Phoenix Art Museum: A beautiful modern structure located in downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Art Museum is one of my favorites. Appealing to both serious art lovers and those of us that don’t spend much time in museums, it has something for everyone. Be sure to check out the Fireflies exhibit; I make a point to experience it on every visit.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West: Originally the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West is now a National Historic Monument. I highly recommend one of the guided tours to learn more about the campus and his work. Tip: part of the tour is outdoors so bring plenty of water, especially in the summer months.
Singh Farms: Not your ordinary farmer’s market, Singh Farms is an oasis in the Arizona desert. After a brief walk, you find yourself under a canopy of trees and hardly recall you just exited a major freeway. Open on Saturdays, Singh Farms has a collection of fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods. Enjoy a fresh juice at the truck or the meal of the day. A great place to bring the kiddos!
Queen Creek Olive Mill: A real live olive mill located 30-45 minutes southeast of Phoenix. Arrive in time to join the hourly tours and sample the varieties of olive oil. Try the chocolate olive oil and strawberry balsamic glaze.
Desert Botanical Gardens: One visit and you’ll be amazed at the number of different cacti and plants. If you’re visiting in December, their luminary event, Las Noches de las Luminarias, isn’t to be missed.
Desoto Central Market: Desoto is Phoenix’s smaller scale answer to San Francisco’s Ferry Building, LA’s Grand Central Market or Napa’s Oxbow Public Market. I love grabbing an iced tea and peanut butter and banana toast at Tea & Toast Co and DCM Burger Joint serves the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had.
Matt’s Big Breakfast: For the best pancakes, head to downtown Phoenix for a stop at Matt’s. If pancakes aren’t your thing, check out The Hog & Chick. To beat the crowds, plan your visit on a weekday or expect a wait on the weekend.
Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse: Located in Old Town Scottsdale, City Hall Steakhouse is the best spot for a mouth watering steak and dirty martini. Add in garlic mashed potatoes and roasted brussel sprouts and I promise you’ll leave happy with a full belly.
True Food Kitchen: With two locations, True Food Kitchen prides itself on good food that makes you feel good. There’s hardly a miss on their menu and they have a variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options available.
Chop Shop Co.: With a selection of fresh juices and healthy eats, Chop Shop Co. is the place to get your body back on track after a late night. The Slim Squeeze, Grinder, Kale Caesar and Chicken Protein Plate are my personal faves.
Cibo: Located in a restored bungalow in downtown Phoenix, Cibo has some of the best pizza I’ve tasted in a charming location. My suggestions include the pear salad and diavola pizza. Whatever you order, make sure to save room for the nutella crepe for dessert.
Chelsea’s Kitchen: Enjoy the Arizona weather with lunch or dinner on the patio. You’ll forget you’re in the middle of the city.
North: If it’s pasta you’re craving, head to North. Fresh pasta is made in house daily; you can’t go wrong with the traditional spaghetti and meatballs or bolognese. If you’re in the North Scottsdale area, Bar North has the same menu in a lighter, brighter location.
La Grande Orange Grocery: Serving great food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, La Grande Orange is a perfect spot to bring the kids. The little store is filled with fun items for the home and a surprisingly large selection of wine.
The Mission: Located in Old Town Scottsdale, The Mission features modern latin cuisine. It’s perfect for a special occasion. The food is amazing and the margaritas are pretty good too.
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass: Located outside the central Phoenix/Scottsdale area, the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass is a community all its own. Just a 15-minute drive from the airport, you’ll find yourself in the Gila River Indian Community. The hotel strives to remain authentic to the Indian heritage. Check out the spa and have dinner at Kai for one of the best meals I’ve ever experienced.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa: Located at the base of Camelback Mountain with a variety of casitas and suites, Royal Palms is a relaxing place to stay with a great bar to grab a drink.
The Phoenician: With great views of Camelback Mountain, The Phoenician is one of the oldest and most historic hotels in the area. The rooms could use an update, but the views and location can’t be beat.
The Hermosa Inn: For a secluded feel in a central location, head to The Hermosa Inn. I’ve heard great reviews from friends and can’t wait to experience it myself.
W Scottsdale: If it’s nightlife you’re after, the W Scottsdale is the place to be. Within walking distance of all the bars and dance clubs you could want, it’s the place to be and be seen.
Scottsdale Fashion Square: One of my favorite spots to shop after all these years. Find luxury retailers, such as Neiman Marcus, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo, mixed with more traditional mall inhabitants like J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Macy’s, Banana Republic and Madewell.
Scottsdale Quarter: An open-air retail center with a mix of restaurants, services and stores, including H&M, Apple, DryBar and West Elm. Head across the street to Kierland Commons for more restaurant and shopping options.
Vida Moulin: When you’re downtown, make sure to stop at Vida Moulin to check out their selection of bohemian clothing and home goods. It’s one of my favorite places to shop local. They carry brands you don’t normally see and you’re guaranteed to leave with a piece no one else will be wearing.
FOUND: Located in the suburbs, FOUND, is worth a trip to look at all of the beautiful decor. While you’re there, wander into the TomKat section for some of my favorite party products.
urbAna: Shop urbAna’s perfectly curated mix of home and paper products. urbAna carries a blend of local and well-known brands. If you go, check out the Standard Wax and MAME candles. You won’t be able to leave without one of them.
Sundrops Nail Spot: With a little boutique inside the salon and always super clean, giving my nails some love at Sundrops is hands down my favorite way to relax. The best place for a high quality manicure and pedicure for around $50. Be sure to call in advance, especially on the weekends, they’re so busy I’ve seen them have to turn people away.
The Waverly: If you find yourself away from home and in need of a cut and color, or just a blowout for a night at the clubs, get yourself to The Waverly. Centrally located in Old Town Scottsdale and the stylists here are the best.
Drybar: For a splurge, head to Drybar and have the experts wash, dry and style your hair. Choose from one of their signature looks or bring in a photo of your own. Relax and feel like royalty.
Spa at Camelback Inn: Locals rave about the Spa at Camelback Inn. A beautiful location with great services.
Sanctuary Camelback Mountain: Named one of the top hotel spas by Travel & Leisure, the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain offers a broad range of service options in an Asian inspired setting.
Camelback Mountain: For beautiful views of the Valley, hike Camelback Mountain (named for the camel’s hump that is easily visible from a distance). There are two different trailheads that access the mountain. Each are approximately 1.25 miles and classified as strenuous and steep, although the Cholla Trail is slightly easier. Extremely popular on weekends during the winter and spring, get here early and bring lots of water.
Whirlwind Golf Course: Located at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, Whirlwind has great views of the surrounding mountains. A classic desert course, Whirlwind is known as a challenging, but fair course.
We-Ko-Pa Golf Course: Named one of the best courses by Golfweek magazine, We-Ko-Pa is located on the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. With views of four different mountain ranges, it has some of the best views in the valley.It’s a bit of a drive outside of Phoenix, but well worth it.