Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child, then a few years later, when I was pregnant with my second, my husband and I traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for vacation. We were looking for a reasonably-priced warm-weather destination in the United States, and that’s where our research directed us.
This year, I had the chance to return to Phoenix, Arizona as a guest of the Greater Phoenix Convention and Visitors Bureau for their spring play ball and family fun media trip. During the four-day trip, we went to three spring training trips, stayed at two premium hotels, went to three museums, visited the revitalized downtown, and experienced the Arizona landscape at over 8,000 feet above seat level.
Our journey started at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (my review here at Uptake), a beautiful hotel with several deluxe restaurants. The first afternoon, we went to the Musical Instrument Museum, which really surprised me. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but left very impressed with how they have integrated music and instruments with the cultures of individual countries.
That evening, we were treated to drinks at Bourbon Steak before heading to La Hacinda, where we had a tasting menu, along with a Snakebite Flight of tequila.
The next morning, we got up bright and early, and visited the Phoenix Public Market for breakfast, the new CityScape center for a brief tour, and the Heard Museum for a taste of local Indian culture. Then, we went to the Buttes Marriott for lunch, and Tempe Diablo Stadium to catch an Angel’s spring training baseball game.
That evening, we went for drinks at Ruster’s Rooste, a family-friendly restaurant with a slide right inside the restaurant. The brought over a giant plate of appetizers (all yummy), and we enjoyed the gorgeous views.
After dinner, we visited the Arizona Grand Resort (review here at Uptake.com) for a tour and dinner, and then headed back to our resort for much-needed rest.
The next morning, we met at 5:50am in the lobby, and went out for a hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expeditions. It was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, and I was shocked at how high that balloon went. We got over 8,000 feet above sea level, and it was so beautiful to see the Phoenix landscape. When we finished, we had a short amount of time to pack up and get to our van after checking out of the Fairmont.
Next stop was HoHoKam Field to see the Cubs play, then to the Westin Kierland Resort where we’d be spending our last two nights. After a little break to unpack and tour the resort, we met up again for drinks at the bar at deseo. Deseo’s bar serves custom muddle drinks – some of the best drinks I’ve ever had (I chose a watermelon mojito). We were then treated to a tasting menu at deseo – where the food was absolutely fabulous.
On our final day, we had breakfast on our own (I ordered room service – yum), and then we headed out to the absolutely beautiful Desert Botanical Gardens. This is one of those places I’d recommend that anyone visiting Phoenix check out – it’s just stunning.
We attended another game in the afternoon – this one at Salt River Fields, a brand-new field where the Diamondbacks and Rockies play. We got a behind-the-scenes tour of the field, and then settled in to watch the game.
Finally, that evening, we had a great dinner at the Spotted Donkey, a local restaurant.
Now that I’ve been back for over a week – I can’t wait to take a family to Phoenix on a family vacation next year. I know they’ll just love the warm weather, resorts, attractions, and spring training games.
Disclosure: As an attendee of the Greater Phoenix play ball and family fun media trip, I received complimentary lodging, airfare, travel expenses, meals, and attractions.
Here’s my Flickr slideshow: