Things to do in Phoenix/Scottsdale, AZ

DH and I will be traveling with another couple to Phoenix, AZ for 5 days in mid-November for a leisure trip. I got a great deal on flights ($450/2) and picked Phoenix because I’ve never been there and we should enjoy good weather in November. We’ll be staying in Scottsdale, I believe, at the Marriott Camelback. Don’t know how far that is from Phoenix, but it seems close.

Does anyone have some advice for day trips or interesting things to do/see? We’re fairly active though my knees won’t take extremely strenuous climbs.

We’ve rented a van (yeah, I know) because it was $150/week. Oh, and the taxes on that rental? $100. Holy crap, Phoenix, lay off the taxes!

Is the Grand Canyon close enough to do a day trip?

Thanks for any advice.

The GC is too far for a day trip. (on edit, it’s doable, but it would be a long day).

Good day trips include:
The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
The Titan Missile Museum

In Phoenix, the Botanical Gardens are very nice, as well as the view from the top of South Mountain.

As a resort destination, there are lots of very nice restaurants and shopping centers. Pizzeria Bianco has some of the best pizza around. Los Dos Molinos has spectacular (but very spicy) New Mexico-style food. Kierland is a mixed-use development with good eats and shopping. Don’t miss a late dessert/coffee outside at the Royal Palms - possibly the most beautiful setting in the Valley.

Have fun!

OK, more ideas:

Horseback riding. Phoenix in November is usually spectacular, so go to the “OK Corral Stables” (in Mesa) and ride the horsies.
Speaking about the OK Corral, you can go to Tombstone for a day trip.
Kartchner Caverns is amazing, and well worth the drive if you like caves.

Try Lon’s Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley.
Do the tour of Taliesin West.

I’ll try to think of some more…

I suppose we could spend the night there. What area of the canyon would be most convenient to the Phoenix area? (I’m assuming the canyon is, well, grand)

Thanks for the input!

Well, if you are going to do a multi-day trip, you might want to do something like:
Prescott->Jerome->Sedona->Flagstaff->GC (stay over night). Stay on the South side of the GC (the North Side is a very long drive).
This is a beautiful drive, and lots to see and do. Get an early start. Have breakfast at the 4B’s in Rock Springs (get the short stack).
Get up early for the sunrise.
Head back towards Seligman and old Rt66.

Prescott -> Jerome -> Sedona -> Flaggstaff then GC is a much longer trip than 2 days. In my opinion. Also Pundit - make sure to pronounce Prescott PRESS-KIT] Thats how the locals tell if you are from AZ or just visiting.

I’d definitely hit the mid-to northern reaches of AZ, Sedona is breathtaking and absolutely a wonder to see for the first time. Most if not all the very good decently priced artisans left Sedona for Jerome because Sedona has gotten very commercial. However, I got engaged there [top of cathedral rock] and I still have a very warm spot in my heart for Sedona. When my wife and I lived out there we hiked all over Northern AZ.

The mogollon rim country in Payson is ABSOLUTLET FABULOUS!! Pronounced [Moe-Gee- on]

In Phoenix Proper I’d hit south mountain for an evening sunset, so you can catch the city lights from the top - very nice.

Maybe a quick trip to Tortilla Flats - only about 45 minutes from Phoenix, but a fun trip…hope you are a good driver because thr road out to it is basically a cliff drive.

I’d do some rudamentary hiking at south mountain, maybe visit the heard museum of native american history, and some other touristy stuff…then I’d hit the road and head up north.

I miss living in AZ…but I won’t give up these seasons and rock walls in New England for anything…

I was worried that there wouldn’t enough to do in 5 days. I’m glad I was wrong. Thanks for the ideas.

Restaurant suggestions would be great, too. Of if anyone knows of a nice little grocer near the Marriott Camelback, that would be helpful. We like packing lunches and heading off to explore the area.

Well, you’ll be in “Resort Central”, so the are plenty of restaurants. You’re walking distance to AJ’s, which is the local upscale grocery store. There’s also a Trader Joe’s in the same complex. We’re sort of “foodies”, so give me an idea of what you like, and I’ll see if I can point you in the right direction. I want to emphasize that the Royal Palms at night is not to be missed. Ditto with Los Dos.

Take an evening to enjoy a truly fine meal at Montie’s monties Yum Yum Yum!!!

Why the heck didn’t we get together when we lived in Phoenix?? You got to the same places I and my wife loved!

Pundit go to AJ’s or Trader Joes for lunchables [not the snack packs just assorted food stuffs] Safeway is more generic than AJ’s and Traders. Los Dos is best mexican in Phoenix if you asked me. Royal Palms at night is wondrous, but bring your pocketbook - big bucks.

Restaurants I liked alot and frequented:

House of Tricks off Mill Avenue. Nice, Eclectic, fun.
Cafe Boa in Ahwatukee, not in Tempe. Very nice, otherside of south mountain. [I lived in Ahwatukee]

Martini Ranch

Raw Hide if you are into some gun slinging fun steak and outdoor live theater dinners…

All of the above a good suggestions.
One thing to keep in mind - the “Valley” (Phoenix metro area) is huge. There are great places to eat in the surrounding cities (Guedo’s in Chandler, BobbyQ’s in Glendale, etc), but you’re going to have to do some driving to get there.

In PV, where you are staying, there are 3 great places to eat within 2 minutes drive:

  1. Lon’s - which I mentioned above (beautiful setting, nice patio)
  2. El Chorro (a Phoenix favorite)
  3. Elements at the Sanctuary (upscale dining, great view of PV)

There’s a new place a few miles away called “Radio Milano” on 40th and Campbell. Very much the “Happening” place.
Downtown Scottsdale is packed with restaurants - Cowboy Ciao’s is good, as well as their sister wine-bar Kazimierz.
Excellent Dim Sum in Chandler at “China King”
I’ve never been, but “Coup Des Tartes” is consistently rated excellent.

If you have any interest in architecture, or just a beautiful setting, go to Taliesin West in Scottsdale.

Taliesin West is the winter campus of the architecture school founded by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is still a functioning school, with students splitting the year between Arizona and Wisconsin. Wright designed and build the campus to fit in with the desert landscape, and it is largely unchanged from his design.

They give great tours, and I’d recommend one of the longer ones. You can see his bedroom and living quarters, and learn about how how the school operated in Wright’s time through to the present.