Best Of Phoenix® 2011

Phoenix, we barely scratched the surface.

Who knew? When we embarked on our journey to share with you what goes on underground in this metropolis — both literally and figuratively — we thought we had a finite task. After all, everyone knows the ground here is rock-solid. Imagine our surprise when we learned what's been going on under our feet.

Turns out, the dirt here in the Valley of the Sun is some of the best anywhere for planting, you can find a house with a basement, and there's practically another world under downtown Phoenix. Of course, some of our favorite leads turned out to be nothing more than underground urban legend. Maybe. We're pretty convinced that Al Capone did not have a tunnel dug from Tovrea Castle to the state Capitol — but we're not ready to stop believing that his cars are smashed beneath the Westward Ho, a story we heard again and again, as we researched just what's under this place. And we'll always be disappointed that we didn't get a peek in the tunnels under ASU — or at President Michael Crow's top-secret emergency escape plan.

We did find an abandoned bus terminal, a bowling alley, and the remnants of opium dens, and we'll tell you all about that — and much more — in this, the 33rd annual edition of Best of Phoenix®. As always, we've unearthed the best the city has to offer, from politicians to pop-ups to pool halls. From the earliest archeological finds to the latest street art, we know where the bodies are buried — and we're willing to share. Be sure to check us out online; we've mapped our underground finds (see our interactive map here), and there's buried treasure waiting for you.

Strap on your headlamp, grab this copy of Best of Phoenix — and go underground. You dig?

Best Of Phoenix®

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