Last Updated: July 2, 2019
If you can handle the heat, you may want to consider a weekend getaway to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area in the summer. Because it gets so hot, it’s actually considered low-season which means you can find some really amazing flight and hotel deals to enjoy warm weather in luxury. We’ve added 1-2 weekend trips to Phoenix/Scottsdale in the summer as part of our mileage/mattress run trips and will share some tips to help you plan a similar getaway.
The Flights – Status and Usable Miles
Based on our calculation, we will earn close to 4,000 status miles/ in total to fly from YVR-SEA-PHX and back (2,000 miles each way) on Alaska Airlines. There is usually always a lot of upgrade seats available on the down but the space is pretty limited on the return. This time, we were on both legs 2 hours prior to departure.
The Car Rental – Silvercar by Audi
We were hoping to avoid that long ride in the shuttle bus to the rental car centre by renting with Silvercar by Audi but due to a ban, car rental companies cannot pick-up passengers at the terminal, which is a bummer. If you rent with Silvercar, you take the shuttle to the rental car centre, text them when you arrive, and they will pick you up and take you to their location a 2 minute drive away. On the way back, they will either drop you off at the terminal or order a Lyft for you.
The Hotel – The Andaz Scottsdale
We narrowed down our list of places to stay down to four properties: The Phoenician, a Luxury Collection Resort, Scottsdale, The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort, Mountain Shadows Resort and the Andaz Scottsdale. While we wanted to earn Marriott Bonvoy nights and points and are eligible for Titanium benefits, we decided to stay at the Andaz again due to how much we’ve enjoyed our last 3 stays. You really cannot beat the “Summer Package”, staying in a casita style room, and Hyatt points are pretty valuable even if you only have Explorist status. For $199USD per night, they waive the resort fee which is usually about $40, includes four drinks per day at the pool bar and daily breakfast for 2, and 20% off the spa. We have stayed here as Globalists in the past and had the resort fee waived and had breakfast for 2 included in our room rate, in addition to an upgrade to a Saarinen room.
The Andaz Scottsdale, 1 of 22 properties that made Condé Nast’s 2017 Hot List offers guests a luxurious resort experience in private and unpretentious setting. The rooms are in casitas that feel like small bungalows as opposed to rooms in a large resort. We booked a standard king and we were upgraded to a Saarinen King bungalow that has an outdoor terrace in the back with loungers and a small outdoor space with a table in the front. In addition to all the comfortable outdoor space with this room, the other thing we absolutely love is the huge double-shower.
As for breakfast at Weft & Warp, of all the things we have tried, we really enjoyed the green chile pork hash and chorizo scone. You can chose to sit inside or outside but we always opt for a seat outside in the shade. The cold brew was good but it didn’t need to be served with a straw (even when we asked they served it with a straw!).
If there is one thing that could be better about this resort, it’s the pool. The pool is actually quite small for the number of rooms there are at this resort and its quite shallow 3-4 feet deep. It’s more a “scene” pool with a DJ on some days from 11:00-17:00 but overall the resort does a good job at keeping the volume of the music down.
On some Saturday evenings, they play a movie on a large screen by the pool at 20:00. We really enjoyed having margaritas at the pool while watching Groundhog Day. It makes you appreciate the cooler but warm nights at the resort.
If you’re planning on spending the day at the pool, it gets very busy in the afternoon, it’s hard to find a spot to swim aka lounge in the pool because it can get very crowded. If spending time at the pool is your priority, you may want to stay somewhere else or book a Retreat room for about $60 more per day as it gives you access to the much quieter spa pool.
The Food – Where to Eat
We have tried a lot of other places in the area but they weren’t memorable enough to include. Here are a few places we have enjoyed over the years.
Little Miss BBQ:
On all our trips to Phoenix, we always visit Little Miss BBQ for some legit BBQ made and served by very genuine, friendly, and hard-working people. Thankfully, Little Miss opened up a brick and mortar restaurant in Sunnyslope with a full bar for those who want to enjoy their delicious barbecue without waiting. If you do decide to visit the original location in University and don’t mind waiting in line, we recommend arriving by 10:00 to grab a number. Once you have a number, you can leave and come back and find your place in line right before opening at 10:30 which is a great option during the scorching summer heat. In addition to the delicious food, the staff at Little Miss always bring their A-game to make the experience a fun and memorable one as you wait in line. We really enjoy the BBQ here and it rivals the best stuff we’ve had in Texas. For more information about Little Miss BBQ, have a look at our review.
If you are a fan of Chipotle Mexican Grill and Mexican inspired food in general, you may love Gadzooks, a casual fast-food restaurant with 3 locations. While their specialty are enchiladas, they also offer tacos, soup, and salads. I was very impressed with their chopped salad that came with really fresh lettuce and toppings but the enchiladas were the best we ever had. They actually roll out the tortillas for the enchiladas and tacos and grill them with each order for the ultimate in freshness. Like Chipotle, you choose from base ingredients and then customize your meal with various sauces, cheeses, salsas, and proteins. We recommend eating there because they heat up the enchiladas and tacos in a gas-fired wood stoned oven and serve them in cazuela bowls.
If you like sausage and you like beer, a visit to Brat Haus is a must because you can do a sausage “brat” and beer flight. For about $15, you get 3 beers and 3 brat sliders. We really enjoyed our lunch here and they do have a shaded patio for those who are brave enough for the heat.
My Slice of the Pie Pizzeria:
We randomly found My Slice of the Pie Pizzeria, a small hole-in-the-wall pizzeria in Phoenix “where New York meets the Southwest”. After hearing about their al pastor pizza, we had to try an “Al Pastor WHAT?” and it and it was really delicious. A thin crust is topped with Southwest Sauce, Mozzarella, Asadero, Al Pastor, Red Onion, Grilled Pineapple, Cilantro, Cotija, Fire Roasted Jalapeno Puree to create a crispy, salty, sweet, and spicy pizza.
Snoh Ice Shavery:
Snoh Ice Shavery is a Taiwanese shaved ice place that offers up some refreshing treats to cope with the heat. You can chose from their signature items or create your own.
Where to Drink – Craft Beer
There’s a lot of great craft beer in the area and some of our favorites are:
Helton Brewing Co:
If you want to enjoy the best of the indoors and the outdoors, Helton Brewing is a great place to have a beer, some food, and play some games. With an indoor tasting room and an outdoor area with large cooling fans with games, this is fun place to hang out. We also really like the staff here because they care about the product and their customers and enjoyed their Northeast IPA.
Huss Brewing Co:
Huss Brewing is the first brewery we ever visited in the area and if you can’t visit in person, you’ll find their beers on tap elsewhere. Compared to other breweries, Huss makes lighter beers to enjoy in the warm weather which is nice for when you don’t want a heavy and strong beer; their Scottsdale Blonde and Sunday Funday are good choices.
The Shop Beer Co:
Located in Tempe, The Shop Beer Co is one of the newer craft breweries to open. We took advantage of a Groupon deal to try their beers and really enjoyed them. Based on our taste preferences, they have the beers we enjoyed the most; the Church Music IPA and the Desert Agave Pale Ale. They have a really nice patio here too with mist and string lights.
Sip Coffee & Beer Garage:
Sip Coffee & Beer Garage is the type of place you might visit twice in one day; in the morning for some coffee and later in the day for some beers. Featuring coffee beans by Cartel, Sip’s mandate is to bring people together over high end coffee and craft beers. In addition to coffee and beer, they also have food and often have live music showcasing singer/songwriter music. We love it here and no matter how warm it is, we find a seat on the patio which has that cooling mist so popular in the Phoenix area. They have two locations for your convenience.
Wren House Brewing:
We’ve been back home less than 24 hours and we are still craving Wren House Brewing’s Big Spill Pils With Nelson which is perfect for warm weather. As listed on their website, Big Spill Pils “is a 4.7% German influenced lager highlighting one of our favorite hops in the world, Nelson!! Brewed with 100% Pilsen malt, fermented low and slow with our house German lager yeast, hopped delicately with Saaz and Nelson in the kettle and dry hopped with just the right amount of Nelson during the lagering process. We will be pouring this in a more traditional fashion allowing for a beautiful and long lasting pillowy head.”. This is not your plain and boring Pilsner! We also enjoyed the Spellbinder New England IPA which was way less hazy than we expected (this is a good thing!), and the Las Frescas Pink Berliner Weisse with Dragonfruit, guava, grapefruit, and lactose. As for the environment, Wren House Brewing’s tasting room is in a 1920’s converted bungalow and there is no patio. You can buy cans and crowlers to enjoy elsewhere, which we did.
Other Things to Do:
Camelback Hike: With an elevation of 1,250 feet over 1.42 miles, the Cholla trail to the top of Camelback Mountain takes about 2-3 hours for those who want a good workout with nice views and who aren’t afraid of heights. We always plan to do this hike but we always end up sleeping in since you’d have to start it by 06:00 before it gets too hot in the summer.
Papago Park Hole-in-the-Rock: If you’re in the Tempe area around sunset, you may want to visit Hole-in-the Rock at Papago Rock to experience one of those magical desert sunsets. There is also a Zoo and Botanical Garden here.
Sedona: If you have enough time, you may want to plan a day trip to Sedona, about a 2 hour drive north from Phoenix to visit the red-butte rocks and other natural wonders. There are a number of very easy hikes/walks that you can go on to explore the red rocks and other notable sights like the Chapel of the Holy Cross built into the landscape. For a quick and easy hike/walk, check out the Bell Rock Trail and for a more advanced hike if you have 1-2 hours, check out Cathedral Rock. For a relaxing and meditative hike, check out the West Fork Trail, a 6.6 mile return hike where you cross 13 streams along the way. For the best view of the red rocks and landscape, take a drive up to Sedona Airport and stop at the vista point. If you’re hungry, the Mesa Grill have a very nice setting and good food.
Jerome: Jerome is a historic copper mining town at an elevation of 5,200 feet. While insanely touristy, it is a fun drive and you get nice views of the valley. Wine lovers will appreciate the wineries located in the downtown area, including Maynard James Kennan’s Caduceus wines. If you are driving here from Sedona, we highly recommend a minor detour to visit Page Springs Cellars in Cornville to enjoy their wines, snacks and beautiful riverside setting.
Flagstaff: Another option for a day trip is Flagstaff, about 2 hours and 15 minutes away from Phoenix. If you detour through Sedona, it will only add about 30 minutes to your journey and you will get to visit the Oak Creek Vista which provides a view of the Oak Creek Canyon in the Coconino National Forest. Craft beer lovers will love Flagstaff where there are 6+ breweries to visit. Our favorites were Mother Road Brewing Co and Historic Brewing Co.
Have you been to Phoenix/Scottsdale during the summer? Have you hiked Camelback mountain? What is your favorite craft beer brewery in the area?
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