For eight days the Radio Sport Breakfast team broadcast their show from Arizona. This is Nathan Rarere’s story
It’s a state keen to shed its image of “the deserty, conservative one next to California”, and we found much to enjoy in Arizona.
Downtown is compact and easy to get around with MLB and NBA stadiums right in the middle. Just 100m from the front door of Talking Stick Resort Arena, the Phoenix Sun’s home court, is The Arrogant Butcher, a modern eatery that embodies the sophisticated entertainment side Phoenix would like the world to know about.
On the northern side of downtown is Roosevelt Row, Phoenix’s artsier, less-exclusive version of Ponsonby Rd.
Roosevelt Row’s community of artists give this part of Phoenix a vibrancy that is different to the rest of the city.
For the proper Roosevelt experience, start at the western end, eat lunch at local favourite Taco Chelo, then spend a couple of hours browsing through the craft shops and wandering through the Row’s alleyways to admire the art.
THE SPORTING EXPERIENCE
Phoenix is home to top-flight basketball, American football, ice hockey and baseball.
Attending the Arizona Cardinals NFL game was like going to a massive stage production.
The 70,000-seat stadium is fully air-conditioned and everyone gets free, high-speed Wi-Fi for the all-important social media posts. #TheCardinalsLostAgain
Locals tell us they know the “Cards suck”, but they come for the experience of a day at State Farm Stadium, with its 20m-tall video wall and the sound system cranked up to 11.
Phoenix has good public transport and some excellent characters driving for Uber and Lyft (we met a former-NFL player called Lester, who does Uber for fun and “the six grand a month you can bring in”). But you get to know a city properly by renting a car and driving around its suburbs.
Phoenix’s grid-based town planning makes it easy to navigate. As you drive through the streets you notice that most houses have varying shades of brown “desert gardens” instead of front lawns.
Tiny taco joints pop up every few blocks with brightly coloured walls and hand-painted signs advertising empanadas, enchiladas or tacos to go.
Another reason to self-drive is the experience of the Arizona countryside. You can make it to Flagstaff in three hours if you head straight up the Insterstate 17.
flies to Phoenix via their hub in Los Angeles.
The Arizona Grand lived up to its name. Guests are never far from the golf course or swimming pool.
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