Insider Tips From Local Experts

Scottsdale Stories

Unplugged Scottsdale

I tell myself that I’m not going to watch Netflix, cruise Instagram or travel down the TikTok rabbit hole right before bed. But, I do. In this digital age, screens are, well, everywhere. Despite our best intentions, they’re seemingly impossible to escape. (Case in point: I’m writing this to you on a computer screen and you’re likely reading it on a computer screen.)

To help fight these digital habits, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite places to unplug in Scottsdale.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

Tom's Thumb2_LToporScottsdale is well-known for outdoor adventure, which comes in all shapes and sizes. One of the best places to disconnect is in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which encompasses more than 30,000 acres of pristine desert. Check out the Tom’s Thumb/Feldspar/Mesquite Canyon Loop. It’s considered an easy hike and you’ll love the breathtaking views of Mesquite Canyon.

Spa Avania

Spa Avania Celtic Mineral Pool

The Luk Pra Kob is a traditional Thai-inspired massage that dates back more than 5,000 years. This contemporary offering at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale's Spa Avania combines movement, stretching and fragrant essential oils to increase the flow of energy throughout your body and put you in a state of total Zen. Combine that with the spa’s luscious amenities – a Celtic mineral pool, Himalayan Salt room and peaceful lotus pond – and you’ll be so relaxed by the time you leave that you may decide to swear off electronics forever.

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden

More than 50,000 arid-land plants adorn five thematic walking trails at the Desert Botanical Garden. The farther you walk along the Garden's trails, the more peaceful this lush setting becomes as you explore the fascinating world of towering cacti, brilliant wildflowers, colorful succulents and lacy shade trees. Stop by Gertrude's, the Garden's on-site restaurant, for seasonal farm-to-table cuisine served indoors or on the spacious patio. Before you head back to civilization, stop by the Garden's gift shop and take home a little piece of the Sonoran Desert in the form of a new plant friend, local art and nature-inspired clothing and home goods. 

Castle Hot Springs

Castle Hot Springs

While not technically in Scottsdale, I would be remiss to not include Castle Hot Springs – an hour northwest of Scottsdale in the Bradshaw Mountains. This recently reimagined oasis was a haven for the Carnegies and Rockefellers more than a century ago. After falling into disarray in the 1970s, the resort has been meticulously restored and will wrap you in unparalleled luxury. Farm-to-table cuisine, daily classes and activities, star-studded skies and exclusive access to natural hot springs are all included in your room rate. In fact, thanks to a little modern-day plumbing magic, the springs' healing waters can even be enjoyed from a bathtub on your private balcony.