The first port of call on our Arizona roadtrip was the desert city of Scottsdale, just east of Phoenix. Scottsdale was one of the places where I could definitely live. Perhaps not in the summer months but maybe as a snow bird in my twilight years. We spent 3 nights here, exploring the city at a snail’s pace following our long journey from Singapore. One of the biggest surprises was the amazing food, including the best burger we’ve ever eaten…
Where did we visit?
- The Museum Of Musical Instruments. No ‘boring museum’ here, this places houses 6,800 instruments from all over the world. There are plenty of interactive displays and we honestly could have spent all day in here!
- Butterfly Wonderland is America’s largest Butterfly Conservatory. The 3D movie showcasing the Monarch butterfly migration engaged us all. The best bit though is finding the lucky spots in within the Conservatory, where the butterflies will land on you. Bald heads are best! Butterfly Wonderland is next door to the OdySea Aquarium but we felt like doing both attractions would be expensive and we’d visited the amazing Georgia Aquarium earlier in the year.
- We celebrated Miss Mayhem’s 7th birthday horsebackriding through the Sonoran Desert at Macdonald’s Ranch. I booked this about 2 weeks in advance and it was a highlight of our Arizona roadtrip. Despite being beginner riders, we all felt in safe hands as we ambled through the cactus lined path. After the horseriding, we enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch and Petting Zoo.
- Cosanti is a designated Arizona Historic Site, designed by world-renowned architectural innovator Paolo Soleri. Featuring terraced landscaping with experimental earth-formed concrete structures, I felt like I was in another world. On a weekday morning you can (for a price), check out the amazing bronze casting process.
- I love a cactus. Although you can see them dotted throughout large parts of Arizona, the Desert Botanical Garden features 50,000 plants from across the world. There are a number of different trails which loop you through the Park. We also loved the Butterfly Pavillion and depending on your interest, you could cut out Butterfly Wonderland and enjoy both at the Desert Botanical Garden.
- There’s loads of great shopping to do, whether that’s in Fashion Square or pottering around Old Town Scottsdale. Our kids were delighted to find ‘The Live Poets Society’ on the streets of Old Town Scottsdale. For a small donation, she would conjure up a poem on a suggested subject.
Where did we eat in Scottsdale?
- The best burger on the planet (high praise indeed but I really think it is) at Rehab Burger Therapy
- Delicious lunch opposite Fashion Square at the Culinary Dropout
- Mexico City soul food at Barrio Queen
- Sandwiches & ice-cream at the retro 50s diner, Sugar Bowl
- Birthday waffles and pancakes at Butterfields
- Offsetting the burgers and waffles with healthy smoothies at Kaleidoscope Juice
Where did we stay?
I toyed with the idea of staying at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale. I had stayed there about 30 years prior and still remembered how amazing the 10 swimming pools were. Plus my mum winning the limbo competition. Yet for the price of one hotel room, I got a 2 bed apartment through airbnb. The place was clean and centrally located to Old Town Scottsdale. The pool was a bit grimy but luckily we were too jetlagged to care.