One of the things I’m going to try to write more about this year is travel. Whether it’s going to another state or country or even a city close by, I love exploring and I want to be able to share with you the places I visit and love. I have SO many pictures from my Europe trip last year that I still have to show you!
During the holiday break, I spent some time in Pheonix and I’ve been wanting to check out Scottsdale. I’ve heard from tons of people that it’s a cool city to explore, with lots of good shopping and restaurants. My family and I could only explore Scottsdale for half a day so I did some research on TripAdvisor (TIP: check out what previous visitors recommend here) and decided to do the most touristy thing ever: visit Old Town. My parents love that kind of stuff and since we all haven’t been, why not?
Now my list below is pretty extensive, but I’ve included a bunch of places that I researched before my visit. I didn’t get to do all these things, but they might be useful if you’re visiting Old Town Scottsdale in the future.
Arizona is crazy hot in the summer, so if desert heat isn’t your thing, I’d recommend visiting Scottsdale in the Winter and Spring. The temperature was in the 70s and we felt so spoiled for being December.
I flew into the PHX airport and it’s about a 20 minute drive east. Grab an Uber or rent a car, it’s really easy to get there.
WHERE TO STAY:
There are so many cool hotels to stay at in Scottsdale! I was staying with my parents, but if I were to get a hotel, I’d choose a trendy and Instagrammable hotel (duh!).
A posh hotel that has a pool, great restaurants, an amazing nightlife. You can’t go wrong with the W!
For something a little bit more affordable, The Saguaro is a super trendy hotel with a really cool vibe. If I had to choose, I’d stay here!
Valley Ho is a historic hotel that has a mid-century retro vibe. Even if you don’t stay here, their rooftop bar is worth a trip.
If you prefer bed and breakfasts, this one is it. It’s a small romantic inn that’s beautifully decorated and based on reviews, it’s a winner.
WHERE TO EAT
Coffee, tea, or juice
One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to find a super cute coffee, tea, or juice spot. I love it when I find a small business that really steps up their Instagram game, it’s like a treasure hunt in the city! Luckily, Scottsdale has a handful of places to choose from. Here are a few that caught my eye in the Old Town Scottsdale area:
I saw this coffee shop at the airport, so when I stumbled across this, I wanted to see what the hype was about. They really took the time to brew my coffee and I liked that they had non-dairy milk and alternative sweeteners (agave syrup). I ended up getting an iced latte sweetened with agave syrup.
One thing that caught my eye – the white and blue china they serve their macarons in. If you love sweets, this cafe is the perfect backdrop to photograph your coffee and pastry!
A tiny coffee shop where you can enjoy your latte art on top of marble tables. #instagramgoals
Attached to a bike shop, this coffee shop has a hipster vibe where you can also enjoy local artwork. I love that they support their Arizona coffee community by serving Presta Coffee, a local coffee roaster.
I was SUPER bummed I couldn’t visit Teaspressa because they were closed, but I fell in love instantly when I saw how beautiful it looked inside. They brew tea just like coffee and some popular orders include the London Fog and the Ruze Latte.
If you’re craving for something slightly healthier, Kaleidoscope Juice carries very health focused food and juice.
Finding good food is a must when traveling, so I found a few that had good reviews with an awesome backdrop for pictures.
This restaurant is ranked very high on Yelp. Very modern interior and you can even sit outside on the patio while you eat.
Also ranking high on Yelp, this organic restaurant highlights vegetable based dishes. Omnivores, don’t fear, they serve meat too! They also have happy hour (M-F 3-6 PM, Sat 3-5 PM, Sun 2-4 PM) in case you want to try a few small bites and drinks.
I ended up at The Montauk, which served Hamptons style seafood (see pics below). I ordered the lobster roll (get the cold roll, it’s much better), which was recommended by the server. But not going to lie, I kinda wish I went to Diego Pops instead after seeing how amazing it looks inside!
This stylish restaurant serves Mexican food in a super cool atmosphere. I could totally see myself eating tacos and margaritas out on the patio. Happy hour is all day Sunday and 3-6 PM Monday through Friday. They even have Taco Monday where tacos are $2 or $3!
Serving upscale Latin food (think Spain, Mexico, Central and South America), this chic and modern restaurant would be cool to visit before a night out. One thing that stood out were the Pork Shoulder Tacos with a pineapple glaze, yum!
For something slightly more healthy, this trendy casual cafe offers a variety of healthy food options that are sustainable, gluten-free, organic, and hormone-free.
I’ve heard Scottsdale has a really cool bar scene and I’ve gotten some recommendations to go to Zuzu at night. It’s a rooftop bar that overlooks Scottsdale and I can only imagine how beautiful it’d be to hang out there, especially in the Summer!
After reading a lot of local food threads, this restaurant seemed to be on every must-do list. If you enjoy craft cocktails (and delicious food), this is the place to visit.
Another bar specializing in craft cocktails, this one is worth checking out, especially if you’re a whiskey drinker. Locals say it has a great vibe! Another thing to note: happy hour is from 4-6 PM everyday.
As the name suggests, this bar has a large selection of bourbon. Also serves craft cocktails and beer and a great restaurant to eat at if you’re in the mood for a steak.
Even though I only I ate here for lunch, I’m told that The Montauk has a great night scene as well.
Think craft cocktails in an urban speakeasy. This bar fills up quickly and serves up a menu that changes every 3 weeks. Based on reviews, the bartenders can craft up a personalized cocktail according to your fave flavors.
Warm Lobster Roll, House Burger, Fish + Chips
Warm Lobster Roll
Endless Summer cocktail
WHAT TO DO
Besides walking around the Scottsdale 5th Avenue Shops in Old Town, there are other things to do that are walking distance. We ended our trip by doing a little bit of shopping at the mall, Scottsdale Fashion Square, where I scored a few items from the Zara sale.
An upscale boutique that’s worth popping into.
A pretty big mall with all the major stores, including Nordstrom, Zara, Macy’s, Sephora, etc. A store that you have to visit (especially if you like makeup like me), is Citrine. I didn’t get to check it out (I’m so bummed!!!!) because we were short on time, but it carries natural and clean makeup products that rivals traditional makeup.
Farmer’s Market, open Saturdays, 7am-11am
Stephanie’s, image credit here.
All these pictures just reminded me of how much I want to take a mini vacay with my bf here! If you live in Scottsdale, do you recommend any other places to visit in Old Town Scottsdale? If you’ve visited before, where do you recommend I visit next time?
Alright, I’m off to bed guys! Currently listening to the sound of the rain and I always find that it instantly puts me to sleep. zZz
Hope you all had a good weekend!