Scottsdale’s Many Sides: A Weekend of Luxury Shopping, Spa Bliss and Unforgettable DiningBy Ashley Fern
For those looking for year-round sun, luxury shopping and top-notch wellness activities, Scottsdale, Arizona, is the place. Against the stunning backdrop of the saguaro-studded Sonoran Desert, the city shines with an extensive roster of restaurants, upscale shopping venues, relaxing spas, inviting outdoor activities for all fitness levels, and a lively bar and club scene.
Each neighborhood offers up its own unique vibe, and you’ll want to visit all of them to truly experience the best of Scottsdale. Party one day, relax another — they’re both on the menu here.
Read on for a full three days of luxury — the best way to make the most of your weekend in Scottsdale.
As always, check for travel guidelines and closures before planning your trip.
Friday: Shop, Sip and Eat Across Old Town
Kick off the weekend with brunch at The Montauk, which greets diners with a seriously beachy vibe (think airy interiors and indoor-outdoor seating). This Hamptons-inspired spot features live music and crowd-favorite dishes, including smashed avocado toast and mac and cheese. Order the rosé tower if you’re looking for a spirited start to your day.
After brunch, walk a few minutes down North Scottsdale Road into the Historic Old Town neighborhood — a district known for its cowboy history, which is still manifested in old signage, statues and Western facades — to visit shops known for their western wear, along with high-end boutiques and art galleries.
These spots hit a range of budgets, making it one of the best places to shop in the city. If you need a shortlist, try American Leather Company for belts, wallets and other leather goods; Bikini Ranch Boutique for — you guessed it — swimwear; and Native Art Market for art, jewelry, housewares and exhibits crafted by local Indigenous artisans.
Shopping works up an appetite, so walk 15 minutes north toward the waterfront until you hit Olive & Ivy. This lively indoor-outdoor lunch spot is equipped with outdoor fireplaces and couches, making it a great place to people-watch while dining on Mediterranean-inspired dishes, such as bruschetta, black truffle arancini and an array of flatbreads.
Next, prepare for more walking. After all, no day of shopping in Scottsdale is complete without a trip to Scottsdale Fashion Square — the largest shopping center in the Southwest — just a six-minute stroll away. Peruse household favorites like AG Jeans, Alo Yoga and Free People, as well as designer stores, such as Cartier, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and more.
To wrap up your first day, hop in a five-minute Uber for dinner at SumoMaya. Take in the stylish vibes and Mexican–Asian fusion dishes — the sushi rolls are a standout. If you’re craving an after-dinner drink, walk five minutes to Fat Ox and order a glass of wine at its expansive back-lit bar before calling it a night.
Saturday: A Full Day of Hikes, Nightlife and More
Before hitting the hiking trails, fuel your adventure with a quick early-morning breakfast. The Marketplace, located right inside The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale, is a good choice for house-made pastries, sandwiches, specialty coffee, salads and more.
Try to get an early start and beat the sun — after breakfast, you’re off on a scenic hike at Camelback Mountain. You’ve got two options for your route: Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail. The trailheads are a quick drive from The Marketplace and both ascend 1,420 feet to the summit, where you’ll take in 360-degree views of Phoenix and Scottsdale. Both trails take about two to three hours round-trip. Make sure to wear proper hiking shoes and bring plenty of water, as hikers have rated these challenging routes as more of a rock climb than a walk.
The Echo Canyon route features a number of challenging scrambles, but the frequent outlooks are worth it. The trail is lined with never-ending rock formations and towering cacti, making it feel like you’re much farther from civilization than you really are. Similarly, the Cholla Trail offers just as many cacti and climbs. The main difference is that Cholla brings you a bit closer to ledges — so opt for Echo if this sends you into a cold sweat.
No matter how many mile markers you collect, you’re going to work up an appetite. Grab brunch at The Henry, a short drive down Camelback Road. Favorites include the heirloom tomato and grilled halloumi, the harvest bowl and the Korean prime skirt steak.
After lunch, book a rideshare for a short ride to the award-winning Century Grand, where you’ll experience three turn-of-the-century cocktail concepts in one place, each one a nod to Prohibition-era drinking: Platform 18, Grey Hen Rx and UnderTow. If you’re just choosing one bar, opt for Platform 18, named one of North America’s 50 Best Cocktail Bars. Hop on board its train car (it actually feels like you’re moving) and transport yourself back to the 1930s.
Once your trip back in time feels complete, return to Scottsdale for the ultimate souvenir: a custom-made cowboy hat at Rancher’s Hat Bar. What began as a hat business in a vintage trailer is now a two-location storefront where visitors can choose from 50 hat styles and colors, as well as tons of accessories such as ribbons, brands and charms. The hats are made on the spot, so you can show yours off for the rest of your trip.
Hat in hand, grab a ride to Toca Madera and kick off your night of immersive experiences. This Mexican steakhouse features live music, DJs, inventive cocktails and an impressive menu. Options include a full raw bar and steak specials, in addition to classic Mexican fare, such as enchiladas and tacos.
For modern steakhouse fare (think wagyu beef carpaccio and steak frites) and a wine list applauded by Wine Spectator, Maple & Ash is another good choice, featuring a menu crafted by two-Michelin-star Chef Danny Grant and an award-winning wine list.
If you’ve still got enough energy to continue your night out, go to W Scottsdale and head upstairs to its outdoor WET Deck and Cottontail Lounge. Open until 2 a.m., this is a great spot to dance the night away by the pool or at the bar. The Living Room Lounge in the downstairs lobby also hosts live music on the weekends.
Sunday: An Iconic Home Visit with a Side of Relaxation
Today is all about sleeping in before a much-needed day of self-care, whether that’s an afternoon at the spa, a bit of horseback riding or a hot air balloon ride. But before heading off on your adventure, head to Butters Pancakes & Café. This spot serves up some of the best pancakes and fixings (think banana cream, Oreo cookie s’mores or strawberry chocolate chip) in the city. But the massive menu also spans French toast, omelets, skillets, Benedicts and more.
Your morning is going to be spent visiting one of the state’s architectural wonders, so hop in a car for a 15-minute drive to Taliesin West. This marvel, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark, was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and served as the architect’s winter home and work studio between 1937 and 1959. Take one of the tours, whether it’s a self-guided audio walkthrough, a guided tour or one of the seasonal offerings like walks around the property’s grounds and nightfall tours. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
When your architectural immersion is over, drive back into town for lunch at Andreoli Italian Grocer. This family-owned spot is casual and all about quality ingredients (the sandwich menu is inspiring). You’ve got a big dinner to cap off the trip, so you may want to keep it light for lunch and get a couple of things to share.
After lunch, you’ve got options. If you’re hoping to melt into an afternoon of relaxation, book a treatment at the spa at The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale. Here, you can check into a private rooftop pool cabana and choose from dozens of options spanning facials, massages, wraps and rituals. The pool features gorgeous views of Camelback Mountain — it’s a great backdrop for taking a dip or getting lost in a book or an afternoon nap. Alternatively, a separate lounge space is anchored by a fireplace for chillier afternoons alfresco, and an all-day poolside menu is ready to tackle any snack cravings.
If your idea of self-care skews more adventurous, book an afternoon hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expeditions (offered November through March) or embark on a horseback ride with Cave Creek Outfitters. For the former, balloons depart from Deer Valley Airport Industrial Park, about a 30-minute drive from downtown Scottsdale, in the late afternoon. At the peak of your journey, you’ll be able to take in breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert from up to 5,000 feet above.
If you would rather keep both feet a bit closer to solid ground, Cave Creek Outfitters is open year-round for trail rides through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Tonto National Forest. In addition to the scenery, you’ll learn about the horse herd, local wildlife and plantlife, and the area’s history from your wrangler.
No matter where your afternoon took you, dinner will be at The Phoenician’s signature restaurant, J&G Steakhouse. Situated at the base of Camelback Mountain, this spot not only offers more amazing views but also meats and seafood from award-winning Chef Jacques Qualin, who has served as the executive chef since 2008.
Just a quick ride away from J&G Steakhouse, you’ll find Blue Clover Distillery, Scottsdale’s first micro-distillery, for a nightcap. You’ll find premium handcrafted spirits that are distilled on-site and dozens of cocktails and spirit offerings, all made with top-quality ingredients. It’s a cozy spot to say “Cheers!” to a fantastic weekend adventure.