24 hours in Phoenix
Updated: Jun 30, 2019
Photo by Dino Reichmuth on Unsplash
In 2012, I was recruited to take on a new job, but I had to agree to spend the majority of my time working in Phoenix, Arizona. My nearly 15 years of living near the beautiful beach in Fort Lauderdale made me question whether I wanted to migrate to a brown, hot desert. Nonetheless, duty called and professional opportunities like this sometimes only come once in a lifetime. After 3 nights on the road (felt like 10 in Texas alone), I pulled the car into my new desert oasis.
I arrived in August and was actually astounded at the heat (they say its a dry heat) but was pleasantly surprised at the physical beauty of the valley (Phoenix metro). Surrounded by mountains, Phoenix offers some of the clearest skies, nights and sunsets that will take your breath away. When the sun rises or sets there, the surrounding mountains will continuously change shades of oranges, reds, and purples, which are so gorgeous. I lived near what I believe is the most famous mountain in the valley - Camelback that reigns above the Phoenix and Scottsdale panorama. If you are there for an overnight, a hike partially up the mountain is tremendous fun. If you are very active and have the time, take the full walk to the top. In either case, be extremely careful, as the journey can be intense and the dry heat will quickly dehydrate you. Drink plenty of water and if you are traveling alone, let someone know your plans.
Shopping in Phoneix is fun. If you have a couple of hours to kill, I suggest checking out the Scottsdale Fashion Mall. It's perhaps one of the most delightful shopping malls in the country filled with all of the usual retail suspects and some higher-end retail, i.e., Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Gucci, Burberry, Tesla, etc. Although there are some satisfactory places to grab lunch there, the only one I would suggest is the cafe at Neiman Marcus.
Otherwise, I recommend people get out into the streets and enjoy some fantastic dining in an impressive foodie town.
This list could go on and on, but here are a couple of my favorites:
Ok. You only have 24 hours in town, so no time to wait around. I highly suggest the Parlor for a great pizza. Located at :
1916 East Camelback Road
Phoenix, Arizona 85016
The ambiance is super cool, and the pizza is incredible. I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to grabbing a slice, so I personally like the pepperoni, which includes Pavone pepperoni, house-made mozzarella & basil. However, there are numerous other choices and build your own options, which I am sure you will enjoy.
Tarbells located at 3213 E Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85018.
Where do I even begin with this one? By far, this restaurant is one of my favorite eateries in the country. Legendary chef Mark Tarbell, who is the owner, is a gem of a person and so incredibly skilled. You can read much more about the background of Mark on his bio page for the PBS show he hosts titled Check Please Arizona (http://www.pbs.org/food/chefs/mark-tarbell/).
As a business traveler, I am often alone and prefer to eat at the bar. The bartenders and service at Tarbell's are spectacular. Mikey and Nicole are two longstanding bartenders at the restaurant who will know your name and your drink of choice for sure by the time you leave. Each night, a troupe of regulars comes in to enjoy the camaraderie, a few spirits and perhaps a quick bite to eat at the bar. When traveling with others, the white tablecloth service is unmatched for the price. The menu offers a wide array of finely prepared food which consistently delivers on quality and flavor.
Other dining favorites:
The Mission - Latin cuisine
Old Town Scottsdale
Lons at the Hermosa Inn
Paradise Valley, AZ
If you have time to squeeze in a round of golf while you are in town, you will be hard pressed to go wrong with your choice. The courses in the valley are specacular, and the options are plentiful. If you are staying in the Biltmore corridor along Camelback mountain, I suggest playing at the Phoenician Resort and Spa. In 2018, the Phoenician was redesigned from three separate 9 hole courses to a single 18-hole track. The sights are spectacular, and the course is challenging yet fair.
If you have a full day open and want to experience an extraordinary golf outing, drive an hour northwest of downtown and play Qunitero. The course is in a genuinely remote desert scape and navigates through some incredible scenery. Qunitero is very difficult, but sightseeing helps reduce any on-course difficulties you might experience.
Enjoy your time in Phoenix, and if you have any questions, just let me know...