00000 - 00000 of 00000
00,000 of 00,000
You probably think of those clever little copper bells whenever you hear the name of this place, but Arcosanti is about much more than rusty musical souvenirs. This high-elevation experimental town began construction in 1970 in central Arizona (about 70 miles north of Phoenix) by architect Paolo Soleri, who used a concept he dubbed “arcology.” His plan—to prove that local urban conditions could be improved while minimizing the negative impact of city-dwelling on the earth—combines adaptive reuse and “green” ecology long before either was considered fashionable. The ongoing construction of this never-ending city is home to between 50 and 150 people, but visitors come from around the globe to visit the tilted concrete panels cast in a bed of desert silt on which this popular tourist attraction rests. They ogle the bronze-cast apse, built in the form of a semi-dome; the intricate and organic architecture; and the fun-and-educational five-story visitor’s center, café, and gift shop (where you can snag a bagful of those Arcosanti bells!). Also worth seeing: the community’s oddball home elevations, storefronts, and stunning outdoor amphitheater. Too tired to head back to town? A two-bedroom "Sky Suite" is available for overnight guests.
Whenever someone comes to visit in Phoenix for the first time, I take them to Arcosanti for a day trip. Even apart from admiring and exploring the construction of Soleri's vision, the various workshops and watching the bells being sand-cast are worth the cost of admission. Sure, the project will probably never be completed, but it's cool to watch what they're working on currently and poking around what they have done. Educational and entertaining, Arcosanti will awaken your mind!
With apologies to those goodhearted kids who make up the local music scene, the real place to go for truly experimental tuneage isn't even in the Valley itself. Be warned, getting a mate or two to accompany you on the hourlong drive north to Paolo Soleri's hippie-dippy haven, perched on a windswept hillside, is almost as frustrating as trying to explain which particular genre the musicians who frequent the place fit into. For instance, the exotic percussion reverberations of Italian... More »
Find everything you're looking for in your city
Find the best happy hour deals in your city
Get today's exclusive deals at savings of anywhere from 50-90%
Check out the hottest list of places and things to do around your city