Arizona Romantic Getaway: Incredibly Fun Things To Do In Scottsdale

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No kidding, Arizona is a wonderful place to go for a romantic winter getaway. The sunny sky and warm temperature can do wonders at fighting off the winter blues, especially for us Canadians!

This winter, Kev and I celebrated the holiday season in Scottsdale and ticked off a few “firsts” from our list! Never did we think Scottsdale would be so fun for couples!

If you’re considering a romantic getaway in Arizona, we have compiled a list of fun things to do in Scottsdale to add to your Arizona bucket list!

Fun Things To Do Scottsdale Arizona

1| Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride

We’ve always dreamed of a hot air balloon flight, and our dream finally came true in Scottsdale!

Riding in a hot air balloon and soaring over the dramatic desert landscape was simply magical, and for the duration of the flight, we were at a loss for words.

Hot Air Balloon Scottsdale Arizona

Our hot air balloon experience with Hot Air Expeditions began early in the morning. During the 1-hour sunrise flight, we glided over the Sonoran Desert.

From high in the sky, not only were we able to capture some amazing shots of the surrounding mountains, but we also got acquainted with the plants and animals that live in the Sonoran Desert. 

After landing, we celebrated with a Champagne toast and post-flight snacks. We even received a flight certificate for our Scottsdale hot air balloon flight! It’s a definite must-do on your Arizona road trip!

Hot Air Balloon Scottsdale Arizona
Hot air balloon ride in Scottsdale, AZ over the Sonoran Desert

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2| Get to the Heart of Scottsdale’s Culinary Scene

Any romantic getaway wouldn’t be complete without a tasty meal. As food lovers, we were happy to find so many delicious food spots in Scottsdale!

Ruze Cake Shop Scottsdale Arizona

From casual eats to fine dining, the options are overwhelming! Downtown Scottsdale, in particular, hosts numerous trendy restaurants worth a try, including New Wave Market (for the hand-rolled sourdough bagels) and Farm and Craft (famous for their healthy bowls!).

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To find the most mouthwatering desserts in Scottsdale, a visit to the Ruze Cake House or Sweet Dee’s will not disappoint.

The Mission Best Restaurant in Scottsdale Arizona
Tableside Guacamole, a must-order at The Mission!

If you are after a special and intimate dinner, we highly recommend The Mission. This downtown Scottsdale restaurant serves up a delicious variety of Latin-inspired cuisine. With dim lighting and classy atmosphere, this romantic restaurant in Scottsdale will help set the mood for a perfect evening!

The restaurants we mentioned above are fairly close to each other so you can easily organize a Scottsdale food tour of your own.

Pro tip: Before your trip, check out Scottsdale Culinary Festival’s website. There are events running throughout the year, such as Burger Battle and The Cocktail Society. 

3| Go Hiking

Paradise Valley Scottsdale Arizona

Scottsdale is blessed with such beautiful desert landscape, why not go hiking in Scottsdale?

An abundance of hiking trails in and around the city is available for all fitness levels:

  • For an easy hike, Gateway Loop Trail in Scottdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is an excellent choice. It takes you through an enchanting desert landscape. (7 km; 218 m elevation gain)
  • Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail offers a moderate workout. As you make your way up, you will find yourself spending much time soaking up the views of the Valley. (5.6 km; 310 m elevation gain)
  • Camelback Moutain hike is a must-do for avid hikers. It is going to be strenuous, but surely worth it if you’re up for the challenge. There are two Camelback Moutain hiking trails that will take you to the summit. Echo Canyon is 1.9 km out and back, but steeper. Cholla is a bit longer (2.4 km) but involves a steadier incline.

Try to hit up at least one of these on your Scottsdale trip. The beauty of the wilderness will have you in awe!

If you’re exploring outside Scottsdale, this post on things to do in Sedona and Antelope Canyon are worth checking out!

4| Cafe Hopping

Forget Starbucks, try local cafes instead!

Here are a few independent coffee shops in Old Town Scottsdale brew exceptional coffees that will keep you caffeinated:

  • Cartel Coffee Lab: Arizona’s largest locally-owned coffee roaster and the go-to place for locals. From espresso to lattes, Cartel has got you covered! You can also find a rotating tap selection of cold brew on the menu!
  • Fourtilfour: This little coffee shop has a small menu, but its Porsche-themed design will definitely catch your eyes.
  • Regroup Coffee + Bicycles: The cafe brings coffee and cycle culture under one roof.  It is best known for its Slayer Shake and boasts to serve the best cold brew in the region!
  • Berdena’s:  Not only does it make the perfect cup of coffee, but its avocado toast is also to die for. Not to mention the dreamy interior – it is plain beautiful.
Cartel Coffee Lab Scottsdale Arizona
Cartel Coffee Lab

5| Visit the Desert Botanical Garden

Want to learn more about cacti and succulents? Then Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is the place to be!

Believe it or not, Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s largest collections of desert flora, featuring 50,000+ plants from 4,379 different species from around the world. For this reason, it is classified as a museum by American Alliance of Museums. 

Desert Botanical Garden Scottsdale
Electric Desert at Desert Botanical Garden

The world-class botanical garden is Arizona’s must-see attraction during the daytime, but it is just as equally stunning at night!

From now till May 12, 2019, you will see the garden comes alive at nightfall. Kilp Collective’s Electric Desert combines light, sound and technology, turning the already majestic desert will into a dreamscape. The multi-sensory experience will take you on an immersive journey through the garden and bring some fun to your night!

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6| Give Golf a Try

Golf Course Paradise Valley Scottsdale Arizona
The Short Course at Mountain Shadows

If you go to Scottsdale and don’t golf, you’re missing out!

With rugged mountains and unspoiled desert as a backdrop, Scottsdale provides a beautiful location for a picture-perfect golf round.

There are 51 golf courses in Scottsdale alone. If you’re just starting out like us, we suggest Mountain Shadows in Paradise Valley. Their golf course is a classic 18-hole par-three course, suitable for both beginner and experienced golfers. Most importantly, it sits at the base of Camelback Mountain and offers gorgeous desert vistas.

More experienced golfers might want to zero in on Troon North, We-Ko-Pa, The Boulders, and Grayhawk Golf Club, which are repeatedly ranked as the best golf courses in Scottsdale.

7| Tour the World’s Largest Musical Instrument Museum

Have you ever seen the world’s largest playable sousaphone before? Would you like to make your own ganza (Brazilian shaker)? Or strum a Burmese harp? Then, you will enjoy a trip to Musical Instrument Museum, the largest instrument museum in the world! 

Home to over 13,000 musical instruments from nearly 200 countries, Musical Instrument Museum has the most complete collection of instruments you can possibly imagine! It makes it possible for us to explore music through a global lens.

Whether you’re into exotic music treasures or modern music (like Maroon 5 and Black Eyed Peas), you will have an enjoyable time touring the galleries. A new appreciation for music and for the world’s diverse cultures will be found after your visit!

8| Immerse Yourself in Art

Scottsdale is a paradise for aspiring artists and art lovers alike. The artistic experiences Scottsdale offers are countless and diverse.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Arizona
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Take a walk around the city and you’ll know what we mean. Nearly 100 permanent and temporary public artworks can be seen all over the city!

In downtown Scottsdale’s Arts District, you can discover numerous galleries and museums. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West are frequent stops for travellers. Exhibits change frequently and are often eye-opening.

Scottsdale’s Gold Palette Artwalk should not be missed! The popular the event takes place eight times per year. Participating galleries invite art enthusiasts to explore local art that correlates with that month’s chosen theme while hosting activities, live music, entertainment, and refreshments.

In November, Scottsdale Waterfront presents Canal Convergence, a free 10-day outdoor celebration that dazzles guests with innovative light installations, live music, and dance performances.

9|Wine Your Way Through Scottsdale

Would you fancy a glass of wine? You can discover the vibrant tastes of Arizona wines without leaving Scottsdale!

Photo by Kelsey Knight on Unsplash

5 tasting rooms are available in downtown Scottsdale for you to sample Arizona’s best wines:

In addition, there are a few wine-centric restaurants worth trying! Sorso Wine Room, Orange Sky at Talking Stick Resort, FnB Restaurant, and Postino all have an extensive wine list to please your palate. 

10| Treat Yourself to a Couples Massage 

It is no secret that Scottsdale is a mecca for those who favor spa treatments. With more than 50 resort-spas in Scottsdale, AZ, you’re spoilt for choice!

Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary Andaz Scottsdale Arizona
Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary at Andaz Scottsdale

Most resorts have spa facilities onsite, making it easy to pamper yourself with a couple’s massage in Scottsdale.

Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Spa, for example, has a full-service spa, Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary on the property. Its extensive menu features personalized treatments and utilizes ingredients native to the state of Arizona. Each treatment room looks out to the nearby Camelback Mountain – it is a true oasis of peace and relaxation for your body and mind!

By the way, Andaz Scottsdale is beautiful luxury resort, winning multiple awards from Conde Nast Traveler including the 2017 Hot List, 2017 and 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards!! It is an excellent choice if you’re looking for the best places to stay in Scottsdale. 

It is difficult to claim which spa offers the best massage in Scottsdale because they are all so different. Why not try a few?

The Spa at Sanctuary Resort on Camelback Mountain will take you on an exotic escape with its traditional Thai massage with medicinal herbs, Luk Pra Kope. The VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho will rejuvenate you in the Hawaiian Way with its Lomi Lomi massage.

11| Enter a Winter Wonderland at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess 

Christmas at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Arizona
Christmas at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

Visit Scottsdale in December? Spice up your evening with a trip to Fairmont Scottsdale for its holiday festival – Christmas at the Princess!

You will witness the resort transforms into an enchanting winter wonderland with twinkling lights, outdoor ice skating rink, ice slide and so much more! A fun way to get into the Christmas spirit!

What we loved the most is the Lagoon Lights. The resort’s ground and lagoons were thoroughly decorated with 4.5 million LED lights. You will find magical displays such as singing snowman, skating penguins, swans floating on the water, mermaid, and even a candy cane forest!

[click_to_tweet tweet=”Planning a winter escape to Arizona? Scottsdale is a fantastic destination! Here is a list of things to do in Scottsdale to do on your first visit!” quote=”Scottsdale is a fantastic destination to escape the brutal Canadian winter! ” theme=”style3″]

12| Take a Closer Look at Arcosanti

Arcosanti / Photo Credit: Jimmy Kirkus-Lamont

If you’re into architecture and design, take some time to explore Cosanti.

Hidden in the Paradise Valley, Cosanti a part of the Arcosanti project (a utopian micro-city) designed by world-renowned architect Paolo Soleri. It was built on the concept of arcology, a blending of architecture and ecology, to examine sustainability through the lens of the day-to-day urban lifestyle.

Guided tours are available from Mondays to Friday. 

Otherwise, you can visit Arcosanti, which is an hour north of Scottsdale, for a variety of workshops, performances, and events that encourage visitors to not only explore their creativity, but also think critically about their roles in bettering the world.

You can participate by joining a daily tour, or booking an overnight stay.

Have more time in Arizona? Then you should spend some time visiting the small towns in Arizona!

Scottsdale offers plenty of things to see and do for couples. We hope this extensive list has inspired you to book a romantic getaway to Scottsdale!

Disclaimer: This post is written in partnership with Experience Scottsdale. As always, all opinions on For Two, Please are our own and We only recommend brands that we 100% stand behind.

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21 Comments Leave a Comment »

  1. I love that you guys were able to go on a hot air balloon ride in Scottsdale. I can only imagine how beautiful the desert landscape looked from above. I also would never have guessed that they have such amazing culinary options. Will definitely look at your recommendations if I make to Scottsdale.

  2. You look like you had a lot of fun. Would love to try hot air ballooning and the Desert Botanical Gardens sounds fun. Never really thought of Arizona for wine and well, anywhere that I can have a massage – I’m sold lol

  3. That’s sounds like a lot of things to explore in scottsdale. We love hot air ballooning and would love to try it when we’re there.

  4. This post indeed looks romantic. It was nice reading about the fun things to do. Lovely captures too!

  5. I didn’t realize that Scottsdale has so much to offer! I’ve been to Arizona a few times but never explored this city. I would love to take ahot air balloon ride there. My husband proposed on a balloon ride in California and I’d love to take another with a whole new beautiful landscape!

  6. Wow, I really didn’t think there are so many cool things to do in Scottsdale. I also didn’t realize there are hot air balloon rides over there. The desert landscape must look stunning from above! I would love to try this out someday.

  7. I just absolutely love reading about your time in Scottsdale! Dan and I were very close to booking a trip to Scottsdale in November, actually. We had hotels picked out and everything. However ultimately we decided to stay in Michigan which I think was a good decision for our finances at the time. However this post is just making me want to go to Scottsdale more than ever!! I didn’t even know hot air ballooning was offered there but now I want to do it!!

  8. I think enjoying the hot air balloon ride, and sipping a good wine is a good date experience up above. Am enjoying reading your guide, very helpful for us who wish to explore the city.

  9. I agree with you that the wildlife in Scottsdale is amazing. I visited the Desert Botanical Gardens, but now you can go at night?! How fantastic! I’m completely jealous of your hot air balloon ride. We tried to do that in Sedona, but the winds were too high our entire time there. See the Arizona landscape from a hot air balloon would be incredible.

  10. I haven’t been to Scottsdale in ages. I lived there for a little while back in 2002 and it’s actually on my list to try to get back this year. I want to do a hot air balloon ride, the musical instrument museum and the Desert Botanical Garden. I would totally want to see it at night but I see it’s only through May. Is that just for the season or it’s gone for good? And for real, it is heaven for spas and food!!

  11. You look so elegant in that golf cart. It almost makes me want to try golf again, but the last time I tried golfing I ended up with a really achy shoulder from hitting the ground so many times. It definitely looks like somewhere that you could go for a romantic getaway with all the options they have. Especially that hot air balloon ride it looks amazing. The musical instrument is something I may just have to go down and see for myself though very soon as my father is a music major, and musical instruments are very near and dear to my heart. Thank you so much for your post.

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  14. Scottsdale is one of the places I want to visit in the US! I want to try the couple’s massage with my partner. Seems like a fun thing to do! Great tips here.

  15. Arizona has been on my bucket list since long and after reading your post I cant wait any longer to visit there. The Hiking trails look really amazing and scenic. Would love to try out the cafes there and visit the Desert Botanical Garden too! The Winter Wonderland looks worth a visit too.

  16. I live in Phoenix and have done most of these – I haven’t tried my hand at golf yet! The resorts in the area make it the absolute perfect place for romantic getaways – you can do things together or separately in a warm and beautiful place!

  17. That bubble tea looks super delicious.

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  21. Really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. Great site and a great topic as well I really get amazed to read this.

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