Last weekend was a western whirlwind — Gerald and I jetted off to Scottsdale, AZ for his childhood friend’s wedding and were only in town for about 48 hours!
I’d never been to a desert before and I literally could not wrap my head around how cool the cacti were. It also didn’t hurt that there was a Mexican restaurant at every corner! While there were a lot of things I wanted to do in the town, we were limited with our downtime due to the wedding festivities so we had to plan accordingly. Side note: the Baer / Erickson wedding was one of the most fun and gorgeous weddings I’ve ever been to — the photos speak for themselves!
Since we were there for such a short time, we tried to make the most of it and do things we both wanted to do in the city. Trust me — if he had it his way, Gerald would have been golfing the whole time on the stunning courses, but he did the right thing and chose to hang with me instead ;). That being said, it’s definitely a golf destination so bring your clubs and book a tee time if you’re in the area for a few days.
We stayed in Old Town at the Marriott Suites, and it was the perfect hub for both easily exploring the town on foot and hailing ride shares for other destinations. The hotel was able to check us into our rooms when we arrived at 10:15 am on Friday, so they will forever have a gold star in my book. They also greeted us with water bottles each night we returned from wedding festivities, which we definitely needed. The hotel has a nice pool and we logged a few hours there to try and bring some life to our winter complexions, and while I know you shouldn’t spend your time in a new city lounging, it was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle.
One of the best things about Scottsdale is that it has the “Old Town” area, where there are about two miles packed with walkable bars, shops, and restaurants, but it’s a quick 15 – 20 minute drive to the mountains. Read on for how we spent our time in the western town!
Hike the Gateway Loop: We knew we wanted to go on a hike to get some exercise in, as well as take in the beautiful views, so I chose the Gateway Loop trail — a 4.3 mile hike at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. I’m not a big hiker, so this was the perfect trail for a novice that still let us take in the nature. One of my favorite things was that since the trail was a loop, we had different views going up and down the mountain. We also heard great things about hiking Camelback, although it’s a bit more challenging.
Eat All The Mexican Food: We only had two meals outside of the wedding dinners and we opted for Mexican restaurants for both of them. We hit up Loco Patron for happy hour drinks and a plethora of apps on Friday night and stopped into Salty Senorita for lunch on Saturday. The best part about the Scottsdale restaurant scene is that almost everything is open-air, so you don’t feel like you’re missing out on the warm weather by being inside!
Hit The Bars: Admittedly, I was more glasses in than I should have been when we went out after the welcome party, but we managed to make it to Bevvy with the anticipation of stopping into Dierks Bently’s bar after, but the pizza place across the street called our name and we headed back to the hotel after the late-night carb fest.
Stroll Around The Scottsdale Shops: While many of the retailers in the town are super touristy, we stopped into a couple of cute boutiques and grabbed a coffee at Cartel Coffee Lab. Pro tip, stick to the shops around 5th Ave — they leaned more towards boho and local boutiques than the standard cowboy boots and bolos stores!