If you are visiting Scottsdale and only have a short time you definitely want to make the most of it. There is so much to do from adventures to events to restaurants to relaxation and beyond… what to do is already giving my anxiety writing about it.
Surely it all depends on your taste as maybe some people just want to lay by the pool, some want to golf, some want to go on a full day hike or some are here to get wasted at The Open. Thus, while there is a ton of stuff you can do that will take up and entire day… this article is to give you a taste of everything in one day to see as much as you can!
Now, this is my perfect day if I was to show people around for the day, not including seasonal events. So, if you are boring and just want to golf or lay by the pool then this isn’t for you. This is for people who want to adventure a little, eat a lot have a drink and do the most.
To make sure you see it all I also created The Phoenix Bucket List: 17 things you have to do. You can always just check that out and grab a few things from the list to fill your day!
Morning – Brunch & Adventure
Eat of course… if you partied the night before (likely if you are with me) then brunch is the stop. For something trendy you can go to Sumo Maya or The Montauk as there is good… socializing there. If you just want to grub then you have to go to my favorite restaurant in Phoenix, Lolo’s Chicken & Waffles. Get yourself some chicken & waffles, smother them both in hot sauce & syrup, then go to town. An order of Stupid Fries for the table is also mandatory.
After eating I want to work it off so you clearly have to hike Camelback Mountain. There are hikes I love near town like Flatiron or longer ones like Bob Bear/Fossil Springs, however those will eat up too much of your day. If Camelback is too imposing then a small jaunt up A Mountain in Tempe or walking around Papago Park is okay too. If you want to push your time then go float the Salt River! I love floating the Salt River but it will take up 4-5 hours of your day.
Afternoon – Lunch On A Patio & Explore or Relax
Time to eat and finding a patio is the ideal world. There are so many places to eat here so definitely check out my top 16 restaurants in Phoenix & Scottsdale to help you choose.
Depending what you are wanting here are my choices for food on the patio: Barrio Queen or The Mission (Mexican), Duck & Decanter Midtown Phoenix or D’Lite (fast & healthy), Sumo Maya, the Henry or Culinary Dropout/The Yard (Trendy). Or, just eat by the pool if you are going for a relaxing rest of the day.
The rest of the day I will say relax by a pool like the W or any of the more chill resorts and pools in the area. Even a Spa Day is a great option, top golf, shopping at Fashion Square or watching a sporting event. Soak up as much of the daylight as you can as you’re in for a long night. Not to worry though as you have plenty of time to nap or get ready with dinner reservations at 8/9pm.
Night – Festivities
Night time will be more eating and then out on the town. If you are into country music and want something unique than you HAVE to go up to Buffalo Chip, 30 mins north from Scottsdale. There is live pro and amateur bull riding on Wednesdays & Fridays. There is a great restaurant up there, Tonto Bar & Grill, or more chill pubs and restaurants as well to spend your night.
In Scottsdale you can eat at Top Golf, a trendy bar with good food, a homestyle Italian restaurant (sooo good), or any other nice fine dining restaurant in town. Definitely check out my top restaurants in the area to choose your best spot.
Post dinner is nightlife, which Phoenix is known for. The obvious answer is going to Old Town and partying on the strip. However, if you want something more lowkey, arcade bar, maybe dive bars, maybe secret speakeasies… then checkout my list of top 20 bars here to choose your own night of fun!