Discover how to spend the perfect weekend in Scottsdale! I'll take you through what to do in Scottsdale, AZ, where to eat, hike, and more!
Jake and I make our way to Scottsdale, AZ at least twice a year. It’s become our go-to when we’re craving a relaxing getaway complete with poolside time, a scenic hike or two, a few exquisite meals, and a wander around Old Town.
Outside of its 299 days of sunshine a year, one of the reasons I gravitate towards Scottsdale is its size and layout. Scottsdale is small enough to feel calm and quaint while still offering a large number of wonderful restaurants, bars, coffee shops, art galleries, and shopping. It really is the perfect mix for a quick getaway and why a weekend in Scottsdale is just the right amount of time.
If you’re planning a weekend in Scottsdale, this itinerary will lay out everything you need to know. I’ll take you through what to do in Scottsdale, AZ each day so you can focus on enjoying your time without the headache of research and planning.
Download this Scottsdale weekend itinerary in PDF form so you can easily print it or save it on your phone
Day 1 of your weekend in Scottsdale
Start your weekend in Scottsdale with a coffee and snack from Berdena’s. A favorite with locals offering quality espresso drinks paired with fresh baked goods. The breakfast sandwich is insanely good if you’re really hungry. The avocado toast was voted “Best in Phoenix” (even though it’s in Scottsdale) by the Phoenix New Times.
Popular Scottsdale hikes
Once you’re properly fueled by caffeine, head to Camelback Mountain for a challenging hike up the iconic camelback humps. Be prepared for this hike because it’s a steep climb where you’re often clambering up large rocks using both hands and feet.
The sense of accomplishment and the views of the desert city below are worth it. Plan on at least 2 hours for a roundtrip hike. Camelback Mountain has two trails. Cholla is the “easier” of the two and the one I recommend. Echo Canyon would be a challenging option for experienced hikers.
Piestewa Peak Summit Trail is a good alternative to Camelback which offers amazing views and is shorter (around 1.5 hours). It’s also a tad easier than Camelback.
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Not up for an intense hike? Papago Park is perfect for a nice jog or easy walk with a typical Arizona desert landscape.
If you’re a late riser (or you want to ensure minimal crowds), head straight to your hike and save Berdena’s as a post-hike treat.
Camelback and Piestewa Peak get busy and you’ll have a hard time finding parking if you go later in the day (especially on weekends).
Consider taking an Uber to avoid the parking issue If you decide to do the hike later in the day. And don't forget to check what the temperature will be, so you aren’t hiking in 100+ degree weather.
A blissful spa day
Scottsdale is known as a resort destination with some incredible hotels and spas. Pool time here is a must…which is why it’s essential that your hotel has a nice pool…or you’re comfortable sneaking your way into a hotel pool where you’re not staying.
My favorite resorts are Andaz Scottsdale and Omni Montelucia. Two alternatives a little easier on the budget (Scottsdale has been going up in price ridiculously fast the past few years) are The Scott Resort and the newly opened Hilton Canopy.
If you’re feeling a relaxing afternoon at the spa, the Joya Spa at Omni Montelucia is a Moroccan-themed oasis. Other luxury options include the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, The Phoenician Spa, and the Spa at the Four Seasons
Make your way back to the heart of Old Town for a pre-dinner walk down Main street. This is Scottsdale’s “Art Walk” filled with galleries, garden courtyards, and statues. Even if you have no intention of going into any of the galleries or shops, it’s still a pretty area to walk around.
Cocktails in Old Town Scottsdale
Dinner in Old Town Scottsdale
Stay in Old Town for dinner and enjoy Mediterranean cuisine at Virtu or upscale Mexican at Mission. Both have a wonderful atmosphere that would make for a perfect date night.
Virtu recently switched to a pre-set menu, which is a shame because it’s now quite expensive at $75 a person (does not include any drinks). If you’re willing to splurge, the food really is outstanding. The sticky toffee cake is one of my five favorite desserts in the entire world.
Mission is a Scottsdale classic and you’ll see an assortment of diners here. Those on a date, a group of girlfriends, or a large party.
Reservations are a must in Scottsdale for both cocktails, dinners, and brunches.
Day 2 of your weekend in Scottsdale
Start the second day of your weekend in Scottsdale at another one of my favorite coffee shops. Schmooze. The patio here is killer with plenty of outdoor seating, trees, and water features. It really feels like a little garden oasis.
The nitro cold brew is my go-to drink. This is also a good place for those that like larger portions as drinks come in Starbucks size options. The food here is also very good.
Cartel is another wonderful option if you want more of an artisan coffee shop similar to Berdena’s. It has a cult following with the locals.
Morning walk or jog around Old Town
I love my morning jogs in Scottsdale. The mornings are always quiet and fairly empty…making it the ideal time to explore the more popular areas without the tourists.
My favorite route makes for the perfect morning jog. You could also do this as a bike ride or walk if you have the time.
Sticking to the east of N Goldwater Blvd, zig-zag around Main Street, 1st Street, 1st Avenue, N Scottsdale Road, etc. This is the heart of Old Town. It’s a small area..which is why I like to zig-zag my way through the parallel and intersecting streets.
End your Old Town exploration at Scottsdale Civic Center Plaza (enter through the Civic Center Park Path. Filled with sculptures, fountains, greenery, and gardens, this area is a great spot to slow down and enjoy the scenery.
If you want to continue your morning jog, as I normally do, go back to N Goldwater Blvd and head north until you hit the Arizona Canal Trail. Continue north along the trail until you hit the Soleri Bridge.
West of the bridge is another cute area to walk around which has shopping (Fashion Square Mall), and some popular restaurants (Olive and Ivy and the newly opened STK). It makes for a nice area to walk/jog in the morning as it’s usually pretty quiet.
Acadia Farms has been my go-to spot for brunch in Scottsdale for years. The patio is spacious and lovely and the interior feels like a cozy French cottage.
This is what most people come to Scottsdale for…so don’t skimp on your pool time!
Happy hour with a view
If you’re feeling an early happy hour, I have a hidden gem for you that not many know about. Weft and Warp at Andaz Scottsdale has a wonderful happy hour 4:30 – 6:30 pm. Drinks are around $8 and beers are $5. The patio is the perfect spot to watch the sunset.
Or…pirate-themed cocktails at Undertow
Undertow is hands down one of my favorite cocktail bars on the planet. It’s an innovative cocktail experience featuring rare rums from around the world in a pirate ship themed atmosphere.
This is an absolute must in my opinion if you enjoy quirky experiences. Jake’s favorite drink is the Smoking Canon, complete with a smoke presentation. My favorite is the Dutchman’s Demise (fitting since I’m Dutch).
*Undertow is moving to a new location in March 2021. Though I obviously have not yet been to the new location, I have full confidence that the new digs will be just as exciting as the old.
Olive and Ivy serves delicious Mediterranean-inspired fare. The bruschetta are delicious. You get to mix and match your own toppings. The place is always packed, offers a wonderful atmosphere both inside and on the patio, and the location is ideal as it’s right along the river canal in the heart of downtown Scottsdale.
Zinque is a charming newcomer to the Scottsdale dining scene. The menu is varied and offers everything from a hearty burger, to an Alsatian flatbread (we hadn’t enjoyed that since our trip to the Alsace region in France), healthy veggie bowls and salads, and plenty of shareables.
This would be a great place to order a smattering of items and share everything. The atmosphere is what I would call trendy European. The space isn’t too big and offers a more intimate vibe while the patio is open and strung with twinkle lights. The cocktails are great here too.
And there you have it! When I send my friends to Scottsdale these are all the places I recommend. Hopefully, this post gave you some ideas on where to eat and what to do in Scottsdale, AZ.
There is a reason Jake and I come here several times a year. It’s a great place to enjoy time outside, lounge by the pool, and go on a hike or a few bike rides. Scottsdale also offers wonderful shopping, resort spas, crave-worthy restaurants, and a trendy cocktail scene. Don’t fill your time up too full because this really is one of the best places to just relax and take a break.
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