Allen Park — Detroit Lions fans have a knack for traveling well. Wherever the team goes, whether it's a divisional matchup or a trip south to warm weather destination to escape in the throes of a wet and gloomy late November Michigan weekend, there is often a sizable presence of Honolulu blue-clad supporters.
With that in mind, we thought it might be fun to get some recommendations from Lions coaches and players who are familiar with the places the team will play this season.
The Lions open up the season in Arizona against the Cardinals this weekend, so we start this series with linebacker Devon Kennard, who was born in Tempe and played high school football at Desert Vista high school in Phoenix.
WHERE TO EAT: "If you’re in the Scottsdale area and you like soul food, you’ve got to check out Lo-Lo's Chicken & Waffles. Obviously, the main thing is the chicken and waffles, but they’ve got good greens, good mac n’ cheese. That’s one of my go-tos.
"If you like a good steak house, Mastro's is awesome. You can’t go wrong there."
WHAT TO DO: "You can’t go to Arizona without hiking. There’s obviously Camelback, as well as several others around town. Camelback is tough. Make sure you bring some water, because it’s going to be hot. People get stuck up there. If you’re not in good shape, don’t try that."
Kennard is right. It's going to be a scorcher this weekend. The current forecast projects a high of 108 degrees on Saturday. The Echo Canyon trail is a steep 1,264-foot climb over 2.3 miles. At a good pace, it should take approximately two hours to complete.
WRITER RECOMMENDATIONS: I probably won't include my opinions each week, because I haven't been to every city the Lions visit this year, but work has taken me to Phoenix several times in recent years.
As for restaurants, chef Chris Bianco has two great establishments, starting with Pizzeria Bianco, where you can get incredible wood fire pizza made with fresh ingredients. Chris Bianco's Tratto, offers upscale Italian with a rotating menu.
Just know, you'll face long waits at both places.
As for things to do, I really enjoyed the Musical Instrument Museum on the north side of town. It has more than 7,000 instruments organized by country.