Roosevelt Row is the arts district of Phoenix. Its one of the first spots I explored when I started photography and getting into local community a few years ago. And the memories I’ve made here over the years makes it one of my favorite places in Phoenix. Even this last Saturday, I discovered three spots I had never known about. It’s an easy area to wander and stumble upon street art or cute boutiques and galleries, and this article is for the purpose of encouraging you to do just that: wander. There’s so much in Roosevelt Row that it would be impossible to feature and give just impression of each spot. So here’s some highlights from my weekend on Roosevelt Row.
I’d have to start by informing you of First Friday. It’s well known by Phoenicians as a night to be on Roosevelt Row for free art galleries, and pop up local art tents, local musicians playing on the streets, and food trucks. Because it’s a popular event, I recommend going for your first experience, as I enjoyed mine, but not everyone likes how crowded the streets, galleries, and coffee shops can get.
I prefer to explore Roosevelt Row on a morning or afternoon. And walking it anytime other than an Arizona summer, is so nice and there’s lots of street art to see. The art galleries rotate with local artists, the boutiques are set in neighborhood homes, as are a local coffee and ice scream spot. Let me highlight some of my favorite stumble upons.
Let’s say you want to walk in a loop. You could park on Roosevelt and 4th Street. There’s a cut out semi-truck with a piano and wood Arizona flag designed by a local artist.
On the same corner is the Modified Arts gallery. They rotate featuring local artists, and are free. I really loved the current local artist Christine Cassano.
Behind the gallery and semi-truck is an alley with every wall and dumpster covered in murals.
If you walk further on Roosevelt Row and turn south on 5th Street, there’s a cute boutique on the corner in the first house called Made Boutique.
The second house is Jobot. A local coffee shop open 24 hours. Three years ago, when me and my friend were trying to discover Phoenix and our local community, this was the first local coffee shop we tried. And the back alley was where I took my first photos as a film student. I remember we were a little sketched out, but the alley and semi were covered in murals which were perfect for my project. The semi is still there too, but the mural on it changes every so often.
And after that, in a pink house is a ice cream shop called Melt.
They have flavors like salted caramel, Jobot coffee, and fruity pebbles… I tried those three and they were so great. Seriously though, the fruity pebbles one is just too fun and unique to not go back for.
On the same street are more boutiques and a bookstore. Easy to stumble upon, if you turn East on the next street Garfield, and then head North on 6th Street, the first two boutiques are really cute. I adored GROWop’s space.
We met Josh, the very friendly and stylish owner, who said he designed the space in Madewell style. He told us a little about the concept of the boutique, including some history on how he had once lived in the house before it was GROWop. He offered to work with me on any photoshoots I did, meaning that I could borrow items at no cost. How fun! And exactly why I love connecting with local community: there’s so much kindness and interest in supporting local artists and a sense of working together.
At the end of 6th Street, on the North side of Roosevelt is a gem I just recently, and finally discovered, named Curious Nature. I fell in the love with this unique themed boutique. We met the owner Mason and he was super friendly and funny. I love connecting with others involved in local community. And that moment at Curious Nature was exactly that. Mason was well informed on what Roosevelt Row offered in local community, and was the reason I found some new spots in the area.
This shop was absolutely fascinating. The space is small but there was so much to captivate one’s interest for a length of time, which I say from my personal experience: I was there for a length of time. Let’s just say there were bats, spiders, jarred and framed pigs. And then I’ll say it’s a must that you discover this spot for yourself. I’ve never found such a unique shop in Phoenix, so as a rare find, I definitely label it as a gem that should be paid a visit.
If you stay on the North side of Roosevelt and walk west and just past your car, there’s a coffee shop named Songbird. It’s a popular place know for it’s photogenic space. And there’s greenHAUS gallery boutique. The first time I stumbled on this boutique, I was all about it.
Also, there are a couple of popular food spots on Roosevelt Row. Short Leash hot dogs and Welcome Diner. Short Leash has made a good name for themselves, and from the only chance I’ve had to try them, it was just as delicious as I had heard. Welcome Diner is outside the arts district in another residential neighborhood just East on Roosevelt Row.
I love their vibes and that they are open for late night comfort food cravings. I honestly don’t have enough Welcome Diner in my life and that needs to change.
One of their most popular items is the Big Jim: a biscuits and gravy sandwich with fried chicken, bacon and cheddar cheese. It’s like the epitome of comfort food.
And another coffee shop option on Roosevelt Row is a cute spot called Lola. I need to snap some updated photos to post. A couple years ago I was always frequenting this spot and introducing everyone I knew to it, so I’ll pass that on to introduce YOU next. It’s definitely a coffee shop that’s made a name for itself.
This definitely isn’t a comprehensive list, but I’m hoping you will go and find some stumble upons for yourself!