Travel Guide: Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ

If you remember from my social accounts, last month Ryan and I took a short trip to Arizona – we were looking for something relatively close in distance since we didn’t want to take a full week, with comfortable weather and some interesting activities. Let’s just say, we definitely get the appeal and why so many Canadians flock to Arizona for the winter. Read on for my travel guide to Phoenix & Scottsdale (with one for Sedona to follow separately) 🙂

First off, logistically, Arizona is a great option for a short winter getaway for the reasons I mentioned above. We were lucky that it was “unseasonably warm” while we were there, but you will want to pack a variety of clothing options because being a desert, temps drop quite a bit at night. Unlike other places where I’ve noted you don’t need a car (uber was more than sufficient in New Orleans, for example), regardless of where you stay nothing is really walkable in Phoenix & Scottsdale, so you’ll want to grab one at the airport. The good news though, is everything is a short drive away and there is NO TRAFFIC anywhere. Huge plus.

Where to Stay
We decided to rent a home in North Scottsdale for our stay and it worked out perfectly for us – we had a huge backyard with a pool and were able to save a bit for our more luxurious accommodations in Sedona (more on that to come). There are countless Airbnb options in the area, so I would recommend checking them out if you’re planning your own visit (as a tip, we only book with Super Hosts, and have never had a problem… feel free to leave me any Airbnb questions below as well, we’ve used them quite often for stateside trips!). BUT before we decided that we would be continuing to Sedona, I had my eye on The Hermosa Inn as our top hotel pick in the area. As you know, we really like boutique style and this one is stunning – casita style with bougainvillea growing everywhere! We did still end up popping by for brunch (duh), and based on the common grounds and meal, it was lovely.

Where to Eat
As mentioned, we brunched at Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn (highly recommend), and other notable stops were The Mission (Mexican style with a few locations), Miss Cleo’s (seafood in downtown Phoenix),  The Henry (brunch & lunch) and Fat Ox (upscale Italian). Would recommend them all. Of course, wouldn’t be a trip to the U.S. without a lunch at Cheesecake Factory lol. If I can take a moment to caution you one place to NOT eat, it’s at the Talking Stick Resorts Arena… we were there for a Suns game, and the food was actually AWFUL. Like, how does one mess up chicken fingers and fries?! If you find yourself there for a sporting event or concert, definitely grab dinner elsewhere beforehand. And if you think I’m exaggerating, you can trust NBA Legend Charles Barkley on that topic (the 2-4 mins. mark is hilarious).

What to Do
Phoenix & Scottsdale are great options if you’re looking to do a lot of relaxing. Hang by the pool and take in the pristine scenery and landscaping all over the city. There is also a LOT of great shopping. From outlets, to Target, to full outdoor & indoor malls. We LOVED Kierland Commons which is an outdoor mall (kinda like The Grove in LA if you’re familiar) with all the big stores (there is also a Mission restaurant here & a Cheesecake Factory, FYI), and Fashion Square is a very large indoor mall. Depending what season you’re visiting in, definitely think about taking in a sporting event of some sort. Lastly, take advantage of the unique landscape and check out some of the hiking trails, botanical gardens, or other outdoor activities. As you saw, we (I) really wanted some photo memories that had the desert vibe, so we once again went with Flytographer (same company Ryan used for our engagement) and did a short photoshoot on one of the trails in Scottsdale. Our photographer’s name was Stephanie, and she was fantastic!

Overall, Phoenix & Scottsdale are probably some of the nicest cities we’ve visited as of late (how could I not love all the sunshine & cacti!?) and I hope to go back at some point.
Hit me with any of your questions I didn’t touch on down below xx



  1. Caley
    February 19, 2018 / 12:23 am

    Awesome guide Michelle! Did you guys do any hiking while there/is there any hiking there to be done?


    • michelle
      February 19, 2018 / 7:46 pm

      Yes, tons! Lots of trails… North Scottsdale was great for that and one in particular is called Tom’s Thumb — Sedona is great for that too (guide coming next week), including Devil’s Bridge which is AMAZING.

  2. February 20, 2018 / 1:29 pm

    I want to go!! I’m always looking for short trips from Toronto, and this is now #1 on my list!

  3. June 5, 2018 / 3:58 am

    It was nice to see your post. Thanks a lot for sharing with us your awesome guides, there’s another great place that adds to my travel list. Keep it up.

  4. June 5, 2018 / 4:00 am

    Good info, great site. It was nice to see you post. many thanks for sharing with us.

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