Quick City Guide: Downtown Phoenix

I just got back from spending 4 days in downtown Phoenix. I was there speaking at WordCamp Phoenix, a WordPress event that I’ve attended at least half a dozen times. This time however, was the first time attending any WordCamp as a soloprenuer, and so I had the ability to be on my own agenda and it felt fucking incredible.

I stayed Downtown Phoenix, at the Hilton Garden Inn. We were convening at the Phoenix Convention Center, so I wanted to stay somewhere nearby within walking distance.

Unfortunately, while Downtown Phoenix is pretty walkable, most of the health and wellness hotspots aren’t actually in Downtown. So this guide is really there for those of you who find yourself Downtown and you’re trying to make it work 🙂

Your really only options downtown for fitness are an Orange Theory or an Eos Fitness. Otherwise plan on running or walking around downtown or grabbing a sweat session in at your hotel gym. I ended up working out at the Hilton Garden Inn gym 2 of the 3 days of my trip. And while I was glad I moved my body, I can share that gym workouts are difficult and un-motivating to me. And I really benefit from group fitness.

I landed on Thursday afternoon and after checking in made my way to The Churchill. A newish food hall made out of shipping containers with a handful of restaurants and shops. It was a 12 min walk from Downtown and was one of the ways I was trying to get in my steps considering my fitness options for the weekend.

I went to visit Foxy Fruit, they offered vegan and organic smoothie bowls and smoothies. I went with a pitaya bowl and it was the perfect afternoon pick me up.

After that I headed to the convention center to meet up with my friends organizing the event. After volunteering to help stuff some swag bags, we all headed out and made our way back north of Downtown to a spot just south of The Churchill called Phoenix Public Market Cafe. I had been here before but only ever for events so it was nice to enjoy the cafe as a regular patron. I went with a salmon grain bowl, subbed grain for more veggies, and totally would recommend the rotisserie chicken but they happened to be out of it the night I went, but that would have also been an excellent addition to the bowl.

I was definitely taking it easy this trip, and opted for an early night in to get ready for the conference the next day since I would be speaking at WordCamp Phoenix on ’10 Things I Learned Launching My First E-Commerce Store’. This was my first time giving this particular talk, and I did it in tandem with my friend Patrick Rauland who is a former WooCommerce employee who is just super knowledgable in the E-Commerce space.

The next morning started with a 2.5 mile run, and again while I was proud I moved, it was a struggle for me for sure. But I did get it done, I didn’t stop, and I kept moving. It’s really important especially on the days where I have a big opportunity like a speaking engagement to sweat a little bit because it helps take my mind off things. So check, check, check!

Post shower and getting ready, I wandered a few blocks to Kaleidoscope, a local Phoenix juice shop chain. I went with a protein smoothie called The Strawberry Warrior and it was actually and literally addicting. It had blended goji berries in there and it gave it a good crunch. Leveled up my breakfast smoothie game for sure!

Next came our talk, it went incredible and I’m so grateful for opportunities to get in front of a crowd whether there’s one person or 500 people. But we rocked it and that was a huge weight off my shoulders to finish that. And naturally we went right before lunch sooo I went big for lunch 🙂 Just kidding.

I went to Centrico, a tequila bar I had been to on a previous trip, and this time did not get any tequila but instead got a delicious salad with achiote chicken. I swung by kaleidoscope for a celery juice, and sat down at a park to enjoy my food before going back to the conference.

For dinner we had a speaker sponsor party at Galvanize just south of Downtown. A new restaurant called The Larry, which has a health forward menu, sits on the property and ended up catering our dinner. I was really hoping to go back to The Larry for a lunchtime salad because they had a kale and beet one that had my name written all over it. But for dinner I got an excellent taste when they prepped a gluten free pasta with a bolognese sauce for us. Bolognese is my weakness so I caved in and had the pasta!

Another night of being a grandma, I turned in after dinner and watched 20/20 in my bed while I snacked on a lara bar.

Breakfast was a trip to the infamous Matt’s Big Breakfast. Everything here is cooked in butter, and for good reason. Butter is delicious. But my body doesn’t love butter so much, so I went with the skinny egg white scramble with spinach and chicken sausage. Annnnnd a side of a single pancake, because Matt’s.

After breakfast we headed back to the conference center. I had to take some meetings and catch some talks, but not without making lunch plans.

We had to hop in an Uber for this one but it was worth the trek to Midtown. Zookz is a famous sandwich shop where the sandwiches are made in a custom panini press. They also had amazing salads so the guys I went with of course indulged in the sandwiches, but I was feeling sluggish from the night before so I wanted to keep it light. That and I was about to stuff my face with an Acai bowl from Nekter so.. Gotta fit it all in my belly somehow.

And BTW, Austin JUST got it’s first Nekter and a second one is on the way or so I heard 🙂

For our last meal, I decided we would take another trip outside of Downtown and head to Midtown for dinner at Farm & Craft. Another healthy focused menu, with kombucha cocktails, and vegan ceviches. This was a great way to close it out the trip and celebrate the weekend. It was truly the kind of meal you could eat every day and I would say you’ve gotta go check out Farm & Craft if you want a cute instagram worthy restaurant with a delicious menu to boot.

Our last hoorah was at Hanny’s back downtown. Hanny’s is an old department store turned restaurant, bar, and lounge. It’s upscale but also spunky, it has some really random things about it that add to it’s charm and make for a place I inevitably have to visit every time I’m in town. They make all their desserts in house, so a dessert and cocktail aperitif seemed like the best way to unwind. I think my friends agreed, so we ordered half the desserts and a whole round of drinks. It was our last night and deserved a toast to celebrate!

Phoenix is a lot more spread out than I remembered so if you want to experience more of the boutique fitness scene or food scene even, plan on Uber or renting a car. Downtown is definitely evolving and obviously I found some options to make it work. Check my map out below for more of my picks in Phoenix. And if you have any recs, slide into my DM’s @withshayda and let me know!