Zenni City Guide: Phoenix, AZ

phoenix city guide

The Zenni Street Style Team made steady progress across the Western U.S. and after a successful stop in Colorado, we found ourselves in Phoenix, Arizona. From downtown Phoenix and Arcadia to Scottsdale and Tempe, we roamed this sprawling desert city to bring you our highlights in our second installment of Zenni’s City Guides. So if you’re looking for where to stay in Phoenix, what to do, where to eat, or perhaps an adventure of your own, look no further! We’ve got you covered and don’t forget to bring those Zenni shades–it gets hot under the desert sun!

Where to Stay in Phoenix

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For authentic Arizona charm with the elegant touches of a Spanish hacienda, check into The Hermosa Inn. Built in the 1930s, this boutique property is nestled in the quiet enclave of Paradise Valley, a private neighborhood next to Scottsdale. With lush grounds covering six sprawling acres of Sonoran desert, an incredible backdrop of the Camelback mountains, and a fantastic on-site restaurant, you won’t want to leave this desert hideaway!

While the hotel offers 34 hacienda-style rooms, splurge on a ‘deluxe’ casita room if you can. Their private patios, in-room fireplaces, retractable skylights, and old-fashioned clawfoot soaking tubs, make this option a no brainer. Zenni insider tip: check out the hotel’s website for online deals. You can find great specials if you book direct such as getting a night’s stay for free.

If you end up staying at The Hermosa Inn or dining at their restaurant, Lon’s, be sure to take a private tour of library and the wine cellar. As you descend down a secret staircase behind a locked gate, you’ll enter a cavernous wine-filled space. Temperatures drop drastically and you’ll be instantly transported back in time.

Where to Eat

Wondering where to eat in Phoenix? In a sprawling city filled with so many choices, we made it our mission to find cool local spots and neighborhood eateries that give the city its character and charm.

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When you think of restaurants in Phoenix, your first thought might not be a hidden neighborhood gem located in the historic Coronado district. However on an unassuming block in central Phoenix, lined with quaint homes, lies Tuck Shop. This mid-century modern style restaurant, complete with vintage 1960s living room and signature gin martinis, serves up gourmet versions of unpretentious, American comfort food. Highlights include the chicken and waffles, Pine Arizona spiced steak, and mac and cheese. With its relaxed atmosphere, local charm, and delicious offerings, Tuck Shop is the place to go for the real-deal Phoenix vibe.

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The Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix is home to a number of hip bars, businesses, and restaurants. This vibrant and thriving neighborhood community began its transition to cool with the addition of local haunts such as the original Postino wine cafe. With its can’t-miss yellow exterior, funky artwork (we tried to go home with a David Bowie painting), and shaded outdoor patio, by the time happy hour rolls around on any given day, Postino is the place to be! Housed in Arcadia’s restored 1950s-era post office building, this delightfully, colorful open-air space features Italian eats, small plates, and one amazing wine list. Locally grown, rustic fare – think bruschetta, paninis, and fresh seasonal salads – paired with a Spanish Tempranillo or Argentinean Malbec makes this spot a definitive winner.

Where to Drink

Due to the high desert temperatures, Phoenix is a city that comes to life after dark. Once the sun sets and it finally begins to cool down, the bars heat up. From local dives and campus bars to the glitzy Scottsdale scene, we checked some of the city’s hippest watering holes.

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For a fun escape with a nod to tropical nostalgia, head over to Arcadia to check out Under Tow. Inspired by tiki bars that were once popular in Arizona circa the ’50s and ’60s, Under Tow is a throwback to a different time. Part clipper ship, part Polynesian dream, this underground bar located underneath Sip Coffee will transport you into a different world. Enjoy tiki-inspired drinks, such as the Dutchman’s Demise or the Smoking Cannon, and Asian-themed bites. You won’t be disappointed. This one is on our can’t miss list.

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In downtown Phoenix, inside the historic 1920s-era Luhrs building, resides Bitter & Twisted cocktail bar. This stylish haunt was once home to Arizona’s Prohibition Department, so naturally it would make sense they now serve up some of the city’s best collection of craft cocktails. With five types of house-made ice, a 34-page cocktail menu, and drinks like the Deadman Oaxacan, you won’t run out of options to choose from at this elegant lounge. Enjoy handcrafted bites by Hong Kong-born chef, Bob Tam (we recommended the pork belly buns), as you drink the night away.

What to Do in Phoenix

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If you’re a sports fan, you’ll know that baseball’s Spring Training is a classic American tradition and a great family-friendly outing. Since 1947, Arizona has been the home to some of Major League baseball’s top teams such as the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the pre-season, baseball lovers can enjoy America’s pastime in and around the Phoenix area. Take advantage of this opportunity on your next spring trip to Phoenix.

Nature lover? Check out the gorgeous desert landscape and hike one of the scenic trails at Camelback Mountain. Conveniently located in between Arcadia and Paradise Valley (basically smack dab in the middle of Phoenix), this mountain range is famous for its rock climbing, red sandstone formations, and incredible sunsets. And if a strenuous hike isn’t your thing, Camelback makes for an equally great photo opp from afar. We recommend the Praying Monk, a 100-ft tall rock formation, which is a Phoenix landmark.

Seeking culture and artistic inspiration? You’re in luck! Phoenix has a variety of museums to choose from featuring a range of interesting topics. And what better way to cool down from the high desert heat than spending some time in an air conditioned room soaking in some culture? From the renowned Heard Museum, where the focus is on American Indian art and history, to the Phoenix Art Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of pieces including works by Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, and Georgia O’Keeffe. Zenni travel tip: they also showcase high-fashion exhibitions at the Arizona Costume Institute located inside the museum if couture is your thing.

Got time? Take a day trip to Sedona. The drive is around two hours each way and well worth it. Sedona’s rock formations are legendary and breathtaking. Once there, you can hike to Cathedral Rock, explore the local galleries, relax at a spa, and zen out. Keep posted for our upcoming blog on our latest road trip to Sedona!

What are your go-to spots in Phoenix? Tell us all about them in the comments below!

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