What to Do in Scottsdale
Credit: Hotel Valley Ho

How to Spend 72 Retro Hours in Scottsdale, Arizona

Eat, Drink and Play Your Way Through the Desert

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Day 1

3 p.m.

Stay: Check in at the Hotel Valley Ho

What to Do in Scottsdale
Credit: Hotel Valley Ho

To experience the next best thing to actual time travel, dive headfirst back into the swinging ‘60s with a relaxing stay at the Hotel Valley Ho. With its mid-mod architecture and major Rat Pack vibes, you can enjoy vast mountain views from your sleek guest suite. The property is located in Old Town Scottsdale—an area with great walkability that allows you to explore all the surrounding town has to offer.

Plan on visiting during the fall and winter months? Don’t miss out on the hotel’s holiday festivities! In addition to coordinating a special Christmas buffet, followed by your choice of entree and dessert, Hotel Valley Ho’s ZuZu Restaurant will host a New Year’s Eve celebration with bubbly, festive eats and DJ beats! The restaurant will also offer a selection of festive “Show Stopper” Shakes—think spooky shakes in October and holly, jolly shakes in December. October’s shake, the Vampire, features a pistachio milkshake topped with raspberry sauce, a stake-in-the-heart raspberry and pistachio pie, a cranberry juice blood bag, vampire teeth gummies, pistachio bat and coffin cookies, a raspberry sauce syringe, pistachio milk crumb, red sprinkles and whipped cream. You can make it boozy by substituting the cranberry juice blood bag for a specialty cocktail, or simply order the Vampire’s Delight made with Plantation Isle of Fiji rum, cognac, orange liqueur, pomegranate and bitter aperitif!


5 p.m.

Play: Cham Pang Lanes

What to Do in Scottsdale
Credit: Châm Pang Lanes / Flagship Restaurant Group

Have a bet to settle? Look no further than Cham Pang Lanes for all of your modern vintage entertainment needs. Enjoy an evening of bowling and bubbly, and challenge your pals (or paramour) to a friendly game of pool or pinball. With a colorful, eclectic aesthetic (we’re talking tropical palm cushions and tiger-print wallpaper), be sure to snap a pic or two of the insanely Instagrammable backdrop.


7 p.m. 

Enjoy: Fall Festivities at the Desert Botanical Garden

Credit: Desert Botanical Garden

A 140-acre botanical garden located in Pheonix’s Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts. And during the fall season, the garden comes to life with spooky activations and festivities. Don’t miss the Strange Garden experience on Oct. 27-28 from 5:30-9:30 p.m., where you can dress up in your Halloween best and enjoy an evening of tricks and treats featuring mad botanists, peculiar plants and photo ops. All kids get to take home a free pumpkin from the patch, too! If you happen to be visiting at the beginning of November, gear up for a Día de Muertos celebration (Nov. 4-5, from noon-6 p.m.), complete with a mega community altar, decorations, delicious food, immersive activities, music and more.


Day 2

10 a.m.

Brunch: Palma

What to Do in Scottsdale
Credit: Palma / Flagship Restaurant Group

Wake up late and start the day with some sustenance at Palma—the tropical paradise-meets-desert oasis of downtown Phoenix. Putting a unique twist on brunch classics (your go-to omelettes and avocado toasts) with unexpected flavors like kimchi pimento cheese, kewpie and cilantro-jalapeño salad, you can also sample Matcha-Stuffed French Toast and Beijing Pork Hash over bloodies or mimosas. And who says you can’t add a little vodka to your morning espresso? Live your life. 


11 a.m. Meet Santa at the Market

Credit: krakenimages / Unsplash

The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market reopens this October, and you’ll want to peruse the bounty of organic produce, flowers, natural meats and selection of seasonal specialties, such as cider and apples from Arizona growers. St. Nick will also be making an appearance on Saturdays during the holiday season (Nov. 25, Dec. 2, 9 and 6), bringing a dose of holiday cheer to this already festive market. Don’t miss an opportunity to snap photos with him and tell him what’s on your wishlist this year!


2 p.m.

Play: TopGolf

What to Do in Scottsdale
Credit: TopGolf

Hit the links and squeeze in a swing sesh at TopGolf in Scottsdale. Reserve a private bay for up to six of your nearest and dearest and practice your long game in a cool, climate-controlled environment—in other words, without lugging your clubs around the green. Slug back a brewski and munch on snacks like farmhouse flatbreads, cheesy macaroni bites or a plate of wings to keep your energy up before taking a victory lap. 


4 p.m.

Relax: Hotel Valley Ho’s VH Spa

Make your way to the Hotel Valley Ho’s VH Spa to wind down and peruse the Jetsetter menu, which is inspired by exotic destinations around the world. Enjoy a Hawaiian homage with a traditional Lomi Lomi massage, get the Amsterdam experience with a CBD Soother or indulge in a Reykjavík Icelandic Moonflower treatment—combining an invigorating full-body scrub with a custom massage that’s designed to stimulate blood flow and lymph movement for a rejuvenating refresh.


7 p.m.

Dine: Cibo

Remain in your state of bliss and keep the zen flowing with a slice of pie from Cibo Pizzeria. Nestled in a reimagined bungalow—originally designed in 1913—this sleek spot brings artisanal pizzas and homemade pasta to the people of Phoenix. Cozy up by the fireplace and please your palate with a creamy spoonful of tiramisu or Coppa Mascarpone for the ultimate sweet treat.


8:30 p.m. 

Enjoy: Dueling Piano Show

Music, whisky and holiday cheer—oh my! This holiday season at Belle’s Nashville Kitchen, talented musicians hit the stage for dueling piano performances. These spirited shows take guests on a journey of sing-along and dance-along songs, covering everything from holiday classics to country and rock ‘n’ roll. Come for the tunes and stay for the amazing food and drinks! The shows take place on select dates in November and December, and tickets cost $20 a person.


Day 3

10 a.m.

Do: Hike Camelback Mountain

What to Do in Scottsdale
Credit: midiman

Strap on your hiking boots and explore the rugged beauty of Camelback Mountain. With an elevation level just shy of 3,000 feet, this 2.5-hour moderate trek is the perfect way to experience Arizona from new heights. Give your wallet a break by locating Echo Canyon Trailhead, which will be your starting point for discovering epic views!



Shop: Merry Mercantile Market

Credit: The Merchantile

On Dec. 2, the Merry Mercantile Market will take place at the new and improved Scottsdale Civic Center, offering a curated holiday shopping experience like no other! Browse through goods from over 80 vendors and step into a world of holiday creativity through make-and-take sessions, fun workshops and exciting experiences the whole family will love. This holiday festival will also feature giveaways, live music and delicious treats, and there will be a kids’ play area with a bounce house and ball pit!


3 p.m.

Play: Snakes and Lattes

Credit: Snakes & Lattes

Get your game face on at Snakes and Lattes—a boutique board game bar in downtown Tempe. With more than 3,000 vintage games (and some contemporary classics) to choose from, this happening hot spot guarantees you’ll never be “bored.” Like the sommeliers of gaming, experts are on hand to pair you with your perfect play. Order up some lunch or enjoy an array of refreshments, such as nachos and pretzel sticks, to keep your stamina going all the way to the final round.


5 p.m.

Dine: Shady Park

While in town, head over to Happy Hour at Shady Park—Tempe’s spot for satisfying sushi and whimsical fare. (Hot tip: try not to chuckle while ordering the You Used to Call Me on My Shell Phone roll or the Shiso Horny). Chow down on poke bowls and specialty rolls with a chilled glass of sake to cool down.

Writer | + posts

Based in Los Angeles, Kandace has spent the past ten years in the fashion and lifestyle space, and recently in entertainment at Sony Pictures Studios. She has a Masters in Journalism from Emerson College and has studied in Paris, Firenze, and Washington DC, beginning her career as a style editor and tastemaker for NBC. She is an internationally award-winning filmmaker, having studied screenwriting for film and television at UCLA, and her work has been celebrated around the world, in cities like London, Nice, New York, and Montréal. Paying homage to her French heritage, she is also the creator of The Chic American--a style and culture editorial destination for Francophiles, dedicated to the art of living an elevated, French-inspired lifestyle.




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