Last month, I went to Scottsdale, Arizona for the first time in celebration of my friend Kristyn’s bachelorette! Other than a week-long trip to Phoenix and Sedona in high school, I hadn’t spent much time in Arizona and was excited to go back—especially because I’ve always heard such wonderful things about Scottsdale. Though it is host to a number of bachelorette and bachelor parties, it’s a great resort town in it’s own right—I would love to go back one day and check into The Scott!
Given the flight to Arizona from DC is about five hours when all is said and done, the bachelorette party was from Wednesday to Sunday since we were going all that way. (I ended up taking the red eye home on Saturday night, but more on that later!) It felt like a great amount of time to explore Scottsdale while also having ample time to relax by the pool at our Airbnb. We went in the middle of May and it was already getting hot—the temperature crossed the 100-degree mark a few times we were in town. So if you’re planning a trip of your own, I’d probably recommend avoiding the summer—Scottsdale is such a cute town, and it would be a bummer to just have to jump from one air conditioned space to the next.
Because I had such a fun time on this trip celebrating one of my best friends, I wanted to share a recap in case you’re also going to Scottsdale for a bachelorette or girls’ trip. However, I can’t take any of the credit for planning this amazing bachelorette—that credit goes to Kristyn’s matron and maid of honor, Ashton and Randi. They did all the research and pulled together such a great itinerary for us!
HOW TO GET THERE —
Flight prices—and gas prices!—have been insane the last several months, but luckily, we booked this trip before the big spikes really started to happen. Both DCA and PHX are American Airlines hubs, so it was easy for us to get direct flights at convenient times. On the way to PHX, the time change really works in our favor—we took off from DCA at 10am Eastern and landed at 12 noon Mountain, which meant we basically had a whole day to enjoy. (Of course, coming back is the exact opposite, but you can’t win them all.)
Since I flew out on a Wednesday morning, a time when generally less people are traveling, the flight prices were very reasonable. When I looked into return flights home on Sunday, they were around $500, so I decided to wait and see if they would drop at all. When several weeks had gone by and we were close enough to our trip that I didn’t think they were going to drop substantially, I started looking into other options—including alternate airlines or less ideal flight times. That’s when I discovered a red eye home on American for around $200. Given most of the party was set to fly out at 8am the next day, I knew I wouldn’t miss much as I would still be in town all day Saturday. While red eyes are never fun, it was nice to have Sunday to recover and reset ahead of a busy workweek.
GETTING AROUND SCOTTSDALE —
Once we were in Scottsdale, it was very easy to get around with Uber—you definitely don’t need to rent a car unless you prefer to. Because our VRBO was in a residential neighborhood, we did sometimes have to wait 10-15 minutes for one, but when we were at bars or restaurants, they were super easy to come by. And, Old Town Scottsdale is very walkable, so it’s easy to bar hop once there.
One thing that was really fun was that near a lot of the bars were golf carts of all sizes on hand to offer rides around the Old Town Scottsdale area. On Thursday night, we were having pre-drinks and instead of taking an Uber to and from dinner, we hopped into the one shown in the picture above. It was a super fun, out-of-the-ordinary way to cruise around town. It was about $40 per ride, but given we would have had to call multiple Ubers to fit everyone, we probably came out even.
WHERE TO STAY —
While I usually prefer hotels over Airbnbs + VRBOs, on bachelorette parties, I think getting a big house together is the way to go! It’s so fun to have everyone in one place, especially to recap the night before and to get ready + pregame together. It reminds me of the best parts of my days spent in the sorority house. (Crazy to think that was ten years ago!)
We loved the VRBO we stayed in, and I would recommend it to anyone in a heart beat. When we checked in, one of the guest rooms fans wasn’t working properly—which in the Arizona heat, of course, was a huge concern. Within an hour, the owner had stopped by and dropped off a huge fan. They were so attentive to our needs and their house was set up perfectly for a bachelorette party—they had a big couch, a great backyard with a pool and fire pit, and super comfortable beds. (I mean they were so comfortable that my friend and I looked at the mattress tag for the next time we’re in the market!) It was also a super quick 10-minute drive to anything we wanted to do in Old Town Scottsdale and a quick 20-minute drive to the airport.
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK —
We had so much great food + drink in Scottsdale, which was super fitting for Kristyn as she’s a big foodie! Here’s a roundup of all the places we enjoyed:
Canal Club at the Scott — OMG! This was such a lovely afternoon and was one of my favorite spots we visited in town. When we arrived, it was my job to take Kristyn out somewhere fun while others decorated the house. Located at The Scott, Canal Club has a cute indoor bar and seating area, as well as a beautiful patio right near the resort’s pool. We opted to sit outside in the shade, and it was the perfect spot to be “ladies who lunch.” We loved everything we ate and drank here, and they also have matchbooks, you just have to ask. And, definitely check out the bathroom, especially if you love a pink + palms moment as much as me.
The Montauk — We had about an hour wait for dinner on the first night and wanted to find a spot to do drinks before. While we were walking around, we noticed The Montauk and lucky for us, they had a table available on their cute back patio. We just stayed for a round of drinks, but I think this would also be a cute spot for dinner or brunch.
Olive & Ivy — We ate dinner here the first night on the recommendation of our VRBO host and it was such a great spot. Located right on the canal that runs through Old Town Scottsdale, if you can, definitely sit outside to take in its beautiful views. They serve up great Mediterranean food—we split the brussels to start and then I did a grilled chicken salad as my main.
Joyride Taco House (Gilbert) — My cousin Erika lives close to Scottsdale, and I didn’t want to go all the way to Arizona and not get together. We hadn’t seen each other since 2014, so it was a long-awaited reunion. Along with her husband and their twins, we did lunch in Gilbert, a town about a 20-minute drive from Scottsdale. They had a super cute downtown that reminded me of the Old West. We ate lunch at this taco joint, and it was delicious—they had a great patio, awesome lunch deal, and delicious margaritas. The best part, though, was definitely the company.
The Bottled Blonde, El Jefe, Hi Fi — These were really fun bars all on the same block that I would recommend if you’re looking for great nightlife in Scottsdale. (They’re right next to Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, but we never made it into that one.) They all offer the same experience with great DJs, bottle service, and lots of dancing. We found Thursday was a little bit more manageable crowd-wise—it was easier to bar hop and there was more room inside the bars. If you go out on Friday or Saturday in this area, I’d recommend picking one and staying put if you’re having fun.
Toca Madera — If you go to one restaurant on this list, make it this one! (If you go to two, add in Canal Club!) I cannot say enough good things about our dinner at Toca Madera—it was an experience from start to finish. For one, the ambiance and decor was incredible—it had a very indoor/outdoor concept, with large trees inside, and there were fire eaters walking around throughout. They’re known for these shots they set on fire, so, of course, we ordered those to start. Usually those things are pretty gimmicky—and I have no idea what was in those shots, but they were actually delicious. The food was also great, but let’s be real, this is not the type of place you’re going for the food.
Diego Pops — This was basically my dream spot as it was a fun Mexican place with a great daily happy hour— 3 to 6pm everyday! We came here for a late lunch on Saturday to take advantage, and were able to enjoy $5 margs and great food specials. They also had great chips, guac, queso, and salsa. They don’t take reservations, but they have a fun patio bar where you can grab a drink while you wait.
The Hot Chick — This was another fun bar we went to that had a slightly different vibe from The Bottled Blonde, El Jefe, and Hi Fi as it was more chill and had lots of games. We spent the early evening here, but this would be a great place to day drink, too.
Hash Kitchen — We had heard great things about this place as they’re known for their Bloody Mary bar. We ordered takeout brunch here on Saturday and it was quite the ordeal as they really messed up our order. I would be hesitant to do a big group order from here again, but the food was good, so this might be an option if you can get a reservation.
WHAT TO DO —
Since the Arizona landscape is so different than what we are used to seeing back East, we spent one morning on a hike. This was much-needed after the night before—it was good to sweat out all the fun we had! We went over to Papago Park and took a relatively easy trail up to their “Hole in a Wall” formation, which they are famous for. It was a great view of downtown Phoenix from the summit—and really cool to see all the planes flying in. We then explored a few other trails to take in the landscape and giant cactus. It was free and easy enough to do in sneakers!
When we weren’t bar hopping and enjoying a great meal, we enjoyed the great pool at our VRBO, so I don’t have too many other activities to recommend—however, if you’re into golf, Scottsdale is known for their amazing courses.
Lastly, if you’re also in town for a bachelorette, we used the service Scottsdale Bachelorette to decorate the house to make it special for our gal! They bring all the decor and set it up, and then they come back and take it down at the end of your party. They did such a great job and it made it so easy—no one had to spend hours making a balloon arch, which I’ve definitely done before ;).
This was such a fun trip celebrating one of my best friends, Kristyn! We were lucky enough to meet through blogging back in 2014 and have had so many great times, laughs, and meals since. Kristyn has been such a good friend to me, and I am so lucky to have her and her groom, Corey, in my life. Their wedding was in early June in Wilmington, North Carolina, and was a fantastic weekend!
If you have any questions about our trip to Scottsdale, don’t hesitate to comment below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.