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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Feeling the warmth in Arizona
Special to the Online Edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2011-03-30

This article shared 18 times since Wed Mar 30, 2011
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Traveling to the southwestern area of the United States offers a variety of sights, cuisines and resorts to experience in the heart of Arizona. The capital and largest city in the state is Phoenix, which is also the fifth-largest city in the United States.

Start off with the Desert Botanical Garden, a sight to behold with plants that include endangered species as well as typical cactus and wildflowers. This "avant-garden" presents music and a patio café. The lineup and tour schedule can be found at www.dbg.org .

Skip over to Scottsdale to The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa to relax and rejuvenate. Working inside the lounge is Cuban painter Nelson Garcia-Miranda. This resident artist fled his homeland for political asylum and now sells his creations only steps from the restaurant deseo located inside The Westin. To really partake in the dining experience at the Latin fusion restaurant Deseo is to sit at the chef's counter and have your meal prepared at a front-row seat. The millionaire tacos are a must-try, along with the duck empanada. Finish the meal with a chocolate cigar, but no smoking please!

Almost every clothing and department store is represented in Arizona, land of the upscale strip mall. In between all of the shopping get some culture at the Musical Instrument Museum or take a balloon ride for bird's eye view with Rainbow Ryders. After landing back on the ground, a champagne toast is traditional for the adventurer.

The town of Tempe is not a far trek for the House of Tricks. This establishment offers a nice courtyard option for lunch. Get the party started with a hot potatotini for $12; it has potato vodka, gunslinger hot sauce and a bacon garnish to perk up a meal.

The hip and fun St. Francis restaurant is a family-owned business in uptown Phoenix. The dinner, service and set-up were top-notch for the swanky crowd.

There are several watering holes for the LGBT traveler. The dance club BS plays all the latest tunes; if two-steppin' is your style head to Charlie's, the original cowboy bar. In February the gay rodeo arrived in town by horseback, presenting drag performances and booths of merchandise.

After being bucked off a bull, Spa Avania—part of the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale—offered a massage for those sore muscles. This was a perfect getaway to reflect with meditation and mineral water therapy. Within the same complex is SWB, a southwestern bistro with a cozy fire to sit beside and chips to munch on, complete with tableside guacamole and healthy salads.

The Phoenician is a resort with a strong reputation; President Obama recently visited there. Walk downstairs from the lobby to eat at Il Terrazzo, where Italian-American food and strong wine pairings ( provided by the sommelier ) heighten the experience. After dinner listen to live music in the bar or stroll around the 250-acre developed property on the border between Scottsdale and Phoenix. A huge golf course, several swimming pools and a hot stone massage at the Centre for Well-Being offer something for everyone. Also, don't forget the impressive art collection, shops and trails to explore in this AAA Five Diamond boutique.

An oasis in the desert where there is no need to leave the area provides rest and relaxation to the weary traveler. Take a vacation from life and plan your next trip by clicking over to www.visitphoenix.com, where people can find more information and websites for the above locales.


This article shared 18 times since Wed Mar 30, 2011
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