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22 new things to see and do around Phoenix

Posted: 5:52 AM, Aug 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-27 11:52:00Z

The Valley has seen a lot of growth and development over the last few years.

U.S. Airways Center was renamed to Talking Stick Resort Arena. Jobing.com Arena became Gila River Arena.

Nearly every professional sports team in the Valley gained a new head coach or manager. 

Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium started a $300 million renovation adding stadium seats, a new video board and a bronze statue to remember the legacy of Pat Tillman.

Fashion Square Mall began building a "luxury wing" while also renovating the inside of the mall. And Desert Diamond West Valley Casino opened in Glendale.

All of those changes barely touch the surface!

Whether you have lived here your whole life or visit the Phoenix area from time to time for vacation, a round of golf or for Spring Training, here are some other additions you may have missed:

  • Love LEGOS and building? Legoland Discovery Center opened at Arizona Mills Mall in Tempe. It has a couple themed rides, a build-and-ride test track, and a mini LEGO version of downtown Phoenix.
  • Sea Life Arizona, an indoor aquarium, opened at Arizona Mills and debuted a new exhibit.
  • IFly, an indoor skydiving attraction, opened within the Talking Stick Entertainment District.
  • Near the Loop 101 and Via de Ventura, a host of family-friendly attractions opened: Odysea Aquarium, Dolphinaris Arizona, Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs, Polar Play ice bar, and Bodies Revealed
  • Three of Chicago's famous pizzerias brought deep-dish pizza to Arizona: Lou Malnati's, Gino's East and Giordano's all opened restaurants in Arizona.
  • Poke, the Hawaiian dish made with raw fish, exploded in popularity. A number of restaurants including Ahipoki, Ocean Poke, Pokitrition, and Koi Poke opened, while others added the fish salad to their menus.
  • Phoenix Rising FC debuted a 6,000-seat soccer stadium near the Loop 202 and McClintock. 
  • The Van Buren, a new music venue from Charlie Levy, the founder of Crescent Ballroom, opened near Fourth Avenue and Van Buren Street in downtown Phoenix.
  • Looking for a new competitive hobby? LumberJaxes is an ax-throwing club and opened a venue in Tempe.
  • Spend an hour or two at La Gattara, believed to be the Valley's first cat lounge and boutique.
  • The Phoenix Suns named Igor Kokoskov as their head coach, the first European-born head coach in NBA history. They also received the 1st overall draft pick in 2018, a first for the 50-year-old team.
  • Torey Lovullo was named manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • Rick Tocchet was tapped as head coach of the Arizona Coyotes.
  • After Bruce Arians announced his retirement, the Arizona Cardinals named Steve Wilks as its new head coach.
  • Herm Edwards left ESPN to become head coach of Arizona State University's football team after Todd Graham was fired.
  • Most recently, White Castle announced it would open a restaurant near the Loop 101 and Via de Ventura, in a new multi-use development.

This is not an exhaustive list. There have been new hotels and resorts, businesses, and other developments, too.

We have other projects in the works:

  • The Great Wolf Lodge is building a 350-room and 85,000-square-foot indoor water park within the Talking Stick Entertainment District.
  • Medieval Times, the entertaining dinner show with knights and jousting, is opening a castle also within the Talking Stick Entertainment District.
  • Fry's Food Stores plans to open a grocery store in the heart of downtown Phoenix.
  • Fort McDowell Casino plans to build a new 160,000-square-foot casino.
  • TopGolf is opening another location in Glendale.