Welcome to the Phoenix Bucket List. Robrt Pela and Amy Silverman -- two New Times contributors and longtime Phoenicians -- have put together a list of 100 things to do in this city before you die. Each week we're presenting another 10; in March we'll wrap it all up in a cover story in New Times. For now, stay tuned to Valley Fever for more installments and be sure to share your suggestions in the comments section. Today, Robrt Pela presents the next 10 items on the list.
Go to Bikini Lounge with a Twentysomething It's the ultimate hipster hangout, and manages to pull off being retro and up-to-the-minute trendy at the same time. Corner-tabled in the Bikini's murk, one can easily imagine it's 1966, when Grand Avenue was chockablock with similarly divey bars, and that the festively tiki-themed surroundings are new and all the rage. People "of a certain age" hang here, too, and for the best Bikini blast, a late night on the patio with DJ Shane and a bunch of people who were recently teenagers is a real Grand experience.
Visit the Musical Instrument Museum We're talking 200,000 square feet of bright, wide-open space that's home to a rich visual and aural history of musical instruments throughout the world. MIM's vast and expertly curated collection includes instruments from two hundred different countries, each detailed with both historic and artistic descriptions. Wireless "hot spots" around MIM provide streamed music, and its cozy and acoustically perfect concert hall hosts artists both local and national.
Attend Jeff Kennedy's Holiday Cabaret For a lot of people with really good taste, Dr. Jeff Kennedy's annual holiday cabaret at iTheatre Collaborative has become a merry-making tradition. Set up like an old-school nightclub with an open bar and table seating, the December cabaret features an ever-changing cast of local singers who deck the halls with yuletide tunes both familiar and unknown, accompanied by Kennedy's warm piano accompaniment, expert arrangements, and fun-filled narrative trivia.
Visit L. Ron Hubbard's House Here's a little-known fact to drop into your next Phoenix-bashing session: L. Ron Hubbard launched Scientology here in the 1950s. And he did it in an old house near Camelback Mountain. The unassuming slump-block house on 44th Street north of Stanford Drive was the original home to the Hubbard Association of Scientologist, and the spot where Hubbard wrote his first five books about Dianetics, the controversial mind-cleansing technology he also created. About 15 years ago, the Church of Scientology purchased the house and turned it into a Hubbard museum of sorts, featuring the great man's desk, his motorcycle helmet, and the dictation machine into which he read his many lectures. Sadly, the museum is not open the public (largely because the neighbors, fearing "recruitment center" activity, protested), so you'll have to settle for rubbernecking the late Hubbard's house.
Visit Phoenix Art Museum on Free Wednesdays There's no excuse not to go ogle art. Every Wednesday, from 3 until 9 p.m. and again after 6 p.m. every First Friday, Phoenix Art Museum offers free admission to its many galleries and international exhibitions. More than 17,000 works of modern and contemporary art and fashion design are yours to admire, followed by a tour of the lush sculpture garden and lunch (or dinner!) at Palette, the museum restaurant. Take the kids along for an interactive date with PhxArtKids, a cultured playspace they'll love.
Ride Bike Trail 100 on Tatum Trailhead The Tatum Trailhead's Bike Trail 100 is, for people who dig the outdoors, a Phoenix classic. Its 11 miles are crazy with scenery, and an easy ride that's pretty darn flat. Start at the west end at Mountain View Park on Seventh Avenue, then head east of Dreamy Draw for the best shot at seeing flora and the occasional fauna.
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Boutique, shmoutique. The Hotel San Carlos is Phoenix. Open since 1928, this downtown hub features guest rooms decorated with period-perfect Deco décor, and its ornate lobby is a repository for lots of local history (check out the neat old postcards and glass-cased guest registers). This one-time Mecca for Hollywood stars (Mae West had flings here in the Roaring Twenties while playing the Orpheum; Gable and Lombard and Marilyn Monroe, too) is the best place to sleep and eat while you're soaking up a nice slice of old-town history.
Previous Bucket Lists: Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do in Phoenix Before You Die: The Introduction Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Castles, Crescent, and Really Hot Mexican Food Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Books, Bats, and the Biltmore Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Prickly Pear, Gammage, and Chris Bianco's Mom's Chocolate Cake Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Kiddieland, FilmBar, and Ladmo's Tree Phoenix Bucket List - 100 Things to Do Before You Die: Late Night Love, the Westward Ho, and Louise Nevelson