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Phoenix North Central Avenue Walk (Self Guided), Phoenix

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!
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Phoenix North Central Avenue Walk Map

Guide Name: Phoenix North Central Avenue Walk
Guide Location: USA » Phoenix (See other walking tours in Phoenix)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: ChristineT
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Phoenix Civic Space Park
  • Westward Ho
  • The Roosevelt Community Church
  • "Release the Fear" Sculpture
  • Trinity Cathedral
  • Margaret T. Hance Park
  • Burton Barr Central Library
  • Phoenix Art Museum
  • Heard Museum
Phoenix Civic Space Park

1) Phoenix Civic Space Park (must see)

Civic Space Park opened in 2009. The park is mostly famous for the "Her Secret Is Patience" public art sculpture, designed by artist Janet Echelman; the title is a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson. The sculpture is multi-colored, with galvanized steel and polyester twine netting. The netting is designed to reflect the movements of the wind, while its shape mirrors Arizona's cumulus clouds. The netting is set 38 feet off the ground, and is 100 feet tall, consisting of three support poles. The sculpture is illuminated at night, with color inspired from the cereus cactus, an Arizona native. The park is also famous for neighboring a modern marvel of Phoenix' architecture, i.e. the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism of Arizona State University. This building was finished in 2008 and is a true state-of-the-art facility. You can note its alternating bands of brown, orange and red corrugated metal panels, forming different colored blocks covering much of the building.
Westward Ho

2) Westward Ho

Westward Ho is a very famous skyscraper and visitor attraction located in downtown Phoenix. You can find it at 618 North Central Avenue. It was completed in 1928, and was originally put into use as a hotel, which went by the same name. At one point in history (pre 1960) this hotel was the tallest building in the state of Arizona. It was quite impressive for its day.

The building was solely used as one of the premiere hotels in Phoenix until 1979. Two years later, the location was turned into apartment style housing for local seniors. In the 2003-2004 time frames, $8,000,000 dollars was invested in the building, which represented a significant remodel.

There is a popular urban legend that stated that this place was the original hotel used in the old movie Psycho. Actually, the Westward Ho was only used in the remake of the movie. Other than that, the most striking thing about this place is the giant radio tower that sits atop the building. It was used by KPHO-TV until 1960.
The Roosevelt Community Church

3) The Roosevelt Community Church

The Roosevelt Community Church used to be a First Church of Christ of Scientists. The present site was built in 1925, and in 1993 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The church exemplifies the influence of Renaissance style and has an unusual diagonal alignment towards the street. The facade is a three-arcade portal, decorated with simplistic moldings and keystone accents.
"Release the Fear" Sculpture

4) "Release the Fear" Sculpture

If you happen to be in the downtown area of Phoenix around the intersection of Central Avenue and East Roosevelt, you will get a chance to see one of the most unusual sculptures to be found anywhere in the United States. It can almost give you a chill up your back, because upon inspection of the work of art, you will notice it is made entirely from old weapons.

The sculpture looks like someone reaching their arms up to the sky. The so-called “Release the Fear” Sculpture was finished in 2005, and placed in this location by the city council of Phoenix. Composed of over 8 tons of metal, the figurine stands 24 feet tall and was designed by Robert Miley. The weapons that have been fused into this work of art are from violent acts that were committed all over the state.

The artist has continued with this genre since the completion of his famous downtown sculpture in the name of stopping violence. It took him over ten years to put together enough sponsors to be able to create the “Release the Fear” piece. The latter is a definite must see in Phoenix.
Trinity Cathedral

5) Trinity Cathedral

The Trinity Cathedral is the home of one of the oldest Episcopal Churches in the city of Phoenix, Arizona. It is located at 100 W. Roosevelt Street, in the heart of the historic Roosevelt District. If was founded in 1885, well before the State of Arizona joined the Union. It was modeled in a four sided shape.

The Cathedral House was finished in 1915, and represents one side of the quadrangle. The Cathedral itself is on another. Atwood Hall, which was completed in 1931, represents a third side. The first worship services were held here in 1920, on Christmas Day. In 1988, this place became the Cathedral for the Diocese of Arizona.

One of the highlights of the building is the grand Organ in the sanctuary. It was built by the Schantz Organ Company. It is a four manual, 71 rank pipe organ. The grand piano in the worship area was hand made by Bosendorfer of Vienna, Austria. The building is done in a Spanish Revival style of architecture.
Margaret T. Hance Park

6) Margaret T. Hance Park (must see)

The Margaret T. Hance Park is a real haven of green beauty in the midst of downtown Phoenix. It is located on North Central Avenue. In addition to being a great green spot in the concrete jungle of the city, it also houses a Japanese Tea House and Garden, as well as an Irish Cultural Center. In fact, it hosts a wee little St. Patrick’s Day party and Family Faire each year in March. The Scottish Highland Games come here a lot also.

It is sometimes referred to as the “Deck Park,” because it is built on top of the I-10 tunnel. The location is also named after a former Mayor of the city of Phoenix. She served in that capacity from 1976 until 1984. She passed away in 1990.

This park is free to use, and is loaded with grassy places for picnics and fun. It has a kid friendly playground, as well as a fully lighted volleyball court. So, plan on stopping by for a bit, and enjoying a little green space in downtown Phoenix.
Burton Barr Central Library

7) Burton Barr Central Library

The Burton Barr Library is simply a wonderful place to visit in Phoenix. It is located on North Central Avenue in the downtown area, not far off of I-10. It can be a wonderful place to go and wile away a few hours reading, or just enjoying the quiet and beauty of the place.

Visiting the library will also allow you to enjoy the artistic manner in which the building was designed. As you enter the main floor, you will notice the reflecting pool built there. It can be quite relaxing spot just to sit for a bit. There is also a glass walled elevator that services all five floors of the library. It is very popular among kids who enjoy looking out at the world below.

The children’s area is very kid friendly, and offers them a place to go and settle in to read and enjoy the wonderful library here. For the history buff, you may want to visit the Arizona Room, which is stocked with historical information on the State, as well as a Rare Book Room. It is open to the public Monday to Thursday from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, it is open from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. On Sunday, it is open from noon until 6:00 p.m. The best part is it’s free to visit.
Phoenix Art Museum

8) Phoenix Art Museum (must see)

The Phoenix Art Museum is a top notch tourist location in the downtown area. It has over 280,000 square feet to wonder and enjoy. It was founded in 1959. It has displays that are international in scope, but specialized in its American Contemporary art collection. The institution also hosts a lot of programs for the people of the area, especially the children. It is very famous for its PhxArtKids program, which specialized in its interactive art displays and photographic exhibitions. There is also a wonderful sculpture garden and restaurant located in the building.

The dream of a fine arts venue for Phoenix started all the way back in 1912, in the year that Arizona became the 48th State of the Union. It purchased its first painting in 1915 and presented it to the City of Phoenix. That was the start of the process that led to the building of the current facilities during the 1950s. In that fifty year time period, the location has been host to over 400 international exhibitions, and has grown the size of its own holdings to over 18,000 pieces of art.
Heard Museum

9) Heard Museum (must see)

The Heard Museum is a well known and very famous location that is dedicated to the preservation of Native American Indian Culture and Art in Phoenix. There are also two branches of the museum located in Scottsdale and Surprise, Arizona. The institution has been educating visitors and locals about the culture of the native people of the state since 1929. You can see not only art here, but historical artifacts as well.

This wonderful tourist site was the brainchild of Dwight and Maie Heard. It used to house their personal art collection. Many of the artifacts also were part of the Heard collection. A lot of the display items came from the LaCiudad Indian ruins, which the couple purchased in 1926.

The current collection has over 40,000 items on display, including over two hundred pieces of jewelry and over 400 Native American dolls. One of the most interesting exhibits, though, centers on the 19th Century experiences of local native children and their education. At the time, a very large number of children were forced on to reservations to attend government schools, in an effort to “civilize them.”

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