated to open this spring, featuring a bar called "First Draft." Best name ever, right? And no, you can't smoke there. Unless you're David Sedaris. (Maybe.)

Stick your Head Inside the Westward Ho
You won't get to see the now-closed underground bowling alley that used to be accessible from the Westward Ho -- a hotel turned home for seniors and the disabled in downtown Phoenix. In fact, you probably won't get much farther than the lobby, unless, like Robrt Pela, you get an a call from an unofficial tour guide. But even the lobby is worth it, particularly if the staff is distracted and you can slip past the front desk and cruise the main floor, taking in the tin ceilings and gorgeous floor tiles. After all, you've been staring at the outside of the iconic building for years, right? Slip inside -- and back in time. Just be ready to be escorted out by a security guard.

Location Info


Lee & Patricia Sepanek's Holiday Lights

4415 E. Calle Tuberia, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Changing Hands Bookstore

6428 S. McClintock Drive, Tempe, AZ

Category: General

Westward Ho

618 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

FnB Restaurant

7125 E. 5th Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Parada del Sol Parade

Scottsdale Road between Oak St. and Indian School Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Detour Company Theatre

4614 N. Alta Hacienda, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Nogales Hot Dog

1945 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

South Mountain Park and Preserve

10919 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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