Scottsdale Weekend Itinerary: Choose Your Own Adventure Guide

Scottsdale, Arizona is a vibrant destination that truly offers something for everyone, whether you are looking for luxurious relaxation, outdoor adventure, great food and drink, boutique or designer shopping, or cultural experiences. Fitting it all into just a couple of days can be challenging. That’s why I’ve put together a comprehensive Scottsdale weekend itinerary that offers you choices for each day, depending on your interests and budget.

Whether you’re a nature lover, golfer, foodie, history buff, or just want to chill out, this Scottsdale itinerary will help you make the most of your time in the area. So pack your sunscreen and your swimsuit (and maybe your cowboy boots) and get ready to enjoy Scottsdale and Paradise Valley.

Kim and Tamara on the path at the Desert Botanical Gardens

How to Get to Scottsdale

Scottsdale is located in the Phoenix Metro area, just 10 miles from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, which offers direct flights from over 100 cities both international and domestic. Once you arrive, you will likely want to rent car to get to the various attractions, unless you plan to stay on a resort for the majority of your stay. However, ride share options are widely available and on my recent stay I noticed a number of people taking Ubers to things like the horse back riding ranch. Also, some activity providers, like the hot air balloon operators, offer a pick up and drop off service.

If you do rent a car, the car rental center is now connected to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport via the Air Train, making it much more convenient to get around this very busy airport.

What is the Best Time to Visit Scottsdale?

Kim and Tamara next to Saguaro

That is the big question, isn’t it? The best time to visit Scottsdale is between November and April when the weather is cooler and more pleasant. Summers in Scottsdale can be extremely hot with temperatures regularly exceeding 100°F. However, winter season can be very busy and expensive due to the “snowbirds” coming south to enjoy the warmer temperatures.

Additionally, from late February to late March, baseball teams from across the United States and Canada come to the Phoenix metro area to prepare for spring training, also known as the Cactus League. This is a great time to visit if you are a baseball fan, but prices will be higher and accommodations a bit more limited.

If you can beat the heat through early morning activities, indoor pursuits, and plenty of pool time, summer in Scottsdale can be a great time to visit when the hotel prices are lower.

How Long Should You Spend in Scottsdale?

Cowboy statue at sunset

Chances are, if you are reading this Scottsdale weekend itinerary, you are thinking of visiting for two or three days, and I think that is the minimum amount of time you should spend in Scottsdale, especially if you are flying in and out.

There is certainly plenty to do to fill an entire week, especially if you are interested in taking any day trips, but how long you spend is up to your interests, time, and budget. Personally, I like returning again and again for a Scottsdale weekend getaway and getting to stay somewhere new and try something different each time. Of course, with a college student down in Tucson, that is a little easier for me to plan.

Scottsdale’s Indigenous Heritage

Native American hoop dancer

When visiting, it is important to acknowledge that Scottsdale, Arizona is located on the traditional lands of the Akimel O’odham (Pima) and the Pee Posh (Maricopa) tribes, who lived on this land for thousands of years. These Indigenous people have a deep connection to the land, and their cultural and spiritual practices are intrinsically tied to the natural resources of the region. While you are in Scottsdale, make an effort to familiarize yourself with these cultures if you can (I have a couple of options below.)

I offer this land acknowledgement as a step towards recognizing and respecting the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples and their ongoing struggle for justice, dignity, and self-determination and commit to learning more about the history and culture of the Indigenous peoples of this land, and all places that I visit.

Scottsdale Weekend Itinerary

Note: This post is written as part of a paid partnership with Experience Scottsdale. My travel expenses were also covered as part of this campaign, but all opinions are my own.

Ok, now let’s dig into what your Scottsdale weekend itinerary can look like. I recently visited Scottsdale with my bestie Kim from Stuffed Suitcase and we tackled a lot of what Scottsdale has to offer (but I’m already willing to go back for more!) As I mentioned above, I’ve designed this itinerary with some options so that you can use it like a “choose your own adventure” story, and mix and match as you like.

Since there is so much to do in Scottsdale, I’d really recommend planning a long weekend, especially if you are flying in, so I’ve designed this weekend itinerary to cover 3 days in Scottsdale. If you only have two days, you can still use this as a guide and subtract the activities that are the least interesting to you.

Day One: Arrive and Relax!

If you are flying into Phoenix, you will probably be tired from an early morning departure (especially if you are flying from the East Coast like me!), and it makes sense to spend your first day in Scottsdale relaxing. Don’t worry, that doesn’t mean doing nothing — it just means you aren’t jumping off the plane all eager beaver to hike up Camelback Mountain.

Option 1: Book a Spa Appointment

Tamara and Kim at the spa

If you are arriving early, chances are you won’t be able to check into your hotel until the afternoon. But if you book an appointment at a spa, you can spend the day relaxing at its facility. And let me tell you, Scottsdale has some amazing spas. If hitting the links is relaxation for you, then you do you and book a tee time, but to me golf is not relaxing (because I’m a horrible golfer.)

The Phoenician Spa is gorgeous and once you book an appointment (do this weeks in advance, especially if you are visiting during a busy season), you have access to the entire facility until 5 pm. And the facilities are fab! There are male and female locker rooms that each have their own steam room, sauna, and whirlpool.

Pre-treatment you can hang out in the coed lounge and after treatment, I won’t judge you if you take a nap on one of the comfortable loungers in the relaxation area (I did and it was just what I needed.) But…I saved the best for last…there is also a rooftop pool just for spa guests! In addition to the loungers ringing the pool and a comfy sofa conversation area, you can also book a private cabana (great if you are traveling with a group.) They serve drinks and some of the tastiest poolside food I’ve had (try the chicken shawarma and the off-menu french fries.)

There are many other hotels that offer day spa access or spa services for hotel guests, including the Spa Avania at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. Spa Avania has 19 treatment rooms including three rooms dedicated to couples and five garden-side treatment rooms with private entrances. Outside of treatments, spa guests can enjoy the French-Celtic mineral pool, lotus pond, steam room and sauna, and hot and cold plunges. Personally, I really loved adding on some time in the Himalayan salt cave before my treatment.

Option 2: Pool Time

Phoenician pool

While locals may not open their pools until May, many hotel pools are heated year round and feel delightful, especially for Northerners like me (I never understand why don’t we heat our pools in New England.) Keep in mind that the winter months can actually get chilly, so it may not be pool weather year round but you are at least bound to find a hot tub for a quick soak.

Due to the weather, Scottsdale resorts have an A+ pool scene. Many resorts offer multiple pools for families or adults-only/quiet pools and offer poolside restaurants and chair side service. And, even if you can’t yet check into your hotel room, you can still find a restroom to slip into your swimsuit until your room is ready.

Just make sure you slather on the sunscreen, find a great packable sun hat, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The sun and dry climate can be tough if you aren’t used to it.

Waterslide at The Phoenician

If you are traveling with your family, many resorts, such as The Phoenician and Hyatt Regency Scottsdale at Gainey Ranch, offer terrific family pools. The Phoenician has a water slide and a splash zone and play area for little ones.

Option 3: Old Town and the Scottsdale Wine Trail

Kim and Tamara shopping at The Merchantile

Either after you have relaxed at one of the above, or instead of selecting option 1 or 2, take some time to explore Old Town Scottsdale. As the name indicates, Old Town Scottsdale is a historic district located in downtown Scottsdale that covers approximately one square mile.

It is known for its charming and unique Western architecture, art galleries, shops, and restaurants. Old Town is home to a number of historic buildings, including the Rusty Spur Saloon, one of the oldest bars in Scottsdale. You will want to wander through the Fifth Avenue Shops, along the Marshall Way Arts District, and through the Main Street Arts & Antique District.

If you enjoy supporting local small businesses, creators, and artisans, two places you need to put on your list include The Merchantile of Scottsdale, which is an indoor marketplace for local artists and designers; and the Native Art Market, which offers art and products from over 40 Native Americans and is the only Native American-owned shop in Old Town Scottsdale. In addition to beautiful merchandise, the market offers Native American performers and supports Arizona’s rich Indigenous culture, sending money directly back to Native communities.

LDV Winery with Kim and Tamara

Scottsdale has seven wineries with tastings rooms in downtown that you can explore along the Scottsdale Wine Trail, including: Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Aridus Wine Company, Carlson Creek, LDV Winery, Merkin Vineyards, Salvatore Vineyards and The Wine Collective of Scottsdale. If you plan on visiting a few wineries, you can purchase a passport for $5.00 at any of the participating wineries and then receive $2.00 of a wine tasting at each location.

The first time I visited Scottsdale on a romantic getaway, my husband and I were so pleasantly surprised by Arizona wine and really loved everything we tasted at Carlson Creek. On my recent girl’s trip I was able to also enjoy tastings at Arizona Stronghold Vineyards and LDV Winery. And let me say, try to sample the 2017 Petite Syrah at AZ Stronghold if you get a chance!

Dinner in Old Town

Enchiladas at Old Town Tortilla Factory

There are over 800 restaurants in Scottsdale and many are located right in Old Town. You can find everything from traditional Mexican to creative Italian to Nashville hot chicken (and more.) I’ve written about some of my favorite downtown Scottsdale restaurants, but for dinner, here are a few that I would recommend in Old Town:

  • The Mission – offers modern Latin cuisine in a sophisticated setting with a beautiful bar highlighted by a Himalayan salt block wall that would be perfect for a fun dinner out. The outdoor patio is also great for an al fresco lunch. The grilled street corn is a must, as is the table side guacamole.
  • Piccolo Virtu – this is the latest restaurant from acclaimed Chef Gio Osso of Virtù Honest Craft & Pizzeria Virtù, offering elevated Italian in an intimate, tucked away location in Old Town. The focus is on smaller shareable plates, but there also some large entrees perfect for a group, like the wood-grilled Branzino with crispy skin and the 55 ounce prime bistecca fiorentina. One dish you can’t miss (even if you don’t think you will love it), is the grilled octopus with agrodolce, pancetta, and pepperoncino. It is so tender and flavorful that it completely changed my mind about octopus.
  • Old Town Tortilla Factory – located in the Arts district, Old Town Tortilla Factory offers a gorgeous large patio and a 75-year old adobe home that is perfect for a family to enjoy southwestern cuisine with a Mexican twist. It is an ideal introduction to Scottsdale.
Tamara in front of horse fountain in Old Town Scottsdale

Day 2: BUcket List Busting

If you are ready to check something off your bucket list, Scottsdale has some great choices!

Morning Option 1: Hot Air Ballooning!

Kim and Tamara in balloon basket

Get a good night sleep on your first night because you are going to need to get up before dawn to take a sunrise hot air balloon ride! Hot Air Expeditions offers morning balloon flights year round and afternoon flights from November 1 – March 15th. Even if you don’t like getting up early (that’s me!), choosing the morning flight is a safer bet that it won’t be cancelled due to poor weather conditions and getting to see the sunrise from the air is truly a bucket list experience.

The experience starts with a 4:30 am pick up at your hotel, or you can opt to meet the group at the Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. The team then rides out to a launch location where they will quickly set up and inflate the balloon. Once everyone climbs in it is up…up…and away you go! Private rides are also available if you want an extra-special experience with your friends or family.

Inside the hot air balloon
2 hot air balloons from above
champagne breakfast

If you have never taken a hot air balloon before, you may be a bit nervous. But honestly, it is extremely peaceful. With a good pilot, you barely feel the lift off and suddenly you are gently floating into the sky. When the pilot fires the burner, it can be loud and a bit hot on the head (wear a hat!), but when you are floating it is very quiet up there and you can see for miles on a good day.

After touching back down, the team quickly sets out a beautiful champagne breakfast to enjoy in the desert as a perfect way to cap off the experience.

Morning Option 2: Climb Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain from Mountain Shadows

Many people jump off the plane in Phoenix talking about how excited they are to climb Camelback Mountain. While this can be a fun excursion for your bucket list, it is also better for experienced hikers climbing together (and avoid the height of summer.) Just like the hot air balloon, it makes sense to get a very early start.

Camelback Mountain, which gets its name from its shape that looks like a hump and head of a camel, is a popular hiking destination with stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. The hike is about 2.5 miles long and typically takes longer than you might expect to complete because the elevation gain is significant, with a summit elevation of 2,704 feet. It is important to be prepared and take your time.

If you are planning on hiking Camelback, the most popular trails are the Echo Canyon Trail and Cholla Trail. It’s important to carry plenty of water, at least 1-2 liters per person, as there are no water sources along the way. If you do attempt this hike, make sure to also wear a hat, sunglasses, proper footgear, and lots of sunscreen. You will also need to keep an eye out for snakes and other wildlife along the trail.

Start early to avoid the heat and crowds and to have a better chance at finding a parking spot. Access to the park is free, but there is a small fee for parking. If this sounds too challenging for your crew — don’t worry — I haven’t tackled it either. But there are plenty of other fun hikes that are easy to moderate, which I’ll get to later.

Morning Option 3: Brunch it Up!

Potato skin hash at hash kitchen

If your gang prefers a quiet morning versus checking things off of bucket lists, Scottsdale has an amazing brunch scene. So sleep in and then give one of the Scottsdale’s breakfast restaurants a spin.

I’d highly recommend Hash Kitchen. This highly-Instagrammable restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and an elaborate build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Each option is sizable and delicious, with unique and tasty options like the Best F#*%ing Birria Hash and Potato Skin Hash. Make sure you save room for the Billionaire’s Bacon, which features applewood smoked thick slab bacon with a yuzu glaze, honey, brown-sugar chili rub, and is topped with 24k gold flakes.

Mid-Day Relaxation

After a busy morning, you will want to take some time to relax, and get out of the heat if you are visiting from April through October. More time at the pool or one of the other options from yesterday all make good choices.

If you prefer a trip that is go, go, go, that is certainly possible in Scottsdale. But with all those great resorts and golf courses scattered like oases in the desert, it is a destination that is also meant for relaxation.

Once you are ready to get back out there and explore, there are plenty of low-key things to do in Scottsdale too.

Afternoon Option 1: Happy Hour at Postino

Postino bruschetta board

If you are visiting on a girl’s trip or romantic getaway, take advantage of the happy hour specials at Postino wine cafe. In addition to an extensive selection of wines, Postino is known for its bruschetta boards where you can mix and match a selection of your favorite toppings.

Afternoon Option 2: Get Artsy at Wonderspaces

Rules by Paola Ibarra Llano at Wonderworks
Rules by Paola Ibarra Llano at Wonderworks

If you are looking for a unique and immersive art experience, head over to Scottsdale Fashion Square, the home of Wonderspaces. This evolving art show features revolving art installations from artists around the world in an Instagram-friendly space that is the first permanent location of this popular art pop-up.

You will walk through a series of large scale, immersive and interactive art installations. I’d encourage you to use the QR codes to read more about each of the installations as you may find you get more out of it from different angle or with the appropriate backstory. For example, The Immigrant by Michael Murphy was mind blowing when seen from the front and then the side.

Kids need to be accompanied by adults, but they will appreciate the uniqueness and interactivity of this art exhibit. You can even “leave your mark” on exhibits such as Rules, by Paola Ibarra Llano (shown above), where you can add colorful tape to this ever-changing piece of art.

Afternoon Option 3: Get Crafty at Light + Bark Candles

Mixing oils for candle making

Another fun activity for families, friends, or even couples, is candle making at Light + Bark Candles. Create your own scent with a custom-blend of the essential oils of your choice and personalize your soy-based candle in the vessel and cap of your choice. Not only is this experience a blast, but you also get a special souvenir from your time in Scottsdale, and a portion of the proceeds go to support rescue and shelter dogs. Just make sure to pre-book your appointment (and feel free to bring your dog!)

Dinner in Scottsdale

If you want another option from the choices from last night, try Fat Ox for a delicious modern take on Italian classics. Named after the Italian cattle, the decor at Fat Ox is sophisticated, yet relaxed, making it perfect for a date night or special dinner out to celebrate your getaway. If you get a chance, try the garganelli pasta with truffle butter, speck, and parmesan.

Day 3: Adventure and Culture

On your last day in Scottsdale, you will want to see some of what makes this destination unique with a morning in the Sonoran desert and an afternoon exploring local culture.

Morning Option 1: Horse Riding

Trail ride at MacDonald's ranch

Hit the trails early to avoid the mid-day sun and explore the beautiful Sonoran desert landscape from horse back. MacDonald’s Ranch is located on 1,280 acres of desert, which is dotted with towering saguaros, fuzzy cholla cacti, prickly pears, and more. In addition to trail rides, MacDonald’s Ranch offers hayrides, stagecoach rides, and cowboy cookouts.

For families, kids will enjoy exploring the “Wild West” town, pony rides (when available) and a petting zoo. Make sure to wear sunscreen, long pants, closed-toe shoes, and ideally a long sleeve shirt to protect against both the sun and brushing by trees and plants on the ride.

You can bring a small water bottle to stow in the saddle pouch, but make sure to leave the selfie sticks and all bags in the car. Phones also need to fit in your pocket or the saddle pouch. Also bring your sense of humor and be ready for a good time because the wranglers are a hoot!

Morning Option 2: Hiking in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

path with a saguaro
trail sign and bridge to path

Didn’t feel up to hiking Camelback? No worries (I didn’t either!) There are plenty of other great hiking options in Scottsdale. One of the top spots is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which is free to access and maintained by the city of Scottsdale. It covers over 30,000 acres and offers over 200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.

Some of the most popular trails in the preserve include Tom’s Thumb Trail, Gateway Loop Trail, Lost Dog Wash Trail, and the Sunrise Trail. Parking is available at several trailheads, including Gateway Loop Trailhead, Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, and Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, but it helps to arrive early to secure a spot.

The Gateway Trail is a 4.5 mile loop with an elevation gain of 650 feet that is a slow build to the low saddle of the mountains before a quick and steep climb, before winding back to the Gateway Trailhead. If you don’t have time to make the full loop, you can do part of the trail as an out-and-back instead.

While the trails are quite well marked, you may still want to consider booking a guided hike with REI Co-op’s Adventure Center in Scottsdale, which offers kayak and paddle board rentals, bike rentals, and guided hikes, bike tours, and stand-up paddle boarding. The great thing about a guided hike with REI is that your guide can teach you so much about the Sonoran desert and its flora, fauna, and wildlife.

If you do hike on your own, be sure to lather on the sunscreen, wear a hat and good sunglasses, and proper footwear (athletic sneakers or hiking boots.) You should also bring along plenty of extra water and keep an eye out for rattlesnakes.

Morning Option 3: Desert Botanical Gardens

Tamara sitting under palo verde tree
Tamara next to Saguaro cactus
agave at Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is a must-visit when in the Scottsdale or Phoenix area. This 140-acre botanical garden is home to over 50,000 desert plant displays covering over 4,000 species. You can easily spend a few hours exploring the five miles of walking trails that wind through different desert habitats, including the Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, and the Australian Outback.

Throughout the garden, you can also enjoy an impressive collection of public art installations, including the popular “Circle of Life” sculpture by Philip Haas and the Chihuly sculptures at the entrance. If you get hungry, there are multiple dining options on site, or you can head back into Old Town for your last lunch in Scottsdale.

Lunch in Old Town

Fishcakes and drink at Hula Modern Tiki

It is time for a fun last lunch in Scottsdale and you are in luck with many options including:

  • HULA’s Modern Tiki – this modern take on the classic tiki restaurants and bars of the 50s and 60s is a fun spot in the center of Old Town. The menu features a fusion of Polynesian and American flavors, with plenty of shareable plates for a group. Make sure to order the Hilo Luau pork sliders!
  • Diego Pops – takes a playful twist on authentic Mexican favorites including classic and reimagined tacos, like Brussels Sprout Nachos. Set within the walls of a historic Southwestern pottery shop, the playful décor, and outdoor patio makes a fun, laid-back dining experience. If you are there on a Monday, Diego Pops offers $3 Tacos from open to close. Don’t miss the grilled street corn with flaming hot Cheetos dust!
  • Farm & Craft – if you want a healthy option, head to Farm & Craft with a seasonal wellness menu featuring sustainable, gluten-free, organic, and hormone-free ingredients.

Afternoon Option 1: Western Spirit: ScottsDale’s Museum of the West

Tamara and Museum of the West cowboy

The Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is a Smithsonian Affiliate and it has been named the “Best Western Museum” in the nation by True West magazine. This beautiful, modern space has been LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified and it is a stunning museum to explore for its architecture and its exhibits.

The museum tells the story of the American West, covering both Native American history and artifacts from actual American cowboys through a series of permanent galleries and rotating exhibits. Kids will love the cowboy spurs, belt buckles, chaps, and other gear, along with the authentic stage coach, but adults will want to spend even more time exploring the exhibits and learning about western and Native American history.

Afternoon Option 2: Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

If you really enjoyed Wonderspaces and want to take in more contemporary art, be sure to visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) in Old Town Scottsdale. The museum features an impressive collection of contemporary art from around the world with a permanent collection of over 2,000 works, ranging from photography and sculpture to mixed media installations and digital art.

SMoCA also hosts several temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing the work of emerging and established artists from a variety of backgrounds.

Afternoon Option 3: Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright

Taliesin West outside pool

If you are a Frank Lloyd Wright fan, a visit to Taliesin West is a must when in Scottsdale. Be sure to by your timed entry tickets in advance and plan on spending about an hour to an hour-and-a-half taking a self-guided audio tour (guided tours are also available.) Be sure to wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses and bring along a bottle of water because most of your visit will be spent outside.

The complex was built in 1937 by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a winter home and studio and was given its name after “Taliesin”, Wright’s earlier home in Wisconsin, while the addition of “West” acknowledged the new location. Taliesin West served as a hub of innovation and creativity for Wright and his apprentices, who would spend their winters here developing new ideas and experimenting with design.

Today, Taliesin West is a National Historic Landmark and you can visit some portions of the living quarters and appreciate his design from the outside. I was a little disappointed you couldn’t see more of the living quarters, as I learned so much about FLW’s quirks and design choices when visited one of his homes in Buffalo, New York.

Dinner at Your Hotel

asparagus at mowry and cotton

Both of the hotels that I recommend below have excellent restaurants that are neither overpriced or stuffy, making a perfect choice for a relaxed dinner. Mowry & Cotton at The Phoenician offers modern American cuisine using fire, coal, and smoke with a large hearth oven that stands at the central focal point of the restaurant. You can choose to eat inside or enjoy an evening on the expansive porch. The buttermilk buns are worth the carbs and the charred hanger steak is also a specialty.

If you are at the Mountain Shadows Resort, Hearth ’61, on property, offers seasonal American fare from its exhibition kitchen. Renowned Chef Charles Wiley takes inspiration from the beautiful flavors of local and organic ingredients. The menu isn’t extensive, but it is good and the service is excellent as well. It is a great choice when you have had a busy day and don’t want to drive the 15 minutes into town.

Where to Stay in Scottsdale

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. All opinions are my own.

I’ve written a post about the Scottsdale Arizona resorts that I’ve stayed at over the years, but two that I would recommend for different types of stays include:

The Phoenician

Phoenician pearl pool

The Phoenician Resort and Spa is an approachable luxury resort that been recognized as a Forbes Five-Star resort and a AAA Five-Diamond hotel and is renowned as one of the premier hotels in the area. Its well-earned reputation for its exceptional customer service is apparent as soon as you arrive, with staff providing the attentiveness you hope for from a luxury property. It is also a popular destination for weddings and conferences, so don’t be surprised to see certain areas set aside for corporate groups.

There is always somewhere to go to relax though, with over 250 acres of beautifully manicured lawns, sparkling pools, and a lush cactus garden. The Phoenician Resort and Spa offers a wide range of amenities, including a championship golf course, multiple swimming pools (including one with a million dollar mother-of-pearl mural on the bottom), tennis and pickle ball courts, a world-class spa, a giant Athletic Club, and several exceptional dining options, including Mowry & Cotton and J&G Steakhouse.

With a water slide and splash area, accompanied by a Kids Zone play area, the resort is very family friendly, but couples or friends looking for a quieter setting can also enjoy the adults-only pool or rent a private cabana. And the spa…the spa is amazing. Spend the day, you won’t regret it.

Mountain Shadows Resort

Mountain Shadows pool and cabanas

Mountain Shadows is a boutique resort in Paradise Valley, adjacent to Scottsdale with awesome views of Camelback Mountain and Mummy Mountain (giving the resort its name.) Originally opened in 1959, the resort catered to Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Elizabeth Taylor. Today it features a modern design with 183 guest rooms and 42 resort condominiums and suites.

The large bar with indoor and outdoor seating areas make it a great spot to mix and mingle with friends. The resort has two pools, but they are best suited for adults and teens that want to relax and sunbathe. The hotel is also known for its fully revamped 18-hole short course with a golf grill and lounge. I’m not a golfer but I’m told by locals that the course is challenging and popular with those that want to work on their short game.

The rooms have an industrial design style, with concrete floors and open-plan bathrooms featuring glass-enclosed showers. The bathroom area can be closed off from the bedroom area with curtains. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the hotel has some modern touches that make it a favorite amongst Millennials, such as the art exhibits that line the walls, the private cabanas for rent by the pool, and the bottle refill station for hydration.


The first time I visited Scottsdale, I started talking to my husband about moving there someday (and that was when I visited in the summer and the sidewalks were melting my flip flops!) After getting a chance to visit in the spring, I’ve come to love it even more. There is a great restaurant scene, beautiful resorts, and sizable downtown with culture, music, shopping (and wine). And all those days of sunshine don’t hurt either.

I hope this itinerary helps you plan a trip that makes want to return again and again too. After all, you can’t possibly fit it all into just one Scottsdale weekend getaway.

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Scottsdale Arizona makes a great weekend getaway for families, couples/romantic getaways, or girl's trips/girlfriend getaways with amazing resort spas, golf courses, Scottsdale restaurants, Old Town Scottsdale and fun outdoor activities. Find out how to pack your 3 days in Scottsdale in this Scottsdale weekend itinerary!

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