Travel Tuesday: 72 Hours in Arizona — Scottsdale, Sedona, Tempe

Happy Travel Tuesday!

We went on a recent trip to Arizona to explore desert life. Truth be told, we actually wanted to plan a trip to Palm Springs, but it was a little pricey and not many hotels were still available. So, I did a little researching to pick a place with palm trees, a pool, somewhere not too expensive and with a lovely hotel — we landed on Scottsdale.

Scottsdale was surprisingly everything we needed for a three-day weekend and though most Bay Area residents come during the Spring for Giants Spring Training, we very much enjoyed that it was never too crowded even if it was HOT. And quite frankly, sometimes of Karl the Fog gets tiring and desert life was a nice change of pace. Here’s what we did on our trip…

FRIDAY: Palm Trees and Cacti

We took an early flight out on a Friday to maximize our time and headed straight to our hotel after getting our rental car. We love midcentury modern design and chose to stay at the new Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa by Hyatt, a recent pick of the Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List for 2017. And because it wasn’t the high season, we got a great deal on Expedia that we couldn’t pass up.

As soon as we got our room, we dropped off our bags, grabbed some breakfast at the restaurant on-site, Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, quickly put on our swim gear and headed straight for the pool. And after a few hours soaking in the sun, Dahlia and Jason went back to the room while I enjoyed a Himalayan Salt Stone Massage which I booked at the on-site Palo Verde Spa. And I actually got a great deal on Groupon which came with a free gift and a glass of wine along with a discounted massage, Yass!

The lobby of the Andaz Scottsdale Resort

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After a relaxing afternoon, we headed out to Old Town Scottsdale where we ate dinner at Hula’s Modern Tiki and walked around to look at the boutique shops and enjoyed the gorgeous thunderstorms in the sky.

Cheers! A margarita from Hula’s Modern Tiki
Cheese! Dahlia posing with cacti in front of the boutique shops at Old Town Scottsdale

As the evening went on, Jason found that there was a Top Golf in town and since we don’t live near one in California and didn’t get a chance to go in Vegas, we figure this would be the best time to come. We’re so glad we came, even though the wait was about 30 mins. (which wasn’t too bad considering it was a Friday night). The concept of Top Golf is fun and if you ever get a chance to try it, GO! Before this day, I had never hit a golf ball in my life aside from mini golf and had tons of fun with the games you could play and targets you get to aim for. And not to mention there’s food, drinks and desserts you could order too. Dahlia had so much fun throwing the balls too :).

Dahlia throwing golf balls at Top Golf overlooking the Talking Stick Resort & Casino

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Saturday: Day Trip to Explore Sedona

We woke up early to get on the road to see what all the red rock hype was all about. Sedona is about a two hour drive from Scottsdale and because we have a toddler, we took a few stops along the way so it may take less time for others.

But a soon as you drive into the red rock area, it felt as if you’ve been transported to another planet. And honestly, my photos don’t do it any justice, it really is one of those places you have to see in person. We even contemplated whether or not we should make the drive and I’m glad we did. There is a magical sense about this place that’s inexplainable and we got to venture outside!


We took a few stops to take photos, okay a lot of photos, and paid the daily park fee to do some walking, because I wouldn’t call it hiking (we wouldn’t walk too far up with Dahlia), however, you can definitely spend hours exploring here! We saw Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and much more.

Drawing in the Red Rock dust at Bell Rock
Taking a stroll to see Bell Rock
Cathedral Rock
Trail walking in flip flops holding a toddler (because you don’t want to mess up the Adidas soles of your sneakers :))

Chapel of the Holy Cross

After much exploring and taking photos, we ended up at the shopping center overlooking Oak Creek Canyon where you could take the uber fun jeep tours, which is something we would’ve done if we had more time, but we decided to eat ice cream instead — it was HOT! 🙂

Overlooking Oak Creek Canyon
Some inspiration for a DIY craft project 🙂

On our way back to Scottsdale, we saw some shopping outlets on our way to Sedona and decided to stop, which was great because it also had a little play structure that included some water play that was perfect for Dahlia.  We even made it to the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall which was huge and has the New York favorite, Shake Shack — score! It was the most perfectly delicious (and cheap) meal that we needed after a long day! 🙂 We also got a bit of shopping done before we hit the hay back at our hotel.


Sunday: Sun, Sites and Legos

On our last day, we decided to dedicate the day to Dahlia. We went and had breakfast a nearby restaurant which was across the street that had lots of fresh & healthy food options called First Watch, who only have locations in Arizona out west.


After breakfast, we headed to the pool for more sun and soaking. We knew we only had a couple of hours here before we had to check out and head to the airport so we definitely took advantage of the pool yet again.

​When pool time was done, we said our goodbyes to the lovely hotel staff and trekked out to Tempe, Arizona to the Legoland Discovery Center which is an indoor playground and located inside the Arizona Mills mall where there is also a SeaLife Aquarium just across from it. If you have more time here, it might be good to get a discounted ticket for both, but we knew didn’t have enough time for both, so we just bought tickets online on their website (for a slightly discounted rate).

 

​Inside the Legoland Discovery Center, they had a movie area, a couple of rides, a Lego building class, awesome indoor play structures, a section to build a lego car and race, a dining area and a mini land to explore. Dahlia had a blast here and especially loved that they had the girl Lego dolls ready to strike a pose with!

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After our afternoon of fun, we did a quick walk through the mall and wished we had a bit more time to shop, but alas, we had to make our way out.

…until, I got a text that our flight was delayed! Oh no! So, to kill some time, we drove to downtown Phoenix to check out the stadiums and drive by some restaurants and shops before returning our rental car.

Overall, we had a great time in Arizona and especially loved the slower pace of life here — It’s also a good reminder to slow down, enjoy the landscape where you are and live in the moment!

Cheers to more adventure! 🙂

This weekend we’re headed to Santa Barbara for even more fun in the sun.

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