Creative types can turn nearly anything into an intriguing selfie backdrop. But for the rest of us, it's nice to have a few suggestions to help spark fresh ideas. Here's a look at 10 places around town where you can try capturing that perfect selfie while exploring some the city's creative spaces.
The Where?House Gallery702 North 21st Street
Walter Productions keeps its giant art cars, which have been to Burning Man and festivals including Bonnaroo, inside an arts venue called The Where?House Gallery. It’s open for special events rather than everyday viewing, so you have to keep an eye out if you want to join the fun with camera in hand. But the chance to take selfies with brightly lit art cars like Walter the Bus, Kalliope, and Mona Lisa is worth the wait.
Burton Barr Central Library1221 North Central Avenue
You can always take great selfies on the fifth floor, surrounded by intriguing elements of Will Bruder’s architecture for Phoenix Public Library’s flagship branch. But head over this summer to strike a (quiet) pose in front of sculptures created for the IN FLUX public art program, including Christy Puetz’s Curious Creatures on the first floor. Or catch the summertime vibe with Daniel Funkhouser’s trio of neon-colored trees called Radiant Grove, which is located on the second floor.
monOrchid214 East Roosevelt Street
The monOrchid building photographer Wayne Rainey sold to True North Studio last year is still home to several great selfie backdrops. You can snap yourself with a pair of colorful wings painted by Lauren Lee or a flock of birds painted by Brian Boner on the west side of the building. Or head to the alley just east of the building to find murals by JB Snyder and Kyllan Maney. For a fun nighttime selfie, snap yourself underneath the giant dress form sculpture in that same alley. Created by the Maker Twins, it shifts through various colors of light.
Cobra Arcade Bar801 North Second Street
Great selfie options abound at Cobra Arcade Bar, where you’ll find a collaborative mural by internationally renowned artists El Mac and David Cho near the entrance. Head inside to snap a selfie surrounded by arcade games, or check out the wall painted with bold diagonal black and white stripes reminiscent of designs used by U.S. military vessels to confuse opponents during World War I.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art7374 East Second Street, Scottsdale
No two selfies are ever the same if you take them with the James Turrell skyspace at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which includes a giant opening to the sky. Nearby, you’ll find a geometric mural in desert colors by Janel Garza, tall panels of glass created by James Carpenter Studios, and black spinning chairs that make for fun in-motion images. Other public artworks located throughout the city provide dozens of additional selfie backdrops. Museum admission is $10.
FOUND:RE Phoenix1100 North Central Avenue
Check out FOUND:RE Phoenix if you’re into selfies with an arts focus. The hotel is filled with works by local artists, including a giant lime green dinosaur sculpture by Jeff Zischke that’s perfectly placed for selfie photos in the hotel lobby. Out front, you’ll spot a giant ear by Ronna Nemetz. There’s also a fun mural by Diego Perez on a back wall of the hotel’s gallery, just off a parking lot you enter from Portland Street.
Grand AvenueBetween 10th and 15th Avenues
Stroll down Grand Avenue near the Bragg’s Pie Factory building and you’ll spot people looking up, mesmerized by a collection of stuffed animals and other objects suspended overhead. It’s a popular spot for summer selfies along the street that also boasts several other options – including Maggie Keane’s new Prince mural, fences woven with colorful designs, trees yarn bombed with granny squares, and Karen Fioretto’s billboard art installed after Trump’s election.
The Lavatory4700 North 12th Street
Bill Tonneson’s immersive arts venue, The Lavatory, is filled with unique selfie backdrops. You can snap yourself surrounded by thousands of balls inside The Pit, run with an all-white theme inside the Sugar Room, or take selfies donning myriad masks and other costume elements – including several inspired by medieval times. There’s even a metal box you can climb inside to snap your picture before you call it a day. Tickets to The Pit are $25. Tickets for The Pit and the exhibits is $40.
Valley Metro RailLocations vary
You’ll find dozens of selfie backdrops along Valley Metro Rail lines in Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa. Try snapping yourself looking up underneath the Station Beacons at Third Street and Washington or Jefferson Street or the Drawing Room tower comprising silhouette-style faces near Mesa Arts Center. For a floral theme, go with Nectar Corridor at 19th and Northern avenues. Or try the giant sphere covered in quotes, located at University Drive and Rural Road in Tempe, if you want something on the intellectual side.
Wonderspaces7014 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
Wonderspaces’ Arizona venue is filled with art for the Instagram age, including one installation comprising rows of black orbs suspended from the ceiling and another that surrounds visitors with strands of hanging lights. Titled Black Balloons and Submergence, they’re just two of 13 artworks featured in the “Point of View” exhibit that runs through the end of August. Other selfie favorites include Sweet Spot, Come Together, and Daydream V.2. Ticket prices vary.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.