Guide to Arizona + Printable Map

The Arizona guide is finally here!!! This trip meant a lot to me. It was the trip we took our engagement photos on, AND it was kind of our first trip without having to do any work shoots or work in general, so we were able to just have fun! You’ll definitely see that in the photos we have below. Some of them are iPhone photos and most of them are not colorful, but more just us goofing around! We have food, shopping, and hotel recommendations so you’ll be all set if any of you are going to Arizona soon! Plus, we enlisted our friend Kristen Long of In Company Paper to make a printable map of the places we went and the places we planned on going. SO many of you recommended we take a day trip to Sedona, so we squeezed that in right before our flight home and headed out to one of the prettiest areas I’ve ever seen. It was Kyle’s favorite part of the trip, so I definitely recommend you not only exploring Phoenix, but leaving some time for Sedona too! Let’s get down to it!!!

The Saguaro Scottsdale

Wooo! Did you know there is a Saguaro hotel in Arizona? There is, and it is just as cute, and full of color as the one in Palm Springs, plus it’s located in Old Scottsdale, surrounded by food and shops! We stayed here the entire trip and it was awesome. There are two pools, a restaurant and rentable bikes! You can even have food delivered to you at the pool, which seems like the perfect thing if you are also renting one of the cabanas!

Hotel Valley Ho

 Talk about vintage vibes!! The Hotel Valley Ho is one of the hotels we were looking at staying in, and is a super cute vintage styled motel, with lots of color and fun designs. It also has two pools and a cool restaurant called ZuZu. Valley Ho is also located in Old Scottsdale, which means you’re close to everything.

The Arizona Biltmore

The Arizona Biltmore was the last hotel we were considering staying at, and also the most expensive just FYI! It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and built in 1929, and has tons of history. Supposedly “White Christmas” was written here. It has five dining options, eight swimming pools, and tons of other fun things. While it isn’t located close to any of the downtown areas, it is right next to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve with lots of pretty views.

Desert Botanical Gardens

This was Kyle’s favorite stop in Phoenix, and it ranks pretty high for me as well! It has a ton of cacti, succulents, and all types of desert plants. It even has a cute gift shop that sells tons of cactus themed gifts where we ended up buying a pom pom cactus pillow!

Retro Ranch

This place was truly heaven for me! There was so much to look at, and too much I wanted to buy! This is where I got my totally 60’s floral potholders and the green striped pants you’ve seen a couple of times in stories. Kyle even found a few things, like a book and cactus glass.

Antique Sugar

This is another vintage shop, with a lot of fun dresses and clothes! If only I had a bigger suitcase that would have fit all the things we saw. Ha!

Japanese Friendship Garden

We didn’t get to visit the Japanese Friendship Garden, but I wish we had. It seems very pretty, and would be the perfect place for a quiet stroll through it’s picturesque landscaping.

Phoenix Art Museum

Kyle and I both love art, and we had planned on visiting the Phoenix Art Museum but ran out of time. It’s the largest visual art museum in the American Southwest and it has a cool sculpture garden!

Chapel of the Holy Cross (Sedona)

This chapel is nestled between the red rock formations in Sedona and is truly awesome! It was designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s students, and is considered and architectural wonder by many.

Cathedral Rock (Sedona)

This was one of Kyle’s top locations to visit, but we didn’t get to go on the actual trail. He is never prepared for real hiking, don’t let him fool you. (He added that part in haha) We could see Cathedral Rock on our Jeep tour, as well as the entire drive through Sedona, and what a great view it was!

Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village (Sedona)

The Tlaquepaque Village is a traditional Mexican style village that is actually an arts and crafts and unique boutique shopping center. We didn’t get to visit but as we drove by we could see how cute it was.

Pink Jeep Tours (Sedona)

The Pink Jeep tour was one of the things a lot of you recommended and I love visiting what locals think is worth checking out. We were not disappointed, because it was a super beautiful ride! Kyle took about 400 pictures of the rock formations and I just tried to hold on for dear life. Ha! We had a great tour guide and the other people in our tour were funny as well. This is something we definitely recommend you check out, and if you have more time than we did, take the 3 hour tour!

This is what we call our “mom and dad on vacation in the 70s” photo. Ha!

Cowboy Club (Sedona)

The Cowboy Club was one of the places Kyle thought he could try to get us to eat at, but when I heard they had rattlesnake on the menu, I steered us clear! For those of you who are more daring than me, the restaurant offers cactus fries, rattlesnake jerky, and other regional dishes, all set inside a kitschy cowboy themed saloon.

Paleo Brio (Sedona)

This is the only place we got to eat at in Sedona, but it was super yummy, and it was a paleo diet place, which worked out for us since Kyle can’t eat dairy or gluten. They are known locally for their bowls, and Kyle got one with Bison sausage that he really liked. Did I mention the interior is decorated like a caveman’s heaven? It was pretty rockin’! 😉

Coffee Pot Restaurant (Sedona)

This local eatery is famous for it’s 101 omelets and the giant rock formation just behind the building. I can’t think of anything more eggs-cellent!

The Clever Koi

As you guys know, Kyle usually gets lucky once a trip and finds a really delicious place to eat, and this was the place! It’s an Asian-inspired eatery, with delicious food. It’s also super close to Retro Ranch, so pair them up in one trip!

The Mission

This restaurant is in Old Scottsdale and is actually right next to an old mission! They make fresh guac for you at the table, and let me tell you, it was really good!!

Snoh Shaved Ice

It’s not very often where I find a new dessert that I haven’t seen in NYC (especially ice cream), but this happened to be one of those times. We stopped in on a whim after visiting Antique Sugar, and we were surprised at how tasty it was. For those of you who are wondering, snoh is like shaved ice and ice cream combined! I don’t think there is anything more perfect!

Sugar Bowl Ice Cream

Everyone knows I love pink and retro things, which means that Sugar Bowl is a dream come true. It’s a super cute retro style pink diner, with yummy ice cream by the scoop, and is within walking distance from the Saguaro.

Churn Ice Cream

While we weren’t able to visit it on our trip, Churn is a super fun ice cream shop that also has a giant cassette tape wall. I wish we could have checked it out just for that!

Let us know in the comments below if you have any other Arizona recommendations and we’ll check them out next time we go! I hope this guide helps all of you, and make sure to download our printable map by Kristen Long below!

Photos by Kyle Larsen // Illustration by Kristen Long


DOWNLOAD the Arizona printable map here!!!!

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2 Responses

  1. MacAlpine’s in phoenix is an old fashioned soda-fountain. Its one of my favorite places to go. And I was engaged theRe. Their ice cream sodas are delicious.

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