Where to stay and what to eat
My first impression of Arizona was not the most positive. In 2017, when my husband and I drove through during our move to Texas, I remember seeing only desert and staying in a super sketchy motel. After that experience, I wrote off Arizona thinking it wasn’t a place I would enjoy but boy was I wrong! I recently returned for a friends wedding and was able to see Arizona for its true fun and beauty. If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Arizona, here is my Arizona travel diary.
Where to stay | Arizona Grand Resort and Spa
When we were looking for places to stay we came across the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa. The images online are captivating and accurately reflect the beautiful property and rooms! There have been many times where the images online don’t align with what you get but we were pleasantly surprised to walk into a sparkly clean white suite, just like the pictures.
The property truly is grand with several buildings, an 18 hole golf course, several pools, a workout facility, spa and their own Oasis Water Park. It is pricey with a high resort fee but worth it if you take full advantage of the amenities. My husband and I personally love to stay somewhere with entertainment provided and enjoyed the water park both days we were there.
The Oasis Water Park
Whether you are a family or a couple this park is fun! It has lots of different lounge chairs, reservable cabanas, a wave pool, lazy river, and 3 water slides. If you are a guest at the hotel, they provide you with wrist bands to access the park each day that you’re there. They also allow you take take as many clean towels as you need while you’re in there.
Onsite in the water park area is a bar and food stand. We personally didn’t purchase from there but I watched many people walking around with their frozen daiquiris (which looked so good)!
What to eat in Arizona
Next stop in the Arizona travel diary is what to eat. This can be slightly combined with things to do because if you’re like me, trying new restaurants is one of the best things to do in a new state/city! Although the hotel is located in Tempe, AZ we found ourselves popping over to Scottsdale for meals and exploring.
Breakfast: Morning Squeeze in Old Town, Scottsdale
Ya’ll the vibe in this little restaurant was groovy. It literally has the interior design of the 60’s/70’s with its bright colors and fun design. More importantly it had amazing food!
We struggled to decide on what to eat as the food all around us was making our mouths water. We both decided to order their salmon eggs benedict with chipotle hollandaise and side of wedge potatoes. In addition, I ordered earl grey tea and a side of fresh fruit. This meal was incredibly tasty and also well balanced with nutrition to fuel our day. Check out their menu and vibe here.
Grab a refreshing tea at The Spice and Tea Exchange of Scottsdale
If you like tea then you should definitely stop by The Spice and Tea Exchange of Scottsdale to pick up some herbal teas (or spices) to bring home. You can also purchase a tea to go which we found to be so refreshing! The woman working recommended an herbal tea that taste just like cherry coke it was an amazing healthy alternative to an actual coke or sugary coffee.
Lunch: Barrio Queen in Scottsdale
Just thinking about the food at Barrio Queen is making my mouth water. It was truly the best Mexican food I have ever eaten. They pride themselves on being authentic and you can tell! I ordered their El Taco Vegetariano (vegetarian taco) with a side of rice and beans and my husband got their Pescado Asado (grilled fish taco). Of course we also got chips and salsa.
I’m not a strict vegetarian but I love to choose those options for a meal because it guarantees me a lot of vegetables. My tacos were loaded with a variety of fresh vegetables and was SO flavorful. You know a meal is good when you keep saying “this is so good”. If you go, you have to order the rice and beans. I was expecting basic rice and refried beans plopped on a plate but instead I got amazing Spanish rice and a dish of seasoned black beans.
Dinner: The Drunk Munk or Food at Top Golf
One night we couldn’t figure out what we wanted for dinner and were enticed by The Drunk Munk’s tiki themed outdoor sitting area. I’m not sure I fully recommend this place because we had to wait almost an hour for our food and we didn’t order anything complicated. I chose their Big Island Burger with a side of fries and my husband ordered their Las Vegas Sushi Roll.
I’m not sure if it was just because I was so hungry by the time the food arrived, but the burger did taste extremely good and juicy! Korb kept stealing my fries and saying how they reminded him of McDonalds’ fries. I’m not sure that is a good or bad thing. Since I keep it honest on this Arizona travel diary, I recommend trying a different restaurant.
Our last night in Arizona we had a date to Top Golf. My husband is a big golf fan and I barely know how to hit the ball so this was a great compromise. We had so much fun and decided to order food there for dinner. Most of the trip we had chosen fairly healthy options and I am a big advocate for finding balance, so we treated ourselves. We shared their pretzel bites with a side of mustard and cheese, and the margarita flatbread. Not your most gourmet meal but not totally junk food either (in my opinion lol).
My first impression of Arizona was so wrong. Although it is the desert and has some sketchy areas (just like anywhere), it has its own charm, energy and LOTS of sunshine. If you found this Arizona travel diary helpful, bookmark the page or save it Pinterest.
We have a trip booked already to go back and explore Sedona. I’ve been once before but drop your recommendations of what to do and see in the comments!