One of my very favorite places is Scottsdale, Arizona. The JK team has done several team retreats in Scottsdale, and every year, when it starts to get cold in Minnesota, Drew and I pack up the girls and head south to Scottsdale for as long as we can. We like to soak up as much sun as possible while our girls are still little and we have the flexibility to spend some extended time away from home! We LOVE our home and being near family in Duluth, but nothing beats slipping away, just the four of us, to exchange the snowy days stuck in our regular routine for some days that are slow, easy, restful… and warm.
If you find yourself in Scottsdale, here are the BEST recommendations I have for you! We’ve collected quite the list of favorites over the years, and I wanted to document some of the places we frequent often and share them as a little guide for you. It’s a beautiful place with beautiful people, and we can attest that the extra vitamin D in the winter is good for the soul!
Places to Eat in Scottsdale, AZ
I’m not ashamed to confess that we love good food. We also love healthy foods. And a lot of times it’s HARD to eat healthy when you’re away from home. Scottsdale has some of the BEST options for foods that are healthy and actually taste good, too. Here’s a list of some of our favorite places to visit, from take out all the way up to a fancy date night.
Our Top Fave:
Kaleidoscope: We LOVE going here (sometimes daily) for smoothies, coffee, and juices! The nootropic coffee is to die for!
The Herb Box: Healthy and DELICIOUS, we ordered this multiple nights in a row.
RA Sushi: Super consistent and awesome.
Picazzos: Our FAVE GF option for pizza and pasta and delicious take out!
True Food: It’s a chain but it’s darn good and delicious. We went the other night and I love their GF options!
Wildflower: Their slogan is “Great eats, local roots” and it’s exactly that! Yummy soups, salads, and fresh food!
Farm and Craft: This place has THE best customizable bowls you can build and it’s healthy and YUM!
Blanco: OMG, I am obsessed with their queso — my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
Francine: French restaurant and absolutely beautiful!Everything is delicious.
Nobu: For sushi – this needs very little description, if you’ve been you know.
Cafe Monarch: Voted the Most Romantic Restaurant. It’s $$$ but fun for special occasions!
Family Activities in Scottsdale, AZ
We’re ALWAYS looking for new and fun things to do as a family. We want our girls to grow up experiencing as much of the world as possible, and one of the small ways we like to encourage that is by finding new parks and places to visit wherever we are. Here are some of our the BEST places we’ve found to have fun as a family in Scottsdale:
I’m always on the fence about how I feel about zoos, but this one is beautiful and the animals seem very well cared for.
Ride the mini train or the merry go round, play at the park, eat lunch on the picnic tables, and make memories. This place is a HIT.
We’ve been here a number of times and usually go around sunset. It’s easy paths for walking and beautiful scenery! This park is a hit for kiddos!
We are proud members of this aquarium. It’s pretty awesome and there’s so much to see. You HAVE to go in the bathrooms, they have a shark tank that makes up the wall of the bathroom.
If you need to get some shopping in but want the kids to enjoy it, go here. They have a little splash pad and often have activities for kids in the square!
We always love to wander around here! We’ll usually stop at Kaleidoscope for a smoothie and then visit the shops and art galleries!
We usually do a daily walk along the canal! There are often ducks swimming in it! Our spot is right next to a golf course, so we have things to look for and see!
We’ve hit up numerous playgrounds in Scottsdale, and this is our favorite. It’s right next to a pond so there’s wildlife surrounding it and it’s a super fun playground! You can always walk laps around the pond for extra movement and exercise!
Spas in Scottsdale, AZ
I’ll admit it: I love a spa day. I didn’t experience one until I was 30 years old and once I started, I was hooked. I’ve visited three different spas in Scottsdale, and here are my recommendations:
This is my favorite. Their spa is super small and intimate, their treatments are amazing, and the private adults-only pool is beautiful. They also have a steam room which feels like heaven. I’ve treated a lot of people to this spa, and everyone has had an amazing experience. I absolutely love and recommend the Andaz!
This is a highly acclaimed hotel. It’s really beautiful, but it’s huge! I got lost simply going from the parking ramp to my appointment, and it was really busy. I had a great service and it’s a beautiful place, it’s just busier than I typically like.
I went here with my college roomies, and it was lovely! I had a great service, it’s right nestled into the mountain. They had beautiful amenities and a waiting room! After your service, grab a bite to eat at their restaurant and enjoy!
Where to Stay in Scottsdale, AZ
This is where I host my team retreats. We’ve been staying here for years when we used to fly through Arizona on the way to Hawaii and we always love our stay. They have sweet bungalows, delicious food, a beautiful pool, and of course the spa!
This is where we now stay as a family! It’s an amazing location, four bedrooms, has a private pool (that you can have heated), a putting green, and everything you could need for a comfortable stay.
The Best Part About Exploring Scottsdale
Scottsdale has been a healing place for me in times of growth and uncertainty. It’s been a place where I’ve been free to dream new dreams, both personally and professionally. A place to escape from the day-to-day and live a life of ease. A place to connect with my family and my team. And a place to try new things and teach my girls that there’s more to life than the four walls we wake up in every day. It’s become a familiar home to us with so many beautiful people and places. I hope you love it as much as we do!