72 Hours in Scottsdale

Is it your first time in Scottsdale? Whether you’re here for a few days or just a long weekend, there’s plenty of things to do. For instance, Scottsdale has more spas per capita than any other city in the U.S., making it great for rest and relaxation. Or, you can spend all day touring the beautiful desert and all night bar hopping. We’ve put together a Scottsdale AZ long weekend itinerary to help you see all that Scottsdale has to offer, perfect for couples and solo travelers alike.

Old Town, Scottsdale AZ Long Weekend
Old Town Scottsdale AZ

Scottsdale AZ Long Weekend

Friday

It’s optimal that you fly in on Thursday night to make sure you get a full-fledged Scottsdale AZ long weekend. You’re going to want to rest good after your flight on Thursday so you are energized for the weekend. On Friday morning, look to eat something hearty at brunch. You have a big day ahead of you, filled with big meals and fun games.

First thing’s first: brunch. I recommend heading to Morning Squeeze for an organic, locally grown menu to match with your morning cup of coffee. They also have great mimosas. For creative pancake options, Butters is the best option for you. They have savory sausage and bacon to match.

When that’s all said and done, it’s time to do something active to work off your breakfast. If you have a rental car, it’ll be nice to get out around the area and see the desert. This is why I recommend heading to Topgolf — you’ll get a great view of the scenic sand and find a few Saguaro cacti too. Topgolf is fun for both aficionados and those swinging a club for the first time.

When it starts to get dark, you’ll see your first of many great Arizonan sunsets. From the desert backdrop, you’ll have a moment worth posting on Instagram. Drive back to your hotel and prepare for dinner.

Scottsdale AZ long weekend,sunset
Sunset over Scottsdale

I recommend heading to Rehab Burger Therapy for a creative burger option before making any big decisions. The wait may be long, but the menu will be totally worth it.

Last but not least, end the night with a trip to Talking Stick Resort. Whether you like the casino or the pool, you’ll find something to like here. When you finally get tired after your long day, head back to your hotel and relax.

Saturday

When you rise, you’ll want to conserve your energy for a long night. Take your time getting up and think about where you want to go for brunch. How about going to The Henry for something a bit more eclectic? They have a bloody mary cart and great coffee options. If you want to try something else, there’s always Breakfast Club, Daily Dose, and Olive and Ivy.

While you’re in the area, it might be time to explore Old Town Scottsdale a little bit. This is a great time to walk around the Waterfront before it gets too hot. If you want to do a little shopping while you’re on vacation, head to Fashion Square Mall for an incredibly wide variety of shopping options. You can spend lots of hours (and money) here if you’re not careful.

If you don’t want to shop, you can always walk around downtown Old Town Scottsdale and visit a few art galleries. While there, grab some ice cream from Shakes & Cones or the Sugar Bowl. That should be near the burger joint you went to last night.

Horse Fountain, Scottsdale Old Town, Scottsdale AZ Long Weekend
Horse Fountain, Scottsdale Old Town: Photo on Flickr by CEBImagery / CC BY-NC 2.0

When the sun begins to set, it’s time to get your night off to an early start. If you’re in the mood for a solid Mexican food dinner, head to Diego Pops, Herb Box, Barrio Queen, or Bandera. For a solid happy hour and drink menus, go to Geisha a Go Go, Cowboy Ciao, and Farm & Craft.

Then, head back to your hotel to relax a little bit before you go bar hopping. The place to be is Old Town Scottsdale. Start at Patties or Giligan’s before heading to a well-known strip of bars and clubs in the area. Wasted Grain, Bottled Blonde, Whiskey Row, Hi-Fi, and El Hefe all offer the same experience, essentially, with the added variety of all being within walking distance of each other. Prepare for a long night.

Sunday

Start this last morning of your Scottsdale AZ long weekend strong. You have a spa day ahead of you. Eat a light snack, drink a lot of water, and head to Gateway Trail, Tom’s Thumb or McDowell Mountains for a bit of exercise. Trust me, it’ll help with your hangover. Bring plenty of water with you too, because you’re gonna need it if you end up going a little later than you would have liked.

Afterward, head to Local Bistro for a nice relaxing meal after a long hike. If you want to try some barbecue, I recommend Tom’s Thumb, which shouldn’t be far from where you’re hiking.

Scottsdale AZ Long Weekend, Pinnacle Peak
Pinnacle Peak

You can’t leave Scottsdale without going to the spa, and there’s no better time to do so than after a hike and a big meal. It’s time for some rest and relaxation in Scottsdale at the Spa at the Four Seasons Resort. Have a spa day and reward yourself for working so hard this morning.

After a day at the spa, do a little light shopping at the Scottsdale Quarter. If you’re in the mood for dinner and a glass of wine in the area, try The Living Room, Sapporo, Postino, or Rusconi’s.

With plenty of things to do in Scottsdale, 72 hours may not be enough for you. There’s a lot more to explore in this city, so it’s definitely worth coming back for more. If Scottsdale is just a pit-stop along your road trip, read about other must see Arizona destinations.

About Haley Kieser

My name is Haley and I am originally from Arizona. I have lived also lived in Minnesota and South Dakota. Among my favorites are being outdoors, traveling, Arizona sunsets, Midwest greenery, craft beer, and the Green Bay Packers.

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