Scottsdale, Arizona has been a favorite destination for Baby Boomers for decades. 300 days of sunshine and a golfing mecca drew the generation. Recently, I had the opportunity to spend 5 days exploring Scottsdale. I am here to report to the younger generations, this is not your father’s Scottsdale any longer!
Let’s Go! Learn how to Experience Scottsdale like a Millennial…**
**Disclosures: I was hosted by Experience Scottsdale and provided a media rate at Andaz Resort and Spa. All the opinions and definitely all the FUN were mine!!
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How do Millennials Travel?
In full disclosure, I am not a Millennial, in fact, I am one of those “old” Baby Boomers. However, my sons are Millennials and I love their traveling style. I know that no one appreciates being generalized and Millennials especially hate this. That being said, every generation truly does have some defining characteristics and culture. Advertisers, retailers and the travel industry track these traits. The statistic experts describe Millennials as consumers who value experiences over possessions, they seek out the small, local and authentic vendors, and they want to use technology to expedite the experience but not supersede it.
Why is Scottsdale perfect for Millennials?
I believe, and statistics show, that Millennials are far better than Baby Boomers at prioritizing their work-life balance. This generation truly values weekend getaways. They are looking for a destination filled with outdoor adventure during the day and nightlife easily accessed by Uber.
Scottsdale has amazing things going on for this young crowd. Its surrounding mountains, food, nightlife, shopping, craft beer and local wines are perfect for Millennials looking for an active and trendy weekend getaway. Of course, its great for their parents too.
Scottsdale, Arizona covers a narrow 31 mile swatch along the eastern border of Phoenix. It is an easy 15 minutes from Sky Harbor International Airport. Downtown/Old Town Scottsdale is the entertainment hub, located in the center of the city. Northern Scottsdale is home to the McDowell Mountains and McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Directly to the east in Phoenix is the popular Camelback Mountain and to the south are Papago Park, Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden of Phoenix. Let’s take a closer look at the outdoor adventures, food, booze and culture that a Millennial can experience in Scottsdale, Arizona…
Find the perfect resort in Scottsdale
The entire Phoenix-metro area is well known for its resorts and spas. Scottsdale has a plethora of lodging choices. Ranging from the moderately priced, predictable chains to the extravagant luxury spas. Scottsdale also has a definite high and low season. There is no denying that the Sonora Desert is hot in the summer. Arizonans know how to beat the heat but the desert reputation does keep the tourism numbers down in June and July. If you are looking for a luxurious escape, the otherwise unattainable resorts become affordable. In February and March the prices rise as winter dwellers seek escape from the cold and snow.
Learn More: Visit the Experience Scottsdale website for Summer Specials.
Here are four great lodging choices at different price points. I have included a price range for June (low season) and February (peak season) for each property.
Scottsdale Marriott Old Town
The Marriott Suites are dependable, perfectly adequate and moderately priced. This property is located within walking distance of the bustling entertainment section of Scottsdale.
Scottsdale Marriott Old Town Suites ranging from ($103-$311)
Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows
My visit to Scottsdale was to attend the wonderful Bloghouse Conference, a mastermind opportunity for travel bloggers. The event was located at the unique and elegant Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows, a Hyatt facility. This property is a hidden gem nestled in the shadow of Camelback Mountain and off the busyness of Scottsdale Rd. It is centrally located in the city while still offering a rejuvenating oasis.
Andaz Scottsdale is heavily influenced by mid-century modern design and a close relationship with the nearby Cattle Track Arts. The bungalow style rooms were private, spacious and incredibly comfortable.
In line with the Millennial-style, the Andaz is perfect for small to moderate sized meetings. The meeting rooms were elegantly appointed, with robust technology, walls of windows, delicious food and attentive service.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows ranging from ($135-$469)
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has been a diamond (AAA 5 Diamond rating) in the crown of Northern Scottsdale for 28 years. This facility is meticulously maintained with:
- Five restaurants and bars
- Indoor and outdoor meeting facilities
- Acclaimed spa and fitness programs at Well & Being Spa
- Six sparkling pools
This resort hosts extravagant seasonal events that draw attendance from the entire Phoenix metro region. We had the opportunity to visit during their annual Christmas at the Princess. Decorations and entertainment offered festivities for all ages.
Fairmont Scottsdale Princess ranging from ($159-$522)
The Phoenician Scottsdale
If you are looking to be pampered in the lap of luxury, The Phoenician is your destination. Like the Fairmont Princess, The Phoenician has a deep reputation as an Arizona luxury accommodation. The 250 acres rubs shoulders with Camelback Mountain and offers, traditional guest rooms, luxurious suites and short-term residences. During our visit in June of 2019, the entire resort had finished a thorough renovation. We were treated to a beautiful catered sampling from the Kalio Kabobery (poolside restaurant) on the deck of the Spa Pool. The Phoenician makes everyone feel like royalty.
The Phoenician ranging from ($290-$644),
The Foodie Scene of Scottsdale
Have you ever traveled and dined with bloggers??? THIS happens!
Old Town Scottsdale is a square mile packed with trendy restaurants, old-school saloons, wine tasting rooms and casual brewpubs. With so many venues in a compact area, it is easy to use Uber and walk from one spot to the next. The visiting Millennial will be thrilled with the variety of ethnic cuisines and fresh local offerings.
Millennials… consider eating local food a huge part of the travel experience. Ninety percent of the young professionals…say trying local food is very important to them, often more important than museums, monuments, and the beach.Forbes Magazine
The Old Adobe Mission was built by hand by the Mexicans who settled in Scottsdale in the late 1910s. This Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is found all over the Southwest and Sonora desert.
Next to this historic structure sits The Mission with a menu of modern Latin cuisine. Inside the cool dark interior you find small plates representing Mexican, Spanish and South American traditions. Every plate brings a unique taste bomb.
Hula’s Modern Tiki
I found better Hawaiian food at the Hula’s Modern Tiki in Scottsdale than I ever found on the islands. Everything on the menu looked and sounded tasty. The menu included the iconic, Spam meatloaf, and the massive plate lunch known as Loco Moco. The cocktail menu also lived up to the title of Tiki Bar.
Rehab Therapy Burger
This popular local burger joint was amazing. A great variety of meat choices and toppings and plenty of craft beer made this a perfect meal. Our server was downright joyful about helping us choose the perfect burgers.
The dining, drinking and snacking seems limitless in the compact area of Old Town. There are numerous options beyond Old Town. Most of the luxury resorts have highly acclaimed upscale dining. For instance, J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician and Toro Latin Restaurant and Rum Bar at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. You will not leave Scottsdale hungry.
Local Beer and Wine
Arizona’s local wine scene is a well kept secret. Most of the vineyards are in two small regions of the state. Cottonwood, AZ just southwest of Sedona and Wilcox, AZ way south near Tombstone. These small areas have conditions favorable for wine production. In Scottsdale you will find the tasting rooms for these local wineries. You can even enjoy the Scottsdale Wine Trail, visiting, Carlson Creek, LDV, Aridus and Salvatore wineries. The newest addition to the wine trail is Merkin Winery. Music-loving Millennials will be excited to discover this newest endeavor by Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan.
Craft Beer Scene
Here at Go! Learn Things we love craft beer. Who taught us to understand the nuances of craft beer? Well our Millennial offspring of course. Scottsdale has only one craft brewery at this time. But Millennials can still find plenty of options in the neighboring towns.
Tucked into a small corner of Old Town/Downtown Scottsdale we found Goldwater Brewing. The McClelland family have been brewing an eclectic collection of craft beer since 2015. We had the privilege of being served by Parker, The Cellarman. After we had tried some gems like Just a Mirage IPA, Scotchdale Scotch Ale and Earn Your Booze Blueberry Coffee Cake Imperial Stout, Parker offered to show us the secret cellar. Cellars are not all that common in Scottsdale and it sounded kind of chill on that 110 degree afternoon. So off to the secret cellar we trekked.
Learn More about Craft Beer in Gilbert, Arizona
Get Outdoors in and around Scottsdale
After all this eating, drinking and lounging at the spa, it is time to get some exercise. Remember those Millennials are looking for experiences. Arizona is the ultimate extreme playground with hiking, biking, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing and canyoneering. Many of these adventures are nearby in Scottsdale.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve in North Scottsdale encompasses 30,500 acres and makes 30% of Scottsdale preserved land. It is the largest urban preserve in North America. The Preserve offers 215 miles of multi-use trails, departing from eight trailheads. These trails keep the local and visiting hiking aficionados very contented. Because these are multi-use trails they are also open to single-track mountain biking also.
Technically in Phoenix but just moments from Scottsdale, Camelback Mountain beckons to adventurers. Both trails up Camelback are designated as Difficult. They are steep and strenuous, take plenty of water and be careful.
Forty miles east of Scottsdale is Lost Dutchman State Park. The park leads into the Superstition Mountains and Tonto National Forest. This region popular Arizona destination with camping, hiking, biking, kayaking with wild horses, cliff dwellings of ancient peoples and much more.
Just south of Scottsdale, in Phoenix proper you can visit the Papago Park area with walking trails, the Phoenix Zoo and my favorite spot, the Desert Botanical Gardens. If you want to go learn things about the desert, the Zoo and Gardens are your destination.
Southeast of Scottsdale is Gilbert, a trendy and booming agricultural town. It is packed with local and authentic foods, a beautiful Riparian Water Ranch for birding and an adorable downtown.
Learn More: 10 Reasons to Visit Gilbert, AZ
Plan your visit to Scottsdale Today
Sure Scottsdale is perfect for Millennials. But it is a perfect getaway for every generation. In the neighboring cities of Phoenix, Mesa and Gilbert there is even more to explore. Be sure to visit the Experience Scottsdale website for up-to-date happenings.
Learn More: Don’t just take it from me…See what my fellow Bloghouse attendees found in Scottsdale. And YES some of them were Millennials.
From my friend, mentor and fellow beer lover Theresa at The Local Tourist learn: Things to do in Scottsdale
From my new friends Lori at Maps, Memories and Motherhood, and Kim at OhMyOmaha, learn: How to visit Scottsdale with kids and a Guide to 24 hours in Scottsdale.