“You can have everything in life you want, but you can’t have it all at the same time.”
—Patricia Brennan-Gac, Director of State & Local Partnerships, American Institutes for Research
Photo by Cade Martin Family, fun, and flexibility—these are the values Trish Brennan-Gac cherishes most, and they’re the reasons why she’s become an A-List member. Travel is inevitable in Trish’s job at the American Institutes for Research, where she serves as the Director of State and Local Partnerships. Our bags fly free ® policy, our no change fees, and our Employee’s Fun-LUVing Attitudes keep Trish and her colleagues flying Southwest. Her frequent flying has earned her a Companion Pass and plenty of Rapid Rewards points, both of which she uses to travel with her family. We’re grateful for your loyalty, Trish, and it’s our pleasure to serve all your travel needs!
—Stuart Johnson, Customer Relations
Work Perks “Southwest’s flexibility helps when I’m booking flights around a client’s schedule, and the fares make it affordable for my team to travel.”
Frequent Flyer “Flying often for work allows me to earn Rapid Rewards points, which I use for family vacations.”
Bucket List “My family loves to ski. We want to fly to Boise, Idaho, and travel to Sun Valley to experience the slopes there.”
Scoring Points “My son travels to soccer camps around the country, and my Companion Pass makes it easier for us to make that happen.”
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Traveling in the holidays is very stressful! I have done it ever since I was little. This are great tips! I am glad someone posted this. But the best holiday advice for 30 year olds it’s best to go to Florida or Hawaii. Just fly you family to you. It’s too stressful flying with a young kids and a husband, back home.
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2019 is here which means it’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions! We know that between drinking more water and getting more steps into your daily routine that it’s important to have new goals centered on adventure.
If you want to travel more in the New Year, then be specific about where you want to go. We recommend determining when you want to travel, and what you’d like to do when you get there. Tip: planning ahead will help you create a budget, start a travel fund, and let you friends and family know that you’re planning an upcoming trip. Letting others in on your plan will help keep you accountable.
New Year; new bucket list. Start booking flights to complete your 2019 adventures. With Southwest’s low fares and reliable flights, the possibilities are limitless. Need some inspiration? We’ve got you covered with a list of seven Southwest cities to visit and local attractions to check out while you’re there.
1. Travel to bayou city.
Houston has always held a special place in the hearts of Texas-based avgeeks and those that love Southwest Airlines. The bayou city has been a fan favorite as one of Southwest’s original “Texas Triangle” markets when the Company originally started service in 1971.
Nowadays, Southwest has expanded its route map to serve more than 99 destinations across the U.S. and 10 additional countries. Low fares to abroad destinations like Aruba, Belize, Montego Bay, and more can be accessed from Houston Hobby.
The city of Houston is known for more than just being an international gateway and one of the original “Texas Triangle” markets. Houston is known for its space exploration, shopping, traffic, and so much more. We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite local attractions to add to your to-do list the next time you’re stopping through the area.
Children's Museum of Houston
The Children’s Museum of Houston is located in Houston’s Museum District where there’s something different and new to do every day! Packed with 90,000 square feet of interactive exhibits, the Museum offers 14 hands-on galleries with plenty of fun and learning opportunities for the young and young at heart. Exhibits include Kidtropolis, a real-life kidtropolis complete with a skyline, city government, and occupations; Challenge Course, a ropes challenge where physical agility, stamina, and balance are put to the test; and Maker Annex, an area for children to invent, construct, and showcase their creative work.
Biscuit Paint Wall
Looking for an instagrammable moment? Houston’s Biscuit Paint Wall is a popular mural photo destination located in the Montrose area of Houston—it even has its own hashtag #BiscuitPaintWall. Painted by French, Houston-based artist Sebastien “Mr. D” Boileau of Eyeful Design, the Biscuit Paint Wall debuted in 2014. The wall is accessible at all hours and located at 1435 Westheimer, Houston, TX 77006.
Located just 20 miles from downtown Houston, the Kemah Boardwalk offers 60-acres of fun for the entire family from fabulous waterfront restaurants with a variety of different cuisines to amusement rides, shopping, and events.
2. Hike a trail less traveled in the mile high city.
Denver, the capital of Colorado, is known for its park system, weather, and more. The city offers several hiking trails along scenic routes. Whether you are taking a solo trip to take in the beauty of Mills Lake or grabbing your friends to explore Bear Creek Trail, Denver offers a variety of things to see and do. We’ve pulled together a few spots to check out the next time you’re making your way through the mile high city, regardless if you’re a fan of mother nature or not.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Comprised of more than 415 square miles, Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most visited national parks in the country. Its majestic beauty is evidenced by its outdoor recreation, wildlife, and peaks offerings. Open 365 days, 24-hours a day, choose your own adventure any day throughout the year! The weather is known to change quickly and varies by elevation so visitors are encouraged to dress in layers, drink plenty of water, and pack a sense of adventure visiting the largest national park in Colorado.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is known as one of the world’s best concert venues thanks to its amazing acoustics and natural beauty. It’s a 15-mile drive from Denver and a must-see for Colorado residents and tourists alike. While there, you may also have the opportunity to take in a film, hike, dine, or just enjoy the history of this National Historic Landmark.
Denver Biscuit Company
What’s a good getaway without some grub? Denver Biscuit Company (DBC) owners Ashleigh and Drew Shader decided that Denverites deserved a true Southern breakfast when they opened their first DBC location in 2009. Today, they have three locations in Denver, one in Aurora, and one that just opened in Colorado Springs. It doesn’t matter which location you plan to go to as you’ll likely have to wait because the food is just that good. Come hungry with an appetite as the food is massive and delicious. And be sure to save room for their amazing Giant Biscuit Cinnamon Roll—we promise it’s worth every calorie.
3. Read a good book ... on a beach.
Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place to plop down on a towel, feel soft sand between your toes, and read whatever book is on your must-read list. The city, located on Florida’s southeastern coast, boasts beautiful beaches and boating canals. If you find yourself in “Laudy”, here are a couple quintessential things to do. And if you’re looking for even more ideas, check out some hidden gems from Southwest Employees who live and work in the area too.
Located 15 minutes from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, a once empty warehouse district is now thriving as FATVillage. FAT (Flagler + Arts + Technology) Village is downtown Fort Lauderdale's creative enclave home to art galleries, artist studios, and businesses. This new downtown hotspot is helping to sustain an artist community through its integration with artists and designers. The four block district also hosts an ArtWalk the last Saturday of every month (besides December) from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. showcasing new art exhibits, local artisans, a variety of food, and more.
Nicknamed the “millionaires’ mile,” Hillsboro Beach is officially known as the Town of Hillsboro Beach. The beachfront town is also home to the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse located on the north side of Hillsboro Inlet. The light marks the northern limit of the Florida Reef, an underwater coral formation on the lower east coast of the state.
Wilton Creamery is an upscale boutique ice cream shop located in the heart of Wilton Manors offering seasonal and rotating flavors—plus options for vegans and dogs. The four-year-old shop offers ice cream nachos, served with cinnamon chips and a variety of toppings. As their menu says, it may just make you question your lifetime of dessert choices!
4. Jet off to the "Hollywood of the South."
Discover what makes Atlanta a truly unique Southern city more than just being located in the Peach State and known as the state location with the most feature films produced. The city of Atlanta played an important role during the civil rights movement and today is also known as having one of the world’s busiest airports by passenger traffic. Make the most of your trip to Georgia by checking out a few can’t-miss Atlanta experiences.
Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park
Visit this family-friendly and free historic site to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In total, the historical site encompasses almost 35 acres and includes buildings such as his childhood home, Ebenezer Baptist Church, and "I Have a Dream" World Peace Rose Garden. Note: Dr. King’s Birth Home Tours are free, but limited to 15 people and filled on a first-come, first-served basis on the day of the tour. It’s recommended to visit early in the week (or Sunday morning) and early in the day to secure your spot. Annual events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January typically draw large crowds.
Georgia Aquarium is most known as home to more animals than any other aquarium. Located in downtown Atlanta, this aquarium has more than 10 million gallons of water for tens of thousands of animals. The largest exhibit holds more than six millions gallons of water and is home to four whale shakers, four manta rays, and other beautiful sea life. We recommend arriving early to beat the crowds and taking advantage of their Behind the Seas tour to get an exclusive look at their galleries and habitats. Tours are only $15 and run every half hour starting at 10:30 a.m.
Ponce City Market
Breathing new life into the historic Sears, Roebuck & Co., building, Ponce City Market is Atlanta’s premiere mixed-use development. At the heart of Ponce City Market is the marketplace itself which offers the most popular places to gather, eat, shop, and play. The rooftop—skyline park—is another main attraction which boasts a mini golf course, boardwalk-style games, and gorgeous views of the city. Admission to enter the roof and tower is $10 per person for adults and kids (over 12), $7 kids (12 and under), or free (kids under 3) and includes a wristband good for the entire day.
5. Take in the historic sites at our nation's capital.
Bordering Maryland and Virginia sits Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital and home to monuments, iconic museums, and eclectic neighborhoods. Thanks to convenient public transportation, spend a day or weekend getaway to explore all that one of the most visited cities in the world has to offer. See below to check out a few things to do while you’re here.
A popular and lively residential neighborhood, Dupont Circle is thriving with its dining and nightlife. The neighborhood encompasses bistros, bookstores, galleries, and is a gathering place thanks a unique fountain in the center of a traffic circle. Dupont Circle is located in the “Old City” of Washington, D.C. and its architecture includes many rowhouses primarily built before 1900. The area offers a little something for everyone and has been a vital DC community since the late 19th century, and continues to be a hot spot for residents and visitors of all ages.
This partially man-made reservoir is a focal point of the National Cherry Blossom Festival held each spring. Initially created to provide recreational space, the Tidal Basin is located between the Potomac River and the Washington Channel. Visitors are drawn to the area because of its beauty, especially during the cherry blossom season. Each year, people flock from all across the national to welcome spring and take in the beauty of more than 3,000 cherry trees. Take a stroll along the Tidal Basin and enjoy the breathtaking views of the trees and the city's most iconic landmarks.
The Lincoln Memorial is an essential part of any Washington, D.C. visit. This iconic landmark is a tribute to the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and was built to heal division caused by the Civil War. The Memorial is located on the National Mall, towers over the Reflecting Pool, and is an easy walk from other nearby monuments. Although the Memorial is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, it’s recommended to visit early in the morning or after dark when the Memorial is less crowded.
6. Eat some good Texas BBQ.
Howdy, and welcome to Texas! Austin, the state capital of Texas, is an incredible place to live, work, and play. The city is known for its many parks and lakes, culture and contemporary life, and live-music scene. There’s always something to see or do! Austin also offers amazing BBQ—get ready for some mouthwatering brisket. We’ve pulled together a few places to visit that solidify why this city has been named the No. 1 place to live in the United States for 2017 and 2018 by U.S. News & World Report.
This lunch-only BBQ spot is open at 11 a.m. six days a week (closed on Mondays). However, the line for brisket, pulled pork, and other smoked meats is known to start at 6:30 a.m. every morning without fail—with waits up to four hours or more—and lasts until the food runs out. Aaron Franklin started his joint in 2009 in a small trailer before opening a brick and mortar location in 2011. Today, Aaron has received countless accolades thanks to his incredible brisket and is known as one of the most influential pitmasters in the United States.
Barton Springs Pool
Often referred to as one of Austin’s crowned jewels, Barton Springs is a three acre outdoor swimming pool filled entirely with water from nearby natural springs. The Springs, located within Austin’s Zilker Park, are a popular venue and ideal for year-round swimming as they have an average temperature of 68-70 degrees. This iconic swimming hole is always at or near the top of lists of things to do in Austin so it’s no surprise that it attracts a diverse crowd of visitors every year.
Built in 1915, Paramount Theatre is Austin’s original performing arts venue. The Theatre hosts more than 200,000 audience members each year, 250+ performances a year, screens more than 100 movies, and hosts multiple iconic festivals in Austin throughout the year including SXSW and the Austin Film Festival. With its historic architecture, the Paramount remains the best venue in town to take in a classic movie, show, or concert.
7. Catch some thrills on a roller coaster at the theme park capital of the world.
We all know Disney has no age limit. Ride Thunder Mountain in Orlando and get ready for a lot of magic. Orlando, home to more than a dozen theme parks, is one of the world’s most visited family destinations. The city of Orlando offers many other activities for those looking to explore all of this, and much more.
Orlando Brewing Company
Orlando Brewing Company is Orlando’s only certified organic brewery and an oasis for local and beer-loving travelers alike. The micro-brewery features more than 24 brews on tap, free tours, and outdoor live music. Free brewery tours are offered from Monday to Saturday at 6 p.m. on a first come, first served basis. Note: there are no tours on the 30th of each month or special occasions like Oktoberfest. They also have a variety of other free events, from concerts to yoga sessions.
Disney Springs is a bigger and better version of the entertainment district once known as Downtown Disney. This favorite free local attraction in Orlando includes outdoor shopping, dining, and entertainment. The area is also known for live musical performances and free family activities. Self-parking in most lots and parking garages is complimentary. Take in the sights and sounds on a fun date night or make it an outing for the entire family.
East End Market
A trendy neighborhood market and food hub, East End Market offers a vast array of artisanal vendors from pasta makers to coffee roasters. The two-story structure houses dozens of merchants, a large event space, test kitchen, offices, retail, and more. Inspired by Central Florida’s local farmers and food artisans, there’s something for everyone here to enjoy. Guests can sit outside in a community space, take in live music, or hang out at the picnic tables and enjoy a treat.
Wanderlust is a staple of the traveling community—we hope Southwest’s low fares and route map inspire you to explore more this year!
For more 2019 travel inspiration and adventures, check out our Travel Inspiration Discussion Board, or share your ideas with other Community Members in the comments below.
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If Southwest wishes to remain open, honest, ethical, and customer friendly - THEN - ...the simplest thing to do is to PUBLISH THE VARIABLE EARLY BIRD PRICE FOR EVERY FLIGHT RIGHT NEXT TO THE BASE PRICE FOR THAT EXACT FLIGHT AND TIME Now it appears one must buy the ticket before finding out what the REAL price of the flight is. That's one reason this otherwise rational policy seems so devious and unfair. I have been flying SW for at least 30 years and have never seen a policy like this - that I can recall. SW did very well to keep from using assigned seats, etc, after TSA and others demanded more specific data, so they are good at simplifying things and keeping costs low But this policy and the way it has been enacted seem hidden, devious, tricky and very much NOT Southwest's typical ethical approach. Of course this will raise data processing costs, but that's the problem management must face if they want to remain ethical POST THE EXACT EARLY BIRD PRICE FOR EVERY FLIGHT RIGHT NEXT TO THE PRICE THAT'S THE ONLY FAIR THING TO DO
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I grew up in Omaha. I still have family there and go back to visit often. So great to see this article. The Omaha zoo is one of the hidden gems of the midwest. It's a great weekend trip for a family.
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I want to give a shout-out to Southwest Customer Service Agent Ed #35! I'm a patient at MDAnderson Cancer Center in Houston, and I travel there on Southwest every three weeks from my Milwaukee Home. Unexpectedly (and uncharacteristically), my doctors will finish with me early - and Ed saved the day by moving me to an earlier flight tonight at no extra charge. This isn't the first time Southwest has accommodated erratic treatment schedules that run long, get changed or act unpredictably in other ways. I can't say enough for your flexibility and understanding for those of us whose top priority is getting well. Thanks, Ed! Thanks Southwest! - Betsy B.
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“It’s so gratifying to make others smile. It shows me I’ve positively affected their day.” —Gary Wilson , Provisioning Agent
Photo by Mark Katzman
Gary Wilson promises that his job is one of Southwest Airlines’ best-kept secrets. As a Provisioning Agent in Orlando, Gary works behind the scenes to support our operation by stocking planes and ensuring Flight Attendants have what they need to provide exceptional Hospitality. Gary joined the Southwest Family 23 years ago, and he displays his Servant’s Heart every day—at work and in his personal life. While on the job, he does what he can to make everyone’s day a little brighter, whether that’s by saying hello to Pilots or making a Flight Attendant laugh. At home, Gary supports his church’s efforts to help the homeless community. Thank you, Gary, for bringing a ray of sunshine to those you serve!
—Ashley Frost, Communications & Outreach
We Are Family “It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes our entire community to make the Company work. No matter your title or position, it takes all of us.”
The Wheel Deal “Visit the Orlando Eye—it’s a big Ferris wheel. It takes you up so you can see the entire skyline for miles. It’s a beautiful view, especially at night.”
Labor of Love “If you enjoy what you do, it makes your job so much easier. My team has a blast laughing and being goofy.”
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Thank you for these tips. My memories of Cincinnati involve the zoo and the Reds. Perhaps the zoo is another spot that we touristas might want to visit. Cincinnatizoo.org. It was built in 1875 and I am so old, i feel like I visited in the 1890’s but it might have been later than that.
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“The biggest things I’ve learned here are patience and listening to people.”— Simon Cheung, Customer Service Agent Photo by Frank Rogozienski
After 23 years in the airline industry, Simon Cheung says his favorite part of the job is still the satisfaction of helping others get to their destination. When he started as a Customer Service Agent, his Fun-LUVing Attitude and Servant’s Heart immediately distinguished him as a Leader. Whether he’s playing detective to locate a lost item or helping a Customer get the best fare, Simon always delivers outstanding Hospitality. Outside of his work at San Diego International Airport, he volunteers as often as he can and recently participated in a Walk for Water in Mission Beach. We’re proud to recognize an individual who works tirelessly to put smiles on our Customers’ and Employees’ faces!
— Megan Jenkins, Communications & Outreach
Spooky Style “When I worked in Las Vegas, we decorated for Halloween and even won an award. Each gate was a different theme.”
Sweet Sale “During our 25-year anniversary sale, I helped a Passenger find $25 fares for six hours. She bought me a box of chocolates because we were together for so long.”
A Super Hobby “I enjoy reading comic books. I like both DC and Marvel—I love the X-Men comics.”
Golden State “The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is really cool to see. It was built in 1912 and goes across Kate Sessions Canyon. When you cross it, it shakes.”
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“Vacations are the best reward to rest, refocus, and refresh the body, soul, and mind.”
—Maryann Reyes Jackmon, Senior Director of External Relations, California State University Office of the Chancellor
Photo by Melissa Valladares
Whether it’s traveling for work, supporting her twins at their collegiate games, or enjoying a vacation booked with her Rapid Rewards points, you can always catch Maryann Reyes Jackmon flying Southwest. As the senior director of external relations at California State University, Maryann provides strategic leadership for the university’s system office, which oversees 23 campuses. Her role involves a lot of travel, so Maryann appreciates Southwest’s flexible policies. Maryann supports CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025, which focuses on closing achievement gaps, and, in honor of her parents, she launched the Gusmaro & Bernarda P. Reyes Scholarship to help students attend college. Thank you, Maryann, for your loyalty to Southwest and for making a difference.
—Kyndall Hinton, Communications & Outreach
Good Luck “Last fall, while boarding a flight in Las Vegas, I saw my cousin, a Southwest Flight Attendant from Chicago. Once we landed in Burbank, he joined my husband and me for a Cal Poly Pomona soccer game and he met my son, who plays for the team.”
Many Thanks “I carry Southwest’s ‘Kick Tail’ cards in my wallet and give them to Southwest representatives as a way to acknowledge them.”
See Sacramento “When in Sacramento, I recommend stopping at the Esquire Grill for a hot cappuccino, a hearty breakfast, or a delicious burger and fries.”
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Southwest now serves 100 destinations across the U.S. and 10 additional countries, so if you’re looking to get away, there are always places to go and experiences to be had! Nobody knows a city and its hidden gems better than the Employees who live and work there. Check out a few of our Employees' favorite places in the Milwaukee area and share your hidden gems in our comment section below!
Milwaukee Art Museum, Lake Michigan, Miller Park, Harley Davidson Museum, Veteran's Park, Wisconsin Dells, Summer Fest, Wisconsin State Fair, Basilica of St. Josaphat, Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear, Milwaukee Public Museum, Pabst Mansion, Great Lakes Distiller, Historic Third Ward, Milwaukee Public Market
Interested in sharing your travel inspiration? Leave a comment below or visit our Travel Inspiration Discussion Forum to share your knowledge with Southwest Customers.
Museums, Drives, and Strolls… Oh, My!
“Art, history and science museums are located around the World, but there is only one Harley-Davidson Museum. The museum has over 450 motorcycles and a courtyard that overlooks the river. Another unique museum in the area is the Milwaukee Art Museum where visitors can view 30,000 different works of art. With its permanent collections and rotating exhibits, there is always something new to see.
For a beautiful, scenic drive in the historic area of Milwaukee, drive along Harbor Drive just west of Summerfest grounds as far south as you can go and then head east past the lighthouse. From there, I recommend driving around the Marcus Amphitheater and parking and walking along the island east of the Summerfest Grounds. You can also access the island near the Discovery World Science and Technology Museum on the shore of Lake Michigan.
I also recommend strolling through the lobby of the Pfister Hotel and visiting the Federal Courthouse across the street.”
—MKE Customer Service Agent Traci Bradshaw
Spend some time strolling around Milwaukee to see some of the best views of Lake Michigan.
“There are countless restaurants to dine at around Milwaukee. Ma Fisher’s is a great place to eat at any hour on the east side of the city! If you’re looking for a more unique experience with a side of intrigue, try the SafeHouse. The SafeHouse is a thrilling spy-themed restaurant, bar, and nightclub and a must-do Milwaukee tradition! It’s a popular speakeasy that requires a password to get in. Also, rent a bike and ride along the lake front or rent a kayak and float on the water. Tours of Miller Park, the Milwaukee Public Market, and the Lake Front Brewery are also a few of my favorites in the area.”
—MKE Customer Service Supervisor Jessica Roskopf
A Romantic, Italian, Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant
Located only 10 minutes from Downtown Milwaukee, The Pasta Tree is an Italian restaurant with a romantic atmosphere. The owner, Suzette is also the head chef and passionate about her restaurant. All sauces, pasta, and bread are made fresh daily right in the restaurant’s small kitchen, which has an open view as you pass from one quaint dining room to the next.
—MKE Station Admin Ann Greco
Day Trips, Bars, and Stadiums
Downtown is the place to visit in Milwaukee. A lot of bars are around Water Street—Pourman's is a favorite of mine. Bugsy's Back Alley Speakeasy is also a really cool roaring 20s style place with swing dancing and fun happy hours. If you’re a sports fanatic, make sure to check out both Miller Park (Home of the Brewers) and Bradley Stadium where the Milaukee Bucks play! And lastly, if you’re looking for family friendly fun, check out the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, fly kites at Veteran’s Park by the lake, or drive to the Wisconsin Dells and spend the day at a water park!
—Visual Communications Specialist and Native Milwaukeean Dennis McMurray
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Southwest now serves 100 destinations across the U.S. and 10 additional countries, so if you’re looking to get away, there are always places to go and experiences to be had! Nobody knows a city and its hidden gems better than the Employees who live and work there. Check out a few of our Flight Ops Employees' favorite places in the Phoenix area and share your hidden gems in our comment section below!
Heard Museum, Desert Botanical Garden, Heritage Square, Phoenix Art Museum, South Mountain Park, North Mountain Preserve and Shaw Butte, Taliesin West, Mystery Castle, Papago Park
Interested in sharing your travel inspiration? Leave a comment below or visit our Travel Inspiration Discussion Forum to share your knowledge with Southwest Customers.
Dining in Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is a wonderful place for locals and tourists alike. There are wonderful, hard to find local restaurant gems like The House Brasserie, Cafe Monarch, and Virtu. There’s also a delicious favorite Italian restaurant in Phoenix, Italian Grotto, which has been in Scottsdale for 30 years and is run by a bunch of guys from Bronx, New York! If you’re looking for a wonderful dessert place, then head on over to Sugar Bowl. This old-style ice cream shop has been around since the 1950s and has even been featured in the cartoon strip Family Circus, as the cartoon’s creator—Bill Keane—used to bring his kids there! Old Town is a “can’t miss” for food and entertainment!
Fun in the Water
West Fork Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes on Earth. Not that I'm a huge hiker, it's just that this area is so scenic ... I love to share it with visitors. The West Fork Trail is in Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, Arizona—an easy two-hour drive north of Phoenix. The trail is an easy hike that crosses a stream at least 13 times as it winds through this wooded canyon. The canyon is surrounded by beautiful red rocks and red cliffs. The trail is dog friendly too. Our dogs absolutely love playing in the water. To quench your thirst after the hike, there are tons of outdoor breweries and wine bars a few miles down the road in Sedona.
—Todd Watts, Captain
Cool off from the desert heat at one of the lakes near Phoenix.
Hiking the Canyon
Two places that my entire family really enjoys here in Phoenix are Lake Pleasant and the Salt River. The biggest misconception about our desert is the lack of water, but Phoenix actually has four major lakes with plenty of water sports to enjoy. Living on the north side of Phoenix, we frequent Lake Pleasant nearly every week during the summer. It has two large marinas and two restaurants where you can dock your boat. It has house boat rentals, jet skis, fishing guides, and booze cruises on a nightly basis. Lake Pleasant also has a biology and ecology center for our local elementary schools to explore.
Another fantastic summer tradition is floating down the Salt River on tubes. All you do is take in the sun, enjoy the cool water, and float for several hours with family and friends down the river. It’s always a great time and is very relaxing. Those are just a couple of fantastic summer gems we have here in beautiful Phoenix.
—Nancy Martin Belitz, Captain
Engaging with Nature
A great family outing in the East Valley is a trip to the Riparian Reserve located behind the Southeast Regional library on the SE corner on Greenfield and Guadalupe. The Riparian Reserve is an urban recreational oasis with nearly 200 bird species, rabbits, owls, and ducks that have nested in a maze of hiking trails that navigate across its seven lagoons and scenic water streams. It's a great place to have a family picnic or fish in the stocked lake. Also located in the Reserve is an observatory that offers star and planet gazing on certain nights of the month. Entrance is free!
—Todd Tofaute, Captain
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“I don’t think of being a Southwest Flight Attendant as a job—it’s more of a calling.” —Irene Billingslea, Flight Attendant
Photo by Harold Daniels
As a seasoned airline professional and businesswoman, Irene Billingslea enjoys serving others in all facets of her life. Whether she’s assisting Passengers, helping fellow Flight Attendants, or educating women about the importance of home ownership through volunteer work, Irene is front and center doing her part for Southwest Airlines and her community. She likes to find the humor in life, and with her stage set at 30,000 feet with an airplane full of loyal fans, all you need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. Southwest is proud to recognize Irene for sharing her Fun-LUVing Attitude and Servant’s Heart on and off the aircraft.
—Cindy Hermosillo, Communication & Outreach
Giving Back “As a licensed real estate broker, I volunteer with Women’s Entrepreneurial Opportunity Project. My goal is to teach women about the importance of credit awareness and home ownership.”
Hit Refresh “I enjoy being an Employee of such an awesome Company where every day brings something new.”
Picture Perfect “I’ve been taking photos for over 20 years. I especially enjoy capturing the special moments and statements made at fashion events.”
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The following blog post was co-written by Debbie Wafford and Stephen Keller.
This year, Southwest Airlines celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Medical Transportation Grant Program by donating 10,000 roundtrip flights. This is how two of the 10,000 were used.
Wrenn received a double lung transplant as an infant. Ever since, she and her mom, Nicole, have traveled from her home in Orlando to St. Louis Children’s Hospital every six months. Now six years old, Wrenn has a sense of adventure, a passion for playing, and a dream of becoming a pilot.
Wrenn’s mom, Nicole, is especially thankful for our incredible Employees who go above and beyond to ensure Wrenn’s safety during their travels with us.
We’re honored to be a part of Wrenn’s story and be able to lessen the financial burden of serious illness.
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The Resilient Communities Impact Program is a whole-community effort, engaging local changemakers to take individual and collective action to ensure all neighborhoods are thriving places of opportunity.
By working collaboratively, Southwest, nonprofit organization Points of Light, and other local partners seek to strengthen cross-sector participation and connections, instill a greater sense of identity and pride, and increase the quality of life and support the livelihoods of residents. Projects are underway in three Southwest markets—Atlanta, Chicago, and Phoenix. Let’s hear from our PHX Southwest Coheart, Steve Land, Ground Operations – Provisioning Operations Manager, about his personal connection, involvement, and perspective about the Southwest Resilient Communities commitment to the Park South community.
I am thankful for our involvement in the Phoenix Park South community and am excited to be part of the project. This community is near and dear to my heart. Park South is the community that raised me and nurtured me throughout my youth. My family has been rooted there for decades and it is still home to my beloved parents, my Aunt, and other family members. The rich history of the neighborhood and dedication of its citizens makes a positive impact and helps strengthen the south Phoenix community.
When I learned that Southwest was teaming up with Points of Light and HandsOn Greater Phoenix for the Resilient Communities Initiative, I couldn’t wait to volunteer my time and put my heart in action. While Southwest Warriors have been doing great things in the Phoenix community for years, this new project in Park South is a great way for us to show off our Heart and serve alongside organizations who are all committed to strengthening our local communities. We have an opportunity to be part of something powerful that will make a strong impact and create meaningful change, not only in south Phoenix, but also in other communities throughout the country.
After attending community planning meetings and learning more about what we would collectively work to achieve, I couldn’t help but think of the many deserving residents. I know that this effort will rejuvenate their sense of ownership and pride, both of which have been lacking in the neighborhood for quite some time.
I am a product of this community and someone who visits family there almost weekly. I know the potential, the pride, and the resilience of the folks in Park South. This area was once a thriving, safe, and energetic subdivision of middle class families, high performing schools, and active youth programs. As a matter of fact, historically Park South was one of the first middle class subdivisions within the state of Arizona that was primarily African American. My parents purchased their first home here in the late 1960s and still call Park South home as do many other original homeowners and their descendants. They still hold on to hope, and they remain optimistic for what once was and what could be once more. During our first Resilient Communities project in late October, as I volunteered alongside many of my Cohearts, I was able to connect with and reunite with many residents who maintain the legacy of their family and remain dedicated to this area. Talk about making giving back personal…..this project really hits the mark for me!
I am so thankful to work for a Company that takes pride in providing quality service to our Customers, but more importantly, a Company that takes just as much pride in giving back to those very same communities. Thank you Southwest for providing an opportunity for me to put my HEART in action!
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Hi @Kokopena! Thank you for your excitement about the program and the products! Products from Looptworks (an existing partner from our initial pilot of Repurpose with Purpose) are currently for sale on https://www.looptworks.com/. Additionally, we hope to have some products available from these new collaborations for sale or pre-order before the end of the year, and the rest into 2018. We will announce the details for sales as soon as they are available.
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