Monday, November 11, 2019

Exploring Downtown

"I should go to ____ sometime." "Someday I'll ____." Yeah, most of us find ourselves saying these words for years before we finally do the things we talk about--if we even ever do. A couple of weeks ago I got to two more of my "I should" activities.

I'm in Downtown Phoenix often, but only one side of it. So I tend to just leave the things on the other side for later. These included the tour of the Orpheum Theatre and the Wells Fargo Museum. You'll also want to note that both of these are free, so all you have to pay for is parking. If it's worth it to you, you can also do Park & Ride and take the light rail in to save a little. Your $4 day pass will also let you get closer to any other museums you might want to see that day--if you want to make a full day out of it. The Rosson House, the Science Center, the Phoenix Art Museum, and the Heard Museum are just a few.

Orpheum Theatre tours are generally every other Tuesday at 12 and 1:30. Be sure and check the website to make sure you have the right day. The next tours will be on November 19th. You meet at the marquee to begin. Note that, like when you go to a show at the Orpheum, the entrance is not on the corner of the building; keep walking west. While some people (especially perhaps if you're visiting Phoenix) might want to go on the tour just to see the theatre, it's worth going even if you've been in before. I've been to a show there, but I still wanted to learn more.

The tour focused on the history and architecture. Our group was around ten to fifteen people. The tour moves from the lobby to the main seating area to the balcony. You have the chance, then, to sit in seats on both levels and compare where you might want to sit. Balconies always win for me--I get a better view. Then again, a taller person might find the Orpheum's balcony a little cramped and yet that person also would have a clear view sitting on the bottom because no one's head will block their view. One of my favorite parts of the tour? Behind the scenes. We saw the area where performers would get ready to go on stage, the green rooms, and the stage. You can read up on history, but only by going on a tour like this can you stand on the stage (unless, of course, you're a performer, but most of us aren't).

Two practical notes. I'd thought that the tour was an hour (and I heard others say the same), but it was almost two. So plan for that. It was also very cold, so if you're a thin-blooded Arizonan like me, maybe bring a sweater.

The Wells Fargo Museum is just a step away, so it makes for the perfect before or after tour activity. If you just walk through, sure, you can be done in five minutes. But if you read everything, you can be there from half an hour to an hour. They have a few pieces of art and artifacts to look at and some interactive activities. If you go with kids (or you're an adult who likes to play, too), they'll love the phones and telegraphs. It's a nice little opportunity to get a glimpse back into the prairie days.

So there you have it. There is always more to do, more to see, even right where you are. Even the little things, the things that might not take up much time and that we therefore don't set aside time for, are worth seeing and worth doing. Let's keep exploring.

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