We ask some of the PHX East Valley’s most innovative and forward-thinking leaders to share their favorite spots from their cities and towns. Here are some of the cannot-miss hidden gems in the East Valley.

DEEPER DIVE: Creekside Cabins, Tavern and Tours is a hidden gem in Payson

Ginny Dickey, mayor, Fountain Hills

“A new Fountain Hills shop that doubles as entertainment is Atticus Books and Music located at Plaza Fountainside. Wander into browse the shelves, order whatever you need and enjoy the view. Stay to flip through the albums that evoke instant nostalgia, check out the posters and chat with the owner and staff. Get your book, then grab a sandwich, and sit on a bench as the Famous Fountain marks the hour!”  

Corey Woods, mayor, Tempe

“My hidden gem is The Salted Knot.  A delicious baked pretzel from owners and Tempe residents Chad and Maria that I always get at festivals and street fairs like Tempe Festival of the Arts and 2nd Sundays on Mill. Learn more about it at thesaltedknotaz.com.”

Brigette Peterson , mayor, Gilbert

“A hidden gem I love in Gilbert is the Riparian Preserve! It’s located behind the Southeast Regional Library at Greenfield and Guadalupe. This beautiful and peaceful location provides the perfect spot to enjoy nature whether you’re walking alone, with your family or with your dog. The Riparian is home to many types of birds that visitors can see and feed, plus turtles, rabbits and squirrels to watch and fish to catch (and release).”

John Giles, mayor, Mesa

“Hope’s Frybread. Hope learned how to make Navajo tacos and frybread, and she was exceptionally good at it. And one thing led to another, and she’s now opened a very authentic Navajo taco, brick and mortar restaurant on Mesa Drive, just south of Main Street. And it’s delicious!”