Music is tied to memories. People find they can recite lyrics to a song that was popular the year they finished high school, or will flash back to an old flame when a certain power ballad pops up on the radio. Make some new memories by rocking out (or boot-scootin’, or bobbing your feet on the rung of a bar stool) while you’re here in the Valley of the Sun. Sonic souvenirs occupy no suitcase space!
Whenever You’re Ready
Serious music followers tend to have late nights and slow mornings. Musical Instrument Museum in north Phoenix is ready when you are (open at 9 am) and offers an adjustable-volume experience to each guest. Strap on the earphones and shuffle up to geographically organized vignettes, and related music and voices are delivered to your ears. The depth and variety of countries represented in MIM’s still-growing collection is impressive—even to travelers who’ve filled multiple passport books.
Make your way to High Street, a multi-building, ground-up development with sleek residential apartments on upper levels and restaurants forming its base. Mellow Mushroom is furnished with musical-instrument fixtures (trumpet chandeliers); select from pizzas with names like Magical Mystery Tour (pesto, two kinds of ’shrooms) and Thai Dye (curry chicken, garnished with cucumbers). Also of musical note at High Street is 42 Saint, a clothing boutique with a rocker aesthetic. Tight jeans, obscure T-shirts and chunky jewelry and watches are available for men and women, and the omnipresent owners are liable to offer you a cold brewski while you shop.
Prior to 42 Saint’s residency at High Street, the rocker boutique had a kindred neighbor at Scottsdale shopping center Kierland Commons: Rock Star Gallery. And while Rock Star Gallery has since moved locations within Kierland, it’s very much still on-premise—doing its best to counterbalance the preppiness of Tommy Bahama, the frilliness of Francesca’s and the squeaky cleanliness of LATHER. Music memorabilia, autographed axes, archival photography and paintings of and by musicians are in store. For rock-star-caliber art to wear—particularly for gents—check out the NightRider Jewelry salon inside Scottsdale Fashion Square.
This is when the Valley of the Sun really shines, musically speaking. You could eye up some classic-rock memorabilia while having dinner at Hard Rock Cafe or Alice Cooper’stown, both in downtown Phoenix.
For live rock music, check the lineups at:
- Crescent Ballroom (downtown Phoenix)
- Last Exit Live (downtown Phoenix)
- Copper Blues (downtown Phoenix, Tempe)
- Livewire (downtown Scottsdale)
- Pub Rock Live (south Scottsdale)
- Big Fish Theatre (Mesa)
For live blues, alt-country and funky stuff:
For country-fried food and live music:
- Rusty Spur Saloon (downtown Scottsdale)
- Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row (downtown Scottsdale)
- Handlebar J (north of downtown Scottsdale)
- Greasewood Flat (north Scottsdale)
- Buffalo Chip Saloon (Cave Creek)
- Harold’s Cave Creek Corral (Cave Creek)
- San Tan Flat (Queen Creek)
Besides those music venues, there are these Old Town nightclubs that may or may not have live music, but which are definitely entertaining. And we can’t forget these places to stay out until the wee hours.