Last month I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for my birthday! Over the course of a week, I was able to experience the best food, amenities, and entertainment that Phoenix has to offer. And although I was over two thousand miles away from Virginia, I felt right at home in “The Grand Canyon State” since I was surrounded by fellow D.C. bloggers and housed in some of the best accommodations in the state.
During our time in Phoenix, we stayed in the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa for the first half of our trip and the Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix for the second half. Honored as an AAA Four Diamond all-suite resort, Arizona Grand Resort and Spa is truly an oasis, and my time there was nothing less than luxury defined. Located next to a mountain preserve, the 164-acre resort was as picturesque as it was luxurious and waking up to the sun rising over it during the two days that I stayed there was one of the highlights of my trip. For the remaining three days, we stayed at the sleek and stylish Cambria Hotel Downtown Phoenix. Having recently opened, we were among the first to enjoy the Cambria’s upscale amenities, and it was a privilege to be remembered. At this point, you’re probably wondering if I did anything other than immerse myself in the sheets of my hotel rooms, and the answer is a resounding yes! Find out below what else I did while I zenned out in Arizona!
Lunch at Southern Rail
There’s nothing more comforting after a long flight than good food, and that’s exactly what I had at Southern Rail. Serving American classics with a southern twist, Southern Rail is the ideal gathering place for brunch, lunch, dinner, and happy hour!
Drinks at Undertow
Although Phoenix is far from the beach, exotic flavors and tiki drinks can be found at UnderTow! Located in a subterranean 19th-century clipper ship, UnderTow was a one-of-a-kind cocktail experience that transported us from the dry desert heat to the warm waters of the tropics with every sip of one of their creative cocktails.
Dinner at Sicilian Butcher
With 15 craft meatball varieties to choose from, there is something for everyone at The Sicilian Butcher. Using family recipes, this restaurant allows visitors to build their own meal experience to their taste in a casual dine-in setting.
Combining both the age-old tradition of paper lanterns with new-age technology, the Lights of the World lantern display is truly the best of both worlds. With over 65 stunning displays that showcase fixtures of the world’s cultures and civilizations, Lights of The World was an experience that I won’t soon forget!
Lunch at The Farm at South Mountain
The Farm at South Mountain in Phoenix is an oasis of calm from the nearby city. With canopies of pecan trees, gardens, and three restaurants to choose from, the Farm is the perfect escape to feed your body and mind.
Dinner at Rustler’s Rooste
Rustler’s Rooste mountaintop eatery boasts live country-western music, casual dining, and a breathtaking panoramic view of Phoenix.
Even though most of the animals were asleep, the Phoenix Zoo was wide awake thanks to the millions of lights from this year’s Zoolights. This year, the show included an amazing wildlife lantern safari with more than 60 aglow creatures in addition to its annual light displays and lakeside music-in-motion shows.
Did you know the world’s largest drive-through holiday light display was located in Arizona? You can discover a symphony of sight and sound by visiting the World of Illumination at Tempe Diablo Stadium.
The only thing better than good food is good food that is presented well, and that can be found in abundance at Prep and Pastry.
Christmas in the Rainforest at Butterfly Wonderland
As much as I love holiday lights, celebrating the holidays with thousands of colorful butterflies from around the world at Butterfly Wonderland was truly illuminating.
Lunch at Postino Arcadia
Wine and good food go hand in hand, and both can be found at Postino Arcadia.
Dinner at The Duce
Located in a converted warehouse, The Duce is a bar that serves handmade cocktails and dishes reminiscent of Mom’s 1960’s kitchen.
Cityskate at Cityscape Downtown Phoenix
During the holiday season, Downtown Phoenix’s Cityscape is transformed into an outdoor holiday ice rink, and this year’s rink lived up to the hype as there was a 30-foot tree-shaped sculpture installation in the middle of it.
Sippin’ Santa Pop-Up Bar at Bitter and Twisted
Santa with a tiki twist is the collaboration that I didn’t know I needed, and I found it at the Sippin’ Santa pop-up at Bitter and Twisted.
Breakfast at The Larry
Open for breakfast, lunch, and happy hour, you will surely find something to satisfy your hunger or thirst at The Larry.
Lunch at The Churchill
Locally focused and community-driven, The Churchill is a cultural destination in Phoenix. Located in Roosevelt Row, The Churchill is a 9,000-foot courtyard that can be used for a variety of community-building initiatives surrounded by ten small local businesses.
Every winter, The Princess transforms into an enchanting holiday wonderland and this year’s festive decorations and over four million LED lights were spectacular.
Cocktails at Coach House
Dating back to 1959, this revered and uniquely Scottsdale destination offers drink specials and more in an open-air setting.
At this local farmer’s market, you will find fresh produce, grass-fed meats, eggs, baked goods, food trucks, local artisan wares, and just about everything you would expect to find at your local farmers market.
Tour of Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden houses more than 50,000 desert plants throughout its five thematic trails that illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers.
For someone making their first Arizona tour, it may came as a surprise that despite the size of the Phoenix metro area there are numerous opportunities for hiking in Phoenix and other great outdoor recreation. With nearly year-round sunshine and mild temperatures, one of the most popular excursions is to explore some of the miles of Phoenix hiking trails. The variety of Phoenix mountains, from Camelback Mountain to the South Mountain trails, assures explorers of every ability that hiking in Phoenix will provide a unique way to get to know the area.