PHX Layover Recommendation?
Hi PHX chowhounders! My wife and I have a 5-hour layover at Sky Harbor on our way between Vancouver and Mexico. Can anyone recommend a place we could get to easily from the airport that would be a fun lunch spot? I'm guessing best transportation bet would be Valley Metro light rail, so I'd think either downtown Tempe or Phoenix would work, not sure where else is a possibility. Headed to Mexico, so probably don't need Mexican food recs, but open to anything else good and especially local. Needs to be open mid-day. Help!
Hey, sorry about the late response -- I wanted to thank everyone for the great ideas, we ended up with plenty of time and super nice weather, so rode the rail downtown and had a good lunch at Blue Hound followed by a beer and a nice walk around the neighborhood. Not a bad way to spend a layover at all!
Thanks for the recs, everyone! I'm happy to hear the options at the airport have improved, maybe 10 years ago I was flying through PHX like once a week and the pickings were slim to say the least! We'll definitely look to get outside, but nice to know on our shorter layover on the return there are some nice options.
Arriving from YVR, you'll have pre-cleared US Customs. That will save some time, but you'll still want to leave two hours to check in and clear security for your second flight to Mexico City. Right now, taking light rail between the airport terminal and Downtown will take 45 minutes in each direction due to the need to connect via the airport buses. That will change later this year when the Airport's own internal train with a direct connection to light rail opens. If your trip is several months in the future, you may be able to benefit from that option and reduce your travel time between the Airport and Downtown to under 30 minutes.
Given these circumstances, you'll probably have 90 minutes for a meal if you take the train Downtown. Blue Hound, as recommended above, would be a fine option, as would two of Phoenix's best regarded restaurants, Nobuo at Teeter House and Pizzeria Bianco. Both are just a few blocks from the 3rd Street stations.
If you'd prefer a short cab ride to a restaurant, I'd suggest the Stockyards, a classic steakhouse with a bit of Phoenix history on the side. It's located quite close to the Airport.
As mentioned above, the Airport's own dining options have been greatly improved over the past year with many local favorites having opened second locations within Terminal 4.
Take a cab to Quiessence.
It's less than 10 miles from the airport (probably closer to 6) and the cab fare should be fairly reasonable (e.g. 20 before tax).
The light rail is not really a good solution for ingress/egress to Sky Harbor as there is not a direct drop, you have to pickup a bus to get to the airport (or a bus from the airport to the nearest light rail stop).