Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

The temperature was already at 85 degrees at the terminal while I was walking through to get my rental car and head out to find a quick bite to eat. Fortunately, someone told me about the new Burger Theory joint close to the airport, so I was able to find it a few minutes away and find a seat quickly. Burger Theory was a nice spot to unwind and cool off before I was ready to brave the hot Arizona sun and boy, it felt hot to me. I made my way to my hotel for the next two days, I would be staying at the Holiday Inn in the Chandler district.

Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

 

 

Papago park Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix offers so many options for places to visit, including outdoor recreation, trendy neighborhoods to explore, fantastic dining venues many one of a kind attractions to explore around the city. This is definitely a city where you can  enjoy western culture, gorgeous desert landscapes and take part in an active adventure activity in the desert or up into the scenic mountain ranges surrounding Phoenix. For my weekend discovery visit around Phoenix, I concentrated on experiencing some of the outdoor sports, visiting some cultural treasure and art discoveries, and sampling some delicious Southwestern cuisine and popular street food of the region.

Here are some of the fun highlights visiting Phoenix

 

 

Desert Botanical Garden Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden

This gorgeous garden wows you right from the start of your visit into this arid entry garden, with an impressive glass sculpture resembling a huge cactus and created by famous glass sculptor Chihuly to blend into the desert environment. The cool thing about exploring the various desert themed gardens are the diversity of non-cactus, Mediterranean plants and succulents that can thrive so well in this harsh environment.

You enter a variety of garden rooms with themes incorporating the Sonoran landscape, a kitchen garden, herb garden and even a colorful butterfly garden. I enjoyed walking through these various gardens which also integrated wonderful western styled architecture done in vignettes as though you would enter someone’s home. Along your walk you find a lot of well-placed artwork, information displays and colorful walkway features that pique your curiosity on what may be ahead on the trails and continue despite the extreme heat outdoors. Fortunately there are many covered areas, shaded garden spots and resting areas with water fountains in case you get dehydrated which is very easy to do in this desert landscape.

 

 

Desert Botanical Garden Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

Beautiful Chihuly glass entrance

 

Sculpture garden Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona

Sculpture and water features at the Desert Botanical garden in Phoenix

 

 

Papago Park in Phoenix Arizona

Papago Park

I love that this area of Papago Park incorporates both the Botanical Garden, Zoo an many hiking and recreation areas of the Park. I visited one of the most popular spots in the park called the Hole in the Rock, where you climb through some Flintstone inspired natural red formations and boulders through an opening in this huge rock. Once you climb through, you get to see a panoramic view around the park and skyline to downtown Phoenix. The park is dotted with these impressive red rocks and formations that you can hike through extensive trails and explore some of the wonderful landscape on your own. I ended up extending my stay to explore more trails and then climbed up a strategic hill to watch the sunset over the downtown area.

 

Hole in the Rock at Papago Park in Phoenix Arizona

Checking out the Hole in the Rock at Papago Park

 

 

Afternoon hike at Papago Park in Phoenix Arizona

A late afternoon hike at Papago Park

 

Art galleries in Scottsdale Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

 

 

Scottsdale and Old Town

A very close drive to Papago park is Scottsdale and I heard so much about the excellent art and food scene here so I planned an late afternoon visit to explore the area and find a cool dining spot for the evening. The Old Town area of Scottsday is where you will find where most of the diving, entertainment and a slew of fine art galleries located on E Main street. With a world class mix of traditional Southwestern themed galleries to more modern and other popular artwork for sale, Scottsdale draws in a lot of visitors who are interested in western art and other creative art mediums. It was fun to walk through many of the covered galleries and check out what each gallery would feature in terms of local or international sculpture, artwork, craftwork or  collectibles that are fore sale. Fortunately, I only traveled with a small hand carry so I wouldn’t be tempted with a bringing home a pricy souvenir.

 

 

Art galleries in Scottsdale Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

Checking out the art gallery scene in Scottsdale

 

 

Art in Scottsdale Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

 

Apache Trail at Apache Junction

I’ve heard so much about this historic trail just outside of the Phoenix metropolitan area and was pleasantly surprised by how much of the landscape, history and monuments have been well preserved or still in its natural condition. This was scenic road trip covers an area with many scenic vistas, desert terrain, man made reservoirs with stunning views and colorful villages tucked into hidden bends around the trail. You’ll be driving past mining communities, ghost towns and other unusual attractions with unusual names like “Superstition Mountain”.

After driving along a fun two lane road and passing through the small village of Tortilla Flats, the paved road becomes a packed red dirt road slowly crawling through rough graveled roads all the way to Roosevelt lake. It’s worth continuing as long as you can on the drive because the scenery is truly breathtaking. I enjoyed the fact that once you get past the popular Canyon lake reservoir, there are few visitors traveling through this remote area and you practically have all this amazing landscape for yourself to explore. This can be a 1/2 day to full day trip depending if you want to take the slow drive all the way to Roosevelt lake and back or around until you hit some paved roadways.

 

Apache trail in Phoenix Arizona

Views at Canyon Lake reservoir

 

Apache trail in Phoenix Arizona

Desert landscape on the Apache Trail

 

Solitary Mountain Apache trail in Phoenix Arizona

Driving through Superstition Mountain on the Apache Trail

 

 

My dining options around Phoenix

Burger Theory at the Holiday Inn, Phoenix airport
Burger Theory
After landing at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, I was hungry and looking for something close-by and fast but also local and cool. Enter Burger Theory on 44th Avenue which is one of Holiday Inn’s new eateries. I loved the huge bar area surrounding with large TV screens featuring a variety of sporting programs. It was an easy choice to sit up at the bar and check out what local craft beers are on tap and I sampled my first pumpkin infused beers and some other local Heifeweisen from local brewer Four Peaks. It’s fun to custom order your own hamburger, but I picked a meaty 1/3 beef with large chunks of portabello mushroom and devoured it while downing the pumpkin brew.
Burger Theory at the Holiday Inn, Phoenix airport
Bisquits cafe Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona
This breakfast/brunch place has a few branch locations in Phoenix and I went close to my hotel in the Chandler district and boy this is a tasty meal. It seems like breakfast here is served with extra large portions. I ordered a scrambled egg dish with three meats and hash browns; I couldn’t finish it because you also get huge pancakes that are also jumbo sized. Fortunately I had a big appetite that morning, but still couldn’t finish my meal with the pancake addition.
Salty Senorita Scottsdale Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona
This popular Mexican bar/restaurant in Scottsdale offers indoor or outdoor dining in their large patio spilling into the street. I quickly went up the bar and checked out their extensive beverage and food menu. Of course you have to try any of their popular margaritas here and I tried something new and delicious called Louboutin, Espolon silver tequila with a shot of elderflower liquor – very smooth and subtle for a margarita! I ordered a trio of really delicious tacos: shrimp, braised short ribs and carne asada which I also devoured in some quick and easy bites.
Salty Senorita Scottsdale Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

Accommodations at the Holiday Inn, Chandler

 

Holiday Inn, Chandler Arizona

The hotel location in Chandler was perfect for exploring the southern parts of the city and my all day visit to the Apache trail at Apache Junction which is a very short and scenic drive Southeast of the city. The beautiful and modern Holiday Inn, Ocatillo Road features the Southwestern Hacienda style in a comfortable and modern style. Check in was very quick with the front desk giving me a quick overview of the features around the hotel lobby and other public areas, I appreciated the genuine and friendly service and quickly made it to my room to unload my belongings.
Pool area at Holiday Inn, Chandler Arizona
Bedroom features
The standard bedroom and baths at the Holiday Inn, Chandler are really large with an inviting living room section along with a big desk area for work. I was given a room on the fourth floor which had lovely views down to the pool area and the surrounding landscape around Ocatillo Road which is suburban and upscale. Beds are really plush and comfortable, with fluffy pillows.
Standard bedroom at Holiday Inn, Chandler Arizona
A nice section for fridge, bar and microwave service
Bar service section at Holiday Inn, Chandler Arizona
Bathroom features
The bathrooms are nicely appointed with comfortable space and a large vanity to spread out your personal belongings. I like the Holiday Inn toiletries offered in a nicely scented citrus/coconut combination for the bath products and there are plenty of hand and bath towels in the bathrooms as well.
Bathroom area at Holiday Inn, Chandler Arizona

Overall Experience at the Holiday Inn Chandler

I loved my stay at the Holiday Inn and visit to the Chandler area, it was perfect for my visit to the Apache trail and within a short drive to downtown and other areas in the Metropolitan area of Phoenix. You also have plenty of options on freeways to use to get around the different regions of the city. Service is friendly prompt and helpful when you have any special needs or questions.
Beautiful cactus blooms Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona
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My trip to Phoenix was in partnership with Holiday Innto bring you this story. Travel Photo Discovery maintains full editorial control of the content published on this site and all thoughts, opinions, and enthusiasm for travel are entirely my own

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18 Responses to Weekend getaway to Phoenix Arizona

  1. anto October 9, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    Great shots as always. I used to have a friend (or rather said, a penpal) who lived in Phoenix but we lost touch before the internet really got upcoming. This is actually how I imagined Phoenix and its surroundings to be, with lots of cacti and red rocks. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Megan Jerrard October 9, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

    So glad you enjoyed your time in Phoenix – got some great photos! We were living there in 2015, and loved visiting Papago Park – that was one of my favorites. If you have the chance to go back, be sure to take in White Tanks National Park next time 🙂

  3. Maddy October 9, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    This article is absolutely brilliant. I love that there is a desert botanical garden! Your pictures are truly wonderful, the hole in the rock at Papago park reminds me of my visit to Arches National Park.

  4. Leah October 9, 2016 at 8:52 am #

    Beautiful photos, as always. Arizona is a gorgeous place with brilliant light and you captured it well. P.S. Send me some of those tacos!

  5. Jo October 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm #

    Looks like you covered a lot of ground in this weekend. Phoenix looks awesome. That desert botanical garden is so stunning with those cactus plants – kinda similar to queen sirikit botanical garden in Chiang Mai.

  6. Rosemary October 8, 2016 at 11:27 pm #

    What gorgeous shots, Noel. As always you capture the unique beauty of each place. Your featured image is incredible!!! Been to Phoenix once before and looking at you pics makes me want to go back and visit soon. Really well done!!

  7. Natalie Deduck October 8, 2016 at 8:53 pm #

    What a beautiful landscape, by the photos we can see that the sun was definitely hot!
    The rock formations are so unique and the view you get from the hole gorgeous.
    Cheers and thanks for sharing great travel tips!!
    Nat

  8. Sia October 8, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

    Wow the first photo gives such a splendid natural frame! It looks really peaceful and like the perfect weekend gateway! I would love to visit the botanical garden with different theme rooms. I love cactuses and there are so many. The hotel’s interior and exterior fit the location perfectly!

  9. Nisha October 8, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

    Lovely photos and articles. When I see the photos of Saguaro I am always reminded of Road Runner and Wile.E.coyote 🙂 🙂

  10. Kerri October 8, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

    Love cactus gardens, I remember the one I visited just outside Vegas. They are really interesting. Looks like you’ve found a new friend in Burger Theory too! Had to laugh at your comment about large portion sizes at Bisquit. To most Australians, all food servings in the US are enormous! The Holiday Inn looks like a great place to lay your head down after a big day exploring this area.

  11. Irene S. Levine October 4, 2016 at 2:18 pm #

    Great photography as usual. I’ve been to the Desert Botanical Garden and it’s a photographer’s dream. But my favorite photo is that of the Rock at Papago Park

  12. Jennifer October 4, 2016 at 11:25 am #

    Hoping to visit Phoenix soon so this will be very helpful! Thanks!

  13. Marilyn Jones October 4, 2016 at 4:10 am #

    Brings back fantastic memories of my last visit! Your photos, as always are exceptional!!

  14. Carole Terwilliger Meyers October 3, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    Based on your as-usual enticing images, I plan to head right to the Desert Botanical Garden next time I visit Phoenix. I might also plan a meal at Burger Theory. Looks yummy.

  15. Donna Janke October 3, 2016 at 3:10 am #

    Your photos are fantastic. Desert Botanical Garden, Old Town Scottsdale and the Apache Trail are some of my favourites in the Phoenix area. I have yet to climb to the Hole in the Rock.

  16. Doreen Pendgracs October 3, 2016 at 2:46 am #

    Phoenix and are is indeed one of the most scenic parts of the US, Noel, and you have captured it magnificently! I love your opening pic! Thx so much for sharing. I’ve been meaning to get back to Scottsdale to explore the spa scene and your post have driven it up my list!

  17. Charles McCool October 3, 2016 at 2:23 am #

    Great photos, Noel. I have loved my visits to Phoenix and this article brings back lovely memories. That burger and those tacos look scrumptious!

  18. Rebecca October 3, 2016 at 12:17 am #

    What great photos! Thanks for introducing me to ‘your’ Arizona. I love the pictures of the food! Being a huge avocado fan, I am especially drawn to that one!
    And it felt weird seeing a picture of a relatively full reservoir in the middle of the desert!

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