Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: the Psycho Building, Tea at the Ritz, and Lots of Greek Beer

Jonathan McNamara
The Japanese Friendship Garden near downtown Phoenix.
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, Robrt Pela presents the next 10 items on the list.

Check out the Japanese Friendship Garden
The waterfall, surrounded by hand-placed boulders from Congress, Arizona, is a must-see. So is the White Heron Castle monument, depicting a Shachi--a mythical fish with the face of a tiger. Ditto the Japanese tea garden (cha-niwa or roji), rightfully billed as "a place for quiet reflection," and the koi pond, full of brightly colored and beautifully shaped fish. No matter what you see there, downtown's Japanese Friendship Garden is a great place to detach from the hectic everyday world, with a tranquil tea ceremony or just a mindful mosy through the cool greenery there.

Jackalope Ranch
Sarah Hurwitz's show at Eye Lounge, entitled "Everything I have ever wanted to own," was a favorite during the 2013 Art Detour.
Attend Art Detour
This annual walking tour of downtown galleries and artist studio spaces is, after 26 years, a Phoenix tradition. Art Detour is great for suburbanites for whom visiting art galleries is a once-a-year event, and for those of us for whom it's a weekly or monthly pastime. In both cases, ArtLink's big weekend offers that rarest of things: access to artists' private studios, where they toil to make pretty things for the rest of us to look at. In addition, Detour galleries are open all weekend--in this year's case, that's March 8 and 9--some with special events and meet-and-greet receptions to boot. Even more fun is the many "pop-up galleries" that breed like rabbits during Art Detour, allowing rarely-seen emerging artists a space to show what they're up to.

Take a Driving Tour of Downtown Phoenix Movie Locations
Head through the west-bound I-10 tunnel that appeared in 2005's Transamerica (watch for the 7th Avenue sign!) and onto Monroe Street to try to pick out the storefront facades that appeared in 1953's War of the Worlds (which also used the east valley's Dysart Road for its several "desert" sequences), then further south to Jefferson to ogle the Luhrs Building that appeared in both Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960) and its 1998 remake. Head north on Central Avenue to see the mile-wide stretch of downtown that was annihilated in the 1978 cheese-fest Fire in the Sky, about a nasty comet that fell to earth and landed (where else?) on our fair city. Hang a left at McDowell Road and check out the various locations (the Los Olivos hotel; that recently shuttered gas station on Second Street; Encanto Park, which doubled as Mexico City) used by Sonny and Cher in 1969's Chastity.

Tour the Rosson House
Built in 1894, this Victorian mansion is among the last glimpses of how the wealthy once lived in downtown Phoenix. Located in what's now Heritage Square, the house is named for Dr. Roland Lee Rosson, who commissioned its design from renowned San Francisco architect A.P. Petit. (Some histories claim that Petit, who was sick and dying during the Rosson house construction, actually lifted the design of the house from George Barber, a prominent builder who published his floor plans.) Whoever's behind the Rosson design, they embellished like mad. The house is a hybrid Queen Anne with international elements grafted onto it: Italianate "hooded" windows; a French octagon tower; an Asian moon gate. After years of being a rental and alter a flop house, the house's oddly international details were all but obscured. Purchased by the city in the 80s and fully restored, the Rosson House is now a local history museum that stands as a reminder of how the better half lived in the late 19th century.

Location Info


Zinnias at Melrose

724 W. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


4116 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General


4429 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

White Dove Thrift

5035 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Rosson House Museum

113 N. Sixth St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Taliesin West

12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix/Ro Ho En

1125 N. Third Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

The Ritz-Carlton, Phoenix

2401 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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Penny Tompkins Cook
Penny Tompkins Cook

We were there yesterday. Really nice day and really nice gardens. Then, we strolled through the Margaret T Hance (deck-park), then walked through the library. It's all quite nice in that area.

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