BY MARIE LODI
If you’re planning to visit Arizona, the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, is not to be missed. Phoenix is the state’s capital, and it’s also the fifth-largest city in the United States. With plenty of relaxing, wellness-focused resorts, stunning nature views, and dining options galore, Arizona vacations are bound to be memorable. Even if you’re a local, these tips will have you falling in love with the Grand Canyon State all over again. If you’re lucky enough to be one of the Arizonians that have a medical marijuana card, you also have the added benefit of visiting our MedMen dispensary in central Scottsdale. Ahead, the ultimate rundown of things to do in Arizona—places to stay, eat, see, and more.
The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort in Scottsdale
Looking for Arizona’s ultimate relaxation sanctuary? This 250-acre resort features stunning views of Camelback Mountain. As part of a three-year renovation, the 60-room hotel built a 4,600 square foot fitness center, redesigned its pool area, and added a three-level spa with two dozen treatment rooms. Enjoy a relaxing facial or body treatment of your choice.
If wellness and self improvement are your goals on this trip, consider staying at CIVANA. Located just outside of Scottsdale in the Sonoran Desert, CIVANA is the first sustainable wellness resort in the area and is focused on four key pillars: healthy cuisine, movement and fitness, spa’s healing arts, and discovery and enrichment. It offers up to 18 classes every day, each one centered around a topic on fitness, personal growth, or spirituality. There’s also a 22,000-square-foot spa and a restaurant that has a creative and healthy menu led by the renowned Chef Justin Macy.
Speaking of food, are your munchies giving you a craving for Italian? Book dinner at Tratto, a restaurant from beloved chef Chris Bianco, who is also famous for his pizza spot, Pizzeria Bianco (which is located right nearby Tratto, and considered to be one of the best restaurants in Arizona). At Tratto, all the pasta is made in-house, so you’re guaranteed to dig into fresh, authentic flavor no matter what you get—but the cacio e pepe is a known crowd-pleaser.
This spot is vetted by the Mayor of Flavortown himself, Guy Fieri. Indeed, this Phoenix taco joint is not to be missed. It’s a labor of love, started by married couple Nadia Holguin and Armando Hernandez, who were both born in Chihuahua, Mexico (the restaurant is a homage to their hometown) and met in Arizona in 2012. Make sure to order the rajas gorditas, a star dish made with soft, pillowy pockets of tortilla, flavorful beans, and rajas, which are poblano chile strips with cheese. Drooling.
Are you an architecture geek or interior design nerd? Plan a day trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, which was recently added to the Unesco World Heritage List. There are plenty of tours to choose from, but the Night Lights tour is perfect for a romantic desert night.