Best of the Valley in 2022: Things To Do

Editorial StaffJuly 5, 2022
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Best 10K/Marathon

3TV Phoenix 10K

Dr. Art Mollen’s venerable foot-race – now in its 47th year – survives a late charge by Pat’s Run (which, at 4.2 miles, doesn’t quite fit the description, but we love it anyway).

Best Yoga Studio


The North Phoenix “hot yoga” studio holds the position. Also getting votes: Metta in Phoenix.

Best Music Fest


Nonprofit and locally produced, the two-day indie rock bacchanal returned to Margaret T. Hance Park this year and gave us the metaphorical post-pandemic lymph drainage session we needed.

Best Food Festival (tie)

Devour Phoenix, PHOENIX Dish Fest

Where the latter is concerned, we’re admittedly biased. As for the former… hey, gotta tip your hat to the king.,

Best Live-Music Venue

Crescent Ballroom

Charlie Levy’s transformative Downtown concert hall is back to its old tricks: curating an unbeatable menu of rising indie bands and nostalgic heritage acts.

Best Museum (tie)

Music Instrument Museum, Phoenix Art Museum

The Valley’s cultural biome would collapse if either of these pillars left us.,

Hazel & Violet. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield
Hazel & Violet. Photo by Mirelle Inglefield

Best Place to Make Your Mark

Hazel & Violet 

Nancy Hill will be happy to make your letter-pressed wedding invitations, your business cards, your holiday greetings. But even better, she’ll host you and your friends for a workshop where she’ll graciously teach you how to use her incredible old presses and huge collection of vintage type. She’s got plenty of paper, tips and war stories. BYOB. 1301 Grand Ave., Phoenix, 480-544-2162,

Best Food Class

Making the Cheese

You’ve made your own vanilla extract, pickles and bread. Have you made your own feta? Kathy Levine teaches these roving courses on cheesemaking, instructing on the art of Brie at a farmers market in Glendale and queso fresco technique at a wine bar in Gilbert. She’ll even do an in-home class if you want to make it a party chez vous. 480-271-4979,

Best Scavenger Hunt

Let’s Roam

Let’s Roam has cooked up eight Phoenix-area scavenger hunts, from Old West Meets Modern Art in Scottsdale to Sun and Fun at Arizona State University in Tempe to Arizona’s Capitol Sights in Downtown Phoenix. Use your phone to navigate, solve puzzles, answer trivia questions, complete challenges and explore historic landmarks.

Best Place to Shoot Your Friends

Doge Haus

Is there another 4,000-square-foot space in town where you can shoot foam darts at your besties? There is not. Visitors to Doge Haus are there to blow off steam by pummeling one another with Nerf balls and other soft, harmless ammo. An after-dark battle space offers suspended light-bending effects for noirish fun. Three Valley locations,

Best Apparent Policy Change

Harkins Theatres Seeming to Get Rid of the “Upsell” at the Concession Stands

“Small popcorn, small Coke, please.” “For fifty cents more, you can get a medium.” “No, thanks.” And by then they’ve completely forgotten what you asked for in the first place. But lately, Harkins concession workers seem to have dropped the upsell. Now they just ask if you’re a loyalty member.

Best Place to Throw Down

Pip Coffee + Clay

The last two years made us want to throw something. Lucky for everyone, we found Pip. It’s the cutest little coffee shop/pottery studio combo – you can take a class, rent wheel time or work on your hand building. You glaze, they fire. The coffee is great and the space is friendly, with what we like to call aspirational pottery for sale in case yours (like ours) doesn’t quite measure up. 2617 N. 24th St., Phoenix, 480-616-0004,

Best Kid Party

Enchanted Island

If you want a true old Phoenix experience, hit the carousel at Enchanted Island. Once called Kiddieland, the carousel was and is the crown jewel of the pint-size amusement park tucked into Encanto Park. It’s the perfect spot for your child’s birthday celebration. Don’t forget to invite us! 1202 W. Encanto Blvd., Phoenix, 602-254-1200,

Most Interesting Pop-Up

Let the Good Times Roll

Dining and shopping pop-ups are all well and good, but they can’t compete with Let the Good Times Roll, a weeklong roller-skating pop-up in downtown Gilbert that take place in March. Every night boasts a theme – disco night, ’90s night, glow-in-the-dark night – and skaters are encouraged to costume themselves accordingly. 480-503-6000,

Best Place to See Swarms of Bats

Bat Caves near 40th Street & Camelback Road

Who knew that a local flood control tunnel was home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats? Maybe Nosferatu – and possibly Vampira – was aware that every summer, nearly 20,000 of these critters call Phoenix “home” on their way back down south. Signs posted by the Game and Fish Department will help you find their dramatic nightly exit, which fills the sky with swooping and squeaking.

Best Way to Spend 10 Bucks

Lawn Chairs at Ak-Chin Pavilion

If you find yourself desiring a carefree sprawl on the grass and a sturdy, back-supporting seat at your next concert, consider this: When you buy your tickets, opt for the add-on lawn chair rentals. They’re $10 and super comfy, plus, you don’t have to haul them back to your vehicle post-show. 2121 N. 83rd Ave., Phoenix, 602-254-7200,

Best Immersive Kids’ Experience


Take a walk or read a book as a family? You can do both at the same time with these outdoor literacy installations, where books are rendered in life-size (or bigger) artworks and structures that kids can walk through as they read the text. The Vermont-born program debuted in Phoenix in 2021 at Cesar Chavez Park, and its most recent expansion is in the Arizona Center grotto. Books regularly rotate and are available in English and Spanish. Arizona Center, 455 N. Third St., Phoenix,

Best Storytime

Drag Queen Story Hour at Changing Hands Bookstore

Now, where else can you bring the kids to listen to Mister Phoenix Pride 2019 Jericho Galindo (stage name: Gray Matter) read stories “promoting inclusivity and love”? We hear there’s dancing, too. We’ll see if they do this once-a-year event next spring, given the political climate.

Photo courtesy Changing Hands Bookstore
Photo courtesy Changing Hands Bookstore


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