101 of the most epic, unique, rewarding, and fun Valley experiences!
1. Learn to fly a combat plane.
Hop in the cockpit, throw on some aviators and make those Top Gun fantasies a reality. Under the guidance of a real military fighter pilot, you’ll learn dogfighting techniques in a super-nimble Extra 300L – no experience necessary. You’ll begin with a formation takeoff, then learn advanced handling, weapons usage and basic aerobatic maneuvers. Next, you’ll pull 5 Gs as you engage in air-to-air combat with your opponent using simulated bullets. The dogfight finishes with a high-speed chase and low-altitude pass down the runway. Half-day intro to two-day missions cost $795 to $1,799. Fighter Combat International, 5865 S. Sossaman Rd., Mesa, 480-279-1881, fightercombat.com
2. Treat yourself to a gold facial.
Forget fruity facial scrubs – ore is more. Ask for the Four Seasons spa’s aptly named Pinnacle Facial, and your visage will be gilded with Omorovicza’s gold sugar scrub, which contains real 24-carat gold particles. Next, you’ll go all Goldfinger as your facial is paired with an all-over gold-infused sugar body scrub. The nearly two hours of golden luxury will run you $300, but you’ll leave feeling like a million shimmering bucks. 10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr., Scottsdale, 480-515-5700, fourseasons.com/Scottsdale/spa/
3. Get PADI Certified.
Academy of Scuba
4015 E. Bell Rd., Phoenix
4. Dig Four Peaks Amethyst Mine.
At this quartz quarry more than 5,000 feet up a mountain, miners follow a purple vein 90 feet into the side of Four Peaks and hand-dig precious gems for peerless pieces by Fountain Hills-based Sami Fine Jewelry. The remote mine is inaccessible by foot (unless you take a two-hour drive in an ATV, followed by a two-hour hike), but twice a year (in April and October), would-be prospectors pay $395 per person to take a helicopter ride to the site, meet the miners, hammer and chisel at the rosy rocks, and take home some treasure. 480-837-8168, amethystminetour.com
5. Seek the Lost Dutchman’s Gold Mine.
Since 1892, thousands of people have searched, all in vain, for this fabled gold mine in the Superstition Mountains. At least six people perished on their quests, with the last casualty – Denver bellhop Jesse Capen – discovered dead in a crevice last November. With stats like that, just surviving a search for the mine is bucket list-worthy. superstitionmountainmuseum.org
6. Pan for gold.
Take a guided, two-hour gold-panning tour with Apache Trail Tours ($75/adults, $65/children; 480-982-7661, apachetrailtours.com) or go it alone at one of the local gold panning sites listed at goldfeverprospecting.com/argolo.html.
4900 N. Taylor St., Eloy
8. Do a Light Rail bar crawl.
The Recovery Room
19th Ave. & Montebello
Frequented by staff from nearby Phoenix Baptist Hospital.
2027 W. Bethany Home Rd.,
Maizie’s Cafe & Bistro
Hipster haunt. 4750 N. Central Ave.,
George & Dragon
At Indian School
British pub. 4240 N. Central Ave.,
Cheuvront At McDowell
Upscale wine bar.
1326 N. Central Ave.,
Portland’s Restaurant & Wine Bar
At Roosevelt Professional hangout.
105 W. Portland St.,
Seamus McCaffrey’s Irish Pub & Restaurant
At Van Buren
Whiskey hub. 18 W. Monroe St.,
Lustre Bar at Cityscape
Third St. & Washington
A sleek rooftop bar with impeccable views of Downtown Phoenix.
2 E. Jefferson St.,
Long Wong’s at The Firehouse
Dorsey Ln. & Apache Blvd.
Hot spot for live, local rock music.
1639 E. Apache Blvd.,
Sycamore & Main St.
A neighborhood favorite sports bar since 1979.
430 N. Dobson Rd.,
9. Try all 250 tequilas at Barrio Café.
2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-636-0240, barriocafe.com
10. Learn to salsa.
Gainey Dance Studio
16597 N. 92nd St., Scottsdale
11. See Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers in Mexico.
It’s great to see them in Tempe, but this is RCPM’s natural habitat. Thrice a year, Arizona’s favorite fiesta-fetishizing party band books a beer-drenched weekend engagement in Rocky Point. The band’s signature Circus Mexicus show takes place June 6-9 in 2013. azpeacemakers.com
12. See Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers... sober.
You’d probably be the first person on the planet to do this.
13. Watch a sunset from Hole in the Rock.
At least once, behold the glorious spectrum of a Phoenix sunset from someplace other than your car window (how depressing). See it from Hole in the Rock by hiking the 0.15-mile trail in Papago Park up to a wind-eroded cave in a sandstone butte. The trailhead is on the east side of the park, at the northeast end of Ranger Office Loop Trail. 602-262-6862, phoenix.gov/recreation/rec/parks/preserves/locations/papago/index.html
14. See a sunset from Dobbins Lookout at South Mountain.
We love photographing our ridiculously, stupidly-gorgeous sunsets, and at Dobbins Lookout, perched 2,330 feet above the city, the view comes with a ready-made rock frame. To hike to Dobbins Lookout, take Holbert Trail (2.3 miles one way). The trailhead is located east of Scorpion Gulch, near South Mountain Park’s Central Avenue main entrance. To drive to Dobbins Lookout, enter at the Central Avenue main entrance and follow Summit Road for 5.5 miles. 602-262-6862, phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/south/index.html
15. Hike the Phoenix Summit Challenge.
The Holy Grail of international hiking elites is the Seven Summits, a Herculean challenge to hike the highest mountains on seven continents. Luckily, Phoenix has its own icepick-free version. Every November, health nuts take one or two days to climb seven summits including Piestewa Peak, North Mountain, Shaw Butte, and more, totaling 23 miles and 6,000 feet of elevation gain. Start training now. phoenix.gov/parks/trails/specials/summit2012.html
16. Shower at Dick’s Hideaway.
If you frequent this hidden gem known for its hangover-curing vittles and hair of the dog, you’ll have noticed another stimulating spectacle in the bathroom: a shower. And you may, like us, have had a fantasy of heading to the restaurant with soap and robe in tow, ordering eggs Benedict, excusing yourself, then lathering up and belting out a few tunes in the shower before returning to your table donning terry cloth, then tucking into your brunch. We dare ya. 6008 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-241-1881, richardsonsnm.com
17. Learn a little about a lot of languages.
If you don’t know your genou from your gomito, diversify your word-stock and build cultural bonds with 20-minute “mini language lessons” at ASU’s “Night of the Open Door” (5-9 p.m., March 2). Throughout the night, instructors share basic vocab and phrases in Japanese, Chinese, Romanian, Vietnamese, Italian, German, French, Arabic and Latin. Free. opendoor.asu.edu
18. Sleep with Marilyn Monroe and ghosts.
In the Marilyn Monroe suite at the Hotel San Carlos, you’ll not only snooze where the starlet slept, you may also find yourself among stranger bedfellows: the spectral auras of chuckling children and a suicidal blonde. Take a ghost tour by night, and by day, make like Marilyn in a white maillot at the paparazzi-defying rooftop pool, where the resident electronics-foiling phantom may make your iPod’s batteries go out like a candle in the wind. 202 N. Central Ave., 602-253-4121, hotelsancarlos.com
19. Ride the Zamboni at a Coyotes game.
Someone has to smooth out the ice after goalie and goon come to fisticuffs, and that someone could be you. For a $150 donation to Coyotes Charities, you can ride the ice resurfacer named after creator Frank Zamboni to your 15 minutes of ice resurfacing fame. Must be purchased 72 hours prior to the game date.
20. Become a (temporary) biker dude/chick.
If you don’t already have a sweet Harley-Davidson in your garage, rent one at a place like EagleRider Motorcycle Rental in Scottsdale (eaglerider.com). Then, rev up your engine and ride up to Cave Creek during Arizona Bike Week, April 5-14, and ogle other hot hogs. Finish it off at the huge biker party and concert Cyclefest at Westworld in Scottsdale. This year’s performers include Blues Traveler and Third Eye Blind. azbikeweek.com
21. Ride a real bull.
Think you have what it takes to tame an actual bull, not one made out of a mechanical pulley system and a piece of foam? Every Wednesday night at the Buffalo Chip Saloon in Cave Creek, bull riders compete to see who can stay hitched to a wild, manic bovine the longest. If you’re crazy enough, throw your hat in the ring. Reservations recommended. 6811 E. Cave Creek Rd., Cave Creek, 602-688-9894, buffalochipsaloon.com
22. See bats take flight at sunset.
You won’t find a caped crusader in this bat cave, but it’d be criminal to miss thousands of western pipistrelle and Mexican free-tailed bats as they take flight from a flood control tunnel and swarm the skies at sundown from May to November. From the Arizona Canal just north of Camelback Road and 40th Street, walk about a quarter mile west to the Arizona Game and Fish Department sign on the right. 602-942-3000, azgfd.gov/w_c/bat_conservation.shtml
23. Watch a meteor shower with Phoenix Astronomical Society.
There really is “fire in the sky,” and celestial spectators Phoenix Astronomical Society (pasaz.org) want you to join them in observing flaming rocks flying through space. On November 16 and 17, they’ll gather to gawk at the Leonids meteor shower, which produces an average of 40 meteors per hour at peak, and on December 14 and 15, they’ll take in the gigantic Geminids meteor shower, with its peak 60 multicolored meteors per hour. All ages are encouraged to attend the potluck viewing parties at a PAS member’s house in Carefree. No telescope required, but you must RSVP at 480-488-3031.
24. Learn trapeze.
Have you ever dreamed of flying through the air with the greatest of ease? Make it a reality without running away with the circus. At Trapeze U in Gilbert, set aside any fear of heights you may have and sign up for classes like Trapeze 101, Catching U 102 and Circus Class (which includes knife throwing!). 14407 E. Pecos Rd., Gilbert, 888-872-7101, trapezeu.com
Make your mark on Phoenix as a volunteer. The following websites list loads of opportunities to pay it forward as a recycling ambassador, youth mentor, hospice companion, and more: phoenixvolunteers.org, myvolunteerphoenix.org, phoenix.gov/residents/community/volunteer/index.html
26. Shoot a Gatling gun.
Prepare for the apocalypse by blasting big ol’ 14-gram bullets from a Gatling gun at the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Outdoor Expo, March 23 and 24 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility (4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd., Phoenix). Vintage Gatling guns can shoot up to 1,000 rounds per minute – perfect for taking down a plague of locusts. Free admission; fee for ammunition. azgfd.gov/expo
27. Volunteer or donate to the Bucket List Foundation.
Most bucket lists comprise exotic vacations, heart-stopping adrenaline rushes and a litany of expensive and rarified endeavors. But local hospice nurse Kimberly Iverson heard a different set of final wishes while caring for her terminally ill patients, especially senior citizens. “Most are not looking for a fantastical wish,” she says. “In fact, many... seem like such simple requests. However, because of their disease process and physical limitations, financial means or emotional outlook on life, these simple wishes seem grandiose and unattainable.”
Iverson began fulfilling the hindmost hopes of some of her patients when her means allowed, but eventually realized their desires exceeded her resources. So in 2011, she launched the Bucket List Foundation. The volunteer-dependent nonprofit grants wishes to terminally ill seniors, from revisiting a hometown and reuniting with family to riding the light rail and having lunch out on the town. Along with the participation of local businesses and monetary contributions, the Phoenix-based foundation sells donated items on a special eBay page to finance their efforts. Iverson says she’s seen the foundation create a ripple effect of “joy and fulfillment” from the seniors to their loved ones and community, manifesting the foundation’s motto, “Living each day to the fullest because tomorrow isn’t promised.” For more information on donating or volunteering, visit
28. Watch a Chihuahua beauty pageant.
Get a load of leg-humping hilarity at the Chihuahua beauty pageant at Chandler’s Cinco de Mayo Festival. The smallest breed of dog shows its huge personality while regaled in ponchos, sombreros, cheerleader outfits, and tuxedos. Dogs are judged on three criteria – Best Dressed, Best Temperament, and Most Fashionable. Free. 480-310-2018, chandleraz.gov/cinco
29. Rent a mansion.
Hotel, shmotel. Rent your own private mountainside mansion through Sanctuary Resort in Paradise Valley and see how the other half lives. The ultimate in luxurious getaways will run you a couple grand, but you can’t beat your own private lap pool perched a few thousand feet above the city. 800-245-2051, sanctuaryoncamelback.com
30. Learn crew.
If you thrilled to the rowing competition at the London Olympics, when athletes sped across the water in boats seemingly as slim as a pencil, get thee to Tempe Town Lake. The City of Tempe offers rowing and sculling classes, where you’ll learn technique and teamwork as you glide across the lake with the Olympic theme song playing in your head. tempe.gov/index.aspx?page=570
31. Cook truffles with Vincent Guerithault.
Kick up your dinner party beaucoup notches by bringing home a Frenchman. The chef at Vincent on Camelback will school you in searing scallops and perfecting tart crust while whipping up a multi-course meal. In winter, he’ll make it truly bucket list-worthy with a truffle-themed feast. Call Amy Fox: 602-224-0225.
32. Do the Scottish Golf Experience at Westin Kierland.
Rent a kilt at the course, play a round fortified with a Johnnie Walker-stocked beverage cart, and get serenaded by a bagpiper on the 18th. It’s the closest thing to St. Andrews this side of the Salt River. Reserve in advance: 480-922-9283, kierlandresort.com
33. Ride public transportation with no pants on.
Tons of bums – of the cheeky variety – take over Metro Light Rail for one day in January during the annual No Pants AZ Light Rail Ride. NYC group Improv Everywhere started this global event in 2002, and Phoenicians have dropped their drawers on commutes every year since 2009. facebook.com/events/155935651175360/
34. Go one week without a car.
35. Be a pirate on the Salt River.
Want the apple of your eye-patch to show a little peg-leg? Avast ye: A couple hundred costumed corsairs tube the Salt River one day a year (usually in June) for “Pirates on the Salt River.” Even the shuttles are decorated like pirate ships, with confetti-loaded cannons. $15 per person or tube. 480-984-3305, saltrivertubing.com.
36 .Compete (or just eat) at the Arizona Barbecue Festival or Ahwatukee Chili Cookoff.
azbbqfestival.com (dates to be announced), ahwatukeehoa.com (March)
37. Watch a D-Backs game from the stadium pool.
License fee starts at $1,500.
38. Audition to sing the National Anthem at a Diamondbacks game.
No one will ever forget the late Whitney Houston’s tear-jerking rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Super Bowl XXV. Luckily, judges at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ season auditions understand that even professionals can have an off day (ahem, Christina Aguilera). So shut your eyes and pretend you’re in the shower, and you could be the next idol to croon for our hometown heroes. Auditions are free and usually held in March. 602-462-6000, arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com/ari/fan_forum/national_anthem.jsp
39. Take a halftime half-court shot at a Suns game.
Show up early for a game and approach the Planet Orange Fan Zone booth outside the arena to sign up for a chance to take your shot at halftime glory. nba.com/suns/tickets/tix_central.html
40. Have Suns players serve you hot wings and cocktails.
Buy a ticket for the team’s annual Celebrity Waiters event at Majerle’s in Scottsdale (4425 N. Saddlebag Trail) and let Suns players and other local celebrities wait on you hand and foot to raise money for charity. 480-245-6088, sunsnitehoops.org
41. Play paintball in Cowtown.
10402 W. Carefree Hwy., Peoria
42. Take a cocktail class at Sanctuary Resort. Then invent a cocktail and name it after yourself.
5700 E. McDonald Dr., Paradise Valley, 480-607-2300,
43. Dine in an orchard.
At Schnepf Farms’ Dinner Down the Orchard events, have a seat among fruit trees and enjoy a four-course meal made with locally grown ingredients and prepared by a notable local chef. Reservations required; these events (next scheduled for March 23) frequently sell out. 24810 S. Rittenhouse Rd., Queen Creek, 480-987-3100, schnepffarms.com
44. Eat a Big Unit at Cooperstown.
Alice Cooper says he knows of only six people who’ve finished his 22-inch franks. Gain his respect: Be the seventh. Better yet, share one with him. 101 E. Jackson St., Phoenix, 602-253-7337, alicecooperstown.com
45. Take a seaplane to a desert island brunch.
Seven thousand feet above Scottsdale’s slice of the Sonoran desert, the accordion-shaped Skysong building resembles a crumpled, white plastic bag. Golf courses creep over the sepia landscape like giant green amoebas. All the symbols of civilization are subordinate to the organic panorama as you fly over Saguaro Lake, Weaver’s Needle, the Apache Trail, and finally, Roosevelt Lake, aboard a nine-passenger Cessna Caravan 208 Amphibian Seaplane.
Spotting the spate of mountain-cradled lakes near Globe is easy on a Desert Splash Seaplane Adventures brunch (desertsplashadventures.com), which takes place the second Sunday of the month, October through April. This epic epicurean experience ($350 per person) pairs sumptuous scenery with flavorful food from FnB purveyors Charleen Badman and Pavle Milic. After gliding over limestone-capped clifftops, you’ll come to rest on the cerulean waters of Roosevelt Lake – a touchdown so gentle “it’s like landing on a cloud,” says Desert Splash owner Scott Currier. The minute your shoes hit the shore of Rabbit Island, you’ll be crunching chalky white sea shells underfoot and fielding a fresh glass of Arizona wine, poured by the winemaker.
Under a canopy sometimes circled by seagulls, guests enjoy a hot-plate brunch made with locally-sourced ingredients (previous fixings included smoked Jerusalem artichokes, fig chutney, cinnamon brioche, sausages, and huckleberries from Peoria-based McClendon Select Farms). Whatever the fare, the food’s always a belly full, with an eyeful of scenery on the side.
“The idea was to do these brunches, and not just to feed you, but to at least showcase the bounty of the local terroir here, in this beautiful place that we live in,” Milic says. “You can sit down and meditate and cogitate on the vicissitudes of being alive.”
After your meal and meditations, the Cessna delivers you back to Scottsdale Airport in a mere 20 minutes. Reservations required; call FnB at 480-425-9463.
46. Get married at the Scottsdale Polo Championships.
Views of the McDowell Mountains. Members of the Wales Polo Club thwacking a ball in the background. Stomping the divot with 15,000 of your closest... polo fans. What better setting to tie the knot than on the field of the “Sport of Kings”? This November 2, for the first time, the Scottsdale Polo Championships will allow one couple to wed at America’s largest single-day polo event. Interested? Contact Jennifer Parks at 480-495-3806 to negotiate the site fee (expect a somewhat princely sum).
47. Run Pat’s Run.
This April 20, join the more than 35,000 runners, walkers, rollers and stroller-pushers descending on Tempe for the ninth annual Pat’s Run. The race – named after Pat Tillman, the Arizona Cardinals player-turned-U.S. Army Ranger who was killed in Afghanistan – is 4.2 miles, a nod to Tillman’s jersey number (42) when he played for the Sun Devils. You’ll help raise funds for the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides resources and scholarships to veterans, active service members and their spouses. $42 entry fee. 480-621-4074, pattillmanfoundation.org/pats-run
48. Ride the Tour de Scottsdale.
Tone your thighs and save the desert the second Sunday in October on this 30- or 70-mile ride to benefit the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The nonprofit is creating the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which, when complete, will span 57 square miles, becoming the largest urban preserve in the United States. 480-538-3540, facebook.com/ScottsdaleCyclingFestival
49. Run in the P.F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona Marathon or half-marathon.
Go big with this annual race in January that funnels more than 25,000 participants through Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe in streets chock-full of bands and spectators. Conventional wisdom holds that transforming from couch potato to half-marathon runner takes about six months of training, so switch from noodle bowls to running shoes ASAP. runrocknroll.competitor.com/Arizona
50. Now, complete a triathlon.
The thought of swimming, biking and running in succession might make your legs shake, but triathlons start as short as the “Sprint Distance” with a 0.47-mile swim, 12-mile ride and 3.1-mile run. Consider the Four Peaks Brewing Urban Dirt Off-Road Triathlon (redrockco.com/events) at Tempe Town Lake on October 6. First, visit the triathlon specialists at Triple Sports (4032 N. Miller Rd., Scottsdale, 866-994-1174, triplesportsonline.com).
51. Wear a tacky tie. Go to Greasewood Flat. Get the tie cut off and nailed to the rafters.
27375 N. Alma School Pkwy., Scottsdale, 480-585-9430, greasewoodflat.net
52. Become a standup comic (or at least a lot funnier).
The Comedy Spot Comedy Club offers classes in standup and comedy writing every Sunday ($100 for a month of classes). Comedy teacher Dee Ann Kinkade will school you in finding your unique point of view, comedic timing, gleaning material from current events, and more. 7117 E. Third Ave., Scottsdale, 480-945-4422, thecomedyspot.net/classes.html
53. Get a reading from the world’s foremost voodoo priestess.
New Orleans transplant Reverend Doctor Lady Bishop (née Jo Ann Jennings) studied voodoo in Haiti, and she knows how to make “zombies” (i.e., folks drugged-up on special herbs in a state of submissive “suspended animation”). Thankfully, she focuses her energies primarily on the positive – giving intuitive readings and making mojo bags for people seeking love, fortune and enlightenment. Rates for readings vary from $200-$1,000; mojo bags cost $100-$5,000, depending on the client’s needs. 480-225-0644, ladybishop.org
54. Hone your bocce ball skills at the Vig, then compete in the Ahwatukee Bocce Ball tournament.
The Vig: two locations, thevig.us; Ahwatukee Bocce Ball tournament: Ahwatukee Community Park, 4700 E. Warner Rd., Phoenix, 602-315-7425, $50 entry fee, every February.
55. Hot air balloon.
Fly High Paragliding
1955 W. Baseline Rd., Mesa
27231 N. 71st Place, Scottsdale
59. Become BFF with celebs.
Once a year, droves of celebrities descend upon the Valley to help raise money for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at the annual Celebrity Fight Night. Besides the namesake boxer himself, expect to hobnob this March 23 with Steve Martin, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Lionel Richie, Rita Wilson, John Corbett and many more VIPs. Tickets range from $1,500 to $10,000. celebrityfightnight.org
60. Live the lyrics.
So what if your name isn’t Peggy Sue, Mary, Jane or Mary Jane? You can still make yourself the subject of a song by acting out these lines from tunes about Arizona.
Slip away on Carefree Highway with the morning after blues from your head down to your shoes, like in Gordon Lightfoot’s “Carefree Highway.”
Go “from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma” while singing the Steve Miller Band’s “Rock’n Me.”
Drink “way too much Corona” in Phoenix, Arizona, like Big and Rich in the song
“Comin’ to Your City.”
Get a picture of a cowboy tattooed on your spine that reads “Phoenix, Arizona, 1949,” like the woman in The Coasters song “Little Egypt.”
61. Moonlight as a zookeeper at Phoenix Zoo.
Admit it: You’ve always wanted to clean up giraffe poop. No? Well, there are plenty of other once-in-a-lifetime encounters to be had at the Phoenix Zoo’s Zookeeper for a Day program ($350 per person; $600 per couple), including rhino-feeding, lemur-petting and tortoise husbandry. 455 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, 602-273-1341, phoenixzoo.org
62. Reenact the Civil War Battle at Picacho Pass.
It’s easy: No one gets killed.
63. Tour Phoenix’s castles.
Mystery Castle: 800 E. Mineral Rd., Phoenix, 602-268-1581; Tovrea Castle: 602-256-3221, tovreacastletours.com
64. Be the first in line at the VNSA Book Sale.
This will require camping overnight on the sidewalk, but you’ll have dibs on the sale’s 500,000 bargain-priced tomes – and you’ll experience the rabid fervor Phoenicians still have for books on paper. (You know VNSA has had problems with overzealous bibliophiles when they post “All patrons must walk, not run, when entering the sale” on their website.) Proceeds go to Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation and Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County. Every February at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. vnsabooksale.org
65. Get your MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
Want to be the next Steve Jobs? Look no further than one of the best business schools on the planet, right here in town.
1 Global Place, Glendale, 602-978-7000, thunderbird.edu
66. Play dirt golf.
When astronaut Alan Shepard hit a golf ball on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission, it was one small swing for man and one huge swing for dirt golf. Make like Shepard (sans space suit) at the grass-free Snake Hole Golf and Country Club in Apache Junction. You’ll tee off from a plastic tee or a small rug laid over dirt tee boxes, make your way down dusty fairways, and putt on sand greens. But take note, to gain access to this low-brow but exclusive golf club, you’ll have to make it your mission to befriend one of the members who live at nearby Countryside RV Resort. Snake Hole is located on the northwest corner of Idaho Road and the Superstition Freeway.
67. Try the Thousand-Year-Old Egg Congee at Gourmet House of Hong Kong.
Relax. The blackened, mummified egg in this traditional Chinese rice porridge isn’t really 1,000 years old – more like two months, tops. It’s fermented in a husk of mud and salt to sulfurous perfection. Uh, yum?
1438 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, 602-253-4859, gourmethouseofhongkong.com
68. Join the Porterhouse Club at Durant’s.
All you have to do is order – and finish – one of the legendary CenPho restaurant’s monster 48-ounce porterhouse steaks ($83.25). If you successfully consume all three pounds of the cut – no bathroom purgings! – they’ll engrave your name in brass on a plaque in the dining room. 2611 N. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-264-5967, durantsaz.com
69. Eat a chocolate-covered scorpion at the Arizona State Fair.
And you thought the deep-fried Twinkie was hardcore. October 11-November 3, azstatefair.com
70. Put your trust in Chef Jeremy Pacheco.
Pacheco’s weekly Tuesday Trust dinner ($125 per person, with wine pairings) at Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn takes place in the property’s fabulously baroque wine cellar, itself carved out of a converted Prohibition-era escape tunnel. And talk about secret – Pacheco doesn’t reveal the menu until his mind-blowing New American tasting plates are literally under your nose. 5532 N. Palo Cristi Rd., Paradise Valley, 602-955-8614, hermosainn.com
71. Dine at Phoenix’s revolving restaurant.
Compass Arizona Grill, 122 N. Second St. (The Hyatt Regency), Phoenix, 602-252-1234, phoenix.hyatt.com
72. Rock out with your favorite country music stars at Country Thunder.
Every April, the prison town of Florence goes really wild as more than 75,000 fans converge to hear the biggest stars in country music. For the best experience, camp out and make a long weekend out of it, but you’ll need to book far in advance (camping passes for 2013 are long sold out). 20585 E. Price (Station) Rd., Florence, 866-802-6418, countrythunder.com; April 11-14, 2013; $140 for four-day pass
73. Get your pilot’s license.
Phoenix Flying Lessons
74. Indulge in English afternoon tea.
As Henry James so wisely put it, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” And one needn’t jet to London to lift a dainty pinky. At the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix (pictured), you can pair Earl Grey with tea-infused savories like sharp cheddar-peach blossom tea tart or cucumber sandwiches with jasmine green tea cream cheese, plus Devonshire cream-smeared scones and a smattering of sweet pastries. Afternoon tea is served twice a day on Wednesdays through Saturdays. (Celiac sufferers, take heart: A gluten-free repast is available, too.) The Arizona Biltmore also serves a sumptuous High Tea every Thursday through Sunday afternoon from November through May. And the English Rose Tea Room offers a daily Duchess of Bedford’s Formal Afternoon Tea, named after the 19th-century lady whose consistent peckishness around 4 p.m. launched the noble tradition. Ritz-Carlton: 2401 E. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 602-468-0700, ritzcarlton.com; Arizona Biltmore: 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, 602-955-6600, arizonabiltmore.com; English Rose Tea Room: 201 Easy St., Carefree, 480-488-4812, carefreetea.com
75. Spend a night in Tent City.
It would be unethical for us to counsel you on how to get there… but how hard can it be?
76. Make love on Piestewa Peak.
Maybe this will get you into Tent City.
77. Atone for your crimes: Join Sheriff Joe’s posse.
78. Or become a citizen police officer.
If you spent your childhood re-enacting scenes from COPS and ad-libbing fake police codes into your G.I. Joe walkie-talkie, your dreams can come true. Sign up for the 12-week Mesa Police Department Citizen Police Academy program, where you’ll learn about gangs, crime lab, homicide, defensive tactics, and other cop-centric topics. For Mesa residents only. 480-644-4139,
79. Start your own radio show at KTAR.
Do you have a powerful message of Tony Robbins-style self-actualization you want to share with the public? Have you ever watched Mad Money and said to yourself, “I could do that”? Or maybe you’re just an incorrigible chatterbox? All are grounds for having your own radio show, which is more plausible than the average person might think. You just need to pony up the dough. “It would probably be on Saturday or Sunday,” says an ex-employee of Valley talk-radio station KTAR, which sells blocks of non-peak air-time to independent radio producers. “You would go to the sales department, lay out your idea, and they would come up with a rate.” The station provides the mic and sound engineer; you provide the hot air. The rub: finding sponsors and monetizing your little bucket-list gab-fest. Shockingly, Valley advertisers are not in the habit of just handing out money to any old gas bag. ktar.com
80. Sing Rockaroke at the Sail Inn.
If you’re bold enough to sing karaoke, we salute you. But can you kick it up a notch with “Rockaroke” at Sail Inn, one of Tempe’s premier live music venues? There’s no canned music playback during your one-man show – instead, a live band backs you up. Dream big, jukebox hero. 9:30 p.m. on most Thursdays. 26 S. Farmer Ave., Tempe. 480-966-9565, thesailinn.com
81. Participate in Idiotarod.
Take the Iditarod, replace Alaska with Downtown Phoenix, the sled with a shopping cart, and the dogs with friends, and you have Idiotarod. Every February, about 40 teams of five build wacky “vehicles” out of shopping carts, dress in costume and race to checkpoints at bars, garnering awards for Best in Show and Best Sabotage. $40 entry fee. azcacophony.org/idiotarod
82. Become a filmmaker.
Whether you idolize Tarantino or prefer Michael Bay’s “all adrenaline, all the time” style, IFP Phoenix’s Beat the Clock Challenge (generally in July) is an easy way to check “filmmaker” off your dream jobs list. Simply create a 3-5 minute flick (in two days) incorporating an assigned genre, prop or line, and pop by to see it screened at Phoenix Art Museum. $50 for IFP members, $65 for non-members. Phoenix Film Foundation, 7000 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, 602-955-6444, ifpphx.org
83. Rent a kilt.
Kilt Rental USA, 15821 N. 79th St., Scottsdale, 480-460-0907, kiltrentalusa.com
84. While wearing a kilt, toss a telephone pole at the Arizona Scottish Gathering & Highland Games.
Anyone can mimic Braveheart given a kilt and bad hair extensions, but it’ll take more than tartan to impress real Scots. The first athlete to turn over the Caledonian Society of Arizona’s monster 19-foot-long, 140-pound “challenge caber” will earn the respect of a nation – and a progressive cash jackpot that’s been growing for years. March 23-24. $15/adults; $10/seniors or military; $5/children 5-17. Steele Indian School Park, 300 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 480-788-6694, arizonascots.com
85. Take a painting or sculpture workshop and immortalize a loved one in oil or clay.
Mesa Arts Center, 1 E. Main St., Mesa
Become a musician at the Musical Instrument Museum:
86. Pound the skins.
No one cares if you have Ringo’s talent at Musical Instrument Museum’s drum workshops, which cover techniques ranging from jazz drumming to Latin and Irish beats. The über-relaxed classes begin with guests thumping on their loaner drums or personal gear, followed by a jam session of rhythms taught by guest instructors. $12 each or $40 for four classes.
87. Join a Balinese orchestra.
It practically takes a village to create a gamelan, a Balinese orchestra that includes xylophones, wooden flutes and heavy kempul gongs. Instruments tuned to play together stay together in a particular gamelan forever, which means that participants in MIM’s workshops are part of a community legacy that could outlast us all. 10 person minimum. $12 ($10 with museum admission), 4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, 480-478-6000, mim.org.
88. Stomp grapes at Kokopelli Krush.
Two minutes. Ten pounds of grapes. One famous I Love Lucy moment. Experience the messiest (and arguably most fun) part of the winemaking process by signing up with one of the 200-plus teams who mush their tootsies into plump purple fruit at Kokopelli’s contest every October. Winners score a trip, while others just suffer the agony of de feet. $20 per team. Kokopelli Winery, 35 W. Boston St., Chandler, 480-792-6927, kokopelliwinery.net
89. Teach a class at Root Phoenix.
No Ph.D.s or elbow patches are required for a teaching gig at Root Phoenix. This self-proclaimed “community hub” invites locals to share their know-how about anything from gardening to cooking to harmonica-playing. To be considered for a paid teaching gig, just fill out the application on rootphoenix.com. 7120 N. 12th St., Phoenix, 602-680-7249
90. Drive a race car.
Live out your mid-life crisis fantasy at any age by hugging the curves of the oval in a 6-speed, 438 hp Corvette Grand Sport at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. Need more speed? After requisite accident-avoidance training and braking exercises, students of Bondurant’s Grand Prix Racing participate in adrenaline-fueled chases that make “Grand Theft Auto V” look like a carnival ride. $4,399/Grand Prix Racing 3-Day; $4,999/Grand Prix Racing 4-Day. 20000 S. Maricopa Rd., Chandler, 800-842-7223, bondurant.com
91. Go to circus school.
Circus School of Arizona owner/performer Rachel Stegman helps locals rekindle their childhood dream of joining the circus – without the stinky elephants and creepy clowns. Learn to spin on silk ropes, perform splits on the lyra (aerial hoop) or juggle balls. From $25 per class. Located at Fitness Dynamics, 7432 E. Tierra Buena Ln., Scottsdale, 480-285-9635, circusschoolofarizona.com
92. Hunt for ghosts.
The newly-minted Phoenix Ghost Tours goes beyond UFOs over Camelback and eerie noises at Hotel San Carlos to hit such lesser-known horror hotspots as the Westward Ho, Luhrs Tower and Rosson House. “Our research takes us into the nitty-gritty of old newspapers, police reports, death certificates, maps,” guide Joe Atredies says. “We want our guests to hear stories they won’t easily find on their own.” $13/adults; $8/children. phoenixghosttours.com
93. See politically-incorrect puppets.
Every few months, local string-pullers skewer public figures from Jan Brewer to Sheriff Joe and poke fun at tired Southwest clichés like Scottsdale blondes and Phoenix’s dry heat. Catch one of these naughty, unadulterated puppet shows at Great Arizona Puppet Theater, and we promise you’ll never feel the same way about Tickle Me Elmo again. $10 in advance; $12 at the door. 302 W. Latham St., Phoenix, 602-262-2050, azpuppets.org
94. Rent an RV and spend the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway for a NASCAR event.
See Car City, USA.
95. Experience a Japanese tea ceremony.
Far more than a mere cuppa, a Japanese tea ceremony is an ancient ritual embodying harmony and tranquility. Kimono-clad practitioners study the art for years to master the intricate choreography of hand movements, bows, and matcha preparation. The Zen-like series of purification rituals, ruminations and respectful gestures transports tea drinkers to the doorstep of Nirvana. The Japanese Friendship Garden holds tea ceremonies the second Saturday of each month the garden is open. $22/adults; $18/seniors. Reserve in advance, as space is limited. 1125 N. Third Ave., Phoenix, 602-256-3204, japanesefriendshipgarden.org
96. Join the zombie invasion.
With all the hype about zombie apocalypses, it’s no wonder 2,000 revelers with rotting limbs and exposed brainpans attend Phoenix Comicon’s annual undead gathering May 23-26. Slather on green makeup and shamble with the horde or compete against drooling, bikini-clad monsters at the Zombie Beauty Pageant. Think of it as practice in case the U.S. government’s zombie tactical training was more than just a waste of taxpayer dollars. Parade is free and open to the public; Zombie Beauty Pageant included with Comicon admission, $20-$60. Phoenix Convention Center, 100 N. Third St., 602-635-1711, phoenixcomicon.com
97. Rent a Lambo for a day.
For the paltry daily rate of $1,295, the folks at Global Exotic Car Rentals will set you up with an overcompensation-yellow Lamborghini Gallardo. “My Other Car is a Honda” bumper sticker not included. 811 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-719-7377, globalexoticcarrentals.com
98. Give a presentation at Ignite Phoenix.
You don’t have to be a person of interest to present at Ignite Phoenix; you just have to be a person who is interested – in anything. Past topics have included storm chasing, robot building, living in a wheelchair, and raising geek kids. To share your passion, submit your presentation idea online. If chosen, you’ll have five minutes to explain your awesome topic. Interested? You’ve met the first requirement. ignitephoenix.com
99. Get a tattoo of a phoenix.
Show your love of Phoenix and your commitment to personal renewal with an artistic rendering of our city’s mascot, the flame-licked bird symbolizing rebirth. If feathered friends aren’t your bag, check out the ink alternatives at the annual Body Art Expo, the world’s largest tattoo expo (bodyartexpo.com).
100. Read these books:
• The Monkey Wrench Gang, by Edward Abbey
• Phoenix Then and Now, by Paul Scharbach and John Akers
• Let Their Spirits Dance, by Stella Pope Duarte
• Lazy B: Growing up on a Cattle Ranch in the American Southwest, by Sandra Day O’Connor and H. Alan Day
101. Face a haboob and yell: “Come on! You call this a storm?!”