It may not be the Valley's biggest downtown, but Chandler's historic city center packs enough punch to make it, arguably, one of the best.
Wednesday's Art Walk is a prime time to check it out.
From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., artists and crafters will set up shop on the sidewalks, displaying juried works from glassware and jewelry to paintings and photographs. Live guitarists positioned throughout the district will fill the air with acoustic melodies. Think of it as a miniature, everyman's version of Old Town Scottsdale's popular Thursday night door-to-door art events.
"The doors to all the shops and restaurants are open, and it's a pretty lively scene, but the artists themselves are out on the street and very accessible to the public," says Eileen Brill Wagner, executive director of The Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, the nonprofit group that puts on the Art Walk.
With the district's smaller size and less-established fine art community (there are two galleries), you can expect a more low-key atmosphere than the Scottsdale walk or Phoenix's First Friday art parties.
"It's not a First Friday turnout, where there are thousands of people, but there's usually a pretty steady flow throughout the evening. It's laid back, and people usually make an evening of it and have dinner and drinks," says Wagner.
If the art doesn't catch your eye, you can fill the evening eating, drinking and browsing shops.
Within easy strolling distance are a brewery, a winery, a tea room, a Mexican restaurant with one of the best patios in the Valley, and eateries specializing in Italian, Irish, Japanese and Thai cuisine.
There are also a number of independently owned shops offering wares from home decor items and clothing to rubber stamps and chocolate. Mind Over Splatter, a paint-your-own pottery place, will host free art activities to keep little ones busy while the adults shop.