Weekend Getaway: Phoenix, Arizona

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There’s a ton of hype around Phoenix lately, so we decided to ask a Phoenician-turned Hoboken girl what one can do in a weekend in the Valley of the Sun. Now the fifth largest city in the country, Phoenix is a year-round destination for celebs and East Coasters alike to lounge by the pool all day, take in breathtaking desert views on a hike, sip on some of the craftiest cups of coffee around {watch out, Seattle}, and dive into the endless foodie and arts scene. Grab the SPF and prepare your eyes for the most cotton candy-like sunsets around — it’s time for a getaway to Phoenix, Arizona.

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Flights

First things first, grab an Uber from Hoboken to Newark Airport {EWR} for a flight to Phoenix {PHX}, aka “America’s Friendliest Airport.” American Airlines offers direct flights, and that’s def the smartest option, since you’re traveling all the way across the country. Then hop in another Uber and head to one of our swanky hotel picks below.

Hotel Picks

Talking Stick Resort {Entertainment Hub}

If you’re looking for a Vegas-situation, book your stay at Talking Stick in Scottsdale. The resort hosts some of the most popular concerts, plus you can gamble ’till you drop, go to a massive pool party {complete with a DJ}, and most likely peep in on one of the many events going on — like Phoenix Fashion Week in October.

The Phoenician {Celeb Go-To}

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Photo: Instagram @golfturfsuper

Many A-listers flock to Scottsdale in particular to have a beachy-like experience, minus the usual Los Angeles crowds, and The Phoenician is a luxury hotspot for many of them. Arizona’s premiere resort destination certainly doesn’t skimp on amenities: from a world-class spa to culinary cuisines that will delight, you’ll feel like a king or queen here. Plus, the pool areas {they’re cabana heaven} back up to the Camelback Mountains, so the view {and proximity to hiking} can’t be beat.

The Saguaro Scottsdale {Instagrammer’s Paradise}

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Photo: Instagram @saguarohotels

You’ll find this rainbow-colored oasis on just about every blogger’s IG for a very good reason. From the inside out, the place is full of color inspo and cute cacti, which makes for the perfect bachelorette weekend by the pool. And if you happen to be in Palm Springs, there’s an equally eye-catching location there too. With a poolside bar, juice and coffee bar, and the Saguaro Restaurant, you just might never want to leave. However, it’s located in Old Town Scottsdale, so you’re in the heart of all the action from top dining spots and shopping at Scottsdale Fashion Square, to plenty of bars and clubs.

Places to Eat and Drink

Desoto Central Market {Like Grand Central Market in L.A.}

A self-described “hipster hangout,” Desoto Central Market is the cool place to hit up when you’re with a picky group of eaters. Set up like Grand Central Market in Los Angeles, there is a slew of different types of fast-casual eats and drink spots {there’s even an oyster bar}, so everyone gets what they want. Standouts include Tea + Toast {which features drinks from Teaspressa, featured on Shark Tank}, RADish, and there are even special events like salsa dancing nights.

The Henry {Fox Restaurant Concepts}

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Photo: Instagram @tim_berry

Fox Restaurant Concepts owns many of Phoenix’s most-loved restaurants {we’ll get to the others later} and has headquarters located at one of the top brunch spots in town: The Henry. With a friendly blue exterior and charming mid-century decor inside, there’s always an excuse to head to The Henry for date night or a decadent coffee {the drinks are named after the company’s restaurants}. Other Fox restaurants to check out: Flower Child, Zinburger, Culinary Dropout, and True Food. Hint: there’s a photo op right outside The Henry with this arrow outside the coffee shop door {arrows seem to be a theme in Phoenix, but we’re not mad about it}. Plus, this cute cafe is right in in a location pretty much halfway between downtown Phoenix and North Scottsdale {where there’s a ton to eat and shop}, so Uber is super convenient to use if you want to back and forth between the two cities.

Phoenix Public Market Café {Open Air Market}

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Photo: Instagram @cafe_phxpublicmarket

Eat and drink local at Phoenix’s community hangout. From students and professors at the nearby Arizona State downtown campus, to young professionals and families, you’ll see every type of person enjoying Phoenix Public Market’s fresh and simple cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for a rice bowl, a warm chicken dish, a homemade poptart, macaroon, or coffee from local shop Cartel, you’re going to have a hard time making up your mind. And on the weekends, there’s a farmer’s market that goes on in the parking lot of the cafe. It’s also been featured in the New York Times as a place to hit up {many celebs do} when the Super Bowl was in town a few years ago, so you know it’s legit.

Humble Pie {Urban Twist on Pizza}

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We know what you’re thinking: PIZZA, really? Hear us out — Phoenix has actually been making headlines around the country for its crafty pies. While a New York style slice is always close to our hearts, Humble Pie serves up some urban-style ones that you can’t find in NYC. Must try: start with the toasted ravioli and strawberry salad and follow it up with the TDF fig and prosciutto pizza. The combo never gets old.

Matt’s Big Breakfast {Food Network Fave}

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Photo: Instagram @mattsbigbreakfast

If it’s on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, you gotta check it out. You immediately get a family feel when you walk in {warning: there will be at least an hour wait on the weekends} and once you see the food, you’ll feel even more at home. The pancake stack is unbelievably fluffy, the toast is made locally {as is the jam}, and there are daily specials, often with a Southwest flair. No time to stop by? There’s also a location at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Terminal Four.

Diego Pops {Scottsdale}

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The Phoenix area has no shortage of Instagrammable foodie spots, and Diego Pops is another local fave where “do it for the shot,” is said almost as much as “let’s get tacos.” Luckily, you can get both of those items crossed off your to-do list in this easy-to-miss urban taqueria that’s known for mouth-watering street corn, spiked coconut drinks, and out of this world burritos and poke.

Sightseeing MUSTS

Camelback Mountain {Hiking Requirement}

Hiking is a daily activity for many Phoenicians, so do as the locals do and take in one of Scottsdale’s easier, but equally breathtaking, hikes. And if you’re staying at the Phoenician, it’s right in your backyard. Disclaimer: some light climbing will be involved but the view of the Valley is incredible. Also note, there are two trails on Camelback: Cholla {moderate} and Echo Canyon {extremely difficult}. If you’re here during Christmas, you’ll find a Christmas tree on top {how it gets there is a mystery to us!}.

Roosevelt Row {Arts District}

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While downtown Phoenix has had its share of growing pains, it’s rising from its struggles {just like a phoenix, we might add}, to become an area bustling with life and creativity. Since Arizona State University’s downtown campus has transformed the area and attracted students and more tech-minded businesses to work, play, and learn here, businesses and plenty of action have popped up. Coffee shops {check out Songbird for matcha and JoBot for chai}, art galleries, and monthly First Fridays have made downtown a place for young professionals to comfortably live and a must for tourists looking for a taste of what the locals do, eat, and see on the reg. Plus, the murals, similar to what you might find in Brooklyn, make for the perfect photo opp.

Places to Go Out/Have Cocktails

Hula’s Modern Tiki {Hawaiian}

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Photo: Intagram @r_sic

If you’re in the mood for a really good happy hour in Hawaii {but that’s out of the question, so you ended up in Phoenix}, look no further than Hula’s for good, laid-back vibes all around. There’s even a punch bowl drink situation that’s calling your name — it’s vacation after all, right?

Crescent Ballroom {Live Music + Margs}

Huge burritos, potent margaritas, an outdoor patio that overlooks downtown, and a venue for local musicians and DJ nights {we’re talking Drake vs. Kanye music nights}, Crescent Ballroom is a go-to when you want to let loose and get down.

Valley Bar {Local Fave}

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Photo: Instagaram @jen.holm

This hidden treasure is quite literally — hidden. Located in a basement that you have to access from a back alley, you might get lost finding it, but once you get inside, you’ll wonder how you lived your whole life without it. It’s the best of both worlds: a chill bar with darts and games and also a place to dance and hear live, local music.

Old Town Scottsdale {Upscale}

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Photo: Instagram @hellocarrielin

In general, if you’re looking for a more posh and exclusive experience, Scottsdale’s where it’s at. Old Town is the place of choice for celebrities and most prominently athletes when they come to town, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s most definitely going to do just fine for us. If you want a true club experience, head to Cake nightclub or the W for a more relaxed, upscale time. And if you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, you absolutely must check out Ruze Cake House for cactus-themed cakes and bubble tea — or head to Sugar Bowl for the cutest ice cream shop that you ever did see.

HG Insider Tips

  • If you’re going in the summer {we reallyyy hope you’re not, especially if it’s your first time}, pack as minimal clothing as possible. Seriously. But pack as much sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses that you can. This isn’t East Coast sun — desert sun is a whole other ball game.
  • Popular tourist destinations like the Grand Canyon and Sedona are both just a short few hours drive away, so while you’re so close, check out one of the Seven Wonders of the World and some of the most gorgeous red rock the world has to offer. We suggest taking a Pink Jeep tour for a wild ride on the rocks or heading to Telaquepaque in Sedona to check out local artisan shops and grab really tasty Mexican food.
  • If the Arizona State University main campus piques your interest {there are four campuses}, head to Tempe, which is just a quick 20-minute drive from the downtown Phoenix campus. You’ll find plenty of rowdy bars to catch the game on Mill Avenue.

First-time Uber riders, use code HGTAKE20 for $20 off your first ride!

This post is sponsored by Uber, but because the author lived in Phoenix for five plus years and attended ASU, we’d say she’s got plenty of desert street cred. 

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By day, Tamara is an editor at a women's magazine, but in her free time, she runs her own fashion blog and helps out with Hoboken Girl. Otherwise, you can catch her ‘gramming like it's her job, checking out the cutest spots to eat and drink and redeeming herself at spin class later. Oh, and if you’re curious about Kylie Lip Kits, she’ll happily show you her collection.


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