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Today’s post is all about where to see, stay, and eat in Phoenix, AZ! This is a fabulous travel destination for families, girls trip getaways, and couples retreats. I highly recommend a visit soon!
I recently got home from a fabulous trip to Phoenix, AZ with my dear friend Lexi Davidson (of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen)! Little did I know that I would home from a trip to the dessert in mid-September feeling REFRESHED. I had the most incredible time and I can’t wait to share all the tasty, relaxing, enriching details with you.
To start my story about our trip to the dessert, let’s talk about the life of a blogger. Blogging is a funny profession. Almost every blogger I know is actually a really social creature …BUT, we’ve chosen a profession that keeps us at home by ourselves for the majority of the week. When my blog started to take over my full-time attention, I had to start making moves to leave my day job. I now “office” mostly from my kitchen table (while my kitchen studio upstairs is coming together), sometimes from my kitchen, sometimes from the road, but most always by myself. Though I’m pinch-me grateful for this amazing job opportunity to run an online wellness program (the Fed & Fit Project), recipe develop for the blog, podcast, I also miss that colleague life. I miss water cooler talk and a quick happy hour to decompress after an exciting day.
SO, when I got the opportunity to hop on a plane to meet up with Lexi, I was beside-myself thrilled. Our girls trip to the desert blew me away. Between the spas, hot air balloons, stunning desert skyline, and all the tasty eats, it was a trip to remember. Below is a recap of where we stayed, ate, visited, and how we got around! I hope you find it helpful when you’re planning your next trip to the fabulous city of Phoenix, AZ.
We stayed here for our first couple nights and, though the property was BIG, I can see how it would be a great destination for a family looking for daytime entertainment. There’s an extensive water park with a lazy river, a (from what I hear) iconic golf course, and a spa. We enjoyed facials at the spa, which were lovely! The restaurant we dinned at that first night, Rustler’s Rooste, is actually right near the property and the hotel will provide a free car service up to their door.
Oh goodness, this hotel felt like an absolute treat! It’s located on the other side of town from our first hotel in Paradise Valley, right near the iconic Camelback Mountain. It is a fabulous hotel with stunning finishes, fantastic restaurants, and the friendliest staff. It’s also near to several other great restaurants in town! If you’re looking for a spot to visit with your significant other or if you and your girlfriends would like a fancier stay, I highly recommend the Omni.
This was our first food stop in town and my GOODNESS it hit the spot. Though you can find a few Flower Child locations now across the country, they got their start here in Phoenix thanks to the local James Beard award-winning restaurateur Sam Fox! You can find plenty of Paleo-friendly and gluten-free options. I highly recommend the gluten-free mac and cheese if a craving strikes!
This was dinner #1 on our trip! It was a fun, cheeky visit complete with a STUNNING view of Phoenix, the nicest people, wonderfully generous portions, a live band, a big slide (for adults, too!), cowgirl hats, and (even) cotton candy. If you’re looking for a splurge, I recommend the potato skins! They’re HEARTY.
Morning Glory at The Farm at South Mountain
If I were getting married in Phoenix, AZ, I think this is where I’d want it to take place. This farm is absolutely dreamy and dripping in significance. With *several* places to eat on site, you can’t go wrong with a visit. We enjoyed breakfast at the Morning Glory there on site! I loved the chilaquiles.
We enjoyed the most wonderful lunch here! The dishes were thoughtful, fresh, and so flavorful. They even made me the tastiest virgin (#pregnant) passion fruit mocktail! If you’re a foodie, a visit here is a MUST.
This was a magical dinner! We enjoyed the Chef’s Tasting Menu and it blew our little socks right off. This is a great date night kind of place. Lexi and I dressed up, enjoyed some cocktails/mocktails, and settled in for course-after-course of fresh, delicious tapas. Note that they were VERY gluten-free friendly!
This was a neat stop if you’re interested in what local artisans are up to. This olive mill has an interesting history and the market is fun to explore (complete with a few hand-crafted safer skincare options). Though they didn’t have many gluten-free options while we were there, they did make a mean iced coffee and cup of gelato!
I was surprised by HOW MUCH I loved touring this amazing museum! I highly recommend a guided tour. I learned so much about the native ancestors of our land, the intricacies between their cultural differences, and how they eventually (though some highly polarizing practices) integrated into a modern American culture. Highly recommend a visit if you’re a history buff!
Though we barely arrived in time for a quick twilight walk, this is a magical place for sure. A walk through the garden will immerse you in the unique local landscape like no other place! They have more than 50,000 desert plants on display, highlighting the incredible beauty of the Sonoran Desert.
Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride (with Hot Air Expeditions)
So, to be fair, I didn’t actually get to ride in the hot air balloon (again, #pregnant), BUT it was still a really fun experience!! Watching them inflate the gigantic balloon was an experience in and of itself. I watched Lexi float up into the sky and then hopped in the “case car” with our driver and a few other ground-lovers. The balloon tries to control their landing as much as possible, but it’s pretty unpredictable. The ride through the desert to see the crew land was so fun! It finished off with a modest breakfast and mimosas (mine was made with sparkling cider) for everyone.
I think this was my favorite stop of the entire trip. This spa is a truly enchanting place and I strongly encourage a visit! Lexi and I checked in, enjoyed a light snack from their on-site restaurant, lounged by the pool, and waited for our appointments. I enjoyed a “Mamma-to-be” massage and was BLOWN AWAY by the whole process. I really think it’s the best massage of my life. It even finished with a traditional Nima (local tribe) blessing for the baby. We enjoyed a fresh salad and fun mocktails by the pool after!
Hike Camelback Mountain
We enjoyed a *guided* hike up Camelback, and my goodness was it a TREAT! If you’re staying at the Omni, ask for their help in coordinating a hike guide. There are two trails up the mountain, one that is long and faces a pretty easy incline and the other that involves some wonderfully challenging sections. I am a hiker at heart and had the best time! We were so proud when we got to the top. I would budget about 3 hours in total, make sure you wear sturdy shoes, bring a pack of some kind (so you don’t have to hand carry a water bottle), and take lots of pictures at the top.
I flew in on American and have nothing but good things to say about this airport! It’s efficient and easy to navigate.
Ground: Uber & Lyft
There are a LOT of local ride share options here, so if you don’t want to rent a car, you don’t need to.
Thanks to Visit Phoenix for partnering on this post! All thoughts, photos, and opinions here are my own.