Have you ever been to Scottsdale, Arizona? I feel like I’m one of the few that hadn’t had the pleasure of exploring this amazing city. I recently went there with my bestie (which happens to be her hometown,) and got a chance to explore some of the sights, sounds, and seriously delicious food.
As luck would have it, we were in Scottsdale the same weekend as the Phoenix Open. This worried me at first, thinking the city would be overcrowded and we would be stuck waiting hours for a table at restaurants. To my surprise, we didn’t have to wait for a table anywhere. Not only that, but the people working at the boutiques, restaurants, and other establishments were some of the friendliest I’ve ever met! I was lucky to have the expertise of a native Arizonan and her kind family to hit some major highlights in such a short weekend, so I want to share them with you in case you get to explore the city for a weekend, too!
- First up, HIKING. The desert in February is perfect hiking weather. It was warm and sunny, but not hot and with a cool breeze. The Phoenix/Scottsdale area has amazing hiking opportunities. In fact, they have the largest urban trail system in the country! We started at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Granite Mountain Trailhead, which is a “large, permanently protected, sustainable desert habitat that includes an interconnected network of non-motorized, multi-use trails (hike/bike/horse) accessed from multiple trailhead locations.” We saw people on horses, cyclists, and people walking their dogs. It’s a gorgeous way to see the desert firsthand and get to know the different kinds of cactus and desert plants there. For example, I had no idea those large cacti with goal-post like arms are called “saguaro”. If you love being outdoors, I’m told Scottsdale is the place to be…especially during the winter and spring months.
- Second, FOOD. Who doesn’t love delicious food that is also super healthy? I was excited to learn Scottsdale has healthy eating options at every place we went. Vegetarians and vegans, rejoice! The only place we really indulged like crazy was the Four Seasons Scottsdale Talavera restaurant. My favorites? Lobster Mac and Cheese and Roasted Vegetables. Oh, and some kind of delicious (pretzel?) bread served in mini skillets. The view at the restaurant and on their patio is stunning…perfect for watching the sun set. If you want to get a little fancy, this is your place.
Farm & Craft in Old Town Scottsdale has a healthy and sustainable “Wellness-Menu” featuring 4 paths to optimal health, including an ‘Anti-inflammatory diet’, ‘Increasing probiotic levels’, ‘Maintaining high level of anti-oxidants’ and ‘Reducing your overall stress’. They serve sustainable, gluten-free, organic, and hormone-free ingredients. You can chill at the outdoor bar where they have organic spirits like “Cold Pressed Cocktails”, cold pressed juices, pressed juices, and “Kombucha Drinks”. This was a fun nightlife spot. The patio is a great place for people watching, and you HAVE to order the Avocado Lime Hummus. It rocked my world.
Next up was The Herb Box in the DC Ranch area of North Scottsdale. (They also have one in Old Town.) This area has really cute boutiques, a grocery store, outdoor play areas, and things like hair salons and real estate offices. It has a hip, cool vibe, and The Herb Box was delicious! We went there for brunch, where I had Butternut Squash and Corn Enchiladas. Their Red Velvet Pancakes and Avocado Toast looked incredible, too. They have a large patio, which is perfect for sitting outdoors in the sun with a group of girlfriends.
If you need a healthy start to your day, try Kale & Clover. I had life-changing fresh squeezed orange juice here! They have smoothies called Banana Bread and Super Fruit, or get a cold pressed juice to go with your sweet potato pancakes. I loved this little stop because it’s inexpensive and simple. It’s a pop in and out kind of place.
Lastly, give The Living Room a try. This place is super cool. It has gorgeous chandeliers hanging from the bar, live musicians out on the patio singing acoustic versions of Top 40 hits, and a shareable menu. I ate one of their yummy flatbread pizzas and a Super Food Salad that was one of the very best salads I’ve ever had. This is an ideal happy hour place or brunch spot on the weekend. Another open-air restaurant so you can enjoy the sun and breeze.
3. Shopping!!! Here my picks:
The Biltmore Fashion Park: This is an open-air shopping center including Macy’s, Apple Store, Pottery Barn, Saks Fifth Avenue, Seasons 52 and more.
Kierland Commons: It’s as much fun to stroll through here as it is to actually shop in the stores. There are several high end shops here and plenty of free parking. They have a killer Anthropologie, bluemercury, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor.
Scottsdale Fashion Square: It’s one of the largest shopping malls in the Southwest. Need I say more? (Burberry, Juicy Couture, Gucci, Max Mara, Anthropologie, BCBG Max Azria, and Sephora…and SO much more.)
I could go on and on and on about how much I fell in love with Scottsdale, but I hope you get the chance to check it out for yourself. Please send me your recommendations if you know the area so I can check them out when I go back for a visit!