Explore Phoenix, Arizona's historic Willo district

Take in the vintage homes, garden gems, new cafés, and more

Nora Burba Trulsson

Why go now: Historic streets have gotten a shot in the arm, thanks to new cafes, shops, and the just-opened Metro Light Rail.

The scene: Vintage homes, postage-stamp gardens, and 1920s-era public buildings feel like a time warp ― in a good way.

Number of homes: About 950

1990: When Willo became an official Phoenix Historic District.

About the name: It’s a contraction of the area’s two voting districts, Wilshire and Los Olivos.

Neighborhood serendipity: Easley’s Fun Shop (closed Sun; 509 W. McDowell Rd.; 602/271-9146), opened by a magician in 1947, sells clown makeup and Whoopee Cushions.

Picnic spot: Head to 68-acre Encanto Park (Encanto Blvd. at 15th Ave.) for lunch or a spin on the 1950s carousel ($2.20).

Spend the night:  The Clarendon Hotel (from $199) has a retro art collection and rooftop bar.

Photo gallery: 

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