Welcome to Glendale, AZ
Founded in 1892, as a religious and temperance colony, for the first decade, irrigation farming was the main occupation of those living here. Then diversity – economic, ethnic and religious – brought new life to Glendale. The establishment of a giant sugar beet factory, a major ice plant for cooling produce shipped via the Santa Fe Railroad and many smaller business ventures attracted new people to town. World War II brought thousands of servicemen from all over the United States and several foreign countries to train at Thunderbird and Luke airfields in Glendale. In fact, today we remain the proud home of the largest Air Force Training Base in the world. We also showcase the ultimate trifecta of football, the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, BCS College Football National Championship and Super Bowl. We’re boast one of the nation’s top shopping and dining districts. And we’re home to some of the most educated, hardest working, physically active and civically conscious residents in this Grand Canyon State.
We’re in the national spotlight for both our famed Historic Downtown Shopping and Dining District and our exciting, brand-new, professional sports and entertainment destination. Sunset Magazine, the New York Times, Washington Post, New Yorker Magazine and USA Today have paid us print. Some are saying we’ve arrived. We’d argue that some just caught on.
At the Heart
It’s time we told you a little about our Historic Downtown. This retro-chic destination incorporates two distinct neighborhood that are home to more than 90 specialty shops that get national attention for the retail-chain-free collection of shops slinging vintage clothing, turn-of-(last)-century furniture and even pop-culture collectibles. Want some groovy 1967 3-D wall art? Go to Bo’s Funky Stuff. Need a hutch to match grandma’s dining set? Check out A Mad Hatter’s Antiques, a two-story shrine to cool stuff. Looking for a pedal car, like a real pedal car? Call Auntie Em’ and Smilin Jack. They own a toyshop filled with yesteryear’s Tickle Me Elmo. It’s a Boomer’s mother ship. Hear it calling?
Although the area is seamless to tour on foot, the difference in its two neighborhoods is revealed in the redbrick, main-street-style buildings of Old Towne versus the charming bungalows-turned-shops of Catlin Court. Start in the center at the Glendale Visitor Center and pick up a handy walking map. And, they give away free candy. The good kind.
Although publications line up to name Historic Downtown among the nation’s best shopping districts, the area still feels like a secret only you’ve discovered. Spread throughout a series of tree-lined city blocks, the treasure-seeking crowds are never overwhelming. Grown men still nap on park benches, surrounded by bags of the lady’s latest score. It’s the way life should be lived.
The Place to Be
Historic Downtown Glendale also is famous for its festivals. Glendale Glitters Holiday Lights Spectacular evokes a glow from the city beginning the day after Thanksgiving lasting through mid-January with a million multicolored lights creating a sparking canopy over ten square blocks. You’ll want to have your camera handy for the family holiday portrait that will make your in-laws green with envy. After all, you’ll be wearing shorts. In December.
Culture and heritage seekers also find solace in Glendale. Preserving one of the Valley’s oldest and most magnificent homesteads, Historic Sahuaro Ranch consists of 13 original buildings and a breathtaking rose garden. A weekend wedding is a common sight, and the park’s stately peacocks are popular guests in the receiving line. If you weren’t on the invite list in the first place, don’t fret, tours are available of both this park and the breathtaking Manistee Ranch, a Glendale Historical Society crown jewel.
Glendale is also home to several one-of-a-kind museums that pay tribute to beads, the police profession and football helmets. Spend a day exploring these fantastic displays beginning at The Bead Museum, which weaves a fascinating story of the global history of beads with its 110,000 pieces. You’d be pleasantly surprised at how neat this place is. And don’t miss the Police Museum that pays tribute to Glendale’s finest.
For food lovers, another popular attraction is Cerreta Candy Company. The owners delight in giving tours during which visitors receive samples of silky chocolate. And if sweet-tooth satisfaction is not your choice, sample the German, Austrian, Italian, Asian and Mexican cuisine. In fact, one of our charming eateries was featured fare in The New Yorker. Call us and we’ll tell you which one. We’ll also tell you a few other reasons you should visit Glendale.