Ten Awesome Things to Do in Scottsdale’s Desert Paradise

When the temps go up in Scottsdale, the prices go down. So bring on the heat and save big bucks on that luxury vacation you’ve been dreaming about. With rates 60% off peak season, forget about that three-digit number on the thermometer and plan a trip now. Check out ItsThatHot.com for easy, breezy trip-planning with everything from hot resort rates to chill desert experiences.

1. The Phoenician – A Luxury Resort Collection, Scottsdale 

The sprawling Phoenician Hotel stands against the backdrop of the Camelback Mountains. Photo by Mira Temkin.

Get ready for the time of your life! The AAA Five Diamond  Phoenician is now welcoming guests back to a true luxury experience. Choose from a range of accommodations…more than 600 spectacular guest rooms/suites as well as 60-Canyon Suites with exclusive services, private pools and cabanas. Bring the gang and hang out at the Phoenician Athletic Club,  a new two-story facility where you can do it all. Play tennis, pickleball, work out or up your skills in the game room. Like to hit the greens? Tee up for a premier golf experience at the 18-hole Phoenician Golf Club, showcasing the unique beauty of Arizona’s Sonoran Desert.

Dine Divine 


Hungry?  The Phoenician offers eight different venues that feature sumptuous steaks, bold, American cuisine and poolside options.

Charred Hanger Steak with wild mushroom, pickled blueberry and sunflower pesto. Photo by Mira Temkin.

Go casual, yet refined at Mowry & Cotton, and indulge in a menu that combines bold, simple flavors of Modern American cuisine with traditional cooking under fire, coal and smoke. Chef Tandy Peterson’s approach uses the large, hearth oven that that stands as the focal point of the restaurant for breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. Recommended is the Charred Hanger Steak with wild mushroom, pickled blueberry and sunflower pesto which was rich and succulent.  Save room for the warm S’mores Pie.


The Spa of Spas

Get the treatments you deserve at the new, three-story Phoenician Spa offering a contemporary approach to relaxation, fitness and beauty. Using desert botanicals, savor a range of treatments, therapies and salon services and feel totally relaxed. Try the Personal Remedy facial and come away with skin that feels fresh and rejuvenated. Then chill out at the rooftop pool with mountain views, feeling at one with the desert. Visit the Drybar for a blowout/hair styling, nail salon; aromatherapy blending bar and the fitness center for personal training.


2.Sip and Savor at LDV Winery

Wine concierge Grant Gibson can recommend a host of vintages. Photo by Mira Temkin.

Head to LDV Winery in downtown Scottsdale for a pairing of their finest vintages. While their vineyard is located in the Chiricahua Mountains in Southeastern, Arizona, you can enjoy their hand-crafted, estate-grown Rhone-varietal wines by the glass or bottle right there in town. Share the bounty with your pals or a plate of “little bites” to munch on while you’re sipping on the patio. Grant Gibson, wine concierge, explained how the volcanic soil of the region as well as the high elevation contributes to the wine’s unique flavors. What’s more, LDV is also one of Arizona’s only vegan winery.


Dining Recommendations

3.The Herb Box


Go big at The Herb Box. Photo by Mira Temkin


Plan to be wowed at this farm-to-table restaurant where you can watch the food being prepared outside window at the Herb Box. Savory twists on tried-and-true cuisine along with fresh, seasonal ingredients combine regional flavors with uber-creativity. Start with the Crisp Brussel Sprouts Chips, served with yellow pepper aioli. Dee-lish and healthy, too. Recommended entrée is the Chimichurri Beef Tenderloin with Sweet Potato Fries and Happy Garden Salad, so plentiful. The Herb Box is known for its shared plates, bowls and flatbreads. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

4.Farm & Craft

Think sustainable, gluten-free and organic food and you’ve got the focus of Farm & Craft community-style dining. They believe in a seasonal Wellness Menu that drives four paths to optimal health. Try the Wild Mushroom Flatbread with caramelized onions, sesame cashew salad or a roasted beets bowl for great taste and nutrients. Kombucha Cocktails are out of this world.

5.Postino’s Wine Cafe, Highland

Continuing to expand their locations, Postino’s WineCafe, Highland is the newest jewel in the crown. Housed inside a restored midcentury modern bank, Postino’s Wine Bar is the perfect place to sip and savor. Famous for their luscious bruschetta, go with the Brie, Apple and Fig Spread, Ricotta, Dates and Pistachio, Artichoke Spread and Smoked Salmon and Pesto. Everything was perfect-o! For a light lunch, go with the Raspberry Chicken Salad sandwich. Pair your meal with one of Wine Merchant Brent’s picks for wine or beer and dig in!

6.Wonderspaces – It’s Virtual Art and More 

Watching a virtual reality movie. Photo courtesy of Wonderspaces.

A really cool place to hang out is Wonderspaces, a year-round, evolving art show featuring extraordinary artwork from around the world This interactive, Instagram-friendly series of installations is the first permanent location of the popular art pop-up. Get your I-phones ready for awesome selfies. Experiences like the Virtual Reality movie where a dog jumps into your boat as you drift along and self-drawing art will amaze you!  It’s all inside Fashion Square Mall.

7.Indulge in the Ultimate in Luxury at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The exquisite Fairmont Princess

Located on 65 acres in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, you’ll find the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, a AAA Five Diamond luxury resort that caters to your every need. Known for its uncompromising standards of excellence, the luxury resort features five distinctive restaurants and lounges, two Tournament Players Club golf courses, Well & Being Spa, five heated outdoor swimming pools and five tennis courts.

Check out the Ironwood American Kitchen which serves all-day fare in a warm and inviting atmosphere overlooking the resort’s South Pool. The menu features a variety of hearty, wood-fired specialties such as flatbread pizzas, sandwiches and oven roasted nachos, as well as mixing bowl salads and chef Sean Mayhew’s famous Bechamel-drizzled potato chips. Take time to watch the exhibition kitchen and interact with Mayhew and his team. With summer rates starting at $199, the newly renovated Princess packs in fun for your whole gang.

Dine at Scottsdale’s best Mexican restaurant

Under the direction of Chef Richard Sandoval, La Hacienda at the Princess serves the best Mexican cuisine in Scottsdale. Look for innovative flavors featuring seasonal, indigenous ingredients. Sandoval’s philosophy embraces the concept of “Old Ways, New Hands”, sharing old classics in exciting new ways. Emphasis is on tableside preparation to delight your senses, starting with guacamole. Local favorites include grilled skirt steak served with cactus pico, fajitas and barbecued seabass or short ribs. End with their iconic flaming coffee, served tableside, with tequila, coffee, cream, cinnamon in an unforgettable presentation.

8.Hit the water!

Photo courtesy of REI

Think you can’t kayak or raft in Scottsdale? Head out to Salt River just 20 minutes outside the city and you’ll find there’s no shortage of outdoor adventure in the Arizona desert. Check out REI- Co-op for a full itinerary of challenging and fun adventure trips, including guided tours, mountain biking, curated experiences and more on the water and off. Let their nature experts show you their knowledge of the Sonoran Desert as you bike, raft and hike the great outdoors. Kayak down the Lower Salt River and bask in the serenity of the clear waters. Take in the blue herons and bald eagles with magnificent views of four mountain ranges. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a group of wild horses grazing in the shallow waters.

9.Go True North at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Photo by Mira Temkin

The spirit of the American West is alive and well at the nation’s best Western museum and Smithsonian affiliate. Explore the outstanding art exhibits, rare Old West artifacts and movie posters that bring Western heritage to life. Check out the collection of saddles and wonder about the adventures the riders had seen. You’ll get a feel for the culture of cowboys and Native Americans who settled this country. Walking distance of Scottsdale’s numerous art galleries and restaurants.

10.Scottsdale’s Newest Dining, Shopping, Entertainment Scene — Arizona Boardwalk

Welcome to the Arizona BoardwalkThis is the place to play! Arizona Boardwalk features eight different attractions with more than 10 shops and restaurants.

Go Deep at OdySea Aquarium

Odysea at The Boardwalk

The 16-acre complex is the largest aquarium in the Southwest and the fourth largest in America, all developed by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. Featuring high-tech, high-entertainment, oceanic adventure with floor-to-ceiling windows, you can view aquatic life many fun ways. SeaTREK was way cool, where you descend deep into the water and meet marine life face to face, if you dare! The OdySea Voyager takes you on a rotating aquarium experience with sea turtles, sea lions and sharks. You can even watch the actual feeding. Check out the award-winning bathrooms for more surprises.

Butterfly Wonderland – A Rainforest Experience

What a feeling to walk into Butterfly Wonderland, the largest indoor butterfly conservatory in America and see thousands of butterflies flying freely. Get up close and personal with reptiles and amphibians, all in the magic of the rainforest. Be sure to catch the “Flight of the Butterflies” movie in their immersive 3D theater.

Plan your trip to Scottsdale soon. For more information, go to ExperienceScottsdale.com.

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