To be perfectly honest, I didn’t expect to find much in Scottsdale, Arizona. When I left, though, I felt like I had discovered a hidden gem. Scottsdale is Phoenix’s cool little brother. It feels both like an upscale suburb and a ritzy small town. In late Winter and early Spring, the whole place transforms in a baseball mecca with fans from all over the world coming to town for Spring Training. The Cactus League is set up in Arizona and Scottsdale is the Spring home to the Giants, the Diamondbacks, and the Rockies (twelve other teams play in nearby cities). As a baseball-loving Green Guy, I felt like it was finally time to see what Spring Training was all about. This is my perfect day in Scottsdale:
Wake up at The Phoenician, a Scottsdale institution for 25 years. This enormous property sits right next to Camelback Mountain and whether you’re into golf, spa, or just plain relaxation, this is the spot to do it. I checked out the gorgeous Centre for Well-Being where I melted during an 80-minute holistic massage. The treatment was a mixture of techniques, but the hot stone work was a wonderful surprise. Make sure to budget extra time to enjoy the bright and airy Meditation Room where you can relax in a zero-gravity chair while reading a copy of Organic Spa Magazine.
After your spa time, get ready to play ball. Well, not play so much as watch. Depending on the day, you have plenty of baseball to see. I decided to drive out to Mesa, AZ because that’s where my beloved Cubbies play. I actually got to experience the very last game at HoHoKam Stadium because next year, the Cubs move to a brand new facility in Mesa called Wrigleyville West. It’s supposed to be incredible and I can’t wait to head back down to see it for myself. While you’re there, pick up lunch at Chuckie’s, a mobile food truck serving fried pork tenderloin sandwiches direct from Iowa where the Cubs have a AAA minor league team. Not the healthiest option, but when you’re watching a baseball, you can’t watch your figure, too.
The sun wears you out in Scottsdale, so head back to the Phoenician for a quick nap by one of their elaborate pools (with plenty of sunscreen on!). When you wake up, it’s dinner time. There are tons of great dining options in Scottsdale, but my absolutely favorite was Mastro’s City Hall. The venerable steakhouse chain started in Scottsdale and, in my opinion, they define the steakhouse genre. Get a bone-in ribeye, an enormous Manhattan, and some of their world famous butter cake and you won’t be hungry for days.
You’ll still have room for more drinks, though, and you can satisfy your craving at Citizen Public House. Mixologist and partner Richie Moe is bringing cutting edge cocktailing to Scottsdale with really amazing innovations like infusing gin at the table and barrel-aging spirits as if they were lost at sea. Knock back a few and then enjoy the warm breeze as you make your way back to your room. Perfect days always give way to perfect nights in the desert.