2 Days in Arizona
Nick and I have embarked on a 30 day west coast adventure and we've started off in Phoenix, Arizona! "Why start in Phoenix?" you might ask. Full transparency, it was the cheapest flight and cheapest for our month-long car rental! The car rental for the entire month is only costing us ~$700 and the flights were around $300 for both of us round trip.
A few things to note, we are working full time on the weekdays from 6am-2pm and explore in the afternoons so we have to plan our days wisely! Also, since we're traveling for a full month, we also have to budget wisely often opting for parks with free admission and eating out for lunch versus dinner.
Day 1: Culinary Dropout, Goldfield Ghost Town, Superstition Mountains, & Papago Park
As soon as we got off of work, we headed out for lunch. I'd heard so much about the food scene in the Tempe area and Culinary Dropout seemed to be a fan favorite. It also looked really cool and the portions on their Instagram look huge. One of the first food pics I saw was a big platter of fried chicken with mashed potatoes and I instantly knew this place would be right up Nick's alley. While he didn't end up getting the fried chicken, I was definitely right. We loved this place. Our waiter was super cool and friendly and the entire ambiance and decor of the place was spot on. The portions were big and filling and their in-house brew was both delicious and strong! Happy hour meant 20% of booze which was a great way to kick off our trip. We were really happy with this meal being our first!
💰 Money saving tip: When eating out on vacation, aim for times when happy hour is going on! This will save you a pretty penny or allow you to splurge a little and order more plates.💰
From there, we drove right into the mountains for Goldfield Ghost Town. Originally, I had planned to do the Treasure Loop Trail at Lost Duchman State Park in the Superstition Mountains but we seriously underestimated the heat this time of year so that hike was not going to be fun. Almost everything in the Ghost Town was closed when we arrived at around 5:30pm but we didn't mind. It kind of added to the ghost town feel(and also saved us from spending money on touristy things lol). It was so cool walking around and imagining what it must have been like living there in the 1890s! Its location at the base of the Superstition Mountains was beautiful and picturesque. If you visit during the summer, make sure to bring water! And if you're from Miami, you're going to want to buy bottled - trust me, the water in Arizona is NOT Hialeah water. 😂 Nick said it tastes like pool water and I agree.
I wanted to watch the sunset from Piestewa Peak which is considered the best hike in Phoenix but as I said about the Treasure Loop Trail, we were not ready for this hike. Instead, we drove into Papago Park(which was free!) and walked the short hike up to Hole in the Rock which is another top spot in Phoenix to watch the sunset from. It was GORGEOUS. West Coast sunsets are no joke. The colors were spectacular and from Hole in the Rock, you have an amazing view of Phoenix. Highly recommend if you're not up for the challenge of Piestewa Peak.
Day 2: Scottsdale
As soon as we got off work, we had to check out of our Airbnb and pack up to move on to our next destination. But not without stopping for happy hour first, of course! We drove over to The Scott Resort which I found on Instagram and has a beautiful aesthetic. The interior design is gorgeous and their lobby bar The Canal Club is so freakin cute with a hot pink neon sign, foliage, and mid-century modern furniture. The happy hour menu was not only Cuban-inspired but also had genuinely great happy hour prices-unlike some places we've stopped at since. I thoroughly enjoyed my Helen & Maude cocktail which was an homage to the classic cuban mojito and Nick opted for(and also enjoyed) a local brew called Papago Orange Blossom as well as the Green Chile Chicken oaxacan pizza. We wandered around the beautiful resort and I drooled over the gorgeous bougainvilleas spilling over a fountain pouring into a pool. I'm also a sucker for classic cars and they had a teal blue convertible parked out front. When we return to Arizona, I am certain we'll be staying at The Scott.
Before hitting the long road ahead to Palm Springs(a four and a half hour drive), we also strolled through Old Town Scottsdale. I love little towns and the feeling of being transported back in time. We'll probably visit at least three more "Old Towns" before the end of this trip.
Would we come back to Arizona after this trip? Maybe. It's really hot and we learned very quickly that we are definitely coastal people who need a good sea breeze. At the end of our 30-day trip, we'll be visiting Sedona and the Grand Canyon before we fly out of Phoenix so after that, we may not have much motivation to return to be honest! 🥵I loved the Scottsdale area and Hole in the Rock at Papago Park but experiencing this heat once may be enough. 🤪