In my humble opinion, Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect place for a getaway. Whether that be an epic girls trip, a relaxing honeymoon, or a fun family adventure. It’s even an AMAZING place to visit during the holidays, too!
Scottsdale has a little bit of everything for everyone, and as a bonus, it is sunny all year round. During the hot summer months, there are endless pools to hang out in, incredible restaurants to eat at, and awesome entertainment to take in. When it comes to planning your trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, it can be anything you want it to be.
It can be full of adventure or incredibly relaxing. A foodies decadent dream or a full self-love spa experience. You can take in all of the art and culture or spend all your days in the pool. Or you can be like me and my friends and do a little bit of everything.
So with that said, I am so excited to share all the details of our most recent Girls Trip to Scottsdale. I’ll be covering all of the delicious places we ate, where we stayed, and everything we got up to while we were there. So buckle up and get ready to take notes and start planning your own epic Scottsdale Girls Trip. 🙂
What to Do in Scottsdale, AZ
When it comes to planning your own Scottsdale girls trip, you may be wondering what there is to do in Scottsdale? Well lucky for you, I’m sharing some of my favorite activities available. I’ve covered shopping, hiking, and some of the more unique activities available for you to experience.
- Old Town – You don’t have to step one foot outside of Old Town for great shopping with over 150 stores and restaurants for you to explore in this area. Try The Merchantile, it’s a fave of ours!
- The Pavilions – Located on the Salt River Indian Reservation on the east side of town. The sprawling plaza features a mix of restaurants and big-name retailers.
- The Native Art Market – Native Art Market is a safe and affordable avenue for Native Americans to sell their artwork directly to consumers.
- Kierland Commons – Kierland Commons is a 24/7, mixed-use urban oasis that is home to some of the most desired lifestyle brands and the region’s most alluring restaurants and nightlife.
- Leela Market – Sand & Salt, Desert & Sea Inspired Apparel, Accessories, Gift, and Home Decor.
- Giving Bracelets – The friendly staff at Giving Bracelets makes their jewelry onsite, so you can get the exact style and stones your heart desires!
- Carmen on 5th – Chic and affordable clothing, jewelry, home decor, baby clothes & local art.
- Buffalo Collection – Showcases hand-crafted furniture, handbags, journals and home décor made from the finest buffalo leather.
Besides shopping, there is plenty to do in and around Scottsdale. For a girl’s weekend, you really don’t have to leave Old Town Scottsdale! There is plenty to keep you busy, but if you want to add in a little more nature or adventure, there is plenty of that as well!
JoyRides AZ Tours – This is a MUST-DO! I highly recommend one of the Old Scottsdale riding tours from this husband and wife team. Cruise along in a clean open-air electric/gas vehicle stopping at Old Town Scottsdale’s top locations, enjoy the breeze and learn about the city from your tour guide. This is a GREAT way to START your trip… then you can see where you want to spend the rest of your time. Some of the tours you can choose from are:
- Margarita and Taco Tour
- Wine Tasting
- Brew Sampling
- Sip and Shop
- Instagram and Mural
- Local Gelato
We tried the gelato tour, which includes 3 scoops of Gelato from 3 locations, and loved it!
Public Art Walking Tour – This (FREE) self-guided, 60-minute walking tour through Old Town Scottsdale will introduce you to 10 of the most-celebrated Scottsdale public artworks, including striking bronze statues, dramatic fountains, and fun interactive installations.
Balloon Ride – Take a sunrise or sunset balloon ride and experience the gorgeous scenery of Deer Valley and the Sonoran Desert vistas from up above.
Kayaking – Enjoy the cool water, escape the summer heat, and marvel at the beautiful wilderness that is the Tonto National Forest kayaking on the Lower Salt River.
Desert Botanical Garden – You will find 140 acres filled with 50,000 plants on display showcased in beautiful outdoor exhibits, 4,482 species in the Living Collection, and 485 rare and endangered species.
- Gateway Trail Loop in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve – A 4.5-mile loop with an elevation gain of 650 feet that wanders up to a low saddle before winding back to the Gateway Trailhead. The length and grade changes make this a moderately difficult hike. A great loop to enjoy the wildflowers and wildlife.
We took the whole fam on this trail loop hike at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and everyone loved it! It was easy enough for everyone to walk it, with slight inclines, and gave us beautiful views! Check out more of that trip here:
- Tom’s Thumb Lookout Viewpoint in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve – This hike is more advance. But it has some of the best viewpoints in the McDowell Mountains. The hike crosses the boundary between granite and metamorphic rock. You can also see unusual vegetation and flowers.
- Marcus Landslide Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve – This moderate beautiful trail has interpretive signs explaining the origin of the Marcus landslide, one of the largest ever discovered in Arizona.
- Pinnacle Peak Park – The 150-acre Pinnacle Peak offers a moderate hike. This loop trail has a very smooth tread with a number of ups and downs. Hiking, horseback riding, and rock climbing will take you to spectacular views of the Valley.
- Camelback Mountain – The area’s most prominent landmark, Camelback Mountain features sheer red cliffs, the Praying Monk rock formation, and the familiar camel’s silhouette. Hiking to the top is not for beginners – the two summit trails are strenuous climbs over sometimes-tricky trails.
- Hole-in-the-Rock Trail at Papago Park – This trail could be considered more of a walk since it takes between 5-10 minutes to complete, BUT the sunrise views were breathtaking, especially for a trail that is SO close to Scottsdale and only minutes to climb. A great choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly trail walk that pays big in dividends.
Experience the best that Scottsdale has to offer, with their collection of FREE Scottsdale Travel Guides. They have something for everyone: City and Old Town Maps, Walking Tours, Wine and Ale Trail Tour Maps, Hiking and Trail Handbooks, and Kids Guides and more to help you plan your trip. To check out these amazing resources CLICK HERE.experiencescottsdale.com
Where to Eat in Scottsdale, AZ
With more than 800 restaurants in Scottsdale, you have an array of delicious possibilities to choose from when planning out your vacation dining experiences, with top chefs sourcing local foods and flavors to create dishes that show off what Arizona has to offer. In fact, you can’t fit all of the amazing dining options into one girl’s trip, because there is great food around every corner.
I’ve rounded up some dining favorites below to put on your list of Scottsdale’s must-try restaurants.
The Mission Old Town – Modern Latin cuisine that blends that old-world charm with modern elegance. I didn’t see anything that I didn’t want, though tacos and grilled street corn reigned as heroes for food… but don’t stop there. Known for their refreshing margaritas (some of the best we’ve had!) including the Cucumber Jalapeno, Spicy Hibiscus, Prickly Pear, and Blood Orange Margarita – best paired with their smoky salsa and homemade guacamole!
The Herb Box – Savory twists on tried-and-true cuisine along with fresh, seasonal ingredients that unify regional flavors and creativity. All of that to say, the flavors are incredibly fresh, the crab dip is AMAZING, and my salad was just what I didn’t even know I was craving.
Postino Highland – The Valley’s original local WineCafe, approachable wines, and simple, delicious food prepared with local ingredients… THIS is where you have to try a charcuterie board and the OMG Grilled Cheese that literally makes you say, “Oh My God,” with that first bite. So good.
Hash Kitchen – A fun buzzy brunch spot and home of the state’s largest build-your-own Bloody Mary bar + creative daytime dishes and unique brunch eats. We FIRST tried Hash Kitchen with the entire family during our holiday trip a couple of years ago and fell in love. I mean, we even looked into opening one by us (it’s that good). There wasn’t one item that our whole crew didn’t eat up. You know I’m a coffee girl, and even my latte was delish. Definitely a MUST-try spot.
LDV Winery – Take an afternoon to explore Arizona grown and produced wines! These high-quality wines (none of those added chemical fillers) authentically represent the unique Southeastern Arizona vineyard characteristics of volcanic soils and high-altitude Chiricahua Mountain grapes. Add in a charcuterie board or dark chocolate to really let the flavors shine – or get a tasting in before walking to dinner while you’re in Old Town!
Citizen Public House – Upscale gastropub cuisine and extensive craft beer in a relaxed, casual environment. This definitely is a place to go for a variety of custom drinks, BUT I was all about the food… and the Press Coffee Rubbed Short Ribs with Cherry BBQ Sauce and side of Parsnip Purée was out of this world good!
How to Get Around Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale is a short 13 miles from Phoenix (13.2 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport) and 6 miles from Tempe, Arizona.
Because there is SO much to do in and around Old Town, it’s easy to rely on Ride Sharing (like Lyft and Uber) to get to your accommodations from the airport and get around town. Once you’re in town for dining and attractions, you’ll find quite a bit within walking distance and can even use your phone’s GPS and maps app with the “walking route” feature to see the best way to get around.
If you plan to take in a lot of activities and attractions outside of Scottsdale, you may want to rent a car, but in town, it isn’t necessary.
It also depends on where you’re staying, as resorts have the additional fee of parking, though many are located close enough to not need your own transportation. I would suggest you plan out your itinerary first, and then see if you need the added expense of a rental car and resort parking.
Where to Stay in Scottsdale, AZ –
While there are so many incredible places to stay in Scottsdale with kids, when it comes to a Scottsdale Girls Trip, I’m all about taking advantage of the resort life. Scottsdale is not lacking in amazing resorts and hotels, each one is different from the next and offers everything you might need in a stay. I love a location that has everything I could want within its grounds and the Phoenician checks all of the boxes for me!
Resort Dining Options
I am a self-proclaimed foodie, so one of the things that excite me the most about traveling is trying new cuisines. The great thing about staying at a resort like the Phoenician is that you have a bunch of different high-quality and unique restaurants available to you without even having to leave the grounds.
- J&G STEAKHOUSE – J&G pairs award-winning premium meats and a global selection of seafood with the finest local ingredients and worldly spices. Enjoy craft cocktails in the lounge, dinner in their spacious dining room, or dine under the stars on their scenic sunset patio.
- MOWRY & COTTON – Seasonally Inspired Dishes. Relaxing the lux style of The Phoenician and drawing in locals with its everyday vibes.
- THE PHOENICIAN TAVERN – Enjoy a lively atmosphere on the indoor-outdoor bar patio. Take in stunning views of the lush green golf course, or hunker down in one of the comfy booths to watch the big game with buddies.
- AFTERNOON TEA – This English tradition includes finger sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, pastries and a selection of fine tea blends.
- THIRSTY CAMEL – Featuring spectacular panoramic views of the resort and valley beyond. A food and beverage menu with diverse and exceptional selections of bourbons, whiskies, premium spirits, and handcrafted cocktails for locals and resort guests alike.
- KALIO KABOBERY – Mediterranean-inspired venue features an array of frozen beverages for both adults and kids, as well as a full-service bar, sandwiches and salads, ice cream bars and more… perfect for poolside!
Did you know that August is prickly pear harvest season in Arizona, some species of the cactus being native to the Sonoran Desert? The pinkish plant proves picturesque and tasty, starring in salads, sweets and drinks on menus across the state. A must-try poolside is the Prickly Pear Margarita (if you’d like an adult drink) and Prickly Pear Iced Tea (my favorite!).Prickly pear facts from University of Arizona
- THE MARKETPLACE – Inspired by a European cafe. The Marketplace features house-made pastries and breakfast treats, tasty sandwiches, salads, and specialty coffees — perfect for a grab-n-go bite.
- 19TH HOLE – Curb your thirst or hunger with a visit to our golf course grill and patio. Featuring light grab-and-go items, as well as refreshing alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Resort Spa Treatments
The Phoenician Spa is open daily, it is an adult-only part of the resort, created to foster a nurturing and contemporary approach to relaxation. If on your girl’s trip you are looking to treat yourself to a full day of pampering and self-care, one local guest boasted that it was the best spa around! The Phoenician Spa offers a selection of amazing five-star amenities, including:
- Massage Treatments
- Body Treatments
- Facial Treatments
- Personal Training Sessions
- Nail Treatments
- DryBar Blowouts
- And more!
I indulged in the Phoenix Rising Scrub & Massage which was JUUUUST what I needed on my girl’s trip, and then spent time in the vitality pool, sauna, and steam room – highly recommend!
When it comes to exploring new places one of my favorite things to do is go on tours. I love that it not only gets you up and moving but also allows you to experience and explore different facets of the place you are visiting. The Phoenician staff is there to help you curate an epic experience, they have a list of amazing tours that will exceed your expectations.
- Guided Bike Tours
- Golf Cart Safari Tours
- Camelback Mountain Hikes
- Art History Walking Tours
- Cactus Garden Tours
- Boutique Shopping
Athletic Club Options
The Phoenician Athletic Club is a two-story facility that blends innovative, modern fitness with pure, recreational fun. You can choose to stay fit and active while on vacation or you can take advantage of all of their fun game options, they have something for everyone… we took full advantage of the free bike rental with an early morning ride along the river (early morning to avoid the mid-day heat) and it was such a fun experience!
An oasis for swimming, the Phoenician pools have the most incredible views of both the beautiful resort and Camelback Mountain. The multiple pool options also feature cabanas for rent, a fun family-friendly Kids Zone with splash pad, poolside dining at Kalio Kabobery, and everything you need for relaxation and fun!
Essentials To Pack for Your Scottsdale Girls Trip
Sunscreen – With over 300 sunny days each year, this one doesn’t really need an explanation. Please take and wear your sunscreen!
Lip Balm – Arizona is DRY, and if you’re not used to the dry heat, like us Floridians, lip balm is a MUST. Between the dry hotel air, the dry heat outdoors, the incredible sunshine (with nay a cloud in the sky) and lots of water activities, your lips will need all the help!
Hat – If you don’t have one to pack and take with you, just make a stop in one of the hat shops in Old Town! I was SO thankful I brought my hat for that bit of added shade for those mid-day floats in the pool… and it’s great to pop on when you want to get ready quick to head out for dinner.
WATER – With all of the dry heat, sweat will evaporate before you realize it… meaning it’s easy to get dehydrated before you know it. STAY hydrated and drink plenty of fluids, aka, WATER, while taking in all of the views, amazing food, and other drinks! If you need the reminder, bring along your own refillable and reusable water bottle.
If you’re planning a Girl’s Trip soon, I hope you consider Scottsdale, AZ. Check out ExperienceScottsdale.com for more resources, recommendations, and information… and I’m sure you’ll fall in love with this town just like I have.
Be sure to check out our other post where we share oura list of ten items every girl needs on her girls trip packing list
10 Must Have Items for Your Girls Trip!