Thank you to Experience Scottsdale for sponsoring this article. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely our own.
When most people think of the desert, they think of a dry, arid, barren landscape. But here in the heart of the Sonoran Desert in Scottsdale, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Scottsdale Arizona is a desert oasis that embodies the spirit of the west. From its abundance of outdoor adventures such as rock climbing and hiking to its eclectic interactive art scene, its five-star hotels to its sizzling culinary scene, Scottsdale is by far, one of our favorite destinations in the entire United States. While most snowbirds visit this sunny vacation destination to thaw out in the winter months, we’re here to let you in a little secret: summer in Scottsdale is the best time to visit!
Hotels in Scottsdale Arizona
There are a plethora of luxury hotels in Scottsdale and they’re the perfect places to beat the heat in the summer months…especially because most of these luxury resorts are 60% off during summer in Scottsdale! That means you can enjoy five-star hotels at a fraction of their usual cost, but with 100% of the air conditioning. During our trip to Scottsdale, we stayed at two hotels: The Andaz Scottsdale and the Phoenician Scottsdale.
The Andaz: Our time at the Andaz Scottsdale was our first time staying at an Andaz property and it quickly became one of our favorite hotel brands in the world! This luxury boutique hotel has delicious locally inspired dining, a full-service spa, and beautiful bungalows spread across its 23 acres of perfectly manicured cactus gardens. We had the pleasure of staying in one of the Andaz Scottsdale’s new wellness suites which come complete with a Tonal smart-gym system and plenty of space for work and play. Why work from home when you can work from the Andaz Scottsdale…especially when they have amazing deals for your summer road trips!
The Phoenician: The Phoenician is the premier luxury getaway in Scottsdale. Everything about the Phoenician is impressive: its opulent guest rooms, its multi-story spa, its grand golf course, and its unparalleled views over the iconic Camelback Mountain. Part of the Luxury Collection, the Phoenician is also one of Scottsdale’s most highly sought-after wedding destinations!
Other notable hotels in the area are the Hotel Valley Ho, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and the Four Seasons Scottsdale.
Adventures in Scottsdale Arizona
One of the many reasons why we love Scottsdale is because of its endless outdoor adventures. In a time when we’re all craving the great outdoors, there is no better place to distance than in the desert. Here are our top picks for outdoor adventures in Scottsdale:
Rock Climbing: We always love to find rock climbing while we’re on our adventures and Scottsdale has plenty of routes in less than 20 minutes from the city center. Climbers can head to Camelback Mountain for solid sport climbing routes or the McDowell Sonoran Preserve if you prefer trad climbing.
Hiking: There are endless hikes around the greater Scottsdale area, but our favorite area we like to hike in is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. With over 35,500 acres and 225 miles of trails, there are endless adventures in this part of Scottsdale. We especially loved the hike up on Sunrise Trail to Sunrise Peak, which offers 360-degree views of the Sonoran Desert. If you’re visiting during summer in Scottsdale, we highly recommend starting your hike before sunrise to beat the heat.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding: Many don’t realize that Scottsdale has a lake! If you love to be out on the water, head to Saguaro Lake where you can go stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, tubing, or boating!
Hot Air Balloon: On our first trip to Scottsdale in 2018, we had the pleasure of flying in a hot air balloon with Hot Air Expeditions. We awoke before the sun and watched the sunrise over Scottsdale from up in the air! It even came complete with a post-flight champagne brunch!
Hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Reserve
Paddleboarding on Saguaro Lake
Beat the Heat: Summer in Scottsdale
While there are copious amounts of outdoor adventures, here are a few creative ways to beat the heat during summer in Scottsdale.
Wonderspaces: One of the highlights of our trip to Scottsdale was the interactive art exhibition, Wonderspaces. This year-round art show has incredible artwork from around the world. The artwork changes every 2.5-3 months, so you’ll never tire of these extraordinary installations.
Hit the Spa: Scottsdale is known for its serene spas and it’s a great way to treat yourself during the heat of the day. Book a couples massage at the Phoenician Spa and enjoy relaxing pool time (with champagne!) before or after your appointment.
Wine Tasting: Downtown Scottsdale has its own urban wine trail with plenty of tasting rooms. We recommend heading to Merkin Vineyards (does anyone know what a merkin is?) in downtown Scottsdale and enjoying an Arizona wine experience. The vineyard is owned by Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer of Tool. This is not your typical tasting room – you’ll find a much more alternative, rock & roll vibe than you’re used to.
Gelato Tour: The ingredients to learn about a destination usually go as follows: one scoop of local knowledge and another scoop of delicious food, all topped with a beautiful backdrop. JoyRidesAz has a tasty gelato tour that whisks you around Old Town Scottsdale in an electric golf cart. They also have food tours, brewery tours, and chilled wine tours!
Taking a break on the gelato tour in Old Town Scottsdale
Dining in Scottsdale Arizona
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen….at your villa: The Andaz Scottsdale’s restaurant, Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, blends the bold tastes of the Southwest in a serene Sonoran Desert setting and brings all of the fabulous flavors to the comfort of your private villa (if you’re staying at the Andaz!). This romantic candlelit dinner whisks your tastebuds. We recommend ordering the Spanish pulpo, Aleppo marinated shrimp, and the chipotle-glazed ribeye. If you’re not a guest at the hotel – don’t worry! You can still enjoy these delicious flavors at the restaurant itself.
The Mission: The Mission is located in Old Town Scottdale and it serves up modern Latin cuisine with fireside outdoor seating (or indoor if you prefer!) We initially fell in love with The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale when we visited here in 2018, but it’s still absolutely delicious. Don’t forget to try the Mission Sour cocktail!
The Herb Box: Set in Old Town Scottsdale, The Herb Box has delicious and nutritious al fresco dining (and yummy cocktails!). We highly recommend the Korean Cauliflower and the Thai Ribs.
Postino Highland: If you’re in Scottsdale on a Tuesday, then you have to head down to Postino Highland. This happening wine café offers the most delicious deal to hit town: $25 for bruschetta and a bottle of wine…all set in a vibrant indoor/outdoor location. They also have $5 glasses of wine and pitchers of beer until 5 pm. This place is very popular, especially with groups, so try to make a reservation if possible.
Mowry & Cotton: This restaurant, located at the Phoenician, dishes out enchanting Modern American cuisine, all prepared by Chef Tandy Peterson. We highly recommend sitting on the extensive porch while enjoying the chopped salad and Mary’s organic chicken with cherries.
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