Here’s a fun fact: Tony and I first met in Arizona. I was on vacation in Scottsdale with my girlfriends and he was in Spring Training for minor league baseball. One night we were randomly introduced and immediately hit it off, The rest is history.
For that reason alone, Arizona will always have a special place in my heart. I love its romance (not just in the fairy tale sense), but rather how it draws you in from the moment you get off the place. Arizona radiates rustic character, beautiful landscapes, southwestern food flair, Native American influence, plenty of outdoor activity and warm sunny weather.
Back in late February, Sarah of Broma Bakery and I had a chance to visit Scottsdale, Arizona and found ourselves adoring it more than we thought we would. We hiked! We ate! Then we ate some more! Finally I’m sharing all of my favorite places from the trip.
Check it out…
STAY AND PLAY
Looking for somewhere to stay in Scottsdale? Then you need to check out the Scottsdale Four Seasons! It was a beautiful home away from home during our time there.
The resort is settled at the base of Pinnacle Peak (more on that hike later) and boasts incredible views of the foothills. Each casita has their own balcony, which makes it the picture perfect place to enjoy coffee and read the paper before you begin your day.
The property is huge (35k+ square feet) yet it never felt crowded or hectic. We easily found spots by the pool each day, were generously taken care of by the staff, and enjoyed all the lovely food the resort offered. Honestly, we couldn’t have asked for a better hotel.
While you’re at Four Seasons Scottsdale, here are some things to check out:
Breakfast at Proof Canteen
One morning we grabbed breakfast at Proof, overlooking the resort and pool. The vibe at Proof is very relaxed and they mostly serve up delicious takes on comfort food favorites. Their breakfast menu has a wide array of options including donut French toast, smoothies, honey whole wheat waffles, egg white frittatas with turkey sausage & avocado (MY FAV) and all the fresh pressed juices you can dream of. My favorite juice was the green which tasted like fresh orchard apples with a hint of green garden health.
Breakfast in your room (or just room service in general)
The best part about breakfast at the Four Seasons is that you don’t have to leave your room to enjoy it. Most of the breakfast options offered at Proof are also available to order via room service. One morning Sarah and I decided to sleep in, order breakfast and read the paper. If you’re into lemon, then you must try the blue corn lemon pancakes off the room service menu .
If savory if more your thing, order up some eggs and toast! They’ll even toast your bread for you right on your patio.
Milkshakes by the pool at Proof
If you’re anything like me, you recognize that vacations are a time to abandon your typical diet and indulge in sweets; sometimes afternoon milkshakes are necessary! These are available at Proof Canteen daily and often they have buy 1 get 1 free specials.
Also, is it just me or are milkshakes making a major comeback?! I’m gonna say yes. The ones pictures above are Cereal and Oreo cookie. Served poolside, of course.
Take a margarita making class
UMMMM who doesn’t love a good margarita?! Everyone knows I’m a huge fan especially when they’re served with a side of fresh chips and guac AKA life weakness. I know we can all agree on that one, right?
I was ridiculously excited that one day we were able to take an afternoon margarita making class at the pool bar. It was SO MUCH fun and was able to learn about the different tequila varieties plus experiment with how I like my margarita served (lots of lime, a little agave). Highly recommend this experience if you have the opportunity.
Lounging by the pool
The Arizona sunshine is fantastic this time of year; not too hot and not too cold. Grab a poolside drink, a good book and spend some time lounging around.
GET ACTIVE: Where to hike
If you’re anything like me, you might like to enjoy being a little active on vacation, experiencing the culture and enjoying fresh air.
If you stay at the Four Seasons, it’s very easy to hike Pinnacle Peak since it is located right behind the resort. We took a trail over and began our 3.5 mile hike up the peak. It was a moderate hike and takes about 1 1/2 hours to complete. I LOVED IT. The trail was well maintained and I didn’t feel like I would accidentally break my ankle due to sharp rocks or jumps, etc.
Another fun hike is up the very popular Camelback Mountain. This was my third time doing hiking the mountain and it remained a fun challenge. The reason I say challenge is because it’s not for the faint of heart; be prepared to sweat! There are two trails to hike via Camelback: Echo Canyon and Cholla. I’ve done both and personally find Echo Canyon to be more challenging. You’ll be scrambling up rocks but still love every second of it.
If you do any of these hikes, it’s quite important to bring A LOT of water because you’ll sweat and need to rehydrate. I also recommend snacks because who doesn’t love a good trail snack?!
CHOW DOWN: Where to eat
Food is always my favorite part of ANY trip, but this one was exceptionally delicious. Here are all of my recommendations:
Brunch at Benedict’s
OMG this place! Benedict’s not only functions as a catering business but also as an amazing brunch spot on the weekends. If you go to Scottsdale, you absolutely must try this place.
Do you see that green sauce on top of that benedict? I could bathe in it.
What to get: Arizona benedict which is a corn biscuit with avocado verde sauce and a poached egg (dreams do come true). Also try the french toast. It’s light and fluffy in the absolute best kind of way.
Ice cream at Sweet Republic
Wanna know what to do after you go for a long hike? Hit up Sweet Republic for a little pick me up. Sweet Republic ice cream is made from scratch and there are no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives or hydrogenated oils in any of their products. Go with the waffle cone!
What to get: Sesame ice cream, coconut gelato or the chocolate chip mint. Actually all of them were exceptional, so just get anything you’d like!
Burgers at In-N-Out
If you don’t live in SoCal or near an In-N-Out, then you probably don’t know what you’re missing out on here. I didn’t either until I tried my very first In-N-Out burger in Scottsdale. Was it heavenly? Absolutely. Would I eat it again? 100%. It’s just something you need to try at least once in your life.
What to get: Cheeseburger and fries. Animal style if you like saucy things. Or just delicious things.
Tacos at Diego Pops
Diego Pops screams eat me. The decor of the restaurant is spot on, eclectic and unique.
It’s honestly a little ridiculous how many photos I could have taken here.
What’s cool about this spot isn’t just the food, it’s the atmosphere and the fact that they do Taco Mondays (not Tuesdays). The presentation of our food and cocktails was truly one of a kind and that alone make it worth the trip.
What to get: Chips & guacamole (of course). Try the watermelon lime sno cone margarita. That’s right I said sno cone margarita! For tacos, I’d recommend the green chili chicken. Bonus: They serve the tacos with 6 different homemade sauces. Like I said, it’s pretty epic.
Dinner and/or Cocktails at Second Story Liquor Bar
Second Story Liquor bar is an absolute MUST if you’re in Scottsdale. The food is just fantastic, gastronomic, refined and savory. Judging by the name, you’d think that they wouldn’t have food, but the food was actually quite the highlight and most definitely dinner worthy.
Everything we tried was INCREDIBLE.
What to get: red wine kobe cheek with barley. We could not stop eating this magnificent dish; essentially a barley risotto with beef, pearl onions and the best jalapeno cream. Do it up. Another favorite was the whole grain gnocchi! It was chewy, nutty, rich and refined. Don’t miss out on the beer bread either. They make this sweet flavored bread in house and served it with homemade butter.
Dinner at Talavera
Talavera is actually located within the Four Seasons resort, but they offer reservations for those who aren’t a guest of the hotel too. Views face the west so if you go for dinner you may be able to catch a gorgeous sunset.
They also give fabulous little mini brioche breads.
What to get: The seabass was a major winner for me, but I would recommend the tasting menu so that you’re able to enjoy a little bit of everything.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this travel guide to Scottsdale. It was such an adventure and blessing to be able to share this experience with you, so thanks for being here!
Questions for you:
Have you ever been to Scottsdale?
If you have, what are some of your favorite places to eat/things to do? I’m sure everyone would love to hear your recommendations! Leave a comment below.
Major love to the following:
Second Story Liquor Bar
I’ve never been to Scottsdale but now I HAVE to go!! I’ve never been farther west than Chicago so this would definitely be the next destination for me. Awesome post Monique! <3
i followed along on snapchat and was wishing i was there the whole time. the views on the hikes were gorgeous! and all the poolside drinks & the accommodations of the resort make me want to take a girls trip there asap. And Diego Pops…. dang, the vibe and the eats. Want! Thanks for sharing with us.
What brand is the bathing suit Sarah is wearing in the first picture of both of you?? Must have!!!
It’s from Target, can you believe it?! Thanks, Stacey!
Uhm, I love everything about this. It was such an amazing trip, and this is making me want to do another all over again! LOVE YOU!
I live In Scottsdale and loved reading this! You picked great places! One of my favorite restaurants is Olive and Ivy in Old Town Scottsdale. You are right, hiking Camelback is challenging but worth it to see the great view from the top!
Scottsdale looks amazing!!
These pictures are beautiful! Scottsdale has always been on my bucket list, totally pinning this post for when I go 😉
I’m from Scottsdale, but I have my favorite places so this list is amazing for food recs! I need to try that taco place next time I visit home. I always go to Kaleidoscope Juice, Original Chop Shop, True Food and Flowerchild like 100 times when I visit. Also always go to Spring Training at Talking Stick since its near my house and probably one of my favorite stadiums.
I just came home from Scottsdale last night!! I already miss it so bad as this Illinois weather is making it ten times worse to return to 🙁 I have been to Scottsdale numerous times and LOVE it! We did not go to any of those places, but will add them to my list for next time for sure!
Loving on this post! Glad you loved AZ. Now get me to Diego Pops ASAP!
It looks beautiful there! I have always wanted to stay at a four seasons!
My boyfriend and I LOVE Scottsdale! My favourite treat there is probably the gelato from That’s Amore – it’s amazing!
I go out to Tempe about 2-3 times a year for work and my FAVORITE restaurant is Dick’s Hideaway in Phoenix! It is literally hidden in a strip mall with no sign out front and it’s definitely what I would consider a hidden gem. We also tried Culinary Dropout in Tempe (Also a Phoenix location) the food and drinks were great and they have an open area with Ping Pong, Cornhole and Shuffleboard! Next time I am out there I will have to try these places. My co-worker and I are always on the hunt for a good spot to eat.
I have to say that Arizona has never really been a top pick on my travel list, and now after reading your post I am wondering why it hasn’t been! Scottsdale looks amazing! 🙂 I think it just made my travel bucket list. And a margarita making class? Sign me up, lol!
Arizona sounds like a great travel destination! It’s REALLY hot there though XD I definitely have a lot of places that I want to keep in mind!
Wow, lots of good stuff here! I have been to Scottsdale a few times and really need to explore more. My parents live in the Phoenix area and I go to Spring training games, but usually in Surprise, Peoria, etc because of the teams. I need to try out the Scottsdale stadium! I have wanted to stay at that Four Seasons as well, and your post confirms that it would not be a mistake! I love the tacos – they look delish!
What a fun looking trip! I once went to Arizona when I was in preschool but that was it. It’s obviously time for another visit! The hotel looks great and that breakfast?! So good!
The food’s enough to entice me to go! Yum!
Great post, looks like a really gorgeous place! And the food looks incredible!!
I’ve only driven through Arizona on a road trip. Looks like I need to plan a longer stay. Those tacos!
How fun to read your blog today! We live in Phoenix and we hardly EVER go to Scottsdale because we have our own hip restaurant scene/hotel here too. If you do come back to Arizona, I’d love to show you more of the area-especially our urban “farm”. Most people don’t realize how beautiful Arizona is and the variety of geography, people, architecture—from the deserts to the mountains (which are stunning). I think our state is one of the best kept secrets. And now, the weather is GLORIOUS-picking tomatoes and kale from the garden, oranges from the trees.
I was in Scottsdale for the first time last week and absolutely loved it! Our favorites were The Henry for brunch (amazing Bloody Mary cart!) and Rehab Burger Therapy. I already want to go back!
Best chicken wings ever are at Long Wong’s in Scottsdale and Phoenix. Different locations, hole-in- the-wall, but oh man-been loving them since the mid-eighties!
Going with my husband to Scottsdale in February 2018. Just wondering, when you recommend bringing lots of water on the hike, what did you carry that you found manageable for a difficult hike? Backpack? Camelback? Thanks!!
There’s a lot of beautiful places in Arizona that we go and visit for a day trip, but after reading your post, there’s another place that adds to my travel list. Thanks a lot.
Perfect! Enjoy your trips!
Hi Monique. Wow, you have a fantastic write-up. Just like you, Arizona is also special to me. I spent my childhood years in this beautiful place before moving to California. Scottsdale is a perfect place to experience the culture, food, attractions, entertainment, and nature. Papago Park, Gateway Trailhead, Sugar Bowl, Desert Botanical Garden, Farm + Craft, and Old Town Scottsdale are some of my favorites. Don’t forget to visit Diego Pops – the classic Mexican classics are to die for!
Love this! Such a special and gorgeous place ❤️