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John from Chicago asked

things to do in Phoenix for a weekend?

Going to Phoenix for a guys trip in March, and I'm looking for recommendations. We have tickets to the Cubs spring training for one day, but trying to figure out the rest of the weekend. Thinking about Top Golf and maybe some hiking? Possibly a casino at night?

We are a group of college friends, many years post-college now, so we can afford to pay for nicer options instead of just free or cheap stuff (though we are planning at least one meal at In-N-Out Burger). We’re flying in from different parts of the country so we don’t really know the area. Not sure what the difference is between Scottsdale and Phoenix, sounds like there might be more to do in Scottsdale?

Phoenix (Arizona)   Scottsdale (Arizona)

4 Answers
answered first by
Claire from Fort Worth, Texas

Phoenixis a city of approximately 1.6 million, but is surrounded by a number of smaller cities within Maricopa County . Metro Phoenix had 4,574,351 residents, so there is something for everyone.

As far as things to do other than baseball, it really depends on your interests! Phoenix has a light rail line which is extended by bus service to most parts of the metro area; you can hop the light rail at Sky Harbor Airportand get all the way out to Mesaquite easily.  The light rail passes through Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, which is like every other Big University area: full of interesting eateries and other aspects of student life. 

You can depend on finding lots of Sonoran style Mexican food. Don't miss shredded beef enchiladas or tacos!  Phoenix has a large Middle Eastern Community; if you like that type of food, visit Persian Room Fine Diningin North Scottsdale.

Scottsdaleis east of Phoenix, and has an interesting section called Old Town Scottsdalewhich has shops and eateries galore.  For a really grand dinner, try The Mission.  Their food is excellent and atmosphere is neat.  Patio dining will be available everywhere you go.  

The Arizona State Capitol has several museums on the grounds.  The architecture legend Frank Lloyd Wright's second location Taliesin West in Scottsdale would also be interesting.  Golf is everywhere!  There are public courses and private clubs. 

If you like hiking, the Phoenix Mountains Preserve consists of several of the peaks located within the city of Phoenix. These are public parks  available to all, and scattered all over the city.  (my daughter lives literally across the street from one of them) 

May 1 is the opening date for tubing  at Salt River Tubing.   

North of Phoenix is Sedona, a beautiful town in the Coconino National Forest.The scenery is spectacular, and you can hike to your heart's content. This area has a much higher elevation, and you can actually see where the green line begins as you drive north.

Nearby is Jerome (Arizona), reputed to be the largest haunted town in the US.  Haunted tours are available.  Built on a terraced hillside overlooking an abandoned copper pit, it features walkable streets and scores of shops including tasting rooms for Arizona wines, a shop specializing in kaleidescopes, Asylum Restaurant within a former mental institution converted into a luxury hotel, and abundant scenery. 

Also in the area are Tuzigoot National Monumentand Montezuma Castle National Monument, both Indigenous Ruins.  Link to the NPS units

A drive over toward Tucson would take you to Kartchner Caverns State Park, one of the most pristine tourist caves I have ever seen, and I never miss a cave tour if I run across one. 

We have been visiting Phoenix on average twice a year since our daughter went to live there about 10 years ago, and have learned the area well.  You will enjoy your stay no matter what you do.  If you are going after May, be sure and drink lots of water all day- I do not think anyone in the area leaves the house without a bottle of water! You can dehydrate very quickly in the desert heat. 

PS  I grew up in Kentucky, but am actually from Fort Worth, a place your college buddies might wish to consider for a get together, especially during the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeoin January.

Comments (2)

Wow, thanks for all the details in your answer! You gave us a ton of great options. We have a rental car so hopefully we can explore the area. Thanks!

You are welcome! Hope you enjoy it there. We visit a few times a year. PS if any of you are interested in a tattoo, I know a good artist in Phoenix. I'm her mom!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Phoenix (city)
  2. Maricopa County (attraction)
  3. Sky Harbor Airport (attraction)
  4. Mesa (city)
  5. Arizona State University, Tempe Campus (attraction)
  6. Persian Room Fine Dining (restaurant)
  7. Scottsdale (city)
  8. Old Town Scottsdale (attraction)
  9. The Mission (restaurant)
  10. Arizona State Capitol (attraction)
  11. Taliesin West (attraction)
  12. Phoenix Mountains Preserve (attraction)
  13. Salt River Tubing (attraction)
  14. Sedona (city)
  15. Coconino National Forest (attraction)
  16. Jerome (Arizona) (city)
  17. Asylum Restaurant (restaurant)
  18. Tuzigoot National Monument (attraction)
  19. Montezuma Castle National Monument (attraction)
  20. Tucson (city)
  21. Kartchner Caverns State Park (attraction)
  22. Fort Worth (city)
  23. Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo (attraction)
comments (2)
likes (4) thanks
answered by

You don't say where you'll be staying.  There is hiking on Piestewa Peak, also on Camelback Mountain (Echo Canyon Recreation Area, but parking there is difficult.  We have a nice zoo, also the Desert Botanical Garden in the same area. Gambling? There is Casino Arizona at Talking Stick ResortCasino ArizonaAk-Chin Pavilion (a bit of a drive).  Are you golfers?  Papago Golf Course is a nice public course (my father always golfed there).  Lots to do in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area!

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Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Piestewa Peak (attraction)
  2. Camelback Mountain (attraction)
  3. Echo Canyon Recreation Area (attraction)
  4. Desert Botanical Garden (attraction)
  5. Casino Arizona at Talking Stick Resort (attraction)
  6. Casino Arizona (attraction)
  7. Ak-Chin Pavilion (attraction)
  8. Papago Golf Course (attraction)
  9. Phoenix (city)
  10. Scottsdale (city)
likes (2) thanks
answered by
Claire from Phoenix

I hear Topgolf is a blast!

Downtown Phoenixcheckout:

The DuceBitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour, The Park Street Food Bar (German Beer Garden-ish), The Kettle Black Kitchen & PubThe Rose and Crown Pub.


Most of the nightlife (if you want the club scene) is all in Old Town Scottsdale.  The Mission has GREAT food, as well as 2nd story2nd Story Liquor Bar (great dining more than a bar), Dive Bars for fun - Patty's and gilligan's.  Always fun at Kelly's At Southbridge too.

Drink LOTS of water no matter what  you do!

Comments (0)


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Topgolf (restaurant)
  2. Phoenix (city)
  3. The Duce (restaurant)
  4. Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour (restaurant)
  5. The Park Street Food Bar (restaurant)
  6. The Kettle Black Kitchen & Pub (restaurant)
  7. The Rose and Crown Pub (restaurant)
  8. Scottsdale (city)
  9. Old Town Scottsdale (attraction)
  10. The Mission (restaurant)
  11. Kelly's At Southbridge (restaurant)
likes (2) thanks
answered by
John from Chicago

Just for my own reference, I'll note the places we ended up going.

We stayed at a casino hotel, the Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino in Chandler. That ended up being a bit farther south than most of the things we were doing, but at least we had the casino and food court in our hotel.

The first night we were heading to Tempe when our Lyft driver suggested Scottsdale instead, so we ended up at El Hefe Mexican Restaurant and walked around that area, ending the night at Maya Day and Nightclub where an EDM artist, Breathe Carolina, was playing a show.

The next day we had a great time hanging out at Topgolf then watched baseball at Sloan Park - Spring Home of the Chicago Cubs. We went back to the hotel to nap and play a little poker, then headed out for dinner. Originally we had a reservation at Rusconi's American Kitchen but that was pretty far north. We tried to switch to Shula's Steak House in our hotel, but our reservation was for 9:30pm and that seemed like it would be too late. So in the end, we ate at Perfect Pear Bistro, walked around the Arizona State University, Tempe Campus and saw the underground Hayden Library, this cool area that had a whole roof of solar panels near Memorial Union, and ended up at Mill Avenue. We found the second El Hefe Tempe and just bar hopped around the area.

Thanks for the tips from other Trippy members. We stocked up on water at the gas station, but with only two nights and one full day, we didn't get to explore the surrounding area. It was a nice short trip, hopefully we can go back to see more next time!

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