Weekend Wanderings: Scottsdale, Arizona Guides
Scottsdale: A Luxe Oasis Surrounded by Dessert
We have been visiting Scottsdale, Arizona since we met. And it's one of our favorite places to spend a relaxing long weekend. Yes it's hot, but what better way to spend a weekend than laying by the pool with a cocktail in hand? Scottsdale is known as Arizona’s luxury watering hole. It's quickly become an oasis of Sonoran mountainside resorts offering, outdoor activities, lavish shopping and an incredible food scene. And Scottsdale has nearly 300 sunny days a year!
How to get there: Most airlines fly in to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport but low cost airline Allegiant does utilize the Mesa-Gateway Airport on the Southeast side of the Phoenix Metropolitan area. Scottsdale is spread out and about 10 miles from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. While we normally take public transportation on our weekend trips, Scottsdale is the one exception and we recommend renting a car. Rental cars at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport are off site and you'll need to take a shuttle bus from the terminal to the rental car garage. We recommend giving SilverCar a try. What better way to visit luxe Scottsdale than driving around in an Audi A4?
Where to stay: Scottsdale is filled with amazing resorts. We've stayed at several resorts in the Scottsdale area and have enjoyed all of them. On our most recent stay, we stayed at the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa (see our complete review). It was probably one of our favorite resorts we've been to thus far. When you check in to the Andaz Scottsdale you won't find a front desk. Guests check in via an iPad while relaxing on a couch in the lobby drinking a glass of complimentary wine or iced tea. You'll also find a complimentary minibar at the Andaz Scottsdale (soft drinks, water and snacks - alcohol is extra). The main pool (the Turquoise Pool) offers complimentary daily delighters (a spiked frozen treat or drink) each day at 11:45 AM. And if you don't want to drive into Old Town Scottsdale (about a 2 mile drive), the hotel has a chauffeured Tesla which will run you into town!
Another one of our favorite Scottsdale Resorts is the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Nestled at the base of breathtaking Camelback Mountain, in the exclusive enclave of Paradise Valley, Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia is an intimate oasis inspired by the exotic locale of Spain's Andalusia region.
Where to get coffee: Scottsdale is no Seattle or Portland in terms of coffee, but there are still several great coffee shops where you can get a delicious iced latte to help you cool off on those hot summer days. Our three favorite coffee shops include Press Coffee Roasters, Altitude Coffee Lab and the Cartel Coffee Lab.
Press Coffee Roasters was rated the best coffee roaster in the Phoenix area by the Phoenix New Times in 2015 and 2016. They normally offer two different types of espresso and you can pick which espresso you want your drink made with. Definitely a great coffee experience, so we highly recommend making the drive up Scottsdale Road for a stop at Press Coffee Roasters. And while you are up there, be sure to take a lap around Scottsdale Quarter, a beautiful outdoor mall featuring dozens of shops and restaurants.
And if you make it to the Cartel Coffee Lab, while they doesn’t serve actual food, they do have delicious pastries and we might have indulged in a homemade poptart, and trust us, they are worth a cheat day! So delicious.
Where to eat: Scottsdale is a foodies paradise. There are so many delicious restaurants and gastropubs.
While we have our usual spots that we always visit each time we spend a weekend in Scottsdale, on this trip we added a new place to our favorite list. After a morning hike, we decided to stop by Farm & Craft for a healthy breakfast and it completely hit the spot. Farm & Craft is focused on healthy and sustainable food in a community-style atmosphere. Think modern farm with a contemporary twist. F&C boasts a seasonal “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’. Yes, the food was delicious (the breakfast burrito was to die for). And they scored a few extra points with us for having Kombucha on tap! Farm & Craft also had sandwiches, salads and wraps for lunch and dinner.
If you're looking for somewhere to grab a bite for lunch, we would definitely recommend Olive & Ivy. Olive & Ivy which has a location near the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall is a restaurant & bar serving Californian-Mediterranean fare in a stylish, bustling quarters with a patio. Olive & Ivy offers small plates, flatbreads, bruschetta and pastas, alongside an extensive wine list and craft-cocktail menu.
For dinner, we really enjoy a visit to the Old Town Tortilla Factory in Old Town Scottsdale. With an incredible 1400 square foot patio, the food at Old Town Tortilla Factory is Southwestern with a Mexican twist. The restaurant has that intimate feel making it perfect for a date night!
If you want something quick, Scottsdale has two Shake Shack locations(one of our indulgences on our weekend trips since we don't have any in Idaho). Shack Shack has been serving up their delicious burgers and shakes since 2004. The fast food chain started in New York City and now has over 130 locations including the two in Scottsdale. You'll often find a line around the corner at Shake Shack, but don't worry. You can actually hop on their website to check the camera and see how long the line is.
Scottsdale also has a Hopdoddy Burger Bar. An Austin-born hamburger-and-beer chain, Hopdoddy has been featured on the Food Network. While Hopdoddy is known for their handcrafted beef hamburgers (a chuck and brisket blend), if you're not feeling beefy, the menu also includes bison, lamb, chicken, turkey and tuna burgers, as well as a vegetarian black bean and corn patty. We had an order of their truffle fries (large enough to share) and they were also quite tasty. And for dessert, be sure to try one of their adult only boozy milkshakes!
Where to get dessert: Portland has several great options for dessert. One of our favorite places that we've been stopping at since we originally started vacationing in Scottsdale is Shakes & Cones. Shakes & Cones located in Old Town Scottsdale, serves up their soft serve ice cream, which is made from scratch using their own exclusive recipe. It's gluten free and only made with organic, non-gmo ingredients! They of course are known for their soft serve shakes and cones.
Another place that we've often featured over the course of our travel and reviews is Sprinkles Cupcakes. And of course Sprinkles Cupcakes has a location right across from the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall in Downtown Scottsdale. Sprinkles Cupcakes is a Beverly Hills, California-based cupcake bakery chain which first opened in 2005. It is considered one of the first cupcake bakeries. The Cupcake Bakery features numerous flavors of cupcakes (some of our favorites include the Black & White and Cinnamon). Be sure to see our entire write-up on the Sprinkles Cupcake Bakery & Cupcake ATM.
What to do: Yes, we won't sugar coat it. It's hot in Scottsdale during the summer. Most days see temperatures exceed that 100 degree mark. So we typically sleep in each morning, get up for brunch and then spend two to three hours sipping cocktails by or in the resort pools.
The heat of the afternoon makes for a perfect time do some shopping and Scottsdale has some terrific shopping. We recommend checking out the Fashion Square Mall in Downtown Scottsdale and the Scottsdale Quarter, an open air mall in Northern Scottsdale.
By the time we've shopped and grab a happy hour drink or early dinner, we typically return to laying by the pool for the evening.
Another great way to spend the early morning or late evenings (before or after the heat of the day) is taking a hike. Scottsdale has numerous hiking trails including the famous trail up Camelback Mountain.
The Bottom Line: Scottsdale is a great place for a weekend getaway anytime of the year. Summer is an extremely affordable time to visit as resorts deeply discount their room rates due to the hot temperatures. But the hot weather has never impeded our weekend getaways. We lay by the pool in the morning and early afternoon, have lunch, go shopping and then return to the pool in the evening. Scottsdale has great food, great shopping and an incredible nightlife. It's definitely worth a visit if you haven't been and if you have, well it's time to go back! Let us know if we can help!