But how times have changed! In recent years the downtown Phoenix area has undergone massive revitalization. While it still ain't Times Square (why would it want to be?) it is a fun and exciting place to visit. The downtown development plan has been in the making for more than ten years, and began with the building of the state of the art basketball and concert venue, the America West Arena which changed its name to the US Airways Center in 2005.
Professional sports teams have certainly played a critical role in the economic development of the downtown Phoenix area. The Phoenix Suns and the Phoenix Mercury both play professional basketball at the America West Arena. If you know anything about baseball, you know that the Arizona Diamondbacks beat those New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series in 2001 to become the World Champions that year. Prior to that, they made it to the playoffs in only their second year as a team, with over 100 wins during the regular season. Their fans cheer them on at Chase Field, previously known as Bank One Ballpark, or 'BOB'. Chase Field is a fantastic stadium that makes even non-sports fans proud to call downtown their own.
But say it isn't so! Is downtown Phoenix all sports, sports, sports? Nay, there's more to the place than just games! The Phoenix Convention Center is in the heart of the area. Herberger Theatre Center, Symphony Hall, Comerica Theatre and the Arizona Science Center are all within walking distance. Small art galleries are popping up everywhere. The Arizona Center has lots of little shops and carts with unique gifts for the family back home, as well as plenty of restaurants and clubs for evening libations and entertainment. The Phoenix Central Library is nearby, as is the Heard Museum of Native Cultures and Art and the Phoenix Art Museum. There are festivals, runs, parades and events throughout the year on the streets of downtown Phoenix, and all this within 10 minutes of Sky Harbor International Airport.
Community teamwork has resulted in a downtown Phoenix success story, and the growth continues. Residential construction, new hotels, restaurants and shops are on the horizon. Instead of getting the heck out of town, it is rewarding to see people walking the streets of downtown Phoenix, some in a hurry to get to their seats on time, some merely strolling on a pleasant evening. Whether you're a local or a visitor, give downtown a try!