Horseback Riding Verde River3 An Pham


As winter takes hold, Blossom Green jets to the Valley of the Sun to find an urban hotspot in the heart of the desert where mid-century design meets Wild West adventure

Travel Time 11hrs 20min

Why go?

Set in the Sonoran Desert and punctuated by perky saguaro cacti, this petite Arizonan city is a perfect marriage of Wild West and modern metropolis. Its laid-back old town, design-driven hotels, a plethora of national parks and staggering 51 golf courses mean Phoenix’s low-key little sister has something to offer all. While arid summers see temperatures rocket to Hades-like 45C highs, January welcomes perpetual blue skies and balmy days that make exploring its myriad charms a dream, not a mirage.

What to do

A stroll downtown reveals an old town teeming with boutiques, antique stores and street-side cafés. Its galleries (all 100 of them) are a draw, too. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art lifts the lid on the area’s eye for design, while Scottsdale’s Museum of the West http://www.scottsdalemuseumwes... is one for history buffs. Quench your thirst at one of the many craft watering holes along the way. Try family-owned Goldwater Brewing Co for its Desert Rose brew with local cactus and indigenous botanicals, or Scapegoat scapegoatbar.comfor rotating specials. Weekends see 300 vendors from different tribes gather at the Native Art Market on the Salt River Reservation to showcase their craft. Claiming Scottsdale to be his favourite city, the great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s incredible Taliesin West http://www.franklloydwright.or... studio is worth a visit. Mooch around the low-slung glass building before checking out the staggering desert shelters. Nearby, the untamed Sonoran Preserve offers 350km of hiking trails. Flit between cacti and prickly pear as red cardinals and hummingbirds swoop around you, or take to horseback on a guided ride through Tonto National Forest with Cave Creek Outfitters http://www.cavecreekoutfitters... just be sure to keep your eyes peeled for illusive bobcats. Scottsdale Golf Week (7-13 January) means you can expect good deals and special events across the city’s courses. Troon North Golf Club is noted for its high-desert landscape, while Talking Stick and Mountain Shadows offer choice greens. Afterwards, spa like the locals: Paradise Valley’s Sanctuary http://www.sanctuaryoncamelbac... is renowned for the use of medicinal Native American herbs.

Where to stay

Scottsdale certainly isn’t short of slick desert oases. We love lavish The Scott 00 1 480 945 7666, in the old town, which oozes bonhomie with a Cuban-leaning restaurant and poolside cabanas. New kid Andaz Scottsdale00 1 480 368 1234, has spacious, adobe- inspired bungalows decked out in divine desert hues. One of Llloyd Wright’s protégés is behind the great-value, mid-century marvel Hotel Valley Ho 00 1 480 376 2600, – expect a youthful crowd, and even a few Hollywood A-listers.

Where to eat and drink

Whether it’s all-out Southwestern, the kick of Mexican street food or award-winning fine dining you’re after, Scottsdale delivers. Acclaimed chef Charleen Badman’s FnB hits the mark for local, seasonal, veggie-led dishes including radish with date butter and hazelnut, persimmons with yuzu kosho and bee pollen and squash shakshuka complete with blossoms. Don’t miss the Arizona-led wine list (there are 83 wineries in Scottsdale). Try intimate Virtù for Med-leaning sharing plates with an Arizonan twist like ranch pig’s ears with ‘nduja and hearty mains of tomahawk rib-eye with chimichurri. Diego Pops is a doozy for easy eats: think breakfast burritos, habanero wings and charred steak tacos (margaritas, optional). The grilled cheese at AZ88 The is hard to beat when it comes to a snack, while relaxed Brat Haus is a go-to for burgers and ‘dogs.

Time running out?

Hop aboard a sunrise hot air balloon ride (£98pp) for a jaw-slackening overview of the dramatic desert city and its glorious surrounds. http://www.arizonaballoonsafar...


Travel Information

Travel Information

Currency is the United States dollar (USD). Local time is 7 hours behind GMT. Flight time from London to Phoenix is 11 hours. From here, it’s a 20-minute drive to Scottsdale.

Getting There

American Airlines has direct flights from London Heathrow to Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport.

British Airways also flies the same route.


Experience Scottsdale is packed with hot tips, practical help and a bookings system for your trip. http://www.experiencescottsdal...

Average daily temperatures and rainfall

Min Temp3471014192424191253
Max Temp192225293439414037312220

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