Downtown Phoenix Day Planner for Super Bowl Week

Editorial StaffFebruary 5, 2023
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Once upon a time – like, not even 15 years ago – Downtown Phoenix was deader than rap-rock. No longer. Energized by the Roosevelt Row arts district and massive multi-family housing development, Downtown is now the Valley’s liveliest, most dynamic destination for food, culture and sightseeing, with plenty of side attractions for your Super Bowl Experience junket.

DT Phoenix Scooter Crawl

An early embracer of bike-share and similar pay-as-you-go conveyances, Downtown is roughly 1.5 square miles of early-century row houses, high-rises and upcycled warehouses. In other words: tailor-made for a two-wheel tour.

  • 8 a.m.
    Grab a scooter
    Downtown’s pioneering GR:D Bike program is RIP, sadly – but four companies operate scooter-share services in the city. Keep your eyes peeled for slumbering herds of them on sidewalks and other designated areas. Like Alice Cooper sightings, they’re everywhere. phoenix.gov/streets/scooters
  • 8:15 a.m.
    Futuro Coffee Shop
    Sleek and immersive, this Roosevelt coffee shop makes a grand cup of joe. It’s also one of the few places you’ll find the delectable cream cheese Danishes and cinnamon brioches of James Beard Award-nominated baker Mark Chacón. facebook.com/futurocoffee
  • 10 a.m.
    Super Bowl Experience “at the park”
    Hop on your scooter and glide over to Margaret T. Hance Park for outdoor fun at Downtown’s signature outdoor event space. azsuperbowl.com
  • 1 p.m.
    The Duce
    Grab your two-wheel horse and make your way to Downtown’s emerging warehouse district, where this combination restaurant/boutique/boxing gym has been delighting lunch crowds and p.m. partiers since opening in 2010. theducephx.com
  • 3 p.m.
    Super Bowl Experience “at the convention center”
    It’s time for the ticketed, star-studded half of your Super Bowl Experience, located at the Phoenix Convention Center. azsuperbowl.com
  • 6 p.m.
    Pa’La Downtown
    Much more than a sit-down version of Claudio Urciuoli’s original seafood counter on 24th Street, this swank charmer is an absolute must-visit for Downtown day-trippers. Try Urciuoli’s legendary boquerones – mild, pickled white anchovies, sprinkled with togarashi and served with biscuity, fennel-laced crackers. They’ll make an anchovy-lover out of you. palakitchen.com
  • Late Night
    Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour
    One of only 10 finalists for Best U.S. Cocktail Bar at the 2022 Spirited Awards (i.e. the Oscars of cocktails), this Downtown gem from mixology pope Ross Simon – set in the gorgeous, 1920s-era Luhrs Building – will kick your evening through the uprights. bitterandtwistedaz.com

Overnight Option!

Downtown boasts several big-box hotels, but we’ll always have a soft spot for Kimpton Hotel Palomar Phoenix, the district’s first purpose-built boutique hotel. Grab a sunset swim or drink at Eden rooftop pool and bar, and dine at Blue Hound, its always-excellent New American gastropub. hotelpalomar-phoenix.com

DTPHX Pizza Crawl

A TripAdvisor report confirms what our food writers have been telling you for the last couple of years: The Valley has spectacular pizza. Ranked No. 9 nationally on the website’s “Top 10 Pizza Cities” list, Phoenix boasts so many elite pizzerias that you might want to consider knocking out a handful of them in one night with a Downtown pizza crawl.

What you’ll need:

  • 6-8 people
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • 3 hours
  • About $40 per person

The rules:

  • Order two pies at each stop, so everybody gets one or two slices
  • Always make one of the selections a margherita, as a benchmark for comparison
  • At the conclusion of the crawl, vote for “best margherita” and “best overall pizza”

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POMO Pizzeria Napoletana

VPN-certified POMO is becoming a Downtown institution. Enjoy your prosciutto- and arugula-topped Principe pizza, and be nice – the manager might pour you a complimentary shot of his creamy housemade limoncello. 705 N. First St., 602-795-2555, pomopizzeria.com

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Il Bosco

Another VPN-inspired, wood-fired pizza palace, Il Bosco is the home of the Biagga, a riveting medley of salty prosciutto, fleshy sweet figs, tangy goat cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. 918 N. Fifth St., 602-612-2470, ilboscopizza.com

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Pizzeria Bianco

What, you were expecting Papa John’s? Each of the famed restaurant’s six pies have their admirers. We say get the Rosa, with red onion, Parmigiano-
Reggiano, rosemary and Arizona-grown pistachios. 623 E. Adams St., 602-258-8300, pizzeriabianco.com

Theater/Shows

Theater, ballet, live music, comedy – if it’s performative, Downtown has it.

  • Valley Bar: The smaller, subterranean sibling to music promoter Charlie Levy’s legendary Crescent Ballroom, this dive bar and indie-centric live music venue has cocktails named after Arizona political legends and the city’s best Skee-Ball. 130 N. Central Ave., valleybarphx.com
  • Stand Up Live: For a comedy experience with the polish of an old pro but the snazzy look of a newbie, head to Stand Up Live. Everything runs like well-oiled comedic machinery, from the waitstaff to the video promos before performances. Keep the special-occasion vibes going next door at Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen. 50 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, 480-719-6100, standuplive.com

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  • Herberger Theater Center: Home to Arizona Theatre Company, and therefore a solid art-season lead for live theater (see page 124). 222 E. Monroe St., 602-252-8497, herbergertheater.org