The time is ticking down until I leave – less than TWO WEEKS, can you believe?! It’s got me thinking about my favorite places and the things I want to do before I leave. It’s hard to only pick a few places because I love so many things here. And as much as I would love to have In N’ Out every day before I leave, I know I need to “spread” the love a bit (Haha get it? Like In N’ Out spread? …I’ll let myself out).
I have to admit, most of it is food-based. But what can I say? Scottsdale is one of the foodie capitals of the country. You can’t blame me! So, here it goes: My Scottsdale Bucket List.
This is my favorite happy hour spot! I was actually just here with my friend Alicia, but I still want to go again before I leave. Diego Pops is a modern take on Mexican food set in a trendy atmosphere.
My favorite menu item – and the one EVERYONE should try – is their Brussels Sprouts Nachos. Imagine: delicious yellow corn chips, pickled onions, Brussels sprouts, peppers, corn, TONs of cheesy goodness, the best sauce ever, AND a fried egg. That’s what these delicious nachos have to offer you. Get this – during happy hour, these babies are only $5! Add on a delicious $4 Diego Margarita and you’ve got yourself the happiest hour.
They also have amazing tacos, bowls, salads, ceviche, sangria, elote…basically everything on their menu is great. You can’t go wrong. It’s also the cutest, most instagrammable place ever – so grab your friends and get over there!
Oh, and one more thing: right next door to Diego Pops is The Montauk, another favorite Happy Hour spot of mine. They have great deals like $3 drafts, $4 well drinks, and $5 apps. Try the house potato chips!
Scottsdale Quarter is the outdoor shopping center of your dreams. Affectionately called “the quarter,” this oasis in the desert has the cutest shops, big brand name stores, trendy eateries, and chill relaxation spots. It’s also right across the street from Keirland Commons, which has a lot of the higher-end stores and boutiques, a HUGE Crate & Barrel, and even a Shake Shack.
I love coming to the quarter for lunch and shopping, especially when the weather is nice. Even when it’s not-so-nice, you’ll still find me here. I think I love this place so much because it’s nostalgic: I landed my first internship my senior year of high school with PHOENIX Magazine when their offices were here, I’ve had a zillion lunch dates with my friends at True Food Kitchen, I’ve had milkshakes with my loved ones at Zinburger, I’ve sipped hot chocolate by the big Christmas tree in the center around the holidays, I’ve celebrated birthdays and other special occasions at iPic…the list goes on. It’s just a special kind of place to me, and I know it’s special to other people too.
Too hot to be outside right now? Definitely check out Scottsdale Fashion Square – another one of my favorites. It’s an indoor paradise with every store you could ever want.
Unbaked is my most recent obsession, and I am crying real tears that I won’t be able to have it in Ireland! I don’t go as often as I like (because let’s be honest, that would be everyday), but I have been several times since it opened this summer.
All you need to know: EDIBLE COOKIE DOUGH!!!!!!
This place got super popular super quick because they have this super cute neon sign that everyone and their brother was taking a picture with (myself included) that got shared on social media, and suddenly it was like everyone had been there, and I don’t know but I thought it was a super cool marketing strategy. The fact that they serve edible cookie dough deliciousness definitely helped, but several people I know went solely just for the opportunity to take a picture with the sign.
ANYWAY, this place has cookie dough and ice cream, and both are amazing. My favorite cookie dough is probably the cookies and cream one, and my favorite ice cream has got to be the fruity pebbles one. Like, just wow. It’s super rich and I have never been able to finish my scoop, but that just means you can save some for later.
They also have gluten free and vegan options! So all y’all with dietary restrictions can still enjoy this fantastic place. Everyone who works there is super sweet and friendly, which is really the cherry on top.
So now I just need to figure out a way to take Unbaked with me to Dublin…
LGO has it all: an organic coffee bar, a pizzeria, a bakery, and a local retail grocery with everything from books and candles to wine and cheese. It’s the best because during the day you go up to the counter and order, but at night it transforms into a full-service restaurant. It’s part of the same group that does Chealsea’s Kitchen and Ingo’s Tasty Food, so you know it’s in good company.
They have AMAZING gluten-free pizza, the cocktails are unreal (Kombucha Mule, anyone?), and don’t even get me started on their pimento cheese dip. And the pièce de résistance: the salty chocolate chip cookie. It’s the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had in my life. Don’t take my word for it, either – go and try one!
This has been one of my favorite places to sit and get work done during the day. They always have great music playing, I feel comfortable and at home, and I get to enjoy their wifi while I sip on an organic latte and inevitably nibble on a cookie (or two!). It’s also a great date night spot, and probably one of Matt and I’s favorites. We actually went on one of our first dates here, so it’ll hold a soft spot in my heart for that reason too.
They put a satellite location inside Sky Harbor, too, so you know I’ll stop by before boarding my flight to Ireland. I already can’t wait!
Easily the best gelato I’ve ever had in North America. My recent obsession is their mango pistachio flavor – Pistachio ice cream with thick ribbons of real pistachio topped with mango. It is unreal.
Ooooh and their white chocolate raspberry? The best. White chocolate ice cream with the thickest chunks of gooey white chocolate and ribbons of raspberry. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?
They make everything from scratch, and you can really tell the difference. They even use local dairy products! Luna is attached to Pomo Pizzeria, so after enjoying a slice or a bowl of pasta, you HAVE to head over to Luna for dessert. They circulate flavors regularly, so you have an excuse to go back often.
The green belt is an idyllic bike and running path through lush parks and golf courses in the heart of Scottsdale. I love roller-blading and riding my bike through here when the weather is nice.
All in all, it’s 11 miles long. My friends and I love to bar hop along and stop for drinks and snacks and spend the day outside. It’s also nice to stop by one of the many ponds and see the ducks and geese, read a book, or just relax.
The city takes really great care of this space and it’s turned into one of the leading recreational areas in Arizona. If it’s a nice afternoon, grab your bike and get out here! You won’t regret it.
Shogun – I’ve literally grown up going to this sushi place. It’s so fresh and tasty and I can’t recommend it enough. Did I mention they have 25¢ drafts on Monday and 25¢ saki on Wednesday? Yeah, that’s right – only 25 cents.
Postino – Bottle and Board, anyone? They have a $20 bottle of wine & bruschetta board on Mondays and Tuesdays after 8PM. What a deal, right?! My favorite bruschetta flavors are the brie and apples with fig, smoked salmon with pesto, sweet and spicy pepper jam with goat cheese, and the ricotta with dates and pistachios.
Harkins Theatres – This local-ish movie chain (started in Arizona and later expanded to California, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma) is my favorite. I absolutely love movies and I think that Harkins is the best at it. My favorite parts about it are the loyalty cups and popcorn perks – I get $1.50 refills and free popcorn every time I go. I also rack up rewards points and earn concession or movie ticket credits! I know it’s not just a Scottsdale thing but I’m going to miss it anyway. I’m not sure what the movie-going experience will be like in Ireland, but I hope there’s somewhere like Harkins!
Carolina’s Mexican Food – My dad first took me here when I was a little girl and I’ve been hooked ever since. This place is authentic and affordable. Don’t let their hole-in-the-wall appearance fool you; their tamales, enchiladas, and tortillas can’t be beat. I’m going to miss good Mexican food so much while I’m gone!
Well folks, that’s all for now. I only have 13 days left (eek!) before I leave, so while there’s literally a million more things I wish I could fit in (hiking Camelback, Salt River tubing, Mill Ave…) there’s just not enough time!
Hopefully I’ll get to stop by my favorites before I go, but if not…you’ll just have to go for me! What are your favorite spots in Scottsdale? I’d love to hear about them!
Now, back to packing…