People & Places

  • BEST CLOTHES FOR PHAT BOYS

    Clothing City Today's Fashions

    Husky hepcats in search of fly threads or the latest in alt-rock wear at the local big and tall store usually wind up fat outta luck. Try finding a catchy club shirt that doesn't smack of tackiness -- it's an exercise in fat-boy futility. So if you're living large and look more like Jack Black than Jack White, seek out… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO PIMP YOUR RIDE

    Big Boyz Toys

    Hey, couch potato, flip off MTV and make your own dream come true. If you're looking to boost your Mack Daddy attack arsenal, Big Boyz Toys is your artillery headquarters. Big Boyz Toys boosts the bad-ass factor with a full line of custom body kits and graphics, dash accessories, lights and interior add-ons. They can dress up your engine with… More >>
  • BEST SHRINE

    Northeast corner of 12th Street and McDowell

    Driving the streets of Phoenix doesn't seem so mundane when we pass through the intersection of 12th Street and McDowell. Since 2000, a shrine made up of three white wooden crosses has been lovingly maintained on the dirt lot across the street from Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, honoring three teenagers who died there on a summer evening when a drunken… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO LOSE A PAYCHECK THIS SIDE OF VEGAS

    Casino Arizona at Talking Stick - CLOSED

    Ever since the drive to Las Vegas got speedier when U.S. 60 went four-lane, local cardsharps have had more of a reason to skip town for Sin City. But why risk becoming another roadside cross when the Salt River Pimas have all sorts of ways to separate you from your weekly wages? With two casinos within a 30-minute drive from… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO PICK UP SOME CASH

    Hill Top Research

    Ever wonder why that solid antiperspirant works so well? Because some kind, sweaty soul was willing to try it out for you first, to guarantee it won't cause a heinous rash in a hard-to-reach spot. He got a few bucks for his time, and so can you. Hill Top Research, a national product-testing firm, has a location in Scottsdale, and… More >>
  • BEST ANTI-CHAIN GANG

    Arizona Chain Reaction

    We know the nice folks from Arizona Chain Reaction are flipping through "Best of" right at this very moment, clutching their heads and shaking their fists whenever they see mention of a chain store or restaurant. Sorry, guys, we tried to keep it to a minimum -- but sometimes bigger is better. Not always, though, which is why we wanted… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO READ THE EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE

    The Vent

    Some mornings, reading the daily paper just feels like a chore. For a treat, we turn to The Vent. It's a simple concept: just a column down the side of the editorial page of the Tribune, devoted to the rants of readers who call a dedicated phone line and, well, vent. Random excerpts from the callers' diatribes -- usually having… More >>
  • BEST QUASI-CELEB SIGHTING

    Ivan Makil and Annette Alvarez at Trader Joe's

    He used to be president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. She used to, um, work for Governor Fife Symington. We'd heard they were an item, but we'd never seen them together until one night around Valentine's Day, when we spotted them together in the Camelback Trader Joe's. It was just before closing time. They bought a lot of… More >>
  • BEST DICK

    Jason Rose

    Jason Rose is not a shy fellow. And he doesn't shy away from controversy -- he shills for the likes of Joe Arpaio and Andrew Thomas. But we hear that even Mr. Rose was blushing when his latest personal PR campaign went, well, flaccid. Rose ran a half-page ad in the Arizona Capitol Times -- a small paper that covers… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN

    Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon

    Phil Gordon is truly a pig in shit. This guy was dying to be the mayor of Phoenix for as long as we can remember, and now that he's got the title, we've gotta say -- he hasn't screwed up yet. Actually, he's done some good, steering downtown development away from sports and demonstrating a real vision for the city's… More >>
  • BEST POLITICIAN WE HATE TO SEE LEAVE OFFICE

    State Representative Deb Gullett

    Technically, Deb Gullett represents north central Phoenix in the Arizona Legislature. But in her relatively brief time in office, she did a lot of good for the whole state, demonstrating again and again that she's not afraid to stand up to special interests and fight for what's right. This year, she made sure a law was passed that protects victims… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL RON BURGUNDY

    Ron Hoon

    They're so vain, every anchorman probably thought this flick was about them. Certainly the Valley's morning news crews bought into the PR hoopla surrounding the summer's Will Ferrell comedy Anchorman, like so many slow-on-the-uptake short people thanking Randy Newman for the musical tribute. The Fox 10 Arizona Morning crew of Ron Hoon, Rick D'Amico and Ilona Carson, in particular, really… More >>
  • BEST LOCAL BARBERSHOP

    Another Level Barber & Beauty Shop

    As the Barbershop movies made clear, often the best place for black folks to get in on some free-flowing gossip, boisterous political debate and, occasionally, a good haircut is the community barbershop. In the Phoenix area, however, it's hard enough to find a stylist who knows the difference between a bald fade and a finger wave, let alone one who… More >>
  • BEST TV REPORTER

    Lew Ruggiero

    We hate to be so blunt, but we've gotta say it: Get those poor print reporters out of the TV studio and let them write their stories. Then we'll have more time to watch Lew Ruggiero. Lew is the smartest, hardest-working, best-prepared reporter on local television, and, let's face it, this is a bonus in his business, rather than a… More >>
  • BEST TV NEWSCASTER

    John Hook

    John Hook is the best thing about TV news in the Valley, and he's the best thing about Fox, period. We like him because we can tell he's smart, that he understands the news he's reading. We like him because he avoids the goofiness of his colleagues on other local stations. And most of all, we like John Hook because… More >>
  • BEST NEWS RADIO

    KJZZ-FM 91.5

    We feel like we have a personal relationship with Dennis Lambert, which is how we think you should feel about your morning radio host. Sure, we've let Howard Stern into the car on occasion, even flirted with the boys at KTAR, but when we want to know what's going on in the Valley -- and, as an added bonus, what's… More >>
  • BEST RADIO TALK-SHOW HOST

    Mike Newcomb

    Dr. Mike Newcomb isn't content with healing the sick. He's on a mission to heal the country, if he can, one radio show at a time. Newcomb's progressive, liberal radio show On Second Thought began last summer and has quickly expanded from its initial hourlong time slot in the morning to three hours during drive time. Newcomb's a physician in… More >>
  • BEST PRO SPORTS TEAM

    Arizona Rattlers, Arena Football

    It's an unusual year in the Valley when not one of its four so-called major sports franchises enjoys even modest success. But while neither the Suns, D-Backs, Coyotes, nor Cardinals (as usual) could muster more wins than losses in the past 12 months, the Arizona Rattlers made their case to reign supreme over the hearts and minds of Phoenix sports… More >>
  • BEST PRO ATHLETE

    Randy Johnson

    Just when Amare Stoudemire had become the crown prince of the Valley sports market, Randy Johnson proved that the king has yet to leave the building. With the Big Unit's perfect game in May against the Atlanta Braves -- in which he set down, in order, all 27 batters he faced, while striking out 13 -- Johnson gave the Diamondbacks… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BE A YANKEES HATER

    Foster's Seafood

    This authentic New England seafood house could easily be the best place to love the Boston Red Sox, but we figured being a BoSox fan and a Yankees hater were synonymous, and given the D-Backs' pummeling of the Yanks in the 2001 World Series, it's more universal to hate the Evil Empire. Owner Bill Deacon, a burly Beantown boy at… More >>
  • BEST HIGH-END WORKOUT

    The Phoenician's Centre for Well-Being

    Abs of steel? We prefer a more natural look: abs of granite. We sculpt them at the Phoenician, where the glitzy Centre for Well-Being spa goes back to basics with its new "Nature's Gym" outdoor obstacle course. Starting at the base of Camelback Mountain, the all-natural workout finds fitness equipment in the desert's natural resources. Resort instructors lead 75-minute cross-training… More >>
  • BEST LOW-END WORKOUT

    Lincoln Family Phoenix Downtown YMCA

    Who wants to dress to impress for a workout? Who wants to pay big bucks for the privilege of getting sweaty in public? And who really thinks that prestige matters when it comes to pumping iron? Nobody here, obviously. The Y is an ego-free oasis of self-improvement, and if its diverse membership wasn't so darn friendly and outgoing, you might… More >>
  • BEST SPA

    Camelback Inn Resort and Spa

    Like any worthy Paradise Valley woman, the Spa at the Camelback Inn had a lot of face work done recently. And, boy, does she look good. Even when her locker room was a little run-down, Camelback Inn still ran the best spa. We've always loved the tranquil pool area, the thick white terry robes, the impeccable nail, face and body… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY VINYL HIP-HOP

    Swell Records

    Since Swell's merger with the more commercial Spin Records earlier this year, the shop's become the hands-down only place to go whether you're looking to drop the new Jay-Z joint into your next set, or you're in need of some underground breakbeats to juggle. Scope Swell's vintage section if you're looking to drop a Van Halen mash-up, or just browse… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET A CUP OF COFFEE ON MILL AVENUE

    Three Roots Coffee House

    We were delighted to find this gem of a coffee house, nestled beside a frame shop across the street from Arizona State University. Three Roots has all the ingredients of the perfect college coffee house. There are plenty of comfortable places to sit, including tables for laptops and couches for lounging. The lighting is perfect, the walls painted deep shades… More >>
  • BEST BOUTIQUE HOTEL

    The James Hotel

    Any place where Jaime Pressly, Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton have dirtied the sheets, we're sold on. Since this precious, modernist boutique hotel opened in Old Town Scottsdale earlier this year, it's been a magnet for the elite, the famous, the rich and the beautiful. Other than the lovelies already mentioned, Ice-T and wife Coco have been spotted partying at… More >>
  • BEST YOUTH HOSTEL

    Metcalf House

    They leave well-rested, well-nourished and well-traveled. But at Metcalf House, a hostel that's more like a home, guests sometimes leave almost as much behind. The historic hostel is on Ninth Street between Portland and Roosevelt, and part of its charm resides not only within the wood and brick crevices of the almost century-old house, but also in the knickknacks, art… More >>
  • BEST ARCADE

    Golfland-Sunsplash

    All true arcade rats know an arcade is only as good as its service technician. Joysticks get jiggly, DDR dance pads crack, and occasionally a sore loser will even take a swing at a defenseless video screen. When games go bad, gamers go elsewhere -- unless the arcade has a tireless technician like Robbie Fenwick, the geeks' go-to guy at… More >>
  • BEST BOWLING CENTER

    Jillian's Hi Life Lanes

    Every amusement at Jillian's is ridiculously expensive. A single game of air hockey will cost you a whopping two dollars; premium games like Hyperbowl will set you back a five-spot. Heck, even Ms. PacMan can't be had for less than a dollar. So it's a mystery how the price-jacking demons managed to overlook the entertainment complex's 12-lane bowling alley, where… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CATCH A RISING WWE SUPERSTAR

    Impact Zone Wrestling at The Sets - CLOSED

    The world of wrestling -- um, we mean sports entertainment -- is not unlike the realm of baseball, at least when it comes to tapping new blood. Each has its own version of the big time (World Wrestling Entertainment and Major League Baseball) and an underlying stratum of regional farm clubs serving as a training ground. But that's where the… More >>
  • BEST INDOOR RACING

    F1 Race Factory

    Like just about everything else once dismissed as silly kid stuff, go-karts have raced into the mainstream of grown-up extreme sports. The F1 Race Factory, bordering the Tempe gateway just south of 48th Street and Washington, requires a valid driver's license to race its modified European karts -- each outfitted with a speedy Honda GX 270cc motor and Yokohama racing… More >>
  • BEST CURE FOR ROAD RAGE

    Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving

    At the Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, there are several ways yours can become the baddest ass on the road. Bob Bondurant has been teaching Phoenicians how to drive fast and furious since 1990, and offers a variety of driving courses designed to improve skills. The "Executive Protection/Anti Kidnapping" course (four days, $3,995) includes training in "forward and reverse… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE A DRAG RACE

    SCO Nights at Firebird International Raceway - CLOSED

    Firebird's Sports Compact Only events, usually held on the last Saturday of each month, are the soft-core version of the illegal street drags that have become harder and harder to find on the over-patrolled streets of Phoenix. Stunnas show off their tricked-out body kits and flaming decals, booming sound systems compete with the roar of NOS-supercharged engines on the track,… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE A DRAG SHOW

    The Sunday Night "She-Lounge" at E-Lounge

    So you've just watched The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar back to back on video and you're wondering where you go to get your drag on in this burg. Well, pull on those pantyhose, girlfriend, tuck in that crank shaft, and head on down to the Sunday night "She-Lounge"… More >>
  • BEST CLUB FOR HIP-HOP

    O'Mallys Sports, Spirits & Grill

    The introduction of hip-hop nights at the traditionally hard-core rock Mason Jar may be the boldest development of the year -- and promoter Oddy Carter deserves much love for bringing local rap to the land of Sacred Reich and Megadeth. But the Jar's famous no-dress-code policy flies in the face of the brand-name revering conventions hip-hop clubgoers live by, and… More >>
  • BEST NEW GALLERY

    Bentley Projects

    What a leap of faith for one of Scottsdale's most prestigious contemporary galleries to open a branch in downtown Phoenix -- and aren't we glad they did it. Representing an impressive roster of nationally recognized painters and sculptors from the get-go, Bentley not only makes us optimistic about the potential of downtown, but also considerably raises the bar for the… More >>
  • BEST ART HOUSE MOVIE THEATER

    Harkins Camelview 5

    We despaired of ever seeing France's The Triplets of Belleville in a timely manner, but only because we'd forgotten for a moment about Harkins' Camelview 5 in Scottsdale. Shame on us, then, for failing to remember that Camelview is the best place in town to see exclusive, often obscure art and foreign films. How dare we forget that we got… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN ON A FIRST FRIDAY

    Roosevelt Street

    Any time of the year, the first Friday of the month in downtown Phoenix is a circus. Sure, the main event is still the art -- varying dramatically in quality from something you'd see in a New York gallery to "Hey, my kid could do that!" But our favorite thing about the most happenin' night of the month is the… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN ON A FINAL FRIDAY

    B-Side Gallery

    First Fridays, you'll find us in Phoenix. But final Fridays belong to Tempe, and this is a night that has yet to be tainted by an excess of hype. In other words, you can actually see the work on display by local artists. At the center of Final Friday is Wet Paint, which transforms into B-Side Gallery on the last… More >>
  • BEST COMEBACK

    The Icehouse

    In its 1990s heyday, the Icehouse was the epicenter of Phoenix rave culture. Legendary parties lasted all night long within the walls of this cavernous downtown space, making it a natural anchor of the art and music communities. Then, as the times changed, so did the nightlife, and the Icehouse seemed to fall off the local radar. It continued to… More >>
  • BEST STOP ON ART DETOUR

    Garage S.

    Like the Phoenix art scene in general, Art Detour -- that spring weekend where most every gallery in town opens its doors to the masses -- is a mixed bag. Some good, some bad. Some very, very bad. We had a favorite spot this year, partly because the art was so good, but even more because the vibe was so… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO RELIVE THE PAIN OF CATECHISM

    Patti Hannon as Sister in Late Nite Catechism Parts I and II

    Everyone we know who attended Catholic school or had to endure catechism class has horror stories to tell about the nasty nuns. But these same people have been screaming with glee over Patti Hannon, who plays Sister, the ball-busting bride of Christ charged with our ecumenical upkeep in Late Nite Catechism Parts I and II. Both plays are written by… More >>
  • BEST REASON TO RECONSIDER YOUR FEAR OF SHAKESPEARE

    Nearly Naked Theatre's Shakespeare's R & J

    By now, we're accustomed to complex, compelling entertainment from this tireless troupe. But Nearly Naked's take on Joe Calarco's smart, sexy Shakespeare's R & J was more than fun to watch -- it made us want to go home and read Twelfth Night. Fortunately for us, an intimate relationship with the Bard wasn't necessary to grasp the genius of Calarco's… More >>
  • BEST REMOUNT

    Desert Stages' Cabaret

    When the nice folks at Desert Stages remounted their rip-snorting production of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret last December, it was a holiday gift to all of us who couldn't get tickets to the show's original sold-out run the summer before. The glory of this particular production is that this perennial musical is usually mauled by college theater troupes and small,… More >>
  • BEST DEBUT BY A NEW THEATER

    TheatreScape's Eleemosynary

    With its debut in January, TheatreScape whetted our appetite for more and better community theater productions. The tiny company bowed with Lee Blessing's Eleemosynary, a story of three women -- a mother, her daughter, and her granddaughter the spelling bee champ -- for whom love and resentment are indistinguishable. Blessing's nonlinear tale is a tough one to tell; it's a… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO CHASE THE BREAK-DANCING SCENE

    Furious Stylez Crew or Footklan

    Until recently, the Urban Styles Dance Studio at Tempe's Mill Towne Center was the place to see and be schooled in popping and locking, breaking and capoeira from the Valley's best-known b-boys and girls. Regrettably, the studio closed over the summer because of a lack of support. "Break-dancing's not a studio thing here," laments former manager Hutton Peck. "It's more… More >>
  • BEST MICROCINEMA

    No Festival Required

    Much has been said about downtown Phoenix's growing art scene, and film isn't always included in the discussion. But lots of galleries are finding the wall space for screenings, and the granddaddy of them all is No Festival Required. It's become an important presence in the past few years, morphing from an occasional showcase of independent film and video shorts… More >>
  • BEST PAPER DOLL

    Cyndi Coon

    Letter writing is all but dead, thanks to e-mail, and we worry about the fate of Hallmark. Don't tell that to Cyndi Coon, who is on the verge of a smashing success with laboratory5, her line of greeting cards and note cards. The Phoenix artist is truly inspired; her cards are whimsical, funny and absolutely frameable. She has a way… More >>
  • BEST GHOSTBUSTERS

    Arizona Paranormal Investigations

    They don't carry the ectoplasm-seeking nutrona wands and proton packs of Aykroyd, Murray and company, but Joe and Mikki Shelton of Arizona Trips n Tours and their ever-shifting team of investigators, aspiring parapsychologists, acceleration physicists and just plain ghost nuts are "who you gonna call" once you've heard a few too many spooky bumps in the night. Eschewing a flashy… More >>
  • BEST ART COLLECTION

    Phoenix Children's Hospital

    No one wants to go to the hospital, least of all a hospital devoted to kids. But the kind folks at Phoenix Children's Hospital have made their digs a little more bearable with a wonderful, whimsical collection of art created by local artists, often in collaboration with children. The art turns up in unexpected places, like a pre-surgery waiting room,… More >>
  • BEST MURAL

    The Rogue, on display at The Rogue bar

    Many things come to mind when we think of The Rogue, a beloved Scottsdale dive, but "fine art" just isn't one of them. Yet the bar is home to our pick for the Valley's best mural. The painting, by local artist Joseph Oursland, embodies the bar so perfectly, you could almost mistake it for a mirror on a crowded night,… More >>
  • BEST ALTERNATIVE PERFORMANCE VENUE

    The Paper Heart

    It takes a lot of character to get the same "Best Of" two years in a row. And while we still love the Paper Heart for all the same reasons we did last year -- especially its eclectic variety of free or cheap under-the-radar entertainment, like performance art, poetry slams, comedy shows and indie film screenings -- we love it… More >>
  • BEST ALTERNATIVE TO SNOTTSDALE

    SMoCA Nights

    We're not sure if the body parts here are any less plastic than what you'd find at the typical Scottsdale nightclub, but it's safe to say that the attitudes aren't as fake. After all, this eclectic party at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is being thrown in the name of art, not action, and the stylish young crowd it… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO GET LOADED ON A FRIDAY EVENING

    Ladies' Night at Shooter's World

    Even the most gun-shy gals feel at home on the range at Shooter's World. From 4 to 8 p.m. every Friday, "Arizona's largest indoor shooting facility" fires up for ladies' night, wooing the girls with free range time, free firearm and safety rental, and free instruction; the only cash to cough up is for ammo and targets. And even… More >>
  • BEST UNKNOWN TOURIST ATTRACTION

    Bob Crane's Murder Site

    For those of us who grew up watching Hogan's Heroes and idolizing its star Bob Crane, the site of Crane's murder and his last residence -- Room 132A at the Winfield Apartments in Scottsdale -- is perhaps the Valley's most macabre tourist attraction. Crane was living there while he performed in the play Beginner's Luck at the Windmill Dinner Theatre… More >>
  • BEST DRIVE WORTH THE PHOTO RADAR TICKET

    Lincoln Drive between 24th Street and Scottsdale Road

    In this sprawl-happy burg, it's hard to find someplace untouched by the hands of man, where one can flee from reality, if only for a few minutes. If you're like us, you've found an escape route, like the six-mile stretch from Phoenix into Paradise Valley, after dark. As we head east from 24th Street, the chain stores start to lessen,… More >>
  • BEST PHOENICIAN

    Eddie Haramina

    Just about everybody who works in or around the county courthouses in downtown Phoenix knows Eddie Haramina. More important, he knows more about them than they probably would care to admit. Commonly known as "Eddie the Hot Dogger," Haramina has been a fixture in front of the east courthouse at First Avenue and Jefferson Street for more than a quarter-century.… More >>
  • BEST BAKE SALE

    Arizona Roller Derby

    We love a group of girls who strap on roller skates and bust chops. And we love a bake sale. For the past year or so, the women of the Arizona Roller Derby have dolled up in their fishnets and combat boots and taken to the streets of Phoenix to sell their cookies. They're a solid presence on First Fridays… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO MEET THE DOM OF YOUR DREAMS

    The Den of Iniquity

    You've been a naughty New Times reader, and Mistress Porsche Lynn has just the punishment for you. In a warehouse five miles west of Sky Harbor Airport, the legendary adult-film star -- whose handprints adorn the adult industry's Walk of Fame outside Larry Flynt's Hustler Hollywood store -- has the dungeon to rival all dungeons. Inside a nondescript building where… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO CRASH IF YOU'RE A MILL RAT

    TV Lounge

    It's been a long night of spanging and bumming smokes in front of the Coffee Plantation on Mill Avenue, and now the dawn is breaking. You need some serious sack time, but too bad the cops busted up your squat the night before. Luckily, the cushy red couches in the TV Lounge on the lower level of ASU's Memorial Union… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY A DEATH-METAL TEE

    Metal Devastation - CLOSED

    If you're a chubby, pale-skinned teen eager to replace your threadbare Misfits tee with something more likely to shock your already concerned parents, you've come to the right place. The first thing that grabs your attention as you enter the shadowy confines of this hardcore metal CD store and specialty boutique isn't the severed limbs that hang from the ceiling,… More >>
  • BEST STRETCH OF ADOPT-A-HIGHWAY

    Church of Body Modification

    If you've driven from San Diego to Phoenix, you know there's not much to look at. On a recent summer vacay, we were almost at the end of the road -- Maricopa Road, that is, en route to I-10 -- when we noticed a sign out the window. It was one of those Adopt-A-Highway signs, you know, the kind usually… More >>
  • BEST GRATUITOUS MENTION OF PHOENIX IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

    "Things a Man Should Know About Music: A Guide to 2004"

    Don't get us wrong. We love our city. But we know our limitations. And let's face it, friends, Phoenix is not the nation's music capital. It's not the music capital of the Southwest. It's not even the music capital of Arizona, for crying out loud. That title goes to Tucson. But no one mentioned this to Esquire magazine, which recently… More >>
  • BEST DEVELOPER

    Sloane McFarland

    Sloane McFarland is Phoenix's own renaissance man -- an artist who dabbles in real estate. Usually it's the other way around, but this young man truly applies his aesthetic to everything he does, and, whether he means to or not, is creating community in his hometown. He's best known as the landlord at Lux Coffeebar on Central Avenue; his slump-block… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO DITCH THE PARENTS

    Teen Central

    The 5,000-square-foot refuge sectioned off on the fourth floor of the Phoenix Public Library's main branch is revered by the community as a safe haven for teens, and loved by teens because someone has actually been able to create a safe setting that's not too dorky to attract the kids. Staffed by an average of five librarians specially trained to… More >>
  • BEST RESTAURANT FOR KIDS

    Sabuddy's Israeli Restaurant

    One too many Happy Meals making you grumpy? Take the tots to Sabuddy's Israeli Restaurant in Tempe. You won't find toys or crayons here, although you're welcome to bring your own, but you will find a genuinely friendly, locally owned restaurant with a varied, reasonably priced menu. Kid favorites include labne (a rich, cream-cheesy spread), hummus, and thick homemade lentil… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS WITH THE KIDS

    Kiddieland/Enchanted Island Amusement Park

    There's nothing Mickey Mouse about this little amusement park, but be warned that it's only open on weekends (with a few exceptions). The place looks smaller than we remember it from our youth, but to our kids, it's huge. Either way, Kiddieland has all the prerequisites for a morning of fun: carousel, train, face painting, rides. Bring a picnic lunch… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS WITH THE KIDS IN THE SUMMER

    Summer Movie Fun for Kids

    Summer in Phoenix can be hard on kids -- and even harder on mom and dad. Here's a bargain you can't beat, that'll let you beat the heat, at least for a little while. Harkins Theatres sponsors a summer movie series of 10 "family films," one a week, for a total of $7 per person. We couldn't believe our luck… More >>
  • BEST COFFEE HOUSE FOR KIDS

    Mama Java's Coffee House

    There's a ridiculously catchy children's song that goes, "M-O-M-M-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E, D-A-D-D-Y needs C-O-F-F-E-E," and once you've heard it, you will find yourself singing it -- especially on those mornings when you have stayed up too late the night before working (or drinking) and your kid decides to greet the day at dawn. On those mornings, or any other time… More >>
  • BEST PC GAMING ROOM

    eJoy Internet Cafe

    Half wired coffee house and half gaming center, the eJoy Cafe, housed in what used to be a Bank of America branch just off Mill Avenue, is far from the most serious fragging spot in town. The twentysomething ASU students serving up espresso and scones in the front room are often clueless about fixing the poorly maintained PCs running the… More >>
  • BEST CULTURE CLUB FOR KIDS

    The Phoenix Symphony's Family Concerts Series

    Hook some new kids on the Bach. Through its series of concerts for children ages 6 to 12, the Phoenix Symphony reels in little listeners with familiar music, dynamic guest artists and interactive learning. An hour of free preconcert activities -- including the "instrument petting zoo" -- sets the stage for each show; with the ever-engaging associate conductor Bob Moody… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY BOOTLEG TOYS

    American Park 'N Swap at Phoenix Greyhound Park

    We'll do almost anything for a dollar -- or to save one. Like recently, our relentless pursuit for bargains galore brought us to this weekly commercialism commotion sprawled across the parking lot of the Phoenix Greyhound Park for -- among other things -- toiletries and socks offered at cut-rate prices. The little one has also joined us, and his attention… More >>
  • BEST SMALL WORLD, AFTER ALL

    "ArtVille" at the Arizona Museum for Youth

    Curious kids can go to town at the Arizona Museum for Youth, where ArtVille -- "Arizona's newest planned community" -- was founded this spring. Built on a "town philosophy of artistic exploration," the permanent exhibition is among the few spaces in the U.S. aiming to introduce babies and toddlers to fine art. "Art" serves as mayor of the 2,500-square-foot "hotspot… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY A BABY GIFT

    Stephanie's Little Luxuries

    This little shop -- which also features a design center -- is a treasure trove for the new mom, particularly if someone else is buying. We fell in love with a feather boa-ed pig and a perfect pink ballet costume, and the selection for boys is just as precious. In case anyone is wondering, our personal favorite is the tiny… More >>
  • BEST PLACE TO BUY KIDS' CLOTHES

    Small Change

    If you're still buying brand-new clothes for your kid, you've gotta be a brand-new parent. Early in the game, we learned that it's pointless to dress up little Sophie in that $75 Baby Lulu dress with matching hat and diaper cover. Five minutes later, the dress is drenched -- either from the top of Sophie or the bottom. But we… More >>
  • BEST WAY TO KEEP THE KIDS HAPPY DURING DINNER

    Wikki Stix

    Some people have nightmares that they're back in school, naked, about to fail a test. We have nightmares that we're out to dinner with our kids. Let's face it: Fine dining isn't big among the toddler set. And so when we do venture out, we bring along a suitcase-size bag stuffed with art supplies and toys. Usually, that engages our… More >>

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