Phoenix in January is lovely. The weather is amazing, not too hot, and there aren’t a crazy number of tourists. Understandably, this is when high season begins. There are plenty of things to do in Phoenix and the nearby cities of Mesa and Scottsdale that are a mixture of luxury, adventure and foodie scenes so here are 8 of our favorites.
What to do in Phoenix Arizona
Desert Botanical Garden
Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden is a fun place to visit if you’re looking for a peaceful place to stroll and look at nature. The garden contains numerous cacti, some that are unbelievably tall and others that are seemingly miniature in size by comparison. There are small plaques along the trail depicting what species each cactus is along with a few interesting historical facts.
Segway tour or horseback riding in the desert
Depending on how adventurous you are Fort McDowell Adventures offers various activities to do on their ranch. You can opt for a Segway tour through the desert or you can challenge yourself to a horseback riding excursion.
If you’ve never ridden a Segway and have concerns, you don’t need to worry. The staff does a great job showing you the ropes and you’ll be a Segway master in no time. We didn’t personally go on the horseback riding tour but I can attest to the well being of the horses. They were sweet, gentle and well cared for.
It’s unreal just how many hikes there are in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. We only went on one (Wind Cave Trail) but someday we would like to return for a hiking trip because there are too many other beautiful hikes here not to miss. We ventured out into the desert and made it all the way up to the cave at the top.
What I love about Arizona hiking is that there are hikes for everyone, all ages and all levels. You can opt for a quick hike or you can choose more of an all day hike
Lunch at Queen Creek Olive Mill
Queen Creek Olive Mill is a special place. We felt like we could spend hours there between a delicious lunch, browsing their cute shop, visiting the spa store and grabbing a coffee from one of the best roasters in the area.
We enjoyed a fantastic charcuterie board which included meats, cheese, bruschetta, olives, bread, several different types of salads topped off with six varieties of cupcakes made with olive oil. This hipster shop sources locally and you can eat here with confidence knowing your food is wholesome and genuine. It’s a beautiful place to spend time with friends, go on a date or simply shop for olive oil.
Tip: try the lemon olive oil. It’s fantastic.
Get a massage or facial at Spa Avania
I’m a spa newbie. Believe it or not, I had never gotten a facial prior to Spa Avania (at the Hyatt Spa & Resort in Scottsdale) and now I’m a tad obsessed with them. I wish I could remember the name of the facial I had but it involved moisturizers, essential oils, light hand/foot massages and an extraction (yup, you guessed it. blackheads.)
This spa was a highlight and we loved being pampered for such a nice amount of time. After your facial or massage, you can enjoy the rest of the spa’s amenities including a pool, hot tub and shower room stocked with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair gel, hair spray, and basically everything you need to freshen yourself.
Wine & Dine at the Hyatt
After your amazing facial (or massage), head on over to Wine & Dine at the Hyatt. You need reservations for this special dinner so be sure to call ahead. The dinner takes place at the chef’s table and you are able to watch as the entire talented staff cooks your food. The chef explains each dish to you and the sommelier complements each course with his beverage of choice. It was truly a unique experience and the food was absolutely amazing. There was nothing we didn’t like and we finished every morsel.
Agritopia is a cool concept. It sounds like utopia and for good reason. It is a self-contained village consisting of a few acres of homes, a small grocery store, a brewery with a restaurant, a vegan restaurant, a hair salon, a wine and tapas joint, a coffee and cupcake shop and numerous other stores that aggregate to form this special society called Agritopia. It’s a fun place to hang out for half a day; you can grab a lunch, relax for a few hours and then head over to a different shop for your dinner.
Fresh Foodie Trail
Fun fact: Agritopia and Queen Creek are both a part of this foodie trail so that should give you an idea into just how amazing this food tour is. We didn’t actually go on the entire trail but after speaking with a few locals, we discovered that you can do sections of this trail or the entire thing. If you do it in its entirety, plan for about 2 days to fully complete it.
Looking for more inspiration for your Arizona travels? Check out this foodie guide to Phoenix as well as our 5 day Phoenix itinerary. You may also find inspiration by reading this guide: Arizona road trip planner.