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What’s New in Scottsdale, Ariz. – Fall 2016

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Originally founded in the 1890s as a farming community, Scottsdale has come a long way since its humble beginnings. Scottsdale was coined the “The West’s Most Western Town” in the 1950s, but today the city is a chic modern hub for luxurious spas, endless shopping, unparalleled golf courses and world-renowned museums. Plus, you’ll find hundreds of locally owned and operated restaurants and art galleries. Find out about the latest happenings in this renaissance city.

LUXURY LOVES COMPANY

Who says you can have too much of a good thing? Scottsdale is welcoming three new resorts to its roster of luxury accommodations, two of which will be open in just a few short months.

The first of these gems in the desert, Hyatt Hotels Corporation’s Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa, is scheduled to open in November 2016. As with other Andaz properties, the Scottsdale resort will immerse guests with experiences indigenous to the location. Already the resort has announced a partnership with nearby artist compound Cattletrack, the longtime home and studio of some of the Southwest’s most notable artists, such as Philip Curtis and Fritz Scholder. Drawing inspiration from greats like Alexander Girard, Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri, the property’s interior will feature mid-century, desert designs that pay homage to the 1950s. Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa will include 201 bungalow-style guest rooms, a full service spa and salon, and 20,000-plus square feet of meeting and event space on more than 22 acres of land. It will also house a large pool and sundeck with breathtaking views of iconic Camelback Mountain.

In February 2017, a new resort, Mountain Shadows, will grace the coveted Paradise Valley locale. The original resort in this location was built in 1959 and set a high bar for Southwest luxury. It’s being rebuilt from the ground up by Woodbine Development in partnership with Westroc Hospitality, which manages Hotel Valley Ho and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort. Mountain Shadows is taking over the former spot of Marriott Mountain Shadows Resort nestled between Camelback and Mummy mountains. The 183-room, full-service boutique hotel will have a lounge, restaurants, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, 12,500 square feet of indoor meeting space and another 25,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space. In addition, the project includes the redesign of neighboring Mountain Shadows Golf Club. Golf will also be right outside your door, as the property will feature an upscale 18-hole, all-par 3 golf course.  An eatery, with a coffee shop and specialty grocery store, is also opening on the property.

Scottsdale is “Puttin’ on the Ritz” — a Ritz-Carlton, that is. Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley recently received the green light to begin construction in spring 2016 and is expected to open by the end of 2018. That’s right, folks, this 200-room, new-build property will have it all — exemplary service, spectacular views of Camelback Mountain, modern, sleek interiors and a location that’s only minutes from downtown Scottsdale. And for all those swimmers, Ritz-Carlton Paradise Valley will boast North America’s longest pool, at more than 400 feet. Other property attributes include a 20,000-square-foot world-class spa with indoor and outdoor treatment areas and a garden with a citrus orchard.

OUT & ABOUT IN SCOTTSDALE


DIVE INTO SCOTTSDALE

The Sonoran Desert may be known as a haven for coyotes and javelinas, but in September 2016, Scottsdale welcomed more than 5,000 marine animals. The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community brought the sea to Scottsdale with the opening of OdySea Aquarium. This 16-acre complex is the largest aquarium in the Southwest, spanning 200,000 square feet over two levels. OdySea Aquarium promises guests a high-tech, high-entertainment, oceanic adventure with floor-to-ceiling windows that offer viewing of aquatic life—even in the restrooms—and underwater acrylic tunnels that lead to each level. OdySea Aquarium explores marine life of approximately 300 different species, from bayous and coral reefs to deep abysses in exhibits such as “Rivers of the World,” Amazon Rivers” and “Penguins.” In the “The Bizarre & the Beautiful” exhibit, you’ll find jellyfish, octopuses and seahorses. The aquarium is also home to SeaTREK, an underwater program that allows visitors to descend deep into the water and meet marine life face-to-face.
                 
OdySea Aquarium is situated in the $200 million OdySea in the Desert complex, already a hotbed of family friendly attractions like Butterfly Wonderland and OdySea Mirror Maze. But that’s not all. The Shops at Odysea will add a rich retail component while accentuating the entertainment experience. The project’s developers envision a condensed version of EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World. While you probably won’t see Mickey or Minnie Mouse at Odysea, you’ll find everything from an indoor carnival carousel and a glass blowing shop to an interactive candy store, a playground, a high-end jeweler and multiple restaurants.

DOWNTOWN IS REBORN

Scottsdale is a place that is constantly evolving. While it holds its western roots near and dear, the downtown in particular has undergone a renaissance as it welcomes new, innovative businesses while also celebrating the treasures of yesteryear.
                 
Nowhere is that more evident than at the timeless Hotel Valley Ho, a property that seamlessly embraces mid-century modern design but also feels contemporary and cool. In 2016, the hotel is celebrating its 60th birthday and 10-year reopening anniversary — an endeavor that restored the property to its former grandeur as a haven for Hollywood’s finest, such as Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman, in the 50s and 60s. To celebrate the milestone, the owners put $4 million into upgrades to the hotel’s guest rooms, which feature new décor, 49-inch HD televisions and custom-built designer furniture.

While farm-to-table is all the rage in the culinary world, Scottsdale is taking the concept one step further – from vine to table – by introducing four Arizona wine tasting rooms in downtown. These tasting rooms tell the story of the state’s 100 award-winning wineries, many of which boast 90-point wines as recognized by Wine Spectator. Take LDV Wine Gallery, for example. The Wine Gallery brings the taste of the Willcox wine region to the heart of Scottsdale. Sip a glass of Syrah, Grenache or Viognier beneath two shaded patios or enjoy bites and sips in the tasting bar and open kitchen. About 45 minutes away from LDV Winery in southern Arizona is another winery making a name for itself — Aridus Wine Company. This family-owned vineyard may run the largest custom crush facility in Arizona out of Willcox, but you can sample several varietals in its downtown Scottsdale tasting room. And you don’t have to go all the way to Willcox or Jerome to try Salvatore Vineyards’. This small, family-owned winery also opened a downtown Scottsdale tasting room last year where you can try a pinot grigio rose, malvasia bianca or one of their agave wines. The newest addition to this burgeoning wine scene is Carlson Creek Vineyard, another Willcox-based winery, which opened a downtown location in June. Wine taste in the 2,300 square foot tasting room or attend an educational seminar to learn more about winemaking in Arizona.

No need to whine if wine isn’t your thing. You don’t have to wander too far to find Arizona breweries and restaurants perfecting the art of beer making and serving. Start the day at Sip Coffee & Beer House, a restaurant and bar that feels like your best friend’s backyard. This unassuming joint offers small bites, live music on select days, and a beer list that includes local brews from Dragoon Brewing in Tucson and Papago Brewing in Scottsdale. Right next door is Goldwater Brewing, which opened its doors in May 2015. This family-owned brewery’s signature beers include West Coast style IPAs, ales, lagers, and specialty and seasonal beers. Grab a souvenir growler-to-go before popping over to Two Brothers, a family-run brewery that’s based in the Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois. Two Brother’s Scottsdale location offers up year-round seasonal and artisan beers, as well as barrel-aged sours. Then, it’s off to Bad Water Brewing’s comfy taproom, which seats just 30. Try one of the brewery’s trifecta of beers, the Saison, IPA or Western Lager, while enjoying a cheese board. No Scottsdale ale trail is complete without a stop at Craft 64, home to 36 Arizona beers on tap and wood-fired pizzas. Settle on one, sample a variety or take home a 64-ounce growler of your favorite.

Scottsdale pays homage to its western roots at its newest attraction, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Since its 2015 opening, this nonprofit storytelling attraction has created quite the name for itself, as it’s one of the youngest organizations to ever become a certified Smithsonian Affiliate museum. That status means Western Spirit will receive loans of iconic artifacts, as well as educational programming, expert speakers and career development for museum professionals. You can explore Smithsonian treasures in the museum’s galleries of paintings, sculptures, cultural artifacts and interactive exhibits, which illustrate the ever-evolving history and culture of the American West.

SCOTTSDALE’S EXTREME MAKEOVERS

Turn on the bright lights and cue the drum roll. Several of Scottsdale’s luxury resorts are undergoing multimillion-dollar facelifts and are ready to show off their newest amenities.

One of Scottsdale’s favorite resorts, Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, now boasts an additional 102 guest rooms, including three luxury suites, for a whopping total of 750 rooms. The resort’s original architects, Allen + Philp, returned for this major endeavor, but the resort didn’t just add rooms. Dive into the all-new Sunset Beach, the largest of the six pools at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. The renovation also included a new Great Lawn, a 35,000-square-foot outdoor space and the expansion of the Princess’ 1880s Western town, Copper Canyon, which features two saloons, an outdoor stage and dance floor, a blacksmith shop and jail.

The award for most candles on the anniversary cake goes to Hermosa Inn, celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2016. To celebrate, the property unveiled a new entryway, a 24-hour valet service, a resort lobby with a fireplace and renovated guest rooms.  While new amenities grab the current spotlight, the history is rich at Hermosa Inn, which began as a hacienda for cowboy artist Lon Megargee. Six casitas, all part of the original hacienda, have been thoroughly renovated to bring an enhanced luxury experience. The hotel, nestled in the foothills of Camelback Mountain, boasts a total of 34 hacienda-style accommodations and casitas, complete with stunning views of the desert landscape.

In 2015, the Boulders Resort & Spa celebrated a hallmark birthday — 30 years. As a present, this Sonoran Desert hideaway gifted itself some pampering. In December, Rhode Island-based design firm DiLeonardo completed a multimillion-dollar makeover with new architectural elements and color schemes that embrace the resort’s indigenous roots and Old West charm. The 160 casitas boast new furnishings and a new palette of earthy desert tones, as well as upgraded fixtures in the bathrooms. During your next visit, take in the desert vistas from the refinished patio of your casita, or cozy up in front of the adobe-style fireplace. Admire the 12-million-year old boulder formations while you sip libations from the redesigned bar lounge, and chow down on Southwestern cuisine in the newly furnished Palo Verde restaurant.

Since 1976, The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, A Destination Hotel has been a premier destination for corporate retreats and conference goers. But this year, the resort wrapped up a $10 million renovation to transform the 40-year-old independent property into a leisure traveler’s paradise, and its hacienda-inspired makeover will leave you feeling as you’ve been whisked away to Mexico. Dig into a hearty meal at the all-new Kitchen West, a lively restaurant offering Western American fare and exceptional views of the golf course. Also kick back and lounge in a poolside cabana with a margarita in hand thanks to the remodel of the main pool, which offers 16 new cabanas and a new full-service restaurant and bar.

NEVER ENDING NIGHTLIFE

Scottsdale is known for its sunsets, but it’s what follows that makes the Sonoran Desert an electrifying nightlife hub. Whether your preference is to sip on cocktails with a group of girlfriends, go clubbing with Scottsdale’s finest or settle into a game of life-size Jenga with a beer and some friends, the dynamic nightlife scene offers something for everyone.

No matter what vibe you are seeking for your evening, Scottsdale’s Entertainment District won’t disappoint. Take on Europe at Bottled Blonde Pizzeria and Beer Garden or stay true to Arizona’s western roots at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row. Music lovers will love the retro haunt Hi Fi Kitchen & Cocktails or the live performances at Livewire AZ. Around the corner, The Mint boasts the largest outdoor patio in the area and prides itself on an extensive list of inspired craft cocktails and a champagne bar located within Mint’s co-ed powder room.

Just a hop, skip and a jump away are a few other watering holes that are a bit more laid back, but no less fun. Longtime Scottsdale favorite AZ88 pairs trendy art installations by the late Janis Leonard with arguably the best martinis in town. Get a taste of island-fusion fare at Hula’s Modern Tiki, featuring a superstar lineup of Polynesian-inspired eats and tropical cocktails. Despite its new home, Salty Senorita has the same easygoing ambience you’ve come to know and love, as well as tasty eats like sizzling street tacos, ancho-marinated pork tamales and huge burritos made with homemade tortillas. Craft beers along with ingenious cocktails make Citizen Public House a must-visit stop on your cocktail trail. Offering upscale pub grub and an evolving beverage menu, Citizen Public House has garnered recognition as the region’s “Best New Restaurant, 2011” by local and national dining critics.

ADVENTURE HAS A HOME

Your favorite movie genre is action adventure. Your Instagram account is a collage of mountains you have summited, planes you have jumped out of and exotic foods you have braved. Your to-do list is more like a bucket list. You are a thrill seeker, and chances are you are already planning your next big adventure. Situated in the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is an adventure mecca of mountainous terrain and rugged landscapes sure to get your adrenaline flowing.

If you are looking to defy gravity, try your hand at the new waterfall rappel at Boulders Resort & Spa, where an expert will guide you to the base of a waterfall that cascades over ancient rock formations. No need to fret if you want to keep your feet on the ground. The robust lineup of outdoor offerings at Boulders also includes stargazing, hiking and bicycle tours.

For a quintessential desert experience, there is no better way to see the Sonoran Desert than on an off-roading journey. The Jeeps may be pink, but there is nothing fluffy about Pink Adventure Tours. Guides drive you over the craggy desert trails and teach you all about the terrain and wildlife that call the Sonoran Desert home. Looking to get your hands on the wheel? Navigate the desert’s undulations while driving a TomCar with Green Zebra Adventures.

Cowboys may have been among Scottsdale’s first thrill seekers, and you can receive your unofficial cowboy degree during a visit to Arizona Cowboy College. Choose between one-, three- and five-day courses where you will learn horsemanship skills, equine safety, roping, penning, sorting and so much more. But if you are looking to giddy up at a bit of a slower pace, saddle up with Fort McDowell Adventures for a trail ride.
    
See the beauty of the Sonoran Desert firsthand during a scenic hike in Scottsdale, where you are never more than 20 minutes away from a stunning desert trail. Let the pros at Arizona Outback Adventures (AOA) explain the history and geology of the landscape, as well as provide insight into the desert’s flora and fauna during a trek through Scottsdale’s 30,200-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve. If you are up for a little more adventure, head on a mountain biking adventure or a kayaking expedition down the Salt River, where you may just spot a wild horse or bald eagle.  Or hit up a guided paddle boat tour on the Lower Salt River, which gives you the sensation of walking on water while cruising on a stand-up paddle board.

WELLNESS REIGNS ON HIGH

Vacations are a time for rest and relaxation, and that usually means you indulge a bit. But with every delectable bite, those pants get a little tighter and the post-vacation guilt kicks in. Wouldn’t it be nice to finish your trip feeling better than when you started? We’ve got you covered.

Invite seven of your closest gal pals and book a getaway at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa’s Spa House. As a part of a $10 million room overhaul and renovation, the resort converted one of its private residences into a spa and wellness compound perfect for groups looking for a relaxing retreat. The Spa House encompasses a private workout studio, pool, sauna and tennis court. Book one of Sanctuary’s Satori Meditation Retreats at the Spa House to couple yoga, meditation and mindful practices with pampering.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess takes wellness to a whole new level with its spa, Well & Being. Pamper yourself with a massage or facial that utilizes indigenous desert ingredients, then head to one of the spa’s myriad fitness classes such as Pilates, spinning, body sculpting and aerial yoga. The spa’s So Sound Sleep Lounge is also not to be missed, where you’ll be invited to take a short nap in a zero-gravity lounger while listening to healing frequencies of sound and music that induce alpha, theta and delta brain waves associated with deep relaxation.

Already home to an extensive menu of organic delights, the Spa Café at the Boulders Resort & Spa offers dishes designed to assist, repair, relax and help your body perform at its peak. Enjoy fresh-picked delights brought to you straight from the Boulders’ Organic Garden, which includes eight elevated planter box areas, each growing vegetables including lettuce, carrots, celery, heirloom tomatoes and more. The perfect complement to its time-of-day specific treatments, Spa Avania at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch offers caffeine-free and fruit-infused teas that range from exotic to classic and are specifically brewed to correspond with the time of day in which you drink them.

ARTISTIC OASIS IN THE DESERT

Artists from all walks of life have been inspired by the breathtaking beauty of Scottsdale and subsequently left their mark around town. Here are a few examples of Scottsdale’s artistic gems that continue to inspire visitors to this day.

If you look close enough, you can spot influences of Frank Lloyd Wright all over Scottsdale. But if you want an in-depth lesson on the architectural genius, go on an Insights Tour at Taliesin West. Next year will be the 80th anniversary of the site that was created by Wright and his apprentices as his personal home, studio and architectural laboratory. Learn about the longstanding history and design of Wright’s “desert laboratory” as well as a few of the quirks that contributed to his successful architecture career, on this 90-minute tour. Beginning in the fall, Wright’s foundation is offering new tours, including a garden tour that features the desert plant life at Taliesin West, and a private tour that showcases his art collection.

Take a melodic journey through the world at Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), the first global museum of instruments. The museum has left its mark on the Valley of the Sun with 5,000 instruments and artifacts from more than 200 countries on display and more than 15,000 in its collection. Transport to another land with wireless headsets and LCD video displays depicting the sounds and sights of the instruments and the people who use them. See the recreation of a gong workshop, listen to the sounds of the traditional Beijing Opera or experience a contemporary Ukrainian wedding procession. Stop by MIM’s Artist Gallery, which houses instruments from famous musicians throughout time, including John Lennon, Paul Simon, Taylor Swift and the Jonas Brothers. After enjoying a worldly concert, try out your own musical abilities in MIM’s Experience Gallery, where you can play the guitars, gongs and drums.

Do you love art that makes you think, cry or smile? Then you’ll want to make a stop at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA). Located in a brilliant building designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, who studied under the late renowned architect Paolo Soleri, this one-time movie theater displays nine to 12 exhibitions per year and offers evolving educational programs and special events. The current exhibit, which runs through Oct. 2, is “Mel Roman: Coming Out Under Fire,” from artist, civil rights activist and clinical psychologist Mel Roman. The exhibit features visual representations of issues that were important to Roman throughout his life, including racial discrimination, gay rights, gender equity, social inequity and the right to die. SMoCA also features a public “skyspace” by acclaimed artist James Turrell, where visitors can experience the unbridled beauty of the Sonoran Desert sky in a tranquil space.

CULINARY SCENE


VACATION NEVER TASTED SO GOOD

“Bon appetite” has taken on new meaning in Scottsdale, the foodie capital of the Southwest. After years of flying under the radar, this culinary oasis is finally getting the recognition it deserves with accolades from Esquire, Food & Wine, the James Beard Foundation and AAA, just to name a few. During your time in Scottsdale, devour fresh produce from farmer’s markets, sample the local cuisine and indulge in flavors brought to you by critically acclaimed chefs and restaurants. From frontier flavors and barbecue bites to smart samples and native nibbles, one of Scottsdale’s nearly 800 restaurants is sure to satisfy whatever you are craving.

Scottsdale—and the state of Arizona—is a melting pot of cultures, and these influences are incorporated into the culinary creations from local chefs. At The Mission, Chef Matt Carter prepares modern Latin cuisine blending culinary influences from Spain, Mexico, Central and South America using a traditional “plancha” style grill. Capturing the hearts of residents and visitors alike is Virtù Honest Craft. Executive Chef Gio Osso’s “wandering Mediterranean” seasonal menus feature items like grilled octopus, smoked duck breast and hand-made pastas. This decadent fare also caught the attention of Esquire—the spot was named one of the best new restaurants in the country in 2013. Pig & Pickle by Joshua Riesner and Keenan Bosworth has received much deserved praise for its innovative approach to the French-accented gastropub. Sumo Maya Mexican Asian Kitchen takes a completely new spin on the term “fusion cuisine.” Tapas-style small plates and dim sum collide for this delectable union of Latin American and Asian cuisine.

Bold and feel-good flavors are staples of American cuisine, and Scottsdale has several options to satiate your pallet. Proof, an American Canteen is a relaxed restaurant at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North that features home-style comfort fare sourced from the 50 states. Don’t be fooled by the name—Cowboy Ciao actually serves modern cuisine with a wine-friendly panache and shares a massive wine cellar with the speakeasy Kazimierz World Wine Bar. Saddle up and tuck in some lip-smacking barbeque at Bryan’s Black Mountain Barbecue in the authentic Western town of Cave Creek. Chef Bryan Dooley serves up pulled pork, barbecue chicken and beef brisket, and he even welcomes vegetarians with his “pulled” squash sandwich.

Considering Arizona was originally part of Spanish Colonial Mexico, Barrio Queen in downtown Scottsdale certainly offers native cuisine with a menu, including their specialty cactus tacos. Since the 1930s, El Chorro has given diners a taste of Arizona history through its Southwestern-inspired menu. Seasonal offerings made from organic, Arizona-grown ingredients are served up along with stunning views of the surrounding Camelback and Mummy mountains.

FOODIE FANATICS UNITE IN SCOTTSDALE

Sometimes you need to get out and enjoy food in a fun festival atmosphere. Scottsdale is emerging as one of the hottest foodie cities in the country, and two upcoming events are about to celebrate that in a big way. Great food, great wine, elite chefs and a fun atmosphere – what more do you need? Head to over to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Nov. 4-6 for the AZcentral Food and Wine Experience. Now in its second year, this eclectic event will feature some of the best chefs in Arizona – like Charleen Badman of FnB, Matt Carter of The Mission and Jacques Qualin of J&G Steakhouse – as well as celebrity chefs such as Mario Batali. There’s something here that fits your style, whether it’s a wine tasting, a scotch and steaks happy hour or sinking your teeth into classic American barbecue while pairing the meat with the perfect beer.

When you’re in Arizona, do as the Arizonans do – namely, eat tacos. The Arizona Taco Festival returns for its seventh year of glory at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Oct. 15 and 16. A general admission ticket gets you access to pure taco nirvana – 40-50 restaurants will serve $2 tacos, while bars and beverage stations will churn out beer, margaritas, soda and water. Savor the flavors of different tacos while enjoying live music, a VIP beach, Lucha Libre wrestling, people’s choice voting, an awards presentation and much more.

SCOTTSDALE – SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

Counterintuitive is defined as “being contrary to intuition or common-sense expectation.” Now, let’s use the word in a sentence. It may seem counterintuitive, but Scottsdale is now home to a cocktail bar that since its opening has moonlighted as a New Orleans antique shop, Cuban hideaway and Chinatown hangout. And that’s exactly why Counter Intuitive is so aptly named. Open exclusively Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Counter Intuitive caters to the late-night denizens looking for a new cocktail haven in Downtown Scottsdale. Counter Intuitive offers a concept that’s sure to appeal to the Internet age, where short attention spans and instant gratification reign. Throughout the year, the cocktail bar rotates themes, with the décor and menus shifting every few months to keep even regulars on their toes. The latest theme is the Agua Caliente Racetrack, a trip back to 1929 during Prohibition. The cocktails reflect the era and pay homage to the racetrack, which attracted mobsters, celebrities and other wealthy patrons who ignored alcohol constraints and imbibed in some of the most imaginative cocktails of the timeframe. Indulge in more than 60 agave-based spirits while you take a trip back to the time of speakeasies and Al Capone.

Step into the intimate and sophisticated Second Story Liquor Bar, and you’ll feel like a character from a story, all depending on the drink you order. Tap into your inner Daisy Buchanan as you sip on the Mint Julep or evoke Don Draper with The Old Fashioned Whiskey Cocktail. Its name is inspired by its location (the second floor above a gelato shop in Downtown Scottsdale), but its drinks are inspired by robust flavors and fresh ingredients used in cocktails throughout history.

A GASTRONOMICAL TOUR

Why dine at one restaurant when you have can do a progressive dine-around? For years Arizona Food Tours has helped hungry visitors by letting them sample downtown’s offerings during the three-hour walking food tour, A Taste of Old Town Scottsdale. Always looking to improve and showcase more of Scottsdale’s culinary delights, Arizona Food Tours’ is switching things up with a new tour—Sip ‘N Sample. Stops at Su Vino Winery and Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse will leave you more than satisfied. While sampling appetizers and enjoying drinks, you will learn about the rich history of Scottsdale.

When you’ve wrapped up lunch and dinner, it goes without saying that you’ll need to satisfy your dessert cravings. Keep the steps going with Chocolate Tour of Scottsdale, the destination’s newest and sweetest walking tour. You’ll feel like a character in “Charlie in the Chocolate Factory” as you weave through four of Scottsdale’s downtown districts—the Arts district, the Fifth Avenue Shopping district, the Southbridge district and the Waterfront district—sampling a variety of goodies at six stops. Enjoy tasting brownies, ice cream, Belgian chocolates, and cannolis from local gems like Chocolade van Brugge, Paula Jacqueline Cakes and Pastries and Caketini. But do so guilt-free, knowing that your guide has equipped you with a doggie bag should you need to take a sweet morsel to-go. The cherry on top of the brownie fudge sundae: your guide will offer up a dose of history and context as you amble through downtown Scottsdale savoring myriad cocoa flavors.

 

WORLD-CLASS GOLF
 

SCOTTSDALE REDEFINES GOLF

Looking to practice your swing? How about work on those slices? Or maybe you are looking for a fun soiree with friends during your Scottsdale getaway. No matter what your golf skill level is, TopGolf Riverwalk, at Talking Stick: Cultural and Entertainment Destination on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, is a good time for all. The 65,000-square-foot facility hosts a variety of golf games using golf balls with microchips, from the “TopScramble” team challenge to the short game “TopChip.” Test your skills by aiming for various targets on a 215-yard field, and celebrate your victory at TopGolf’s full service bar with food and drink. You and your friends can also kick back playing pool or shuffleboard after hitting a few golf balls. Whether a golf novice or golf pro, TopGolf offers an exciting day at the green for everyone.

Want to play golf but still beat the heat? Now you can enjoy the thrills of the game without sweating it out when the summer temperatures exceed triple digits. Hop over to X-Golf, a world-class golf simulator experience in Scottsdale that underwent a major remodel in summer 2014. This venue brings golf and entertainment together and includes top-notch facilities, state-of-the-art technology, motivational coaches and a beer and wine bar. The six simulators on site are designed for golfers of all skill levels and provide data about your swing and ball-striking ability. Because whether you like to grab a beer and hit the course for fun or you’re Jordan Spieth, everyone can improve. But this environment makes improving your game much more fun.

NOT YOUR FATHER’S GOLF GAME

Want to play like the pros at the Waste Management Phoenix Open? Hit from the same tees as Phil and Tiger on TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course with the Forecaddie Experience. Caddies carry your bags, offer shot selection advice, rake bunkers, read greens and much more. Plus, get the insider’s perspective of the history and heritage of golf and the TOUR. And don’t miss the plaques inside the clubhouse commemorating the top moments of the Open’s history—JB Holmes’ monster drive on the 18th hole years ago, Tiger’s “loose impediment” that took help from the fans to move, and Andrew Magee’s hole-in-one on a par four, just to name a few.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is considered one of the most innovative luxury resorts in the Southwest. Nowhere is this creativity more evident than at Kierland Golf Club. In the past, the property grabbed headlines with the introduction of Segway Golf, golf bicycles, the aforementioned FORE-MAX golf fitness program, and the acclaimed LaBauve Golf Academy. Now, Kierland Golf Club lets you traverse the golf course by GolfBoard. Resembling a skate-board with a handle, you “surf” the course while maneuvering the handheld controls to change direction and speed. 

Golf is going digital at Boulders Resort & Spa. The resort’s golf club recently added Digital Caddies, a high-resolution, tablet-based and internet-connected multi-functional player assistance device, to all golf carts used on its two world-class golf courses. Digital Caddies provides you with a host of useful and engaging applications and services, including GPS-based course navigation, news and weather, real-time scoring, on-course messaging and other online content. You can even alert Boulders’ on-course beverage service when you’re ready to order.