Getting There and Around
There can be cheap flights to get down to Phoenix. I use Google Flights options and found a cheap direct flight for $220 CAD, as long as you are flexible with dates, you should be able to find a good flight.
Everything in Phoenix is spread out, you will definitely need a rental car. I saved on rental car costs by using a points card to redeem for a discount on the car rental.
The highways can be a little scary to drive on (six lanes in one direction, six lanes in another, 12 lanes across!). Thank goodness for my data on Roam Mobility (which was pretty good, wasn’t slow, I paid for the data only option this time) which allowed me to use my trusted friend, Google Maps to get around.
Where to Stay
Wanting to check out the buzz about Scottsdale, we stayed there. Scottsdale is about a 20 minute drive from Phoenix. I had a great experience in Extended Stay America during a road trip to Seattle, but the one in Scottsdale wasn’t as great. However, at under $90 a night Canadian, I wasn’t one to complain! It was convenient and had free parking.
Things to Do
- Heard Museum I absolutely loved the Heard Museum. It is a museum on American Indian Art and History. There was a free 45 minute guide about the collection from Southwest United States. Price was $18 USD per person however, because we were from Canada it was buy one get one free admission!
- McDowell Regional Park Sonoran Desert A nice walk in the desert, exploring wildlife, cacti, and getting some Vitamin D. There are over 40 miles of trails for everyone, but I opted for the short 0.5 mile trail explaining desert wildlife. There were lots of trail runners and nice, clean bathrooms and water near the front of the park. I liken it to the ‘Grouse Grind’ for people in Scottsdale. It is free to walk through the park.
- Fashion Square Mall If expensive taste is your thing (Gucci, Barney’s New York etc.) then this is the mall for you. Of course, there’s plenty of other shops that aren’t so high end. It was nice to people watch and admire how everyone is so well put together and well dressed in Scottsdale.
- Old Town Scottsdale This to be honest was a little disappointing. There were jewelry shops, souvenir shops, but nothing else. It was a little quiet and deserted (I half expected tumbleweeds to roll through), but cute in a western kind-of-way anyway.
- Out of Africa This is a nice place for children, however I must admit I feel a little sad about zoos (it wasn’t my idea to go!), especially seeing a giraffe eat celery, which they obviously don’t eat in Africa. There were lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Also a cute prairie dog exhibit. The safari was nice but I couldn’t help but compare the ‘real’ safari I went on last year where the guide doesn’t just hop out of the truck to pet the ostrich. However, this is $30 compared to $3000+ for Africa. You can save $4 off admission from one of those ubiquitous tourist magazine/ pamphlets. The animals do look content though and well fed, not malnourished. The staff seem passionate about what they do.
Where to Eat
To be honest, I didn’t go anywhere memorable to eat during my stay in Phoenix. I did grab some All Day Breakfast from McDonalds though which was good! No All-Day-Breakfast plans in place for Canada yet so it was nice to try it out in the US.
In summary, it was 25 degrees and warm and sunny (albeit a few thunderstorms here and there) in the fall when I visited, so I can definitely see the appeal for snowbirds who want to escape the Canadian winters for somewhere warm.
Definitely would be interested in Phoenix because of their cheaper real estate. However, when I saw an ‘exterminator truck’ drive by with a SCORPION on the truck, I was a little less gung-ho about buying property here. Dealing with ants is one thing, but scorpions?
Readers, have you been to Phoenix before?