It’s hot you guys, HOT with capital letters. This past summer season with high temps continues to spread into the fall months, but that doesn’t mean we slow down on adventure. In fact, for our family, summertime is one of the seasons we ramp up on travel with our big #BlueSummerTour!
This year we spent a few of our travel days in Scottsdale and immediately were smitten with the area. There’s no denying summers in Scottsdale are hot, but so is all that the city has to offer. I didn’t realize how much I’d love it, and no matter the season, there is so much for families in this city, with a balanced mix of classic heritage and a modern, urban feel.
I’m recapping our trip (with a video to come soon, too!), and sharing all the great places to stay, eat and play when in Scottsdale, AZ!
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SCOTTSDALE – WHERE TO STAY
While there for four days, we actually were able to stay on two different properties in Scottsdale. Both had such different vibes and offered a different experience, though both were a great setup for our family. This part of the Sonoran Desert is glittered with amazing places to stay, from resorts to boutique hotels and even suites with kitchenettes, so there are many options that can fit your lifestyle and budget. But here are the two places we stayed (and why we loved them for our family!):
Omni Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Montelucia
If you’ve been following along on our travel journey for awhile, you know that Omni properties are some of our favorite to stay at (and we’ve tried quite a few!), whether traveling with family or not. They seem to cater to both really well and provide solo travelers the escape they need while keeping it interesting enough for kids to enjoy too.
This one was no different. Nestled at the base of the beautiful Camelback Mountain, this Omni property is reminiscent of a picturesque Spanish village, and such a gorgeous place to be. With beautiful architecture, greenery and fountains at just about every turn, it was a place to relax a bit… and something we needed after all the hiking of our previous days. We all loved the pool area, and I have to say, I think my new favorite way to spend a day is at a fabulous pool with a cabana. There’s nothing like having a spot to stash your stuff, cool off in the shade and chill out… just steps from the pool!
And of course, the moroccan inspired Joya Spa, and my massage there, is every mama’s dream! I also snuck away to the “nap room” there and it was heavenly. Can we all have a nap room?!
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch
Just a few minutes up the street from our views of Camelback Mountain is The Hyatt Regency with it’s own breathtaking sights of the McDowell Mountains… there were beautiful scenes everywhere, including the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired architecture and gorgeous cacti displays (something I was truly looking forward to seeing in Arizona!). For our family, the 2.5 acre “water playground” was the icing to this great property and my kids couldn’t get enough of the three-story waterslide and sand beach entering the pool. Plus, we even took a little gondola ride along the river (a highlight for sure!).
Spa Avania was another amazing spa experience and the perfect way for mom to relax on a getaway (and seriously SO good after our days and days of hiking leading up to our time in Scottsdale!). I fully enjoyed the Himalayan salt room and a massage, and then stayed to linger in the plunge pools, steam room, sauna and the outdoor mineral pool… where I could have stayed ALL DAY.
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SCOTTSDALE – WHERE TO EAT
With about 800 restaurants, there is no shortage on dining! From rooftop bars with a view to top rated steakhouses, there are plenty of choices, but I rounded up some choices you’ll feel comfortable taking the kids to.
- SWB, a southwest bistro
- Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant
- The Vig McCormick Ranch
- Simon’s Hot Dog
- Hash Kitchen
- Prado – Omni
- Hula’s Modern Tiki
- Butter’s Pancakes & Cafe
- Hopdoddy Burger Bar
- The Blind Pig
- Arcadia Tavern
- Buffalo Chip Saloon
- 6 Degrees Urban Kitchen
- Proof Canteen
- Brat Haus (German)
Our favorites included SWB, and my family LOVED eating right in front of the open kitchen! It felt like we were in an episode of the cooking shows we all gather ’round and it was just fun entertainment to watch it all happen. Plus, Chef Juan treated to amazing dishes, and they even catered to my little guy’s taste and request for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I’m not sure if they get many of those requests, but they definitely didn’t act like it was a big deal, and certainly made our experience a family-friendly one.
Of course, dining at the Omni while we were there was pretty incredible too. Taqueria Centro offered some really delicious fare, and was just a total laid back atmosphere. We ordered a few things, like the guac trio, some fish tacos and nachos for the table (along with tater tots) and the kids all ate it up! And breakfast at Prado… well, besides the great food I would go back just for the experience, and grandpa Frank!!! The kids LOVED him and he took such incredible care of our family which made the entire time on Omni property a memorable time.
Another place you can’t pass up is Sugar Bowl! Around since 1958, it’s Scottsdale’s first ice cream parlor and still serves up those classic ice cream treats, and food too (like Chili, Scottsdale’s official food). Don’t forget to bring some coins though, there’s an arcade parlor too and your kids will be begging to check it out!
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN SCOTTSDALE – WHERE TO PLAY
Just because Scottsdale is right in the middle of one of America’s largest deserts, doesn’t mean we were left high and dry! In fact, we barely left the resort properties. With all of the amazing pools, amenities and things for kids to do, that’s just one big reason we like to choose resorts (they have so much to offer!). No matter where you stay though, Scottsdale has enough to keep you busy and smiling for weeks! We like to space our activities out, and I’ve learned that as a family of six, it’s important to schedule downtime as well… so we didn’t even get to all of the activities below. I guess that just means we’ll have to come back!
- Explore Old Town Scottsdale – Shops & Restaurants
- Papago Park – Great Hiking
- OdySea Aquarium
- Free Downtown Trolley
- Native American learning center at Hyatt Regency
- The Heard Museum
- Hot-Air Balloon Rides
- Free Downtown Trolley
- Ride the Train at Mccormick-Stallman Railroad Park
- Climb Camelback Mountain
- Butterfly Wonderland
- Salt River Tubing
- Swim with the Dolphins at Dolphinaris
- Disk Golf at Spinners on the Green
- CrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Park
- AZ on the Rocks Indoor Climbing
- Ice Den Ice Skating
- Cart Racing at Octane Raceway
- Out of Africa Wildlife Park (90 minutes outside of Scottsdale)
Oh and don’t forget a photo op in front of some incredible Scottsdale street art (this iconic wall art is on the East side of Geisha a Go-Go in Old Town.)
If you’re planning a trip to Scottsdale soon, check out ExperienceScottsdale.com for more resources, recommendations and information… and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with the old town feel too!