tacos and chips on a table

AK Travel Guide to Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona Travel Guide: The absolute best recommendations on where to stay, eat and hike! Check out our full adventure.

Scottsdale, Arizona Travel Guide: The absolute best recommendations on where to stay, eat and go hiking!

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…

monique and sarah at the pool

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.

vscocam-photo-4 (8)

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.

monique on a patio in scottsdale

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.

pool with chairs in the background

While you’re at Four Seasons Scottsdale, here are some things to check out:

brunch spread

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.

pancakes overlooking the desert

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.

two milkshakes next to a pool

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.

margaritas

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.

chairs next to a pool

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.

monique and sarah hiking

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.

cactus

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.

monique and sarah on a hike in scottsdale

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?!

pineapple wallpaper

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 in Scottsdale

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.

breakfast plates on a table

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 cones

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, fries and drinks

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 and chips on a table

Tacos at Diego Pops

Diego Pops screams eat me. The decor of the restaurant is spot on, eclectic and unique.

restaurant in scottsdale

It’s honestly a little ridiculous how many photos I could have taken here.

say yes to tacos! sign

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.

margarita with a straw

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.

cocktails

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.

fancy appetizer

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.

fish dinner

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.

bread and wine at a restaurant in scottsdale

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.

sunset over a mountain in scottsdale

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:

Four Seasons Scottsdale

Benedict’s

Deigo Pops

Talavera

Proof Canteen

Second Story Liquor Bar

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