Planning a Scottsdale girls’ weekend and want to experience a variety of things to do? I’ve got the perfect itinerary for you that will mix some of the great adventures and culture of Scottsdale with some relaxation and indulgence.
I just spent 4 nights in Scottsdale and so I’ve created this itinerary based on some of the experiences I had on my trip. A big thanks to Experience Scottsdale for partnering with me on this trip and allowing me to showcase how great Scottsdale, AZ is for women looking for a getaway!
Why Scottsdale is Great for a Girlfriend Getaway
Resorts, great food, and sunshine. That sounds like the perfect formula for a girls’ trip, right? Scottsdale, Arizona is home to some fabulous resorts and spas, a unique southwest Old Town culture, some great desert adventures, as well as a plethora of dining options.
And we can’t forget to talk about the weather. 330 days of sunshine sure makes this Seattle girl drool. Scottsdale is home to ample sunshine, and we all know that Vitamin D can make a girl happy! Even summer in Scottsdale, while hot, offers you the chance to score some amazing deals on resorts and activities if you can handle the heat.
Where to Stay for a Scottsdale Girls Weekend
Let’s first get started with where to stay. I’ve got a few options and will share how each might be right for certain groups.
If you’re looking for an upscale luxury resort that has multiple pools, an expansive spa, and multiple restaurants on-site, The Phoenician might be the perfect hotel for your girls’ weekend. This is a conference center hotel as well as a golf resort, so it attracts a wide variety of guests.
The rooms are quite spacious but might be due for updated furnishings soon. The grounds are simply stunning and you’ll find plenty of pool chairs to lounge in with pool service as well as a lovely cactus walk at the base of Camelback Mountain.
Dining while onsite is also easy as there are five main restaurants as well as room service offered.
Are there golfers in your group? If so, Mountain Shadows might be a great option as it has a Par-3 short golf course as well as a resort fee that includes club rental with your green fee.
This is a smaller resort than the other three hotels on my list, making it a great option for those looking for a smaller, more intimate place to stay. While the resort has a retro feel as a fully-renovated motel, the rooms are very modern and bright and the decor is absolutely fabulous.
There are a few places to dine as well as an excellent bar and lounge space, perfect for a girls’ trip!
Want to stay closer to downtown Scottsdale? Valley Ho is a renovated retro hotel space, originally built in 1956 that is a Scottsdale classic. While the other resorts on this list require a car to drive into town, Valley Ho can allow you to walk around many of the main shopping and dining areas of Old Town Scottsdale, and it’s a short rideshare trip if you don’t want to walk.
Valley Ho brings a mid-century modern architecture look to the desert and has two pools and a great outdoor bar space, perfect for laid-back girls’ trips.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale (soon to be Grand Hyatt Scottsdale)
Another large pool resort option for your Scottsdale girls’ weekend is the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, which is about to be renovated and rebranded as a Grand Hyatt. I’ve stayed at this resort twice and have always enjoyed my stay, and I’m eager to see what changes this $110 million renovation and rebrand brings to the property.
If you’re planning a Scottsdale girls’ trip for 2023 or the early half of 2024, you may want to choose one of my other options. But if you’re planning for after late 2024, this might be a hot new resort that you’ll want to check out.
Sample 3-Day Scottsdale Girls Weekend Itinerary
I will give you a sample itinerary based on what I did on my recent girls’ trip to Scottsdale. You’ll notice that I’m listing a few options for things to do, hopefully giving you a variety of choices that will best match your group.
My friend Tamara and I were extremely busy, but it means we got to try a lot of different things to help you plan the perfect trip!
Day 1: Arrival
Most of your group should arrive at Phoenix Airport (PHX) and check into your hotel. You can use rideshare to get around the city, however, I recommend that you consider renting a car for your vacation. It will give you all freedom to get around with ease.
Most of my girlfriend getaway trips involve some shopping, so I’m adding that as an easy way to kick off your first day in Scottsdale. For those who want some upscale mall shopping, head to Scottsdale Fashion Square.
Those looking for a more local experience, head to Old Town Scottsdale to wander the streets and browse the eclectic mix of kitschy and unique stores. I can personally recommend The Merchantile and Native Art Market as being locally owned and a great place to find authentic local products.
If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, head to Light + Bark Candles in Old Town Scottsdale. It’s perfect for a girls’ trip! Each person can choose their custom scent(s) and their candle jar, then as a group, you can all blend your scent, pour your wax, and create a custom candle you can burn at home to remember your trip.
If you do this early in your trip you can all pick your candles up to take home with you, or you can pay to have them shipped home if you’d prefer.
Go to a Museum
If shopping isn’t your thing and your group loves museums, I have two options, that are quite different from what they offer. Fans of contemporary artists that want to enjoy a cocktail while they browse some very unique art installations, might want to check out Wonderspaces at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
I visited and have to say that some of the exhibits really drew me in and had me wondering about my own definition of what is art!
And if your group wants to immerse themselves in country western and Native American artifacts, a visit to Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West will draw you into the history and culture of the West.
I really loved seeing the collections that the museum has put together of things like saddles and revolvers along with a massive Native American photography exhibit. The museum is also within walking distance of Old Town Scottsdale, but do know that it’s closed on Mondays.
After you’ve enjoyed your time shopping and/or museum learning, it’s time for some drinks! Depending on where you’re planning to have dinner, I recommend grabbing a drink or two at a local bar or winery. If you’re in Old Town Scottsdale, you can do a wine tasting at someplace like Arizona Stronghold. And a local chain called Postino has some great happy hour deals on food and drinks.
As always, make a plan for transportation so that everyone is drinking responsibly.
There are so many options for best restaurants in Scottsdale. And if you’re staying at one of the resorts I’ve listed above, you can certainly dine at your hotel.
The Phoenician has a delicious menu and atmosphere at Mowry & Cotton, and Mountain Shadows has some delicious modern American fare at Hearth 61. But, if you want to head into Old Town Scottsdale for dinner, I can give you a few recommendations from where I ate.
Craving some southwest Mexican cuisine? Head to Old Town Tortilla Factory for patio dining and top-shelf tequila drinks. Or visit The Mission for some tableside guacamole and modern Latin menu options.
If you have foodies in your group, I highly recommend splurging for an upscale meal at Piccolo Virtu. This is an intimate restaurant and allows you the chance to share small plates of a variety of Italian-inspired dishes along with raw fish appetizers. Tamara and I shared a salad, pasta, and the whole branzino fish. Highly recommend this one only for a small group of maybe 4 friends as it is a small restaurant.
For groups who are looking for fun cocktails and a laid-back restaurant vibe, head to HULA’s Modern Tiki in Old Town Scottsdale. They have some delicious appetizers that are perfect to share with friends.
After dinner, I recommend getting a good night’s sleep for the epic adventures you’ll have on Day 2. However, if you’re not planning for an early morning, you might choose to hang out at your hotel’s bar or check out some nighttime entertainment.
Day 2: Have an Adventure
For your first full day in Scottsdale, I recommend you get outside and enjoy some of the gorgeous desert landscape. I’m giving you five different ideas for activities, and you might want to just do one of the ideas or even a couple. You can really make this day as busy or as laid back as you want.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
If everyone can agree to an early wake-up call, a hot air balloon ride is an epic bucket list adventure that’s perfect for a girls’ trip activity. I’ve been on about four different hot air balloon rides and love them every time.
Normally early mornings have the best success for rides, but there are a few months a year when afternoon flights are offered in Scottsdale, just be prepared for those to have a higher cancellation rate.
You can arrange to be picked up by Hot Air Expeditions at your hotel for a transfer for your balloon ride. You’ll be driven into an open field where they’ll set up the balloon and you’ll load into the basket and gently lift into the sky.
How far you move will depend entirely on the weather, but it’s a pretty unique way to view the surrounding landscape. I highly recommend bringing sunglasses, a well-fitting hat, and closed-toe shoes.
Looking to get outdoors with some corny cowboy jokes and a trusty steed, take a trip out to MacDonald’s Ranch for a trail ride through the desert landscape. You’ll get a little lesson about some of the local cacti and trot along while chatting with your friends. Make sure that everyone packs appropriate clothing for the ride and a fitted hat comes in handy, too.
Would you rather keep your own feet on the ground? How about heading to the McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve for a hike that can be as long or as short as you want. You can get some great group photos in the middle of a desert preserve surrounded by cacti and maybe even wildflowers if you’re visiting in early spring. And if you don’t want to manage the planning of the hike, consider booking a guided hike trip with REI Co-Op Adventure Center.
Desert Botanical Garden
If you’re looking for a more curated walk “through the desert”, then a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden is the perfect spot to see some of the gorgeous desert flora and fauna, and it’s a great backdrop for some really cute pics with your girlfriends!
I’ll fully admit that I am not a golfer, although I’d love to give it a try sometime. But Scottsdale is a pretty popular destination for golfers, so if your group wants to tee up, this is the perfect place to hit the green. I also mentioned above, but it’s worth mentioning again that Mountain Shadows has a short course that’s perfect for beginners or vacationers looking for a quick game.
After your morning adventure, you all might want to have a little refresher back at the hotel. This can either be a quick pop-in and clean-up, or you might choose to spend the afternoon relaxing and hanging out at the pool.
If your group is looking for relaxation and downtime, plan for a break of a few hours. If instead, your group likes to be on the go, then plan another one of the activities from the list above or below and keep the day rolling!
Taliesin West or Old Town Scottsdale Wine Trail
You don’t have to be an architecture buff to know who Frank Lloyd Wright is. He’s one of the most notable names in architecture and is widely known in the US. While many of his buildings are located on the east coast, he had a unique vacation home just outside of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Taliesin West can be toured on a guided tour or with a self-guided audio tour. For a girlfriend group, I recommend the self-guided tour as each member can move a bit more freely through the property and listen as little or as much as they want. There’s also a great gift shop, in case you want to bring a piece of Taliesin West home with you.
If your group is not into architecture or touring a building, I recommend heading back to Old Town Scottsdale and doing some additional shopping, or consider taking part in the Scottsdale wine trail tasting passport.
Finish out your day with another meal at one of the great restaurants I mentioned above, either in Old Town Scottsdale or at your hotel property.
Day 3: Spa & Departure
I’ve created this as a 3-day itinerary for your girls’ weekend, so I’m assuming that by day 3 many of you will have to head home. Hopefully, you can get a late flight and still enjoy the early morning and afternoon with friends. There are ample spas around Scottsdale and it’s a great way to wrap up a Scottsdale girls’ weekend.
For those who like to wake up and eat out, Arizona is known for having a lot of brunch spots. Every time I’ve visited, brunch has been part of my itinerary. On this recent trip, I got to try Hash Kitchen which has a crazy menu filled with delicious options and some over-the-top dishes like 24K gold-dusted candied bacon!
When you’re planning your spa day, I highly recommend The Phoenician Spa. It’s a gorgeous day spa with an ample menu of spa services, a rooftop pool with poolside service, and a fully-stocked locker room to help you freshen up before catching your flight back home.
I spent a few hours at the spa, I received a signature facial, then relaxed in the jacuzzi, before making my way up to the rooftop pool for lunch. Did I mention that they’ll serve you froze at your lounge chair?
While I was visiting, I saw a couple of girlfriend groups had rented a cabana for the day, which is a great option if you all have a couple of hours to relax and hang out together before heading home.
And that wraps up your girlfriends’ getaway weekend to Scottsdale! Hopefully, these ideas have helped you plan a trip that will be fun and fulfilling and help you create some fabulous memories together.