This past week I was able to spend a few days with my childhood best friend in her new home — Pheonix, Arizona. Michaella made the wise decision and chose to get away from the brutal Midwest weather, two years ago. On this post you can read about where I went +  recommendations on where to shop, hike, eat, drink, etc. in Phoenix, Tempe, Mesa, and Scottsdale!

THINGS TO DO:

HIKING
Beginners: Wave Cave Trail – 3 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gold Canyon, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from September until April.

Intermediate: Piestewa Peak Summit Trail – Located near Phoenix, Arizona that features beautiful wild flowers and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until March. This was the trail I ended up doing and according to my FitBit, up and down the mountain was around 4 miles and we hiked up the mountain in 1 hour and 30 minutes and back down the mountain in 1 hour. Michaella and I decided to go at 7 AM to beat the sun and let me tell you, that was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made because it reached up to 95° at the highest peak on the day we went.

Hard: Fossil Springs Trail – 8.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Strawberry, Arizona that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

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FIND A SCENIC VIEW
Canyon Lake – This trip was planned in the spur of the moment. As I type up this blog post, sitting and waiting to board my plane (which boards at 11:15 PM), I happened to have the entire day to still adventure around the area. Michaella and Annie took me on the most INCREDIBLE drive in Mesa. This is originally Michaella first moved to with her family. We decided to go a little before sunset, that way it was cool enough (temperature wise) to be outside. There is also a lake where you can go fishing, swimming, and cliff jumping! This is something, that I definitely have to do next time I come!

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BIKING
ofo – If you are someone like me and loves to be outside and explore, this is a great way to see the city you are in, in a different perspective. With ofo, you pick up a bike, get where you’re going, and leave it there. No docking stations, no walking the rest of the way. Because that’s what a bike share is supposed to be. I was able to explore Tempe Town Lake. With ofo, your first hour ride is FREE!

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NIGHTLIFE
Scottsdale’s Old Town – Night out on the town. If I were to chose to stay in with my girls and go out, I would definitely choose a night in. BUT I am always down to grab a drank and have a good time out. Scottsdale is knowing for being a little more “boujee” when it comes down to an upper scale area of Arizona.

SHOPPING:

Fashion Square – Definitely one of the bigger malls I have come across. Has every store you can think of from fast fashion to designer brands. Come to Scottsdale if you really want to shop until you drop.
My Sister’s Closet – If you love thrifting and you love designer brands, this is the place for you. From all things to Chanel and Free People. This place was definitely worth going to, especially considering I bought an adorable dress from here for $25 and it was from Free People!
Buffalo Exchange – Yes, we do have one of these in Chicago! I actually happened to go to TWO different Buffalo Exchange’s while I was in Arizona, one in Phoenix and one in Tempe.  I was able to buy more Free People clothing and the cutest pair of vintage high-waited shorts, all for under $50!? WHAT.

WHERE TO EAT + DRINK: 

  • Original ChopShop –  A very comfortable and adorable environment with a healthy selection of food! This was my first stop in Pheonix. The place to go for a quinoa bowl with any type of protein and a side of freshly squeezed lemonade.

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  • In-N-Out – The infamous In-N-Out that I ALWAYS have to get when I am on the West Coast. Some people think it is underrated but I think it’s pretty good, and a good treat to get once in awhile if you frequently go to the West Coast. Secret Menu: order your burger “Animal Style” for extra sauce and chopped grilled onions mixed in with your cheese to top off your meal.

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  • Tea Swirl – Not going to lie, the Arizona heat was pretty strong and I seriously felt thirsty all the time. Tea Swirl is a place to wind down and quench your thirst with some bubble tea and add some boba.

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  • First Watch  – Did someone say BREAKFAST? This place was so good, I can’t even exaggerate this enough. Everything was fresh and relatively healthy. I had the best omelette and ordered a refreshing Kale Tonic drink that had kale, Fuji apple, cucumber and lemon. 10/10 ratings from Bree!

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  • Filibertos – The only place that is not pictured below. But Filibertos is authentic Mexican food (Waaaaayyyyy better than Taco Bell. Yuck.) This place is open 24 HOURS, yes you read that correctly. Definitely a pit stop for some greasy / drunk food.
  • Culinary Dropout – This adorable restaurant was definitely known for its delicious comfort food. Order your meal with an alcoholic beverage, we ordered a Drunken Panda (Cucumber sake, white tea syrup, calamansi and Lucky Buddha lager).

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  • Růže Cake House – The CUTEST cafe to grab a refreshment or macaroon with your closest gals! Their signature look is to top off your drink with cotton candy. This place is located in the heart of Scottsdale.

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Seriously one of my favorite trips yet. Major shoutout to Michaella and Annie for hosting me this weekend in their adorable apartment in Phoenix and for showing me around their home. Until next time loves! Be sure to click here and here to see my favorite outfits I wore this weekend!

xoxo — Bree