100 things to do in Phoenix before you die: Christine K. Bailey talks new book, love for Valley

Christine K. Bailey was working as an event planner after her family moved to the Valley 15 years ago.

But, she said she realized that what she loved about event planning was introducing people to what made this area unique.

“I wanted to tell them not just to hike Camelback Mountain, but when and which trail to take,” she said.

So, she applied for a job writing a travel guide to Arizona and, to her surprise, got it. 

A few years later, she’s written a few books about Arizona , including a photo book about Phoenix and her newest, “100 Things to do in Phoenix Before You Die.”

We caught up with her at one of her favorite spots on the list, Piestewa Peak trailhead. 

Check out the video in the player above to hear Christine talk about some of her favorite spots in the Valley, and why it’s changing so fast, for the better.

Bailey is a transplant from Chicago, like so many who moved to the land of urban sprawl in the last few decades.

But that designation is changing now, Bailey said.

“I’ve watched so much building going on, but with thought, with intention,” she said. “They’re planning a place that people want to come to.”

Bailey said when she moved here in 1998, she came from a place with a distinct community. But, that community didn’t really exist in Phoenix.

Now, people here are trying to create it. 

“There’s a group of people that started to have a vision for what Phoenix could be,” she said.

Downtown Phoenix, she said, is full of energy right now, as it develops into an urban hub. And, “soon people – a lot of people – are going to want to live here,” she said.

That’s what she thinks draws people to this city and gives it its pioneering spirit – “the whole idea that I can go somewhere and be part of building and creating a place that I want to live,” as she put it.  

So, what is on her list of things to do in Phoenix right now, as the holidays approach, the weather cools off?

Take a look at the map below for Bailey's 10 favorite recommendations in the Valley.

Here is a list of her recommendations below-

1.       Spend a warm, sunny afternoon on one of two desert courses at Troon North in Scottsdale.

2.       Roast S’mores at FireSky Resort & Spa .

3.       Devour the incredibly delicious and locally-grown Eat the Rainbow salad at the Café at Phoenix Public Market – dine on the outdoor patio, of course.

4.       Indulge in a Honey Vanilla Latte at Giant Coffee where the arcadia doors open onto 1st Street.

5.       Hike, walk, run or bike through South Mountain Park Preserve .

6.       Meander along the stunning luminaria-lighted paths at the Desert Botanical Gardens for the annual Las Noches de las Luminarias (beginning November 27th) or experience the spectacular Zoolights displays at the Phoenix Zoo (beginning November 23rd).

7.       Enjoy the evening air, the beautiful art and live music of the Scottsdale ArtWalk every Thursday evening (except Thanksgiving) in downtown Scottsdale. Also try First Fridays in downtown Phoenix the first Friday of every month.

8.       Browse the Museum Store at the Phoenix Art Museum , the perfect place for a unique holiday gift. Also try the stores at the Heard Museum and the Musical Instrument Museum .

9.       Hang out at just about any restaurant’s outdoor patio in the late afternoon or evening – some favorites include Lon’s at the Hermosa , Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe and T. Cook’s at Royal Palms Resort & Spa.

10.   Cruise through one of countless farmers’ markets that you’ll find weekends (and most weekdays) across the Valley. In addition to delicious local produce, you’ll also find goods made by local artisans – another great place to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts. 

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