CECs share their favorite spots along light rail | Valley Metro
CECs pause in front of a mural

Urban exploration is one of my favorite hobbies. When I get the rare chance to go to Downtown Phoenix, I like to pick a place I've never been to before and take the light rail to somewhere close. Then I’ll walk to my destination, taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells along the way. And, of course, if you're going to pick a place to go, it's good to have some suggestions from someone who's been there, right?

That's why I went to the experts: Valley Metro's Customer Experience Coordinators (CECs). They're always on the light rail line going through the heart of Phoenix, Tempe and Mesa. If anyone knows a great place to check out along the light rail corridor, it'd be them. So, I sat down for a little chat with four of our CECs, and here’s what they said. 

CEC Cristal

CEC Cristal: “I like going to the hanging gardens near the Tempe Courthouse. It's near the Veterans Way/College Ave light rail platform. You sort of go around the corner, and it's underground. It's nice and shady and cool. I can chill, hang out with the birds,  eat my yogurt, and just get in touch with nature.

When it comes to food, I've got to give a plug to my boys over there at Fifth Street Burger and Fries at Priest and Washington. The owners are Pasha and Sean. They're always working hard. You can make your meal, like you can have a base of fries and then something on top, like Nashville tenders. It's a good little indulgence!”

5th Street Burgers and Fries

CEC Dawn: “I like going to the Renaissance building near the Washington/Central Ave station. It's a huge office building and they have a downstairs lobby where you can kind of be by yourself if you want and relax from the day you're having.

The building also has Wren & Wolf. It's fine dining, but it's still casual. You can go there in blue jeans. I've been there with my family, that's how good it is. The meatloaf is my ‘go-to’ there.

Wren and Wolf in downtown Phoenix

I enjoy getting the ’special detail’ shifts at the 3rd St/Jefferson station during events in downtown Phoenix. You've got the Footprint Center, Chase Field, Willie's Taco Joint and Crown Public House all right there. It's great getting the fans riled up. You yell 'go Suns' at them and they'll yell 'go Suns!' It's fun!”

CEC Brian: “My favorite... it's a hard one to pick. I'm from Phoenix, born and raised, so it's cool to see the light rail expanding and giving people opportunities to get out of their comfort zone. If people are at the airport and their plane is delayed, the light rail gives them the ability to explore.

I like going to Margaret T Hance Park just off of the Roosevelt/Central Ave station. It's had some recent renovations, and there's a playground and some sculptures that I enjoy.

For food, I like Monroe's Hot Chicken. I like the chicken tender with fries combo. There's Cajun seasoning on the fries and some spicy sauce. You gotta try it!”

CEC Ricardo likes meeting new people at 44th St/Washington

CEC Ricardo: I guess my favorite place would be the 44th Street Station.  I like going there because I get to meet people from all over the world. Like yesterday, I met a person from Australia. I'm a people-person, so I'm always talking. I just love being there. I've brought people into the airport and helped them find their terminal and gates and all that type of stuff.

I like taking my lunches at the University/Rural platform. I grew up in the Tempe area, and at University and Rural there's one of my favorite sushi spots, Sushi 101, and there's also a Cane's right next door.” 

Well, I've got some places to check out now, and hopefully you do too! Do you have a favorite place along the light rail route? Let us know by sending us a tweet @valleymetro.

Alex Tsotsos
Alex Tsotsos
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
Writer, editor, musician, gamer, and former news professional. Frequently seen at Phoenix Rising matches and jogging around Gainey Ranch. May throw things in the presence of typos.