Arizona is located in the Southwest of the United States and is best known for the Grand Canyon, Sonoran Desert and Botanical Desert Museum. This photo guide will show you some of the best places to visit.
My first night, I stayed at the newest boutique resort, Mountain Shadows. The resort located in Paradise Valley and in the shadow of Camelback Mountain opened its doors in April 2017. The resort features a timeless retro look but with 183 modern guestrooms, a restaurant with an exhibition kitchen, two pools, a high-tech fitness facility, a fully revamped short golf course with a golf grill and lounge, an art gallery, and 37,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space.
Renowned Chef Charles Wiley stands at the helm of Hearth ’61, the signature restaurant of Mountain Shadows. Hearth ’61 serves seasonal, ingredient-driven American fare made in a stunning exhibition kitchen so guests can observe the inner workings of the kitchen. Chef Wiley has been named one of “The Ten Best New Chefs in America” by Food & Wine; “One of the Best Hotel Chefs of America” by the James Beard Foundation; and Chef Honoree of the Scottsdale Hall of Fame.
Hot Air Ballooning over the Sonoran Desert is truly the most spectacular and exhilarating way to see Arizona. From above 5000 feet in the air, you see beautiful panoramic views of the valley. Family owned and operated, Hot Air Expeditions offers daily flights.
You can tour Old Town Scottsdale in open-air golf carts with your very own driver supplied by JoyRidesAZ. With an abundance of stunning natural beauty, rich history and an array of cultural, iconic and entertaining attractions, this tour tells the story of Old Town Scottsdale beginnings to its current metropolitan position.
The drivers offer an informative narrated tour as you make your way through the historic district, Art District, Entertainment District, 5th Ave Shops, and The Waterfront area.
We had a quick lunch stop at The Mission-serving modern Latin cuisine. Chef Matt Carter re-invents his French culinary training with a menu focused on Latin flavour. Start with delectable tableside guacamole and try entrée favourites such as Malbec-braised short rib and chorizo porchetta. Partner Brian Raab mixes tradition and ingenuity into the restaurant’s signature cocktail menu featuring a variety of hand-pressed favourites. The interior look of the restaurant, created by local designer Charlie Morrow, includes palm wood floors, a marble bar, faux rainwater walls, ornate chandeliers and a wall of salt blocks straight from the Himalayas.
The Desert Botanical Garden located in Phoenix offers the world’s finest collection of arid-land plants from deserts around the world in a unique outdoor setting. The garden has more than 50,000 accessioned plants throughout its five thematic trails, which illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers. This is a must-see attraction.
Phoenix Public Market Café – A local neighbourhood gathering spot owned by award-winning Chef Aaron Chamberlin, the Public Market Cafe features a local coffee roaster, and seasonal meals using ingredients from the public market.
History & Highlights Walking Tour with Phoenix Rising Tours. Tour along revitalized Roosevelt Row Arts District, a funky and eclectic arts district in downtown showcasing local artwork and murals.
Phoenix Rising Tours Company provides entertaining and engaging tour experiences. Participants will be presented with a historical overview of the downtown’s origin, knowledge of their iconic and precious landmarks, and a taste of the places and people that make Downtown Phoenix unique.
Points of interest during Phoenix Tours include DeSoto Central Market, Tea & Toast, Short Leash, Rollover Doughnuts, Revolver Records, MonOrchid Gallery, Bosque, Antique Sugar, and A.R.T.S. Garden- Valley of the Sunflowers.
A quick pit stop for doughnuts and hot dogs at Short Leash Rollover Doughnuts. This brick-&-mortar outpost of a popular food truck serves creative hot dogs & retro comfort foods.
Next stop on the tour of Arizona and one of the most anticipated was Antelope Canyon. We were booked with Antelope Slot Canyon Tours to view Lower Antelope Canyon or ‘spiral rock arches’ as described by the Navajo. Guides from Antelope Slot Canyon tours will take you through the amazing natural wonders of Antelope Canyon. Make sure to pack extra batteries, and a wide-angle lens with a low aperture or high ISO as the lighting varies from area to area. Camera flash is not permitted in the canyon.
After viewing Antelope Slot Canyon, we took a one hour boat tour on the lake with Antelope Point Marina. This personalized tour takes you from Antelope Point Marina, down the Colorado River’s original channel, to the canyon opening along sheer red rock cliffs.
Just outside of Page sits Horseshoe Bend which is just over 4,200 feet above sea level.
Next on the agenda was a visit to the highly anticipated Grand Canyon National Park.
We were booked for a Sunrise photography session with an award-winning photographer, Glenn Tamblinson of Canyon Country Photography. If you’re a photography geek like me, this tour is definitely for you. Glenn taught us many tricks and techniques to capture amazing sunrise photos (as seen below). Weather in the Grand Canyon varies drastically so it is best to wear layers.
Agritopia is a planned community on the edge of the rural/urban interface. It is an “urban farm” designed to flourish in the urban setting. Instead of a huge field of one crop, you find a patchwork of numerous speciality crops. New York Times named Agritopia the leading ‘agri-hood’ in the country in 2014. This way-of-life model was adopted early on when Agritopia was established in 2000 and continues to gain in popularity with young and old generations alike. Here, the same-day harvest is sold at The Farm Stand, as well as being served at Joe’s Farm Grill and The Coffee Shop.
Joe’s Farm Grill was created from the Johnston Family home built in 1966 in Agritopia. Featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, the menu showcases classic American fare with premium and locally grown ingredients.
Arizona Wine Tasting at Garage-East located just outside Barnone
I was amazed by the stunning and natural beauty of Arizona and look forward to a trip back.
Thank you Tourism Arizona, Pheonix, Mesa, and Page for having me as a guest.