Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: the Cash Inn, West Wind Drive-In, and the Shangri-La

Lauren Saria
Fry bread.
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, and today, Amy Silverman presents the final round; later this week we'll wrap it all up in a cover story in New Times.

Eat Fry Bread
When in Rome, eat spaghetti. When in Phoenix -- fry bread. There's debate over just how authentic (or appropriate) a dish Native American fry bread is, but few will argue that it's totally delicious. Most equate it with fair food, but here in the Valley you can get it in a variety of places year-round -- from shacks on reservation land, to the James Beard Award-winning Fry Bread House in Central Phoenix, newly expanded for all your deep-fried, honey-coated, sugar-sprinkled needs. Savory versions served, as well.

See also: 6 Favorite Spots for Fry Bread Around Metro Phoenix

Andrew Pielage
Topia was gorgeous. Go if you ever get the chance.
See Ballet Arizona's Topia at the Desert Botanical Garden
It ran two seasons in a row and there's no word as to whether Ballet Arizona will reprise Topia at the Desert Botanical Garden. But promise me that if Ib Andersen does bring it back, you will buy a ticket and go. Yes, it's held in a parking lot. And yes, it will be the most breathtaking setting in which you've ever seen ballet performed -- the sun will set behind the Papago Buttes, turning them red, as the dancers take the stage and make you forget that you never really liked hoity toity stuff like ballet. This is ballet as it is meant to be -- lyrical, intense, dare I say almost a spiritual experience performed on a stage double the typical length. It's gorgeous. The DBG, which has been rehabbed, manicured and trimmed more than a Housewife of (Fill in the Blank) is a lovely place to stroll with a cocktail in hand, and if Ballet Arizona would only re-launch Topia again while the Chihuly exhibit is still up, it would be a two-fer for any self-respecting bucket list, anywhere.

See also: Behind the Scenes: Ballet Arizona's Topia at Desert Botanical Garden

Party on the Roof of Phoenix Towers
Mostly known as "the pink high-rise on Central," the 14-story Phoenix Towers is beyond swank, from its minimalist lobby to a roof with gorgeous city views. Built in 1957 by Del Webb's company, the entire thing is designed like a giant X, with giant, shaded balconies. The location is prime, fronting Central Avenue and nestling up against the Heard Museum. Get yourself a rooftop party invite and be sure to poke around a couple of the condos while you're at it.

Hike "A" Mountain in Tempe
What's better than a paved mountain? Don't answer that. "A" Mountain is a perfect pre-brunch (or pre-beer) hike, steep enough to get you winded but only a scramble at the very end. Views are good all the way up, and this cross between a-mountain-and-a-molehill is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Tempe. Check out the namesake "A" when you get to the top.

Location Info


Cash Inn Country

2140 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

Rancho Pinot

6208 N. Scottsdale Road, Paradise Valley, AZ

Category: Restaurant

West Wind Glendale 9 Drive-In

5650 N. 55th Ave., Glendale, AZ

Category: Film


2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

Shangri La Ranch

44444 N. Shangri La Lane, New River, AZ

Category: General

Antique Trove

2020 N. Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: General

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PHX 24
PHX 24

Love west wind and the flea market. picnics there are the best!

Noelle Augustyn
Noelle Augustyn

This is freakin awesome! Lola Hart thank you for bringing this to our attention. This made me smile too.

Lola Hart
Lola Hart

this made me smile, Lisa A. Augustyn and Noelle Augustyn:)

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