Like any Old West town worth its salt, Phoenix  has had to endure the boom and bust of life in the desert since its founding in 1870. However, unlike some of its ghost town brethren, Phoenix has a knack for reemerging from hard times. Tombstone may be “the town too tough to die,” but downtown Phoenix is the metropolis that always seems to rise again.
Following decades of suburban flight and urban decay, businesses and, more importantly, people, are returning. An estimated $3 billion was spent redeveloping the 90-block area dubbed Copper Square (602/495-1500, www.coppersquare.com ), and it seems to be paying off, albeit slowly. Much as in the city’s early days, when farmers and ranchers would come to town for a show or to pick up supplies, suburbanites are flocking to downtown’s stadiums, museums, and concert venues, and even supporting new restaurants and bars.
The construction of a new convention center and Arizona State University’s downtown campus has brought some nighttime pedestrian traffic to the once-empty streets. Plus, the light rail has given downtown another shot in the arm.
If you have any questions or need directions—downtown is built in an easy-to-navigate grid—look for one of the Copper Square “ambassadors,” easily identifiable in an orange shirt.