Phoenix is more than just the capital of Arizona—it’s the cultural capital of the entire American Southwest. With incredible museums, concert venues, cultural institutions and recreational opportunities, Phoenix has something for every ISPA attendee, whether you’re a golf fanatic or an symphony savant.
Let’s take a look at some of the top attractions in the Valley of the Sun.
Feel the Beat
If you’re a music fan, there are numerous places where you can catch live music on weekends and throughout the week. Comerica Theater features big acts and radio-friendly rock; the Crescent Ballroom, located downtown, is a great place to see smaller artists and more intimate shows. If you’re more interested in DJ sets, try The Pressroom; but if you’re more interested in Beethoven than beats, be sure to check out the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra, who is playing the weekends before and after the 2018 ISPA Conference & Expo.
Phoenix is home to the most impressive art collections in the Southwest. The renowned Heard Museum, located downtown, celebrates both traditional and contemporary American Indian art, shining a light on cultures that have traditionally been overlooked.
The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest art museum in the Southwest. Its extensive galleries span hundreds of years and feature works by European masters, American trailblazers and international artists. It also features an outdoor sculpture garden that is perfect for a sunny Arizona stroll.
There are a variety of history-focused museums, including the Arizona Capitol Museum, as well as a number of one-of-a-kind experiences: the Musical Instrument Museum is a can’t-miss destination that is often named as Phoenix’s single best attraction.
If you’re more interested in the building itself rather than the treasures within, don’t miss a stop at Taliesin West in Scottsdale. Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, is an architectural delight that offers insight into the design process and philosophy of one of America’s most renowned architects.
Be a High Roller
Phoenix is home to numerous world-class casinos. Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino offers more than 70 table games and 1000 slots. Desert Diamond West Valley, located just west of Phoenix in Glendale, Arizona, is easily accessible and features over 1000 games. And with a host of other casinos in the area—Casino Arizona, Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino, and Fort McDowell Casino, among others—there’s no shortage of places to spend a post-Conference evening.
Please note that Talking Stick Resort is closed until further notice due to flooding.
Hit the Links
Hit a golf ball from anywhere in the Valley of the Sun and you’re likely able to reach a nearby golf course: the entire Phoenix area is full of world-class golf courses and resorts. If you’re interested in something more casual than a full round, there are three Topgolf locations in the Phoenix area where you can swing the club and sip on drinks while hanging out with ISPA friends.
Root for the Home Team
With the NFL season just beginning and the MLB season hurtling towards an exciting finale, it’s a great time to catch a game while you’re in Phoenix. If you’re a football fan, you can watch the Arizona Cardinals battle the Chicago Bears on September 23, the day before the ISPA Conference & Expo begins. The Cardinals play in University of Phoenix stadium, which is an easy 20-minute cab ride from the Sheraton Grand Phoenix.
The Farewell Party this year will take place at Chase Field as the Arizona Diamondbacks square off against the Los Angeles Dodgers in a game with playoff implications. However, true baseball fanatics might want to catch another game while they’re in Phoenix; thankfully, the Diamondbacks have home games on 9/21, 9/22, 9/23, 9/24, and 9/25. Most of those are evening games, too, so you can even catch a game after Conference closes for the day.