Last week David and I road tripped to Scottsdale, Arizona to visit close friends from high school, Clay and Adriane, and explore a bit of the state for the first time. When I announced our road trip on Instagram, I was amazed by how many of you grew up in/live in/or just love Scottsdale and a flood of recommendations came pouring into my Instagram DMs. Thank you for all of your recommendations and I’ve shared the list at the bottom of this post.
It’s amazing how the landscape changed right as we drove over the state line from California into Arizona, trading joshua trees for saguaro cacti. After a very long day of driving, we arrived in Scottsdale right as the sun was setting and painting the surrounding rock formations a gentle lavender hue – a gorgeous greeting from this adorable town.
In short, we loved Arizona. While in Scottsdale we split our time between our friend’s apartment and the new Scott Resort and Spa. We stayed at The Scott’s sister resort, Hotel Carmel, two summers ago and loved the laid-back California vibe, so when they invited us to their newest property in Scottsdale, we jumped at the chance. The Scott’s recent renovation transformed the space into a light and plant-filled haven inspired by the Bauhaus design movement of the 1920’s, creating a lush desert oasis just a short walk from old town Scottsdale. They also had a marvelous restaurant on site called The Canal Club, which serves Cuban/New American food in a swank space with vintage decor, and my favorite cocktail of the trip: the Salt River Society.
Whether taking advantage of the hotel’s free bikes or walking over during sunset, we loved popping by old town to explore the boot selection at western-wear stores such as Saba, peruse vintage decor finds at Piece and Story’s antique shop, and grab an ice cream at Sugar Bowl, a throwback 1950’s ice cream parlor. Aside from soaking up the sun by the pool our favorite outing was a visit the Desert Botanical Garden, which happened to be in full bloom while we were there. The saguaro cacti are always impressive but the garden took on an other-worldly Dr. Seussian feel as wildflowers, trees and cacti bloomed before our eyes. Just be sure to visit in the morning to avoid the midday sun as there is little cover throughout the garden, and make your way to the butterfly exhibit towards the back of the property. We also had the chance to grab a drink in neighboring Paradise Valley with our friend Kirsten, who has an awesome podcast called The Home Hour which you can listen to here.
While we didn’t have time to try everything on our list, here’s a compilation of the most-recommended places from my Instagram community. (Thank you to everyone who shared your favorites with us!) Food: Postino’s Wine Cafe, Culinary Dropout, atypical Mexican food at La Santisima Taco Shop, dinner at El Chorro, The Henry, breakfast at Snooze, happy hour at Coachman Inn, The Montauk, and a nightcap at Second Story Whiskey Bar. Activities: a morning hot air ballon ride over Phoenix and the desert, hiking Camelback Mountain, and Cloth and Flame pop-up dinners in the desert!
We loved our first visit to Scottsdale and know we’ll be back to check out all the restaurants and activities we couldn’t fit in on our first trip. We were guests of The Scott Resort and Spa but all opinions are my own.
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All photos by David and Stacie Flinner for stacieflinner.com