Wayward Approach

Sharing guides to destinations everywhere. These generally avoid museums and your standard tourist attractions. I love to get local, walk around, and eat delicious food. Find the best activities and restaurants to checkout on your journey.

Guide to Phoenix, AZ
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Guide to Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix is a sprawling city and a great place for exploring all that Arizona has to offer. With its gorgeous desert scenery, it is a destination in its own right. Here, you will find great parks for walking and biking, and a plethora of dining and shopping facilities.

  • Downtown Phoenix is primarily a business district, but it is also home to many of the city’s sporting arenas, museums, and theaters and music halls.
  • Scottsdale is a separate city next to Phoenix.  It is home to many resorts and is now a mecca of shopping and restaurants.
  • Tempe is home to Arizona State University. The area has a hip, young vibe and is filled with a variety of bars and nightclubs. Mill Avenue is the hub of the area and it is a great area to walk around or relax at one of their sidewalk cafes.
  • Mesa is a large suburb of Phoenix known for its inexpensive hotels and large shopping malls.
  • Glendale has small town charm, with its many historic buildings, but it is also teeming with a plethora of antique shops, restaurants and sporting arenas.
  • Carefree & Cave Creek area leaves the city behind and takes you into the Wild West. This area is home to saloons, western stores, and themed restaurants, making you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
  • Camelback Mountain– Situated in Echo Canyon Recreation area, the 1.5 mile climb to the summit is short and steep. At the top, you have spectacular views of both Phoenix and Scottsdale.
  • South Mountain Park and Preserve is the largest municipal park in the country with over 16,000 acres. It has miles of trails.
    • Dobbins Point is the highest point in the park. You can drive to the summit for the perfect sunrise spot overlooking the Valley of the Sun.
  • Papago Park is a rugged desert park in the center of the city. It has winding paths, perfect for hiking and mountain biking. It is famous for its red sandstone formations and its giant saguaro cacti.
    • Hole-in-the-Rock is an opening in the rock with views of the mountains surrounding the city.
  • ‘LOVE” Sculpture is located on the Scottsdale Mall. You can climb on it which makes it a great place to take some photos.
  • Roosevelt Row is filled with indie shops, restaurants, art galleries and bars. With its vibrant colors, it is home to some of the best street art in Arizona.
  • Desert Botanical Garden has a unique collection of air plants found in the deserts around the world. It hosts five trails, filled with over 50,000 varieties of  desert flora, cacti, drought-adapted wildflowers and succulents.
  • Spend the afternoon floating down the Salt River. A $17.00 ticket covers your bus ride to one of the drop-off points, your tube rental, and your parking. You can even load a cooler up to take down the river with you.
  • Many of the hotels in Phoenix are home to Vegas-style pool clubs, where you can soak up the sun or party all-night long. Often at these events, you can find internationally renowned DJs and a vast selection tropical cocktails
  • Taliesin West– Frank Lloyd Wright’s sprawling complex lies in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains. It is surrounded by the Sonoran desert and they have a variety of tour options. The Night Light Tour is particularly special.
  • Apache Trail- If you have access to a vehicle, this 46 mile drive is extremely scenic. The drive offers views of canyons and various geological formations, as well as, a variety of desert plants and wildflowers.
  • Tovrea Castle is a historic building sitting atop a hill in the middle of Phoenix. You can tour the building and the grounds.
  • Pizzeria Bianco is a popular destination for savory pies. Celebrities from all over have raved about the pizzas made here.
  • The Stand is a burger joint offering thick, juicy burgers, fries, and shakes at an affordable price.
  • Little Miss BBQ is a quirky eatery serving Central Texas-style barbecue.
  • Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles is a Phoenix institution, known for having the best crispy fried chicken and waffles in the city.
  • Matt’s Big Breakfast is a popular spot for simple breakfasts made from fresh, made-from-scratch ingredients.
  • Nogales Hot Dogs serves Sonoran-style hot dogs, which are wrapped in bacon, served on a bolillo-style bun and topped with a variety of condiments. Open late for your late night hunger.
  • Welcome Diner is a 1940’s inspired diner that has been continuously ranked as one of the best restaurants in the city. Their menu features your traditional diner stables but it also offers a twist on Southern fare.
  • Rito’s Mexican Food is a hidden, ramshackle food stand serving their famous enchilada style burritos and other Sonoran classics.
  • La Santisima is a gourmet taco shop focusing on Baja and Cancun flavors and ingredients.
  • Los Reyes De La Torta is known for combining Mexico City flavors with quality ingredients and great customer service.
  • Chino Bandido is a counter service joint mixing Mexican and Chinese menu items into a delicious culinary mash-up.

Bars

  • The Breadfruit & Rum Bar is an island-inspired bar and restaurant serving  seafood and cocktails.
  • Valley Bar is located below street level. This bar is one of the best places for live music in the city.
  • Bitter and Twisted Cocktail Parlor was once the prohibition headquarters of Arizona. It is now a stylish cocktail lounge and a popular place for globally inspired cocktails.

Breweries

  • Four Peaks Brewing Company is Tempe’s largest brewery serving, Scottish-style ales. It’s famous Kilt Lifter has become one of the most popular beer in the state.
  • Mother Bunch Brewing is a warehouse-style brewery has an extensive list of top-notch beers, as well as an impressive food menu.
  • Wren House Brewing Company was built in an old 1920’s guesthouse. It is famous for their small-batch beers and a sour beer series, Las Frescas, which change weekly.
  • Huss Brewing Company honors the ivy-covered walls at Wrigley Field. It is one of the largest independent breweries in Arizona.

Looking for more Arizona guides?

Learn more about the best things to see and do in Sedona and the Grand Canyon National Park

1 COMMENTS

  1. I like the way you write your itineraries. This one attracts my attention a lot and I will take this as a guide to Arizona. Thanks for your effort!

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