If you have been following along, you may know that Matt and I recently escaped the cold (and unexpected snow/rain/wind storm) in NYC and packed our bags for a long weekend in Arizona! I have mentioned before that we both agreed to try and add more long weekend getaways into this year and have had so much fun planning and brainstorming each one. Matt had been to Scottsdale, Arizona once before for a bachelor party, but didn’t really get to walk around and fully explore everything and I had never been to the state at all, so we were excited for this trip.
I had an opportunity to work with Visit Mesa and Visit Phoenix for this getaway and upon arrival we were welcomed with 75 degree weather right off the plane. Since we were only there for a few days I think it will be easiest to map out what we did each day incase you are planning a long weekend trip yourself. I also will add on a few activities I wish we could have done it we had a little more time, but just another reason to go back!
We took a late flight Thursday night from NYC and arrived into Phoenix around midnight. With that being said, my “day 1” will start on Friday which was our first full day of activities. It was great getting there Thursday night to put our things down and unwind a bit so we had a full first day. The first two nights we stayed at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, which was like a hidden oasis. I will touch more on the hotel down below and throughout this post.
Also, I have saved my Arizona Instagram Stories in my highlights, if you are interested seeing more footage from this trip! (@styledsnapshots)
We had an early wake-up call for a 8:00am departure, but when my alarm went off around 6:30 am I was welcomed with the most beautiful sunrise right out our window. That is something I am going to talk about a lot, but I honestly have not seen such gorgeous sunrises and sunsets in the longest time.
After grabbing a quick bite to eat and a coffee at the hotel (we had access to the Regency Club), we headed off to Fort McDowell Adventures located within the Sonoran desert. Fort McDowell offers thrilling adventures as well as the perfect backdrop/venue for different events you may be hosting or attending. I was so excited to jump on the segway tour as it was mine (and Matt’s) first time on a segway! It was such a fun way to spend the morning and explore the surroundings. The land just kept rolling and there was such a sense of peace and calming while we were out there. Afterwards, we had the chance to walk around the property and play with the two most adorable pups in the world!
Now that we worked up an appetite, we headed off to True Food Kitchen, which I am pretty sure was designed for me, ha! This meal was incredible and so fresh. They are a health driven, seasonal restaurant with the open kitchen concept that I always love. They pride themselves on their delicious options of gluten free, organic, vegetarian and vegan (and then a few options for your meat lover). You can tell everything is prepared with TLC. We ordered a few starters to share, but the edamame dumplings and roasted cauliflower were by far my favorites. I went with the tuna poke bowl for lunch while Matt opted for steak tacos.
With full bellies we headed back to the Hyatt to change and freshen up before we left for dinner, which was by far my favorite part of this trip. The dinner, hosted by Cloth and Flame in the middle of the Saguaro National Park, was an immersive experience. When we arrived to the meeting location we had to be escorted by another car because you quite literally are driving into the middle of the desert and there is no way to provide directions. I don’t even know where to begin to explain this experience, but hopefully the photos below will speak for themselves. We were welcomed with delicious cocktails and small bites while the sun was still out. We spent that time mingling with other guests and snapping photos. We also watched about 8-10 hot air balloons in the distance. Once the sun set, they cut the generators for a few minutes so we could fully take in the night sky that was packed with stars and the most epic orange moon rising in the distance. I will never forget this experience!
< the hang-glider waved hi as they passed over us dining >
Although Matt and I were tired from a packed day, we knew we weren’t in Arizona for long and were debating grabbing a nightcap somewhere in town. When we arrived back at our hotel to put some things down we heard an awesome band playing in the center stage bar area below and just had to check it out. We decided to grab a drink from the hotel bar, snuggle up by one of the outdoor fire pits (the hotel is an open air concept which was great), listen to live music and call it a night. Pretty amazing first day if you ask me!
This day started off a little bit slower, so it was nice to enjoy breakfast and spend some time relaxing by the pool (it’s usually around 82 degrees this time of year and perfect for a dip) before checking out and heading to the next hotel. The Hyatt’s pool area is no joke, they have a few different areas to choose from as well as a slide, waterfall and of course a hot tub.
After a little bit of R&R we changed out of our suits and got ready to check out and head to the next hotel and baseball game. The hotel we were spending our last night at was the Sheraton Mesa Hotel at Wrigleyville West, which is literally a one minute walk from the Cubs spring training stadium. If you are a big sports fan, especially the Chicago Cubs, this hotel is absolute perfection. When you walk out the lobby door there are people tailgating across the street and the entire area is filled with energy. Once inside the stadium, the energetic vibe continues and the stadium is PACKED. They have a few different food trucks lined up, which was fun to check out. We had a nice afternoon grabbing some beers, touring around the stadium and watching the game.
We had a little bit of time after the game before dinner that night and wanted to make the most out of our time so jumped into a cab and headed to grab a bite to eat at Culinary Dropout. Apparently the Tempe location is the best, they have an entire area dedicated to lawn games called “the yard”. Matt and I shared a bunch of random bites before heading back to the hotel to relax and change for dinner.
Dinner this night was about a 30 minute Uber ride from our hotel in a community known as Agritopia. It is a 166-acre mixed use planned community in Gilbert. It is a mix of modern village life, 11 acres of urban farmland where tree-lined sidewalks lead you to restaurants, shops and creative spaces. Their motto is creating a place where people live, work, eat, shop, create and come together. We arrived right before sunset so we could walk around the property before it got too dark and were then welcomed by the most gorgeous cotton candy sunset I think I have ever seen.
After taking in the beauty of this community, we made our way through Barnone to Garage-East to start our wine tasting. Garage-East makes and serves great wine from Arizona and sources their meat and cheeses from all local vendors. If you are wanting a bit more of a meal to eat, you can order from one of the restaurants within this community area and they will deliver it to your table here.
Upon arrival, we met with Brian (the owner) and were walked through the most wonderful wine pairing filled with so much history about each glass. Both Matt and I loved their take on an aperol spritzer, so much lighter and not as sweet as the ones I have tried in the past. The most unique wine we experienced was their breakfast wine which is actually a citrus infused sparkling wine (but not too sweet) that you can drink any time of the day, but is the perfect pairing to a yummy breakfast meal. I loved the local wine so much, Matt and I had 6 bottles shipped back to NYC and I can’t wait for them to arrive.
Our last day we didn’t have any set plans and it was nice to just get out and explore. I had a few restaurants in mind that I wanted to try as well as a couple of places to check out. We grabbed coffee from the hotel and took an Uber to Papago Park. I am laughing as I type this because I was not dressed for the occasion (Matt did not really explain where he was taking me ha), but we made the best of it! The park itself was beautiful and covered both the left and right side of the highway. There were so many area to explore and if I had more of a hiking outfit we would have done more. This park is also right next to the Phoenix zoo.
From here we grabbed an Uber again to downtown/Old Town Scottsdale to walk around and explore. After walking around for a bit we worked up a bit of an appetite and headed to Diego Pops. Word on the street was to order their prickly pear margarita and brussels sprout nachos, both delicious! It was the cutest restaurant and had so many charming features to take in and capture. Right next door there was a place called The Montauk, which literally transported you to Montauk, New York, a true coastal vibe. I wish we popped in for a drink just to experience it, but we were so full from lunch we couldn’t even think about a drink at that point. Farm & Craft was also about a block away and looked adorable.
< Reflection Rising – Art installation >
At this point, being able to lay down and digest for a minute was sounding appealing and we had been wanting to check out the Phoenician Resort which is located in Scottsdale. They had a large, beautiful balcony area that overlooked their pools and also had a backdrop of Camelback mountain. We decided to hang out for a while, soaking up the sun and enjoy a glass of rosé.
It was starting to get later in the day and closer to sunset, so we made our way to The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, which we heard had a beautiful view for just this. We sat out on the balcony which had heat lamps (and they even gave me the coziest blanket to wear as well) and ordered oysters Rockefeller (incredible) and tuna tartare to enjoy while we watched the sun set over the mountains. It truly was the perfect ending to our trip.
But we still had a few hours before our red-eye flight home (we were leaving at 11:00pm) and I was dying to end our trip at Postino wine bar with their ever so popular bruschetta. It did not disappoint! Each bruschetta board comes with your choice of 4 bruschetta (make sure to get the artichoke) and each one was delicious. It was the perfect spot to unwind before our flight, recap our trip, and get ready to head back to NYC. As always, we packed a lot into the long weekend, but we prefer to do that so we feel like we saw and did it all. There were a few things on our list that we didn’t have time for (next time!), but I thought I would list them out for you all incase you are interested!
IF WE HAD MORE TIME…
Gondola ride at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale – I really wish we were able to fit this into our schedule while we were staying there, but the rides didn’t start until 6pm and we had already left for dinner the one night and had to check out earlier in the day the other. The rides are free and go along the only canal in Arizona which is in back of the Hyatt resort.
Hot Air Balloon Ride – Still kind of kicking myself about this one. We thought about doing it for sunset our last day, but were having the best time relaxing and soaking it all in we decided not to. Also, the rides are quite expensive (about $500 per couple) so we wanted to make sure we were totally ready to commit.
Queen Creek Olive Mill – You can take a tour of this olive mill and then dine at del Piero, the mill’s Tuscan inspired eatery.