Phoenix Things to Do Tips by VeronicaG Top 5 Page for this destination
Phoenix Things to Do: 237 reviews and 443 photos
I've heard Taliesin West described as a good example of 'organic architecture". Until I saw it recently, it was a bit hard to comprehend all that the term meant. Now I realize this means that Taliesin blends with its environment and was designed to be timeless.
Taliesen West was constructed in a desert area surrounded by age-old saguaro cactus. Sadly, it's also skirted by huge transformers carrying electricity to all parts of Arizona. However, the tranquility of the location almost allows one to overlook the intrusion of these steel giants.
The modern design belies the fact it was constructed in 1937. The tour took us to Frank Lloyd Wright's office, the Fellowship Living Room (picture 2), plus other areas of the structure and a portion of the grounds (pictures 4 & 5).
Wright didn't like how light intruded upon the room when people entered Cabaret Theatre, his home cinema (picture 3). After ingeniously tucking dim lights along the wallboards, he invented 'aisle lights'.
The roofline of the house has a low profile, so doesn't seem to stand out in this barren landscape. It must have been so peaceful when he lived and created his architectural masterpieces here.
A very nice bookstore is on the premises, which includes Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired gifts and other works by artists who have studied at Taliesen.
Hours are 8:30am-6pm. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day or in case of heavy rain.
**A note: A tour of Taliesin West is not recommended for toddlers unless they are in strollers or their parents arms
Address: 12621 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale, AZ
Directions: 114th street and Frank Lloyd wright BLvd nears scottsdale
Other Contact: www.franklloydwright.org
Phone: 480-860-2700, ext.494 or 495
The Art of Windbells
While in Phoenix we toured Paolo Soleri's studio to witness the bronze casting process and see his imaginative architecture at Cosanti. He is noted for his experimental concrete earth structures and bronze and ceramic windbells.
Soleri's far reaching endeavor is the creation of a desert city called Arcosanti. All of the proceeds from the sale of his products go to the furthering of this futuristic city located 65 miles beyond Scottsdale off I-17 at Exit 262. We didn't have the time to see Arcosanti, but there were signs posted to the sight.
Paolo Soleri was born in Turin, Italy in 1919 and studied there for his architectural degree. He came to Arizona in 1956, eventually establishing the Cosanti Foundation and creating his world-famous windbells.
A guide walked us through the casting process, toured with us through the unusual structures and explained Paolo's crafts. At the end of the talk, we found ourselves in a gift shop surrounded by Soleri's "bells". After trying out several, we purchased one for our windchime collection on the back patio.
Cosanti is open daily Mon.-sat. 9am-5pm; Sun. 11 am-5pm and closed during major holidays. Groups are welcome by reservation.
Address: 6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd., Paradise Valley, Ari
The Heard Museum
While my husband was attending his business conference, Helene and I made plans to see the Heard Museum. We met Helene and her husband at a dinner gathering the night before.
The Heard Museum was founded by Dwight and Maie Bartlett Heard in 1929 to house their collection of American Indian artifacts and art. The original museum was 1/8th the size of today's building. It has grown to more than 2,000 pieces of 'sweeping landscapes, poetry and person recollections'.
There is a fantastic permanent exhibit on Native People in the Southwest. It features art, crafts and the history of the American Indian culture. There was so much to see that a couple of hours passed quickly!
Free docent led tours are scheduled each day at 1:30pm and 3:00 pm. We thought it would be wise to have a guide point out the highlights, since the collection was so vast.
Here are some of the things you'll find here:
Katsina Dolls from the 1800's and up to the present time (picture 2)
Handmade Comanche Moccasins from the late 1800's (picture 3)
A Navajo Woven Blanket (picture 4)
Torquoise and Silver Handcrafted Jewelry (picture 5)
Admission is $10 for adults; $9 for seniors;$5 for students with ID; $3 for children 6-12.
Hours are daily from 9:30 am-5pm. The museum is closed on major holidays.
Address: 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, AZ
Artwork Dots The Landscaping
We took the Panorama Tour, which was an hour long tour conducted indoors and outdoors. ($18.00 pp), but there are several different tours one can take of Taliesen West.
Indoors, we were shown the Fellowship Living Room, Cabaret Theatre, Music Pavilion, Seminar Theater and Wright's private office (picture 4 of FLW). Each of these rooms had some unique characteristic which was pointed out to us.
Outdoors we experienced the desert vista (picture 3) as seen from the serene terrace (picture 2) and garden areas.
The flat sandy terrain was accented with cacti and low growing brushy trees, extending right up to the base of dramatically sculpted mountains. Taliesin is surrounded by beauty!
Other tours you might enjoy are:
90 Minute Insights
3 Hour Behind the Scenes
2 Hour Desert Walk
2 Hour Apprentice 'Shelter' Tour
2 Hour Night Lights on the Desert
2 Hour Photographing Taliesin West
2 Hour Holiday Night Lights
The tours are priced accordingly. If you are traveling here in the summer months, be sure to wear a hat and use sunblock! For more detailed information on the tours, please see the website below.
Address: 12621 Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., Scottsdale,AZ
Phone: 480-860-2700, ext.494 or 495
Coming of Age Ceremonial Clothing
For anyone interested in understanding the American Indian culture better, I'd certainly suggest a visit to The Heard Museum. It's hard for me to pass a museum by--there's just so much history waiting to be passed on to those who enter in.
As the guide led us through the museum, this Coming of Age outfit caught my interest. Just look at the fringing! We were told that this ceremony is more important than a wedding or the birth of a baby to Indian culture.
Other points of interest were:
A replica of a pueblo oven (picture 2)
Displays, oral histories and distinctive characteristics of the Native American groups (picture 3)
Time passed quickly and before we knew it our stomachs told us it was time for a quick bite. The Arcadia Farms cafe had a delicious selection of Southwest lunch entrees and desserts. I ordered Strawberry Chicken Salad with Poppyseed Dressing ($11.99)--it was great! The cafe is open daily from 9;30 pm-3:00 pm. (picture 4)
Address: 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. AZ
The desert in bloom!
When traveling to Phoenix, make it part of your plan to visit the Desert Botanical Garden. Inside you'll find a huge collection of plants from around the Southwest that are rare, threatened or endangered species.
If you visit in the Spring, you'll also find a gorgeous display of blooms, for the desert comes alive at that time of the year!
The botanical garden spreads over 50 acres, includes splashes of garden art and:
Desert Discovery Trail-desert plants from around the world
Native People and How they Live-see examples of their homes and gardens
Wildflower Trail-features colorful butterfly and hummingbird gardens
Sonoran Desert Trail-1/4 focusing on plants and animals that grow in this area
The Desert House
After an hour or so of walking we were grateful to see a patio cafe! It serves beverages and snacks, breakfast or lunch and you can relax beneath umbrella tables.
A great gift shop offered garden-themed gifts, books, home and garden decor, gourmet foods, wine and unique desert plants. I bought some floral scented soaps--can't wait to use them! It's open daily from 9am-5pm.
Hours are 7am-8pm from May-Sept.; 8 am-8pm from Oct.-April. The botanical garden is closed on July 4, Thanksgiving Day and December 25. Admission is $10 adults; $9 seniors;$5 students with ID; $4 children 3-12 and under 2 is free.
Address: 1201 N. Galvin Parkway,Phoenix, AZ
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