Cool Place in a Hot Town: Arizona Falls

Update September 6, 2013: I’ve decided to give this old post some new life in Patti Schulz Maghamfar’s “Fall” blog carnival on her website One Road at a Time. Hope you’ll enjoy my interpretation of the theme and then head over to Patti’s site to see what other bloggers are saying about “fall”.

Arizona Falls — a surprise!

While visiting family in Arizona, my sister took me to a very unusual “cool” place in hot Phoenix that I hadn’t seen on previous trips.

"Arizona Falls, Phoenix"

Arizona Falls

She and her husband came across it unexpectedly while out for a bike ride one day. I’m guessing that most travelers and a large percentage of residents don’t know about this interesting site either.

"A sheet of water at Arizona Falls, Phoenix"

Looking through the falls

Arizona Falls is a historic waterfall formed by a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal between 56th and 58th Streets. It was the site of a hydroelectric plant built in 1902 and shut down in 1950. It reopened in 2003 as a restored plant and neighborhood gathering place.

"Arizona Falls, Phoenix"

Arizona Falls

What’s surprising is that it is a work of art designed by two renowned Boston artists, Lajos Heder and Mags Harries. The structures, while functional, are designed for visual and social enjoyment. There are viewing platforms and large stone blocks for seating so that the sight and sound of the falls can be enjoyed.

"Stone seats at Arizona Falls"

Stone seats at Arizona Falls

Phoenix may sizzle in the summer, but Arizona Falls is a very cool place.

"Bicycle at the artistic entrance to Arizona Falls, Phoenix"

Entrance to Arizona Falls

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35 thoughts on “Cool Place in a Hot Town: Arizona Falls

  1. Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista

    This is indeed very interesting! Seems like a great thing to do with a closed hydroelectric plant.

  2. Laurel

    I’ve never heard of this but I love the idea of turning something functional into a work of art at the same time. Very interesting and very modern.

    1. Cathy Post author

      I’ve got to thank my sister for taking me there. I didn’t know what to expect when she first mentioned it.

  3. jade

    Such an interesting discovery! You said they now use it as a neighborhood gathering place- I wonder if you can have picnics and parties there- really cool!

    1. Cathy Post author

      Good question about parties, Jade. I don’t know if organized events like picnics or parties can take place there or not. I’ll try to find out. There’s a park next to the falls, too.

    1. Cathy Post author

      So right, Raymond, about the “desperate industrial feel” of these types of places. That’s why Arizona Falls seems so special.

  4. Leigh

    For all the times I’ve been to Phoenix (my father lives there) I’ve never heard of this place. That’s a great picture & in 110F heat I’d be hanging out there a lot.

  5. Katrina

    I love this! As I sit here in the Irish summer, I long for a real scorcher of a day. But then, when you’re in the midst of a scorcher, you long for a cool breeze and the splash of water, no? So your post is perfect daydream fodder! Thanks for sharing. 😉

  6. Kerry-ann

    What a novel thought – to have the plant designed with style, taste and art in mind. Instead of just a hydro plant it becomes a place to enjoy. Really like this.

  7. Mike

    I used to travel to Phoenix all of the time with my ex. I never heard of this! What a great idea. And I agree, Phoenix is a very cool place to visit. Good post, Cathy 🙂

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