Summit & Salute: Around the Town in Phoenix

We hope you’re getting excited to connect with fellow WBEs at our WBENC Summit & Salute in Phoenix from March 22 to March 24! (If you haven’t registered yet, here’s how to claim your spot.) We’ve got plenty of industry roundtables and must-see keynote speakers to keep you busy, but you’ll also have some time to explore downtown Phoenix.

Here are our recommendations for where to eat, what to see, and where to explore:

Eat

Cattle ranching is a major part of Arizona life, so it’s no surprise that Phoenix has plenty of gastro pubs and steakhouses. As it happens, one of the best is a stone’s throw from Summit & Salute. The Arrogant Butcher offers short rib stew, sweet potato tortellini, and other hearty entrées. Try the turkey pastrami sandwich—it’s a favorite of Yelp reviewers.

Vegetarians and vegans can find tasty dishes, too. Stop by Pita Jungle for two happy hours (3-6 pm and 9 pm to close) and Mediterranean fare. If Asian-inspired is more your speed, hit up Green Restaurant for mock crab puffs and a kung pao noodle bowl.

If you’re up for a stroll (or a quick cab ride), Carolina’s on East Mohave Street is a celebrated spot for Sonoran Mexican food. Expect paper-thin tortillas blistered on a searing-hot griddle and served with seasoned beef and chicken. You can also venture out to Welcome Chicken and Donuts, where a repurposed KFC now serves fried chicken Korean style. The donuts are inspired by local flavors like chipotle and mesquite smoked salt. Welcome Chicken and Donuts made Phoenix Food Nerds’ Top 25 list for 2015.

Tour

If you glimpsed the Sonoran desert or Camelback Mountain on your trip into Phoenix, you understand why so many artists have been inspired by the natural beauty of the Southwest. The Phoenix Art Museum is the biggest in the region, and it’s less than a 30-minute walk from the conference. You’ll see paintings by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera alongside contemporary Latin American artists. For a conversation starter, check out Edward Burtynsky’s exhibition, Water. The Canadian photographer’s aerial shots depict humanity’s troubled relationship with water around the globe.

Native American art enthusiasts can’t miss a trip to the Heard Museum. You’ll arrive in time to see the Personal Journeys exhibit, a collection of landscapes that express the relationship that still exists between Native American cultures and the land. In the permanent collections, you’ll find Hopi dolls, Navajo jewelry, pottery, baskets, and other works by Native American masters. Artwork in the museum shop goes through rigorous authenticity checks, making the Heard museum one of the best places in town to shop for Native American jewelry and art.

Explore

The trendy Roosevelt Row neighborhood is a great place to check out the local art scene, do some shopping, and grab a bite to eat. Look out for murals and other public art displays, or step inside a gallery. Browse a vintage clothing boutique during an afternoon break, or unwind with a craft beer at FilmBar after Summit & Salute activities are done for the day. Book lovers should visit Lawn Gnome Publishing, an indie bookstore that features local and up-and-coming authors.

Don’t miss the chance to try a favorite Arizona snack, the Sonoran hot dog. At Short Leash Hot Dogs, the Moki dog piles a frank with roasted green chiles, pinto beans, tomato, sautéed onion, cheddar, and a touch of mayo.

Heritage Square is also worth a visit for a look into Phoenix’s history. The Victorian buildings are the last remaining group from Phoenix’s original town site. Heritage Square now hosts historical tours, cultural festivals, and thriving pubs and restaurants.

Have you been to Phoenix before? Where are your favorite spots? We can’t wait to see you there this March!

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Posted on February 3, 2016 .