Whether you’re visiting for a warm weather retreat, passing through on business, or coming to cheer on your favorite team at Super Bowl XLIX, Phoenix, Ariz. is an awesome destination.
But, as any seasoned traveler knows, trips rarely go exactly as planned. If a delay, cancellation, or some other change of itinerary leaves you stranded in Phoenix, don’t fret. There’s plenty to do, see, and eat—you just have to know where to go.
So, I grabbed two of our TripIt employees who were born and raised in Arizona and got the best insider tips for Phoenix.
For some morning fuel, head to Cartel Coffee Lab. Here, you’ll be able to get your daily dose of caffeine, as well as indulge in some yummy pastries
For a more formal morning meal, catch brunch at Olive & Ivy. Start the day off right by sipping mimosas on their groomed patio situated along The Waterfront.
La Grand Orange is the go-to lunch spot. The restaurant is known for its pizza, sushi, and great deserts from Tammie Coe Bakery. If you have some extra time to kill or room to fill in your stomach after lunch, you can shop for souvenirs at the market inside the restaurant or head to the gelato spot next door.
When dinnertime rolls around, head to The Vig—you can take your pick from any of the four locations in the Phoenix/ Scottsdale area. Outdoor fireplaces, bocce ball, and live music on Sundays create a fun and welcoming atmosphere, while the menu provides a wide variety that’s sure to satisfy.
Pizzeria Bianco is another great dinner option. Be warned, it can be hard to get in. Luckily, there’s a little house next door that’s been turned into a bar called The Rose & Crown, which is great for grabbing drinks and apps while you wait.
The Mission also deserves a shout out. Head here for authentic Mexican food with a modern twist. With the guacamole made fresh at your table and tortillas stored in salt bricks, you know you’re in for a treat.
And when that sweet tooth hits, Sugar Bowl in Old Town Scottsdale is a classic spot for late night snacks.
If you’re looking to kill some time in Phoenix, shopping is always a great option. Scottsdale Fashion Square is a great mall with lots of designer shops and upscale department stores, as well as plenty of dining options—we recommend Sprinkles Cupcake for a little mid-shopping pick-me-up.
Old Town Scottsdale is another great place to spend the day. The original downtown is filled with galleries, shopping, and dining. This area is full of history as well as plenty of fun for everyone. Visiting the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art comes highly recommended.
Old Town Scottsdale is also the spot for nightlife. You’ll find a long list of bars, lounges, and clubs that’ll keep you thoroughly entertained during your night out on the town. An Arizona classic, The Rusty Spur, is a cowboy bar with live country western music that is sure to please.
For the majority of the year, catching a baseball game is a great activity to do in Phoenix—whether it’s scoring some cheap tickets to a Spring Training game or experiencing an in-season Diamondbacks game, you’re in for a good time at the ballpark.
If you’re looking to stay close to the airport, the Desert Botanical Garden is a great site to see.
If you need to connect, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport has free Wi-Fi in all three terminals.
Once out of the airport, you won’t be far from a Starbucks wherever you are. Check out this map to find the most convenient location.
There are tons of hotel options right near the airport. Check out Motel 6 for an inexpensive option, Hilton Phoenix Airport for a 3-star stay, and Double Tree Suites by Hilton Phoenix for something a little nicer. Of course, there’s many more options, you can check them out here.
For longer stays, venture away from the airport for some amazing hotels. Here’s a few we recommend:
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess—A hotel full of sophisticated luxury and famous golf course
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch—A great spot for the entire family with tons activities in and near the resort
W Scottsdale—A glamorous hotel in the center of Scottsdale’s nightlife
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa—Famliy-friendly resort complete with pool, lazy river, spa, and golf course
More affordable options:
As you can see, whether you’re stuck for a handful of hours or even overnight, getting stranded in Phoenix is no big deal. With plenty to do and see, you might even discover a few more reasons to love the “Valley of the Sun.”