As far as capital cities go, Phoenix is not nearly as old as many around the country. The State moved the capital to Phoenix from Prescott in 1889 but the atmosphere of the downtown area is quite modern.
In 1971 Phoenix built a convention center in downtown, off of first avenue between Washington and Jefferson streets. Mayor Driggs proposed creating a park modeled on San Francisco’s Union Square. The citizens agreed with the idea and construction began on what was then called Patriots Square. The project was completed in 1975 but the park was torn down in the mid 1980’s to be rebuilt with an underground parking garage beneath the area. After completion of the second Patriots Square the name was changed simply to Patriots Park.
Patriots Park is centrally located in downtwon. It is within walking distance to Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play, and the US Airways Center where the Suns play and various concerts and shows take place. There is ample parking for local events and more grass and shade than most other places in downtown. There is a towerlike structure that rises over an outdoor stage where performances are held and in the early 1990’s there was even a laser beam that the public could operate that shot a pulsing laser straight up in the air. The laser is no longer there. Also missing from the downtown area are the numerous bicycles that the city purchased in the 1990’s for citizens to “borrow” to ride around downtown to ease traffic congestion and provide exercise. The idea was to simply pick up a bike and drive it to your destination while depositing it back in an area designated for the special bikes. It should come as no surprise that the bike idea only lasted a few short months before they were all stolen. Besides, who would want to ride a bike in downtown Phoenix in the summer anyway?
For locals and visitors alike Patriots Square is a great meeting place to visit. As mentioned, it is within walking distance to many entertainment venues and the streets are lined with restaraunts and shops. There is a nice view of the Papago Buttes to the northeast and the weekend evenings usually have some type of performances by local artists or musicians. It can be a great place to wait for your turn on the light rail or simply an interesting location to do some people watching. Patriot Square can be an exciting place to visit, just don’t try it in the summer months.