Daily Archives: April 23, 2014

Scottsdale, Arizona at a Glance: The West’s Most Western Town

If you’re looking for the perfect mix of fun and relaxation, Scottsdale is your destination. The New York Times described downtown Scottsdale as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach,” and there are many museums and parks to feed your sophisticated side.

Experience Scottsdale in any style you choose. Fly above the area in a seaplane; hike in the desert; get cultured through museums and parks; relax in a spa; or test your skills on any of the 200 golf courses.

Attractions

  • Head over to Taliesin West, a National Historic Landmark and masterpiece by Frank Lloyd Wright for a variety of guided group tours. Each of the tours, including a twilight tour highlighting the luminosity of the buildings, showcases his personal home and architectural school. Built from local desert rocks, Taliesin West is a testament to Wright’s ability to integrate indoor and outdoor space.
  • More active tour groups will enjoy a guided hike through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, one of the most diverse deserts in North America. Groups can get a closer look at desert plants and wildlife on one of the many trails, or take advantage of an exciting Jeep or Hummer tour with an experienced guide.
  • The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has been a tradition since the 1950s, and thousands of people attend each year. This is a huge show, with more than 300 exhibitions and vendors, and close to 30 demonstrations and shows in addition to the “main event.” A group trip planned around this venue would be lots of fun.
  • Anyone interested in golf? Scottsdale offers more than 200 courses. You can even get golf lessons in a virtual simulator.
  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is Arizona’s only permanent museum dedicated solely to modern works of art, design and architecture. Groups can see the museums through docent-led and walking tours.
  • Shopping fans will enjoy a trip to Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue and Old Town Scottsdale to shop at hundreds unique shops. If any of your group members like the nightlife, Downtown Scottsdale is the place to go.

Dining

  • The Roaring Fork Restaurant is a group-friendly place to enjoy a hearty meal of excellent Southwestern style comfort foods.
  • For a more upscale dinner, try Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. The specialty of the house is aged prime beef, but there is also a wide variety of seafood to choose from. Add an extensive wine list, and you are in for a real treat.

Accommodations

  • Scottsdale has a variety of lodging options, including resorts, vacation rentals, bed and breakfasts, ranches and RV parks.

Phoenix, Arizona at a Glance: Gateway to the Grand Canyon

Come and see America’s sixth-largest city, where the scenery is beautiful and there is an endless list of things to do.

Phoenix is the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and its history is a testament to the spirit of puebloans, ranchers, miners and visionaries. With a variety of outdoor activities, museums, science centers and parks, your group will never have a dull moment in the desert.

Activities

  • Tour groups can enjoy the splendor of the desert in the heart of Phoenix with a visit to Desert Botanical Garden in Papago Park, where more than 50,000 plant displays are showcased in outdoor exhibits. Groups can follow a guide through the world-class gardens or relax in the delightful outdoor café.
  • There are a number of ways for tour groups to encounter the rich and influential Native American history and culture in Phoenix, including the Heard Museum and the Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. Expert guides at Pueblo Grande lead tour participants through 1,000-year-old Hohokam Indian ruins and three galleries which feature exhibits of remarkable artifacts and the science of archaeology.
  • South Mountain Park is the largest municipal park in the nation and one of the largest urban parks in the world. Groups are welcome to hike, cookout, bicycle, or ride horseback. Or, simply enjoy the view of the city from 6,000 feet above sea level.
  • The Phoenix Art Museum is the largest visual art museum in Southwest America, with an emphasis on American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary, Western American art, and fashion design.
  • Biltmore Fashion Park is a luxury outdoor retail and dining plaza. Shops include Brooks Brothers, The Clotherie, Cornelia Park, Escada, Hyde Park Jewelers, Julia Baker Confections, Macy’s, Pottery Barn, Ralph Lauren and Williams-Sonoma.

Dining

  • The Old Spaghetti Factory is very group friendly, serving popular Italian and American cuisine. Nearly every item on the menu is made on-site, from scratch with fresh ingredients. Rather than just entrées, you get a complete meal, which includes bread, soup/salad, a drink and dessert.
  • Open since 1985, Texaz Grill is known far and wide for its chicken fried steaks and good old down home cooking. Your group will appreciate the friendly service and amole portions here.

Accommodations

  • There are hotels all over the city, but Greater Phoenix is known for its resorts with pools, restaurants, spas and golf courses.
  • Many resorts have astounding mountain views, especially around Camelback Mountain in the middle of the city.