Jack Knife Sculpture min 2

Scottsdale, Arizona – Main Street

Main Streets 2017 – Arizona

Old Town min 1
Mountain Biking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve min 1
Jack Knife Sculpture min 2
Old Town min 1 Mountain Biking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve min 1 Jack Knife Sculpture min 2

To get a good sense of this quintessential Southwestern city’s easy, laid-back feel, choose a Thursday evening to stroll through downtown Scottsdale.

That’s when you can join up with the Scottsdale Art Walk, which dates to 1975 and calls itself America’s Original Art Walk. Wander Main Street and its neighboring streets in the arts district, and you can discover its beautiful tree-covered courtyards or relax near one of downtown’s mesmerizing fountains or public art pieces.

Art is a major feature and attraction in Scottsdale, where many of the city’s 70-plus art galleries beckon visitors and collectors along and near Main Street. The city is devoted to the arts, both visual and performance. Just beyond Main is the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, a landscaped 21-acre park where you’ll find the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art with its rotating exhibits of contemporary art, architecture (Scottsdale was Frank Lloyd Wright’s western base at Taliesin West) and design.

ArtFest of Scottsdale comes to life here just before the holidays each year, with arts, crafts, authors, live music and food. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is home to a wide array of performances.

Of course, everything’s not about art here — Scottsdale is known, after all, as “the West’s Most Western Town.” Find out why at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which is just around the corner off Main Street and showcases art, history, culture and unique stories. When museum exploration makes you hungry, as it surely will, Arizona Food Tours will take you on a very tasty adventure through locally owned restaurants, wineries and breweries, led by local “foodie enthusiasts.”

Downtown is the cultural heart of this vibrant city — but a little farther afield are the parks and outdoors activities that help to make today’s Scottsdale what it is. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a 30-acre city park where children can ride the Paradise & Pacific Railroad or a vintage carousel. Camelback Mountain, at 2,706 feet, is one of the most prominent features on the landscape, not to mention one of the most popular, and you can find nearly 200 miles of trails winding through the 30,000-plus acres of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

You can enjoy all that and more on Main Street: art, architecture, great food, fine drink, and celebrations of all the Southwest has to offer.

All photos courtesy of Experience Scottsdale.

Read More  


Mesa, Arizona – Main Street

Main Streets 2016: Arizona

In the early days of auto travel, historic highways 60, 70, 80 and 89 all converged on Mesa’s Main Street. Today, the street today is the focal point of an exciting transformation, as the community comes together to create the vibrant interconnections of the Downtown Mesa and Central Main Area.

The recently completed light-rail service along Main Street is a key piece of Downtown Mesa’s renewal, bringing passengers to a diversity of shops, restaurants, museums, cultural attractions and community events. In the Mesa Arts Center on Main Street, you can catch a Broadway musical or a music concert, attend a cultural event or take a class. You can also tour five art galleries that are part of the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, located within the Arts Center. Next door, the Mesa Historical Museum — whose building and auditorium are listed on the National Register of Historic Places — illuminates the city’s role in creating baseball’s spring-training Cactus League. As part of the League, the Oakland A’s play at Mesa’s HoHoKam Park and the Chicago Cubs play at Sloan Park.

The Central Main Area is Mesa’s center for government, culture and business, with murals, art installations, refurbished colonnades and landscaping, and a new pedestrian plaza. Just off of East Main Street on South Lesueur is the Mesa Arizona Temple, famous for its unique architecture, beautiful gardens and stunning holiday light display. The temple is host to the Mesa Easter Pageant, which attracts some 150,000 people and is the largest annual outdoor Easter pageant in the world.

The growing number of community events on Main Street also includes Motorcycles on Main, Trick or Treat Main Street, Merry Main Street, Pop-Up Tattoo Parlor Night and the Dia de los Muertos Festival. On Second Friday Night Out, one can stroll the dog-friendly streets of Downtown Mesa and stumble upon live bands, art booths, kids activities, movies and great food, with merchants and galleries staying open late.

Money.com recently named Mesa the Best Big City in the Southwest on its list of 2015 Best Places to Live. Mesa has also been listed among the best places for outdoor lovers based on access to green spaces, the percentage of the population that is at least moderately physically active and proximity to camping, ski resorts and golf courses.

Photo courtesy of Downtown Mesa Association

Read More