If you’ve visited Phoenix you have most likely seen the Wedding Cake Castle. The landmark in Phoenix is shaped like a tiered wedding cake. Built in 1929 it sits on a hill with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.
The renovations to the building and gardens took years, and it has been a popular attraction since it opened in 2012.
I watched as the building and grounds were renovated and was super excited when Tovrea Castle opened for tours. I purchased tickets and then mindlessly didn’t save the date in my calendar, so on the day of the tour I remembered but I didn’t have enough time to make it there for the tour.
Fast forward to the future when Tovrea Castle started using a lottery system to purchase tour tickets. I entered this multiple times and unfortunately was not picked. Suffice to say this tour has been on my bucket list for quite awhile.
On a Monday I decided to check to see if the next group of lottery system dates were open and was pleasantly surprised to see they had a few last minute tickets for the upcoming weekend so I bought two and checked a visit to Tovrea Castle off my Arizona bucket list.
A Tour of Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights
A docent led tour will begin just outside the Visitor Center. You’ll check-in and then via a golf cart are transported to the front door of the castle where you hear a little about the background of how Tovrea Castle came to be.
Mr. Carraro made his wealth from the sheet metal business. He purchased a few hundred acres of land in Arizona with the intent of building a boutique hotel and then using the remaining land to build a community of homes.
The castle took fifteen years to build. It was constructed from 1928 to 1930. Unfortunately Carraro’s dream didn’t materialize. The stock market crashed in 1929 and people were not spending money on resorts, so he sold the property in 1931 by means of silent auction.
Interestingly, his neighbor E.A. Tovrea who owned the stockyards butting up to the property won the auction. He and his family moved into the home in 1931. Mr. Tovrea died 9 months later and his wife stayed living in the home until 1969.
Inside Tovrea Castle
Inside Tovrea Castle you will tour the basement and main floor. Two tours can run concurrently. Our group had five people and started our tour in the basement.
The Gardens & Grounds
After touring the castle you’ll board your golf cart and take a tour of the grounds. Tovrea’s cactus garden and castle encompasses 44 acres. Interestingly they hired a Russian “cactus expert landscaper” and all of the desert plants died with the exception of the native plants.
How to Get to Tovrea Castle
The Tovrea Castle entrance is on the south side of Van Buren Street in Phoenix and the west side of Loop 202. Take exit 4 on Loop 202.
Address: 5041 E. Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona
How to Purchase Tickets
The only way to see Castle is to take the guided tour. You’ll have to add your name to the lottery. Website: Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights