Phoenix, Arizona is a vibrant city with a lot to offer. I had overlooked this city during my travels and wish that I had discovered Phoenix sooner. This city has a cool art scene, great food, fantastic breweries, and beautiful hikes.
Ladera is the place to go if you like Mexican food, and especially if you like brunch! This restaurant is relaxing, offering live music on the patio and a really comfortable atmosphere. The Coco Leche French Toast is drizzled in coconut dulce de leche and really hits the spot. If you are looking for something less sweet, the Chilaquiles Rojas are filling and absolutely delicious. Check out their menu for more!
Be Coffee + Food + Stuff
Okay, so this place has a weird name but there is nothing weird about their breakfast sandwiches. The place has almost 5 stars on Yelp for a reason! It’s located adjacent to an art gallery which makes the space artsy and hipster. You can also look at art while you’re waiting for your order.
Pedal Haus Brewery
I am putting this brewery in the food section because well, the food was really good! My favorite thing on the menu was actually the shishito peppers. They were sprinkled with nutritional yeast which is genius because it gives them a really nice balance and saltyness.
Came upon this place by total happenstance. It’s not in a tourist destination by any means, but if you find yourself in Gilbert, AZ then this is a great place for sushi. At Sushiya the fish is good, presentation is professional, and the staff is friendly. I wouldn’t normally eat fish in the dessert, but Sushiya provided a great experience.
The Arrogant Butcher
The Arrogant Butcher is in the center of the city and a great place to grab dinner with the family. I was wary of this place initially, thinking it was going to be more like the Cheesecake Factory with overpriced and mediocre food. Well I should know by now to not judge a book by its cover, because the food was excellent! My recommendation: get the meatloaf or the prime rib, you won’t regret it.
Breakfast Club has all the classic breakfast dishes that you love. The service is prompt and the food is great. The Mignon Benedict is especially good, two fresh cuts of filet mignon with pouched eggs and topped with the best hollandaise sauce. Also, this is a great place to go if you are spending the day downtown.
Have you ever had a beer brewed with oyster mushrooms and peanut leaves? Yeah, neither had I until I visited Arizona Wilderness Brewery. This brewery really pushes the boundaries and goes wild with their creativity. The result is a brewery that knows how to make great beer and is fierce enough to be fun and creative with their ingredients. They are also expanding their distribution, anytime I see them on tap in Portland I am hard pressed not to buy a pint.
Wren House Brewing
Walking into Wren House Brewery feels cool because of it’s minimalist interior. The decor matches the hipster and artsy neighborhood where it is located. Just around the corner you hit the arts district where big murals are displayed on sides of old industrial buildings. Despite the simple decor the beers that Wren House offers are anything but simple. The beer list isn’t too long, but you still get a great variety of brews. These guys know what they are doing, and deserve the great reviews!
Helio Basin is a good choice when it comes to beer lovers who can’t pick favorites. They do a little bit of everything, which is why getting a flight here is fun! The inside space is spacious, and we had no problem finding a seat on a weekday afternoon. The bartender was especially knowledgeable which I appreciated, and he even gave us recommendations of other places to check out. Overall, friendly service!
Goldwater Brewing looks like any regular brewery at street level, but if you go down to their cellar you will find yourself in an old shooting range. This was definitely one of the coolest reuses of a space that I have seen. The beer tanks actually sit in the barrels of the old ranges. It’s a tight space but the beers are strong so the crowd is friendly. Overall a great experience.
North Mountain Brewing
This brewery was the most down to earth brewery that I visited during my time in Phoenix. They aren’t trying to do anything fancy, but they do make good beer. It’s also a brewery that has a nice stout on the menu, even when it’s 80 degrees outside. The food menu here is a little bit all over the place, with a variety of cuisines in the mix. I like going to places like this, no frills just quality brews.
McFate Brewing has some very interesting beers. They like to try brewing with many different flavors. Some were big hits and others were slight misses. I personally really loved the Mrs. Santa’s Cookies beer because it tasted just like a batch of cookies and the sugar rim was a nice touch! Definitely a cool spot if you are looking for something different and unique.
Undertow is one of my favorites because it is an intimate experience and I have never seen a space quite like it. It’s the only tiki bar where I have experienced a virtual porthole, where you see ships actually sailing around and fighting each other. It’s so cool! Some call Undertow a Speakeasy, since it’s hard to find. Located in the basement of a coffee shop, you would never know that it was even there if you weren’t looking. Overall, a trip to Phoenix wouldn’t be complete without this fun and festive experience!
Things to Do
Check Out the Art Scene
Unbeknownst to me, Phoenix has an emerging pop culture art scene that I had never heard about. There is actually a funky arts district that is laden with murals and fun galleries. This area is really fun to explore and the best part is that experiencing this street art is free!
Go On A Hike
Are you the outdoorsy type? If so, Phoenix is the place to go for a variety of terrains and desert vistas. You can find a list of great hikes to go to here. If you are looking for a really challenging trail, I highly recommend hiking Camelback Mountain. The trail is almost all uphill and will take you up stairs, over rock piles and steep terrain. The view from the top is breathtaking! If you are looking for something that isn’t too strenuous but still gets the blood pumping then I recommend Mormon Trail at South Mountain Park for those that want to break a sweat. It starts uphill and then levels out into a valley with beautiful rock formations. Along the way you get a chance to see a beautiful city view among tall cacti.
Check out the Fountain in Fountain Hills
The Fountain Hills fountain was once listed in the Guiness Book of World records for the worlds tallest fountain. Although it no longer holds that title, it is still a fun sight to see! The fountain goes off every 15 minutes between 9am – 9pm, 7 days a week. The column of water goes up to 330 feet high on regular days, but can go up to 560 feet high during special celebrations. Other than the fountain, the surrounding park provides a pleasant stroll and is very family friendly. There is even a music play area which can be fun for both children and adults. ** Family Friendly
Take a Day Trip to Sedona
Travel time: approx 2 hours
Sedona is a beautiful place, no matter which way you look you catch a glimpse at beautiful red spires, plateaus and outcroppings. You can drive through or stop for a hike at Red Rock State Park to see the natural beauty. Then head into town to catch a bite to eat and walk through some art gallery’s. It’s a perfect day trip getaway.