Up until last June, Colorado had been the western most state that I had traveled to. Arizona has now happily taken that title. Ben and I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for a work and vacation combo trip. Truth be told, I was ecstatic to finally see some cactuses that existed outside of the Home Depot garden section.
During our trip we stayed at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge. The resort itself was beautiful, but I didn’t love the location (at least for our specific trip needs). If Ben and I were looking to spend most of our time onsite at the resort, then it would have been great. We wanted to get out and explore different cities in Arizona though. Each time we wanted to venture out to a city’s downtown area, it was a ~30 minute Uber ride there and back. That meant two things: it was inconvenient, and slightly expensive.
I will say that the resort excelled in other areas. It over delivered on the spacious guest rooms, a relaxing lazy river, eclectic egg chairs to pose in for the ‘Gram, and some foodie-tastic onsite restaurants. I specifically loved Stonegrill for brunch and dinner, as well as Twenty6 for a post pool day charcuterie board.
Before visiting Arizona, I did what any logical blogger would do. I turned to my Instagram audience for the best of the best recs in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Almost all of the recommendations I received were Scottsdale based, so we spent a lot of our time there.
I’m happy to say that Scottsdale, Arizona did not disappoint. We had tacos and snow cone margaritas at Diego Pops, drinks at The Montauk, brunch at Farm and Craft, and cured our sweet tooth cravings at the Sugar Bowl.
Ben and I did our share of bar crawling around Scottsdale. A few favorites included Wasted Grain and Social Tap Scottsdale. Around the end of the night we stumbled upon the Entertainment District. I only wish we had found it sooner. They had a block of bars and clubs, including Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row.
One of the highlights of our trip to Arizona was visiting the Desert Botanical Gardens. I found this place through the Visit Phoenix tourism website. There were miles of cactuses, succulents, and desert landscapes to explore. It made for some pretty sweet backdrops when we were shooting photos.
On our last day in town we decided to hit up a few places in Phoenix. Having spent most of our time in Scottsdale, we wanted to make sure that we tried some spots in Arizona’s capital city too.
While Googling lunch locations, I stumbled upon Monroe’s Hot Chicken. Their fried chicken sandwich didn’t disappoint, although I wish I went up a spice level given all of the toppings on the sandwich (I opted for hot, but the spice was pretty muted).
The Churchill was another cool discovery that Ben and I ventured over to in Phoenix. This hot spot has a variety of restaurant stalls lined up with a seating area in the middle. The Churchill’s restaurants were accompanied by a few boutique shops. I perused those as I sipped on a frose from one of the stalls. If I had to relate The Churchill to anything in Tampa Bay, I’d say it’s like a combination of Armature Works and Sparkman Wharf.
I loved our visit to Arizona. The dry air, the desert landscape, and the local areas all made for a unique experience. Coming from humidity-ridden Florida, it was a nice switch up (although still super hot in June). I have my sights set on making another trip out to Arizona, especially to see the Grand Canyon in all of its glory.
Have you ever been to Phoenix or Scottsdale? What are some of your favorite spots in those cities?