With a plethora of luxury resorts, fabulous spas, 800 restaurants, museums, art galleries, shopping, outdoor activities, and even a vibrant wine-growing community, it is no wonder that so many choose a Scottsdale romantic getaway. Scottsdale is easy to get to, less than 30 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, has good weather year round (if you don’t mind the heat), and has accommodation options for a wide-range of budgets — making it perfect for a romantic weekend getaway.
I’ve visited Scottsdale with girlfriends, but it is also a favorite romantic getaway for my husband and I, that is when we aren’t visiting our daughter down in Tucson. After multiple visits, I’d like to share my favorite places to stay, where to eat, and some of the best things to do in Scottsdale on a romantic getaway.
Where to Stay on a Scottsdale Romantic Getaway
Note: Our visit was hosted by Experience Scottsdale. We received complimentary accommodations, entrance tickets, and some meals. All opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission.
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
The first step in planning a romantic getaway is figuring out where to stay. Luckily Scottsdale offers a range of options. If you are looking for a resort and spa, we absolutely loved everything about our stay at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch. Not only did we get the full resort experience (complete with the welcome cocktail), but I appreciate that it is only a 15-minute drive from downtown.
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is truly a resort property. In addition to the hotel’s 493 rooms and suites, there is also a 2.5 acre “water playground”, four tennis courts, miles of biking and jogging trails, the amazing Spa Avania, Camp Hyatt Kachina kid’s club, five different restaurants, and even a Native American Learning Center. Guests can also enjoy 27-holes of championship golf at the award-winning Gainey Ranch Golf Club. The only downside of all this is the possibility of a long walk from the elevator to your room.
Spa Avania has 19 treatment rooms, including three for couples, and five garden-side treatment rooms with private entrances. The women’s and men’s locker rooms both feature relaxation rooms, a steam room, a dry sauna, and outdoor hot and cold plunge pools. Even the showers are a treat, with 10 shower heads for a full-body experience.
Before or after your treatments, you can also enjoy a mineral pool, available to spa guests only, and an outdoor relaxation area. Drinks and food are served outside so you really won’t want to leave!
The spa and pools really make the Hyatt at Gainey Ranch a great choice for a romantic getaway!
The Phoenician Scottsdale
The Phoenician Scottsdale is another excellent choice for a romantic getaway! While both of these hotels also cater to families, they both have an adults only pool and the dining, spa, and golf are perfect for couples. This sprawling 645-room resort offers enough amenities on the property that you won’t ever need to leave.
From the minute you arrive, high-touch service is evident, creating a luxury environment from the valet to the friendly servers at the lobby bar, to the person delivering pitchers of fresh ice water to your pool lounger. And while The Phoenician offers a Cactus Garden, a beautiful Athletic club with a game room, a 24-hour state-of-the-art fitness room, tennis, pickleball, and half-court basketball courts, plus an 18-hole golf course, the real gem is the Phoenician Spa. You may want to spend a day enjoying the full spa experience, starting with a hot-and-cold hydrotherapy ritual with a steam, sauna, cold shower, and hot tub, followed by a massage, facial, wrap, or scrub.
Mountain Shadows Resort
Resting at the base of Camelback Mountain in the heart of Paradise Valley, Mountain Shadows Resort is a luxury boutique property that has received numerous awards as one of the best resorts in the Southwest. Smaller than the mega resorts like The Phoenician, Mountain Shadows offers both guest rooms and residences with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens.
Couples may enjoy the guest rooms with sexy glass-enclosed showers, but mostly you will enjoy relaxing at the pools and the large outdoor seating area with firepits that spill out from the popular bar. The two sparkling, 75-foot beautiful pools connected by an over-water walkway and lined with private cabanas.
Mountain Shadows is especially popular with experienced golfers, with a scenic, 18-hole, par 3 golf course that offers fun and fast rounds, giving you plenty of time in the rest of the day to relax.
Things to do on a Scottsdale Romantic Getaway
There is plenty to do in Scottsdale, from mountain and desert adventures to bucket list experiences, to more chill things like museums, galleries, shopping, and wine tasting. If you can pull yourselves away from the pool and spa, here are just a few that you might want to consider for your romantic getaway.
Go on a Hot Air Balloon Ride
You have to get up early for this adventure, but if taking a hot air balloon ride is on your bucket list, Scottsdale is a great spot to check that off your list. Hot Air Expeditions offers morning balloon flights year-round and afternoon flights from November 1 – March 15th. The experience starts with a 4:30 am pick up at your hotel, or you can opt to meet the group at the Deer Valley Airport in Phoenix. The team then rides out to a launch location where they will quickly set up and inflate the balloon.
Once everyone climbs in it is up…up…and away you go! After touching back down, the team quickly sets out a beautiful champagne breakfast to enjoy in the desert as a perfect way to cap off the experience.
Take a Hike
While climbing Camelback is not for the casual hiker, there are plenty of spots to get out and enjoy nature in Scottsdale, despite its locations in the sprawling Phoenix metro area. One of the top spots is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which is free to access and maintained by the city of Scottsdale. It covers over 30,000 acres and offers over 200 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
Some of the most popular trails in the preserve include Tom’s Thumb Trail, Gateway Loop Trail, Lost Dog Wash Trail, and the Sunrise Trail. Parking is available at several trailheads, including Gateway Loop Trailhead, Lost Dog Wash Trailhead, and Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, but it helps to arrive early to secure a spot.
Visit the Desert Botanical Gardens
If you haven’t been to the desert before, you might be surprised by how beautiful the flora and fauna can be, especially in the Sonoran desert. One way to have an easy stroll through a gorgeous desert landscape is at the Desert Botanical Garden. This 140-acre botanical garden is home to over 50,000 desert plant displays covering over 4,000 species. You can easily spend a few hours exploring the five miles of walking trails that wind through different desert habitats, including the Sonoran Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, and the Australian Outback.
Throughout the garden, you can also enjoy an impressive collection of public art installations, including the popular “Circle of Life” sculpture by Philip Haas and the Chihuly sculptures at the entrance. If you get hungry, there are multiple dining options on-site, or you can head back into Old Town for your last lunch in Scottsdale.
Explore one of Scottdale’s Museums
Scottsdale has all sorts of museums, depending on your interests. Here are just a few that couples many enjoy:
- The Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is a Smithsonian Affiliate and it has been named the “Best Western Museum” in the nation by True West magazine. The museum tells the story of the American West, covering both Native American history and artifacts from actual American cowboys through a series of permanent galleries and rotating exhibits.
- The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) features an impressive collection of contemporary art from around the world with a permanent collection of over 2,000 works, ranging from photography and sculpture to mixed media installations and digital art.
- Taliesin West is a must for architecture fans. The complex was built in 1937 by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a winter home and studio. Today, Taliesin West is a National Historic Landmark and you can visit some portions of the living quarters and appreciate his design from the outside.
- Wonderspaces is an evolving art show features revolving art installations from artists around the world in an Instagram-friendly space that is the first permanent location of this popular art pop-up. You will walk through a series of large-scale, immersive, and interactive art installations.
There are plenty of options for shopping in Scottsdale, from upscale designer stores at Fashion Square to the art galleries of Old Town. You will also want to wander through the Fifth Avenue Shops, along the Marshall Way Arts District, and through the Main Street Arts & Antique District.
If you enjoy supporting local small businesses, creators, and artisans, two places you need to put on your list include The Merchantile of Scottsdale, which is an indoor marketplace for local artists and designers; and the Native Art Market, which offers art and products from over 300 native small businesses and is the only Native American-owned shop in Old Town Scottsdale.
Go Wine Tasting
Scottsdale has seven wineries with tastings rooms in downtown that you can explore along the Scottsdale Wine Trail, including Arizona Stronghold Vineyards, Aridus Wine Company, Carlson Creek, LDV Winery, Merkin Vineyards, Salvatore Vineyards, and The Wine Collective of Scottsdale. If you plan on visiting a few wineries, you can purchase a passport for $5.00 at any of the participating wineries and then receive $2.00 off a wine tasting at each location.
Where to Eat in Scottsdale
The brunch scene is big in Scottsdale, with so many great places to try including:
- Hash Kitchen – this highly-Instagrammable restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating and an elaborate build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Each option is sizable and delicious, with unique and tasty options like the Best F#*%ing Birria Hash and Potato Skin Hash. Make sure you save room for the Billionaire’s Bacon, which features applewood smoked thick slab bacon with a yuzu glaze, honey, and brown-sugar chili rub, and is topped with 24k gold flakes.
While Mexican and Southwestern cuisine is abundant in Scottsdale, you will also find excellent Italian, American, and other styles. Some of my favorites are:
- HULA’s Modern Tiki – this modern take on the classic tiki restaurants and bars of the 50s and 60s is a fun spot in the center of Old Town. The menu features a fusion of Polynesian and American flavors, with plenty of shareable plates for a group. Make sure to order the Hilo Luau pork sliders!
- Diego Pops – takes a playful twist on authentic Mexican favorites including classic and reimagined tacos, like Brussels Sprout Nachos. Set within the walls of a historic Southwestern pottery shop, the playful décor and outdoor patio makes a fun, laid-back dining experience. If you are there on a Monday, Diego Pops offers $3 Tacos from open to close. Don’t miss the grilled street corn with flaming hot Cheetos dust!
- Farm & Craft – if you want a healthy option, head to Farm & Craft with a seasonal wellness menu featuring sustainable, gluten-free, organic, and hormone-free ingredients.
- The Mission – offers modern Latin cuisine in a sophisticated setting with a beautiful bar highlighted by a Himalayan salt block wall that would be perfect for a fun dinner out. The outdoor patio is also great for an al fresco lunch. The grilled street corn is a must, as is the table-side guacamole.
- Piccolo Virtu – this is the latest restaurant from acclaimed Chef Gio Osso of Virtù Honest Craft & Pizzeria Virtù, offering elevated Italian in an intimate, tucked away location in Old Town. The focus is on smaller shareable plates, but there are also some large entrees perfect for a group, like the wood-grilled Branzino with crispy skin and the 55-ounce prime bistecca fiorentina. One dish you can’t miss (even if you don’t think you will love it), is the grilled octopus with agrodolce, pancetta, and pepperoncino. It is so tender and flavorful that it completely changed my mind about octopus.
- Old Town Tortilla Factory – located in the Arts District, Old Town Tortilla Factory offers a gorgeous large patio and a 75-year-old adobe home that is perfect for a family to enjoy southwestern cuisine with a Mexican twist. It is an ideal introduction to Scottsdale.
- Postino Wine Cafe – in addition to an extensive selection of wines, Postino is known for its bruschetta boards where you can mix and match a selection of your favorite toppings.
I’m ready to plan another romantic getaway…are you?