Now that the crowds have gone home and we’ve recovered from all the excitement, we realize that the events surrounding Super Bowl XLIX were eye-opening in a lot of different ways for Phoenix. While the masses of tourists explored our city, we as local residents discovered a few things about ourselves.
1. We really like to host events. And we’re good at it.
Maybe we knew this already, considering that Phoenix regularly plays host to major sporting events, music and art festivals, car shows, and much more. But the Super Bowl kicked it up a few notches and proved that we know how to come together and show people a good time.
2. Downtown is FUN.
Downtown Phoenix was busting at the seams with smiling faces and palpable excitement. Of course, having things like The Roots, giant jars of salsa to fall into, and a mini-Puppy Bowl will have that effect on people, but the fun quotient didn’t stop there. There were concerts and festivals and special offers from local restaurants and bars. The best of downtown was on display.
3. Phoenicians are friendly.
We’re proud to share our downtown with visitors from around the country and across the Valley. Our ambassadors and way-finding makes downtown feel safe, inviting, and easy to navigate.
4. This is what city living feels like.
The sea of sports jerseys aside, the crowds walking along – and in – our city streets created an energy often felt in larger, more concentrated cities. We liked it. A lot.
5. Open container laws work well in the downtown core.
There’s just something about walking around with a beer in your hand that makes you feel like you’re in a city that knows how to have a good time.
6. We are good at the big. Now let’s be good at the small.
This community likes coming together on big projects, but we can do better with the smaller elements that affect the ongoing quality of our urban life. From storefronts to landscaping and design, we’re off to a great start, but we can do better.
7. We still have work to do to connect visitors to authentic Phoenix culture.
There is much to be proud of in downtown Phoenix: beautiful scenery, local restaurants, businesses and artists, historic neighborhoods, convenient public transit, and a dedicated community of people who love this city. The Super Bowl provided a prime opportunity to show it all off; now we just have to keep that momentum going.
8. Sports tourism is an economic development tool for Phoenix.
From Colangelo to Sarver to Bidwill, sports owners have a history of helping develop our city. Not all actions have necessarily been positive over the years, but there’s no denying the effect.
9. Cultural tourism could be a much bigger economic development tool than it is.
Beyond giant sporting events, Phoenix’s southwestern culture should be a draw for visitors with time and money to spend. From echoes of the earliest Hohokam settlements, to internationally renowned museums, and historic architectural treasures, to cutting edge contemporary public art, pop culture wild west experiences, top-rated educational institutions, and unique natural wonders, our desert city has a lot to see and experience.
10. We’re excited to call ourselves locals
Ultimately, it’s the people who make Phoenix what it is. From our community leaders, to business owners, to residents, we all contribute to Phoenix’s culture and we are incredibly proud to be a part of it.
Courtney McCune, Jill Bernstein, April Atwood and Catrina Kahler contributed to this story.