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Phoenix Introduction Walk (Self Guided), Phoenix

Arizona's capital Phoenix is a sprawling metropolis often commonly referred to as the Valley of the Sun due to the abundance of sunny days and warm temperatures. Other than the multitude of high-end spa resorts and golf courses, for which the city is particularly renowned, Phoenix also meets guests with a great deal of cultural and historic attractions. To see what they are, check out this orientation walk and make the best of your time in Phoenix.
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Phoenix Introduction Walk Map

Guide Name: Phoenix Introduction Walk
Guide Location: USA » Phoenix (See other walking tours in Phoenix)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 12
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Author: Caroline
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza
  • Arizona State Capitol Museum
  • Carnegie Public Library
  • Phoenix City Hall
  • Wells Fargo History Museum
  • Orpheum Theater
  • Hyatt Regency Phoenix
  • Phoenix Symphony Hall
  • Phoenix Convention Center
  • Saint Mary's Basilica
  • Rosson House Museum
  • Historic Heritage Square
Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza

1) Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza (must see)

The Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza is an urban park and gathering place, located in front of the Arizona state capitol complex in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. It serves as a home to a number of memorials honoring prominent figures in Arizona history as well as memorializing significant wars and other events that have affected the state. It is designated as one of the Phoenix Points of Pride. The plaza is home to 30 memorials dedicated to topics including important individuals, organizations, and events. Among the more prominent are the mast, anchor, and a 14-inch gun of the USS Arizona, memorials to major wars such as World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and Desert Storm, and America's first monument of the Bill of Rights. Also of note are some memorials that have caused considerable controversy, as mentioned below.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Arizona State Capitol Museum

2) Arizona State Capitol Museum (must see)

The Arizona State Capitol Museum is one of the finest such institutions in the city of Phoenix. This building used to house the Territorial and State Legislatures. It also used to be home to the executive office for the State. The current home of the State has moved to some adjacent buildings, and the old structure is now simply the museum.

You will get a chance to see the old legislative area exactly as it used to be. It has been preserved very well. It also houses artifacts, a library, and other items of interest that tell the early story of this area. You can also find a lot of historical information here about the process that the government went through to become a state in 1913. There is also information here on the U.S.S. Arizona, of Pearl Harbor fame.

The location is open to the general public from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday of each week. There is also a wonderful gift shop and store in the building, which opens at 9:30 a.m. The museum is free of charge, which makes this a real bargain.
Carnegie Public Library

3) Carnegie Public Library

Carnegie Public Library is an important historic heritage. The construction was built in 1908 and was to become the Phoenix Public Library. The construction was made possible with the help of Andrew Carnegie's sponsorship. He was the one who created an entire network of such libraries all over the country. The one in Phoenix was used for this initial purpose until 1954. After this, the building was used as a shelter for the homeless, a social service center and even a storage warehouse. In 1974, the structure was included in the National Registry of Historic Places.
Phoenix City Hall

4) Phoenix City Hall

Phoenix City Hall is a very famous and part of downtown, because this one of the tallest buildings in the area. It is also one of the newer additions to the skyline. The city has done a lot to promote this place. It rises twenty stories into the air, which is well over 360 feet. It was designed by Langdon Wilson, who has done other buildings in the area as well. Construction on the project began in 1992 and was completed in 1994.

It replaced the old buildings, which was called the Calvin Goode Municipal Building. It was also nicknamed the “Old City Hall. The current location was an $83 million addition to the city. You can find this building on Washington Street. The City Hall Tower sits on the north side of the side, whereas the old location is on the south side, near the Maricopa County Courthouse.
Wells Fargo History Museum

5) Wells Fargo History Museum

If you have a cowboy in your group, then you will want to visit the Wells Fargo History Museum. It is a quaint little museum that is owned by the Bank. But don’t let that fool you. There is a lot of history of the west packed into this place. It is located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, next to many other popular destinations, such as Chase Field and the U.S. Airways Center.

You can see an actual stage coach from the company’s past. For the kids, they will love the fact that they can actually climb on in and get the feel of what it was like to be on a stage. There is also a nifty recreation of a mining shaft. You can see some beautiful antique firearms here, and you will also be able to see a working telegraph.

The Wells Fargo History Museum is located at 145 West Adams in town. It is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The nice thing is that admission to the museum is free. It is a great place to visit when you only have a small amount of time to visit a particular destination.
Orpheum Theater

6) Orpheum Theater (must see)

The Orpheum theatre is a very famous and historic movie house located in the downtown area of Phoenix. It is located on West Adams Street. Construction on the venue started in 1927, and the location was opened to the public in 1929. The whole complex was built for less than $1 million dollars at the time.

The building was originally home to Vaudeville style act. It was a very famous part of what used to be called the Orpheum Circuit. It was designed by Lescher & Mahoney. The owners were J.E. Richards and Harry Nace. It is a classic example of Spanish Revival Style architecture. You will want to see the beautiful murals and moldings that adorn the walls of this historic downtown landmark. The location was purchased by Paramount Pictures in the 1940s, and was renamed as such. The building has changed hands a couple of times since then.

This famous old theatre was reopened again in 1997, after a $13 million dollar renovation. There are over 1300 seats available here to see venues offered, so plan on attending an event while you are in town. You just don’t get many chances to experience this type of old theatre architecture anymore.
Hyatt Regency Phoenix

7) Hyatt Regency Phoenix

Hyatt Regency Phoenix is one of the classiest hotels in the city and it opened in 1976. The hotel has twenty-four floors and is almost one hundred meters in height. The architectural firm that designed the chic structure of Hyatt Regency Phoenix was Charles Luckman and Associates. The front of the structure was worked in textured block. The top floor, which is the hotel's most distinguishing feature and is called "the compass", is used as a revolving restaurant, which is very popular both among locals and tourists.
Phoenix Symphony Hall

8) Phoenix Symphony Hall

The Phoenix Symphony Hall is a venue located within the Convention Center. The street address is 75 N. 2nd Street. The current location has been open since 1972. Besides the Symphony, the Phoenix Opera and Ballet also make use of this multipurpose venue. In fact, an 18 million dollar expansion project made this possible.

The facility itself has a lobby that can hold a very big crowd in its 7,000 plus square foot space. There are plenty of elevators and handicap accommodations to make access easy. The paneling on the walls is made of beautiful ash and red oak. The chandeliers are also quite beautiful; the glass is hand blown by artisans from the native island of Murano.

The Phoenix Symphony has been an active part of the cultural community of Phoenix since 1947. At that time, they were a very small group that only did a few performances each year. Now, that same group does over 200 concerts a year to a community of more than three hundred thousand people. They have a performance season from September through June annually, taking the summer off. They are Arizona’s only full time orchestra. They are also well known for the performances they do each year for children.
Phoenix Convention Center

9) Phoenix Convention Center

The Phoenix Convention Center is a very popular tourist destination in the downtown area. It has been hosting national conventions and meetings since the early 1970s. As the years progressed, the popularity of the location has grown. That is especially true with all the high technology businesses that have moved into the area.

The concept for the complex began in 1959. A local citizen’s group was formed in the 1960s to begin to lay out the plans for what was needed for the city, in terms of a convention center, that would be able to attract national attention. The formal process of building started in 1969, and was not completely done until 1972. It has taken two upgrades since that time to keep up with demand for the building. In the present day, this convention center is in the top twenty facilities of this type in the United States, so it is a must see while you are in Phoenix.

The overall design of the place makes reference to the overall landscape of Arizona. For example, there are steel canopies that go over the top of 3rd Street to provide shade to the area. The glass and stone in the atrium of the West Building have been designed to mimic the angles of light that come in and out of a canyon located in the state. Even the colors and hues of the building are done in textures and shades that are representative of things you would see in the Sonoran Desert.
Saint Mary's Basilica

10) Saint Mary's Basilica (must see)

St. Mary’s Basilica is a very old, but famous, church in the downtown Phoenix area. It is located on the corner of 3rd and Monroe Streets. It was founded in 1881. The needs of the church have been cared for by the Franciscans since 1895. So, they have been serving the people here a long time.

The construction of the church started in 1881, but was not completed until 1914. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, just in time for their 100th anniversary.

From an architectural perspective, you will want to check out the wonderful stained glass windows located here. The Carillon Tower is also beautiful, and accentuates the Spanish architecture of the building. The building was honored in 1985 as a minor basilica. The location really became famous, though, when Pope John Paul II visited this place in 1987.

The church is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Mass is at noon and 5:00 p.m. on those days. There is a vigil on Saturdays at 9:00 a.m. and mass again on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. The building typically opens one hour before mass on the weekends.
Rosson House Museum

11) Rosson House Museum (must see)

The Rosson House Museum is a beautiful example of Eastlake Victorian architecture. The house sits on its original location and was built in 1895 for Dr. Rosson and his wife. This interesting house has a moon gate that gives it an oriental flavor, and a tower in the shape of an octagon that is usually attributed to French design. The home is built from locally produced red brick and wood. Although not the first home to be built of fired brick rather than adobe, it is still a great example of early workmanship.

This house had all the modern conveniences that included electric lights, indoor plumbing for both hot and cold water and upstairs bathroom facilities. There were gas appliances and telephone service. There were other Victorian houses round the area too, so it must have been a sight to see. Today, this house has been lovingly restored to its former glory and docent guided tours will give a real feel for how life was at the turn of the 20th century for Dr. and Mrs. Rosson.

The home is located in the Historic Heritage Square District at 139 North 6th Street. Tickets for the docent lead tours can be purchased next door at the Emporium. Tours are conducted Wednesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm and Sundays from noon to 5pm. Tours take about an hour and cost $7.50 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $5 for children over 5, and are free for kids under 5.
Historic Heritage Square

12) Historic Heritage Square

Historic Heritage Square dates back to the late 1800s, and is part of Heritage and Science Park on the east end of downtown. It encompasses the only remaining group of residential structures from the original town site of Phoenix:
- The Rosson House Museum is the cornerstone of this city block and its crowning jewel. The house has been restored to its Victorian roots and offers tours.
- The Lath House Pavilion, although completed in 1980, its design is heavily influenced by combining 19th Century concepts of a botanical conservatory, a gazebo, a beer garden and a pedestrian shopping arcade, all of which were common features of early Phoenix architecture. The Pavilion hosts many national and cultural festivals throughout the year.
- The Bouvier-Teeter House was built in 1899. It is now a Victorian Tea Room.
- The Baird Machine Shop was a commercial structure when it was built in 1929. It is now home to Pizzeria Bianco, which has been named by various sources as the best Pizza in America.
- The Stevens House, built in 1901 with obvious midwestern influences, now houses The Arizona Doll & Toy Museum.
This square is a great place for history, technology, good food.

Walking Tours in Phoenix, Arizona

Create Your Own Walk in Phoenix

Create Your Own Walk in Phoenix

Creating your own self-guided walk in Phoenix is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Phoenix North Central Avenue Walk

Phoenix North Central Avenue Walk

North Central Avenue boasts some really fabulous spots! The Phoenix Art district possesses such jewels as Native American Heard Museum, Trolley and Art Museums, the colonial-styled Trinity Cathedral, also enjoying the modern aesthetics of the Burton Barr Central Library and the freshness of Margaret T. Hance Park. The walk is worthwhile!

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Phoenix Art Galleries Walking Tour

Phoenix Art Galleries Walking Tour

Phoenix is rich with talented citizens that create cultural spots to attract artists and art lovers and to display their own creativity and imagination. Here you will find the list of most interesting contemporary art venues in Phoenix.

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
Phoenix Museum Tour

Phoenix Museum Tour

Phoenix is the biggest city in the state of Arizona. The downtown area is the cultural heart of Greater Phoenix that offers you insight into Phoenix's history and development. Have a stroll through one the best museums in Phoenix and discover how the city grew and flourished in the middle of the desert.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.7 Km or 1.1 Miles
Phoenix Downtown Landmarks

Phoenix Downtown Landmarks

The downtown area of Phoenix is loaded with impressive constructions, each of them proof of the city's grandness. The present guide introduces both old and new, modest and big landmarks; each of them represents Phoenix's spirit and style. Take the present guided tour to admire the famous Phoenix venues that others see only through pictures.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles