Wayne Turner knows the ins and outs of living downtown.
Turner, a 44-year-old dodge ball enthusiast, has an idea or two of what he would include in his personal guide to living in Downtown Phoenix.
A trip to Portland, Oregon, taught Turner that it was possible not to drive a car everywhere you had to go. “Portland is a sprawling city like Phoenix,” he explained. “It took me a while to figure out that if I wanted to get a cup of coffee at Circle K, it’s only a hundred yards. But my first instinct is to get in my car and go over there.”
Turner shared a useful website for people who are looking to ditch their cars. Walkscore.com provides a score of 1-100 for the area surrounding any address. A score of 90-100 is a “walker’s paradise” and a score of 0-49 deems an area as “car-dependent.” Downtown Phoenix earned a 97.
One of Turner’s favorite things about Downtown Phoenix is that, despite the rough economy, new restaurants continue to open in the area and the old ones don’t close down. A new trio of restaurants has recently opened at McKinley and 1st Streets. Sens serves Asian cuisine, Turf is a new Irish pub, and the Pasta Bar, although hidden between its neighbors, offers a variety of pasta options.
When it comes to restaurants, Turner advises to keep your eyes open. “You can drive right past a lot of them. You look for all the massive signs. But here, some restaurants have no signs,” he shared. Places like The Roosevelt and Cibo are hidden treasures of Phoenix.
For those looking for a little weekend action, Turner recommends checking out PhoenixFridayNights.com. The site features the East and West Valleys in addition to Downtown Phoenix happenings.
“You don’t want to drive to Scottsdale on a Friday afternoon for happy hour because of traffic; but if people want to come join us down here, there is no traffic coming downtown on Friday afternoon, it’s all leaving so it’s really nice for people who want to come check it out,” he said.
If you are new to Downtown Phoenix and feeling alone, Turner even has a tip for that: “talk to people.” Turner describes Phoenix inhabitants as outrageously friendly. “So many things down here are family-owned. Everyone knows you are, what your drink is,” he shared. “It’s a very small town feel.”
Turner lives in a 1919 Bungalow off of Portland and frequently plays with AZ Dodgeball.