things to do
the bucket list
Things To Do
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Things To Do
The Bucket List
Shawndrea Corbin, Keridwen Cornelius, Niki D’Andrea, Wynter Holden, Amanda Kippert, Lilia Menconi, C
March, 2013, Page 82
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,
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,
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,
54. Hone your bocce ball skills at the Vig, then compete in the Ahwatukee Bocce Ball tournament.
The Vig: two locations,
; 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
Photos - From left: Powerchuting (#58) • Muhammad Ali (#59)
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.
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,
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,
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.
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,
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,
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,
69. Eat a chocolate-covered scorpion at the Arizona State Fair.
And you thought the deep-fried Twinkie was hardcore. October 11-November 3,
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,
71. Dine at Phoenix’s revolving restaurant.
Compass Arizona Grill, 122 N. Second St. (The Hyatt Regency), Phoenix, 602-252-1234,
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,
; 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,
; Arizona Biltmore: 2400 E. Missouri Ave., Phoenix, 602-955-6600,
; English Rose Tea Room: 201 Easy St., Carefree, 480-488-4812,
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.
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,
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.
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,
83. Rent a kilt.
Kilt Rental USA, 15821 N. 79th St., Scottsdale, 480-460-0907,
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,
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,
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,
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
. 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,
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,
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.
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,
94. Rent an RV and spend the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway for a NASCAR event.
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,
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,
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,
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.
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 (
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?!”
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