As the days get shorter and colder in Denver, one’s mind tends to wander to sunnier locations. The mild climate, blue skies and all-around ambience of Scottsdale, Arizona, make it an ideal choice for a weekend getaway. Guests can enjoy a multitude of world-class accommodations, restaurants that will please the most discerning palates, spas that redefine relaxation and an abundance of cultural attractions.
Located in central Arizona in the midst of the Sonoran Desert, the average year-round temperature is 72.5 degrees. With 330 days per year of sunshine, the area’s delightful weather attracts many visitors. Traveling there from Denver is a breeze and the flight to Phoenix takes just under two hours. A short 15-minute shuttle ride from the airport brings visitors to the heart of Scottsdale.
Rest and rejuvenation are taken very seriously in Scottsdale and enjoying a spa treatment is a highly enjoyable way to spend a few hours. The Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary at Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa takes wellness to a new level. Its philosophy incorporates the natural healing powers of the earth’s sacred resources. Guests can choose from a menu of spa treatments using ingredients provided by a local Sedona botanist. Products are made to order onsite.
After emerging refreshed and renewed, you can head to the Palo Verde Spa Pool with serene, unsurpassed views of Camelback Mountain or the Turquoise Pool for a livelier, yet elegant, atmosphere.
When you have had your fill of spa treatments and pool time, the area is loaded with places to explore. Scottsdale is known for its arts scene and there are numerous galleries, museums and other cultural attractions.
Cattle Track Arts Compound is one of Scottsdale’s hidden treasures. It is five minutes from downtown and nestled on the banks of the Arizona canal. Adobe structures house a historic artists compound and galleries. It dates to the 1930s and has been a haven for writers, dancers and artists including Philip C. Curtis, founder of the Phoenix Art Museum.
The Desert Botanical Gardens are well worth a visit. They house a diverse collection of arid-land plants from deserts around the world in a unique outdoor setting. The garden has more than 50,000 plants throughout its five trails, which illustrate conservation, desert living and other themes.
Travel the world of music at the Musical Instrument Museum. Ranked Phoenix’s No. 1 attraction by TripAdvisor, the museum offers an immersive experience, monthly cultural celebrations and 250 concerts a year. Don’t miss the Experience Gallery where guests of all ages can strum guitars, shake rattles and bang gongs.
Arizona is home to a flourishing wine industry. Several vineyards have established tasting rooms in Scottsdale to promote their vintages. The Carlson Creek Tasting Room, opened in 2016, is in a former art gallery in downtown Scottsdale. Its flagship blend is Rule of Three with another favorite being the Sweet Adeline Riesling.
Scottsdale’s culinary scene is also thriving. Citizen Public House challenges the status quo by capturing the old sense of community and leisure public houses from days past in today’s nonstop world. New-American comfort favorites include gypsy pork shank and fair-trade short ribs.
Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen is located in the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa. It offers plancha cooking, a method of grilling, and Sonoran-inspired cuisine. The Kitchen Table is a unique glass box within the kitchen where up to 10 guests get a one-of-a-kind vantage point into the preparation of their meal.
6114 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85253
The property features 201 unique bungalow-style guests’ rooms and suites located within a 22.5-acre desert oasis complete with picture-perfect views of Camelback Mountain and a welcoming staff. Nightly rates start at $139 during the summer and $429 during the high season (Oct. through April) for a 420-square-foot room.
5445 E. Lincoln Dr., Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Another hotel option and the newest in town is Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley, adjacent to Scottdale. The property originally opened in 1959 and has a storied history. Hollywood icons Elizabeth Taylor and John Wayne were guests. The property has been completely refurbished and re-opened in 2017. It features 183 guest rooms, a luxury wing with 42 resort condominiums and suites, two pools and fully revamped 18-hole short course. Accommodations range from 427 to 3,400 square feet and nightly rates in the summer run from $129-$1,999 and $389-$2,899 in the high season.
7111 E. 5th Ave., Suite E, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Upscale American fare with craft beers and classic and contemporary cocktails are served in a relaxed, casual environment. Open daily for dinner with a social hour from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
4142 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
6105 N. Cattle Track Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Desert Botanical Gardens
1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ 85008
4725 E. Mayo Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85050
Jennifer Turner lives in Denver. Her works has been featured in Cherry Creek Now, Country Club Neighborhood Living, Washington Park Profile and Life on Capitol Hill.
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