If you didn't have a reason to visit beautiful Arizona already, I'm gonna give you about 50 reasons you SHOULD! I grew up in small town Michigan and ventured my way to the west coast (AZ) on vacation a few years back. I fell so madly in love with all the beauty that Arizona had to offer I picked up and moved here a few months after my trip.
From beautiful views and aesthetic to healthy eats, mountains everywhere you look, more places to hike than you can think of, dog friendly everything, the best gyms ever and so much more. Explore why you should visit Arizona below.
(this post highlights Scottsdale, AZ and surrounding areas - if you are looking for a Sedona or Northern Arizona Guide click HERE!)
OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE
Zinque Prep&Pastry Wine Girl
Old Town is a very popular tourist destination. Old Town offers shops, eats, stays, hikes, views, sporting events and more. This is where the famous Old Town clubs are located but there is also fashion square mall, the canal to walk through, shops to explore, unique restaurants, mountains to hike and so much more. Definitely visit Old Town while in Arizona!
Breakfast / Brunch:
Prep and Pastry - Right next to the canal in Old Town Scottsdale. Yummy food, drinks and pastries. Grab a bite and walk around Old Town after! Walking distance to everything.
The Henry - Pictured above. My absolute favorite breakfast place and coffee bar. You can do brunch but its a bit more low key than old town. Just outside of old town and worth the drive. I love the Cleo coffee and the grapefruit mimosa.
Hash Kitchen - Super fun brunch place for parties or a big brunch. They have mimosa flights and a Bloody Mary bar! Live DJ on the weekends so its basically like a party in a restaurant!
Wine Girl - More for after brunch or mid day but A MUST. The cutest boho wine bar you've ever seen. The food is also shockingly amazing. They have small plates that are drool worthy. An absolute must for any girls trips!! Rope swings and Bali vibes.
Farm and Craft - A great place to grab mimosa with the girls or lunch and dinner honestly. Amazing kombucha cocktails and a health conscious menu! My go to place since I've been in AZ.
The Montauk - Love the vibes here for brunch. They usually have live music and a packed patio. The greyhound is to. die. for. You feel like you're in a little Hampton escape on the inside. You can also go here for dinner!
Toca Madera $$$ - The ultaminte place to go. I mean, I don't think I've ever been to a restruatn this cool. Go at night and make sure to book your reservation months in advance. At night, the lights are basically off with a few accent lights to make the mood, the music is very up beat and makes you feel like you're in a club but also in the jungle at the same time, if that make sense LOL. On the weekend they have fire dancers while you eat. The food is good and drinks come on FIAAA! highly recommend.
Olive and Ivy $$ - Right on the water in Old town next to the canal. Beautiful patio and highly frequented. A very popular place! Make sure to grab a reservation before you go. You can go for brunch or dinner.
The Herb Box $ - Delicious food and in a great location, right in old town. Love their outdoor patio! Highly recommend the salmon.
Sumo Maya $$ - Sushiiiiiii! Sumo Maya has up beat music and dimmed down lights. Perfect for date night, happy hour, brunch, bach parties and really anything! Fun drinks and delicious food.
Maple and Ash $$$- Love maple and ash for brunch or a fancy dinner! Perfect for a celebration or fancy date night. Make sure to get a reservation!
Citizen's Public House $$ - You know those meals when after every bite and think "this is so good"? Yeah, thats this place for me. So dang good. Plus they have a speakeasy upstairs if you can find the hidden door! We like to go up and grab a drink after dinner.
Different Pointe Of View $$$ - An absolutely breathtaking view of the Valley and perfect for sunset. Located in Phoenix up in a Hilton Hotel. Make a reservation and make sure you get outside! (pictured below)
Juice Core - Fresh pressed juices, smoothies and treats!
Berdenas - My personal favorite coffee shop! Located in Old Town. They have the best avocado toast too!
Four Till Four - super cute outdoor coffee bar. Love their oat milk latte!
Sip Coffee & Beer Garden - great place to work or grab a coffee with a friend. Located in Old Town
Schmooze - Schmooze is the perfect work spot. They have a bar also so you can choose your poison ;). Tranquil outdoor patio with running water and lots of greenery.
Alien donuts - the cutest donut shop with your classic donuts. Vegan and gluten free avialibe! Located in the heart of Old Town by all the shops. Perfect for kids or ordering in bulk!
Sweet Dees Bakeshop - Sweet Dees has the cutest hand crafted pastries.
Camelback Mountain Papago Park Toms Thumb
Camelback Mountain - The most famous hike in the Valley! There is an "easy" side and a "hard" side. The Cholla trail is a bit easier but a bit longer. Recommended for beginners. The Echo Canyon trail is quite difficult, but doable. You will be climbing large rocks and have a steep hike on the way up. Make sure you get up and hike early! It gets busy and HOT. Plan for 2-3 hours for this one.
Tom's Thumb - This is the most difficult hike in the Valley, in my opinion. (that I've done) but its fun and worth it!!! Your legs will just be BURNIN' but the views at the top are pretty cool. Takes maybe 3 hours or less.
Papago Park - Easy, fun and you can really hike anywhere around the park! We love going for sunset. Beginner level hiking and perfect for kids. You can spend an hour here and see everything.
Hole in Rock - right across the street from Papago Park by the zoo. A very short easy hike that takes less than 5 minutes to get to the hole. Perfect for kids and a view! Most people spend 10-20 minutes admiring the views.
Piestewa peak - A stair stepper to the top of the Valley! Great hike and not that difficult. The views are incredible at the top. I would estimate 2 hours or less up and back.
NORTH SCOTTSDALE (KIERLAND/QUARTER)
True Food Volanti Keirland @ Night
North Scottsdale is such a beautiful place with so much to admire. Kierland and the Scottsdale Quarter are huge tourist attractions. They are right across the street from each other so you can knock them both out in a day. Perfect to bring your kids along too, there is a splash pad in the middle kids play in all day long. Lots of restaurants and places to shop also. Make sure to check it out at night to see all of the palm trees lit.
True Food - My go to for lunch and dinner when up North. If you're into healthy food you'll love this one. If you're not, maybe skip it and try some below ;)
Volanti at the Scottsdale Airport - One of my favorite places for a low key brunch. They have live music on Sundays and surrounding views of mountains while private jets take off by the minute.
North Italia - Italian food with a healthy twist! I love this place because they have so many healthy options on the menu and everything is just delicious. Try the meatballs!
Culinary Dropout - FOR A GOOD TIME! I love this place. Yummy food and drinks and they have games like corn hole and foosball where you can stand around and hang with your friends while playing games, eating and drinking!
SOL - Yummy Mexican food that everybody love! I have yet to go but I've heard nothing but great things.
Tocaya Organica - Delicious and healthy Mexican food that is a little faster than a restaurant. The menu is all VEGAN but you can add meat onto any meal! Delicious and perfect for a quick lunch.
OBON Sushi Bar - Great sushi and a great happy hour! Located inside Kierland so you can shop all day and top for some sushi after!
GYMS / STUDIOS
FRAME in Tempe - love this group class that focuses on strength conditioning. You can go at any level here, from beginner to advanced. Get your first week free! by signing up on their website.
BODI in Old Town - The BEST full body workout. They have strength and sweat classes. I myself prefer strength. Get your first class free and sign up early because they book up quick!
The Madison Spin (many locations) - Check out the Scottsdale location and see my girl Kenzie! If you're into the bachelor, the famous Demar also is an instructor here!
F45 Scottsdale Old Town - My favorite F45 of all becuase of the energy and community! Right in old town walking distance and near everything.
Radi8 Hot Yoga - For the Yogi's who are up for a challenge. The hottest yoga you'll ever take but also the best, ever. Thank me later ;)
Yoga6 in Gainy Village - They offer different classes for different needs! First class is FREE
OTHER THINGS TO DO:
Shop at Fashion Square
Get a Facial with the lovely Kimber at Evolve Skin Bar
IV Drips and Ayurvedic Services at Second Nature Clinic
Rent a boat at a nearby lake
Check out the Dessert Botanical Gardens
Golfing at any of the beautiful courses
Walk Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Clubs & Bars
Rent a pool pass at a Resort - I love The Scott (pictured below), Andaz, Mountain Showdows, Hotel Adeline, The Princess, JW Marriot Dessert Ridge, The Saguaro
I hope you enjoy your vacation in beautiful Arizona and I hope this was helpful for you to find some things to do! If you didn't already have a reason to visit, I hope you do now.
Cheers! Xo - Taryn