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by Marisa Olsen

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

We recently returned from our family vacation to Arizona, where we spent three nights in Phoenix and three nights in Sedona. We had a blast and was pleasantly surprised by all that Arizona had to offer. There are tons of great restaurants (hello, Mexican food), hikes, resorts for relaxing, and other culture activities. We can't wait to visit again for some more "r and r." 

Here are some Phoenix highlights:


Based on several recommendations, we stayed at the Arizona Biltmore - a sprawling resort built in the 1920s by a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright. This is a stunning hotel, even if you're not an architectural aficionado.  

The hotel showcases Wright's signature geometric architectural patterns, warm golden hues, and nature-inspired design details at every corner. The vast property features several pools frequented by celebrities of the past, including Marilyn Monroe, beautiful fountains, lush lawns, and palm trees with dramatic views of mountains in the backdrop. Need I say more?  Visiting the Biltmore is like going back to a time capsule of historic and architectural beauty.

LGO - a funky eclectic spot featuring the best freshly squeezed orange juice and freshly-brewed coffee. Breakfast items include croque monsieurs and other tasty treats like breakfast burritos, and homemade pastries.

Los Dos Molinos - authentic, traditional Mexican. Ask for their margarita, which are are served in small square vases (I'm not kidding). Their freshly-made tortilla chips and guacamole are some of the best. We loved the roasted pork, which was so tender with sides of homemade flour tortillas. I am still dreaming of those tortillas... 

The Farm at South Mountain - we had breakfast at Morning Glory Cafe, situated on a farm near, you guessed it, South Mountain. This eatery features local ingredients. We loved the huevos rancheros and bacon breakfast sandwich that was fresh and flavorful.  This farm features other restaurants at varying price points.  

Pizzeria Bianco - one of the best wood-fired pizzas I've had. We had a white pie that was half Rosa (red onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios) and half Wiseguy (wood-roasted onion, house-smoked mozzarella, and fennel sausage). I am salivating as I recall this pie. The salty and sweetness combo was spot on. Paired with a salad and wood-fired roasted mushrooms and you have a memorable lunch al fresco. 

The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale - situated next to a historic Mission church, this restaurant features delicious Latin-inspired food. We loved the brisket torta and fried rock shrimp tacos. Sit outdoors on the back patio and enjoy the people watching. 

Desert Botanical Gardens -  a beautiful walk along nature, surrounded by a variety of cacti, succulents, and more, all encapsulated in the pretty Papago Park. 

Downtown - while we weren't able to fit in any museums, Downtown Phoenix does have a few to offer. Next time, we want to check out the Heard Museum.

South Mountain - with many mountains to choose from, we chose one that featured a wheelchair accessible path for our stroller. Climbers can opt for more difficult routes. The views, whichever path you choose, were very pretty and calming. 

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona