I am so ready to get out and explore, even if it is in my backyard in the heat of the summer. In June, with the mercury rising above triple digits, we still have it pretty good in our beautiful Valley of the Sun. Think about it… our weather is delightfully predictable: sunny and hot! No need to worry about rain (unless we are lucky and have a good monsoon season), just maybe the occasional dust storm.
So, what are you waiting for? I have created a list below that would be my ideal day featuring various things to do in Phoenix this summer… who wants to join me? xoM
5 a.m. Hike in Phoenix Mountain Preserve. I know 5 a.m. sounds early, but in the summer when temps heat up to 90 degrees by 7, hitting the trails early is the key to staying cool.
The Phoenix Mountain Preserve offers approximately 80 moderate trails ranging in length from 1 mile to 16. I like to park near the Piestewa Peak area and take a 3-mile loop trail which takes about an hour. The views of downtown Phoenix and environs are spectacular.
7 a.m. Breakfast at The Chestnut at The Vintage. Offering a casual, farm-to-table experience, Chestnut’s menu tends to focus on health, but there is something for everyone.
I have recently become obsessed with the Morning Bibimbap Bowl, two poached eggs over quinoa and sautéed kale in a tangy Sriracha sauce. Add an Almond Lavender Latté and one of their fresh squeezed juices, and you have a recipe for a perfect morning meal. Unless, of course, you wanted something stronger, like a mimosa. Luckily, Chestnut offers a full bar all day till 9 p.m.
9 a.m. Massage at The Sanctuary. While there are many incredible spas in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, I prefer the smaller, more relaxed vibe of the spa at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort.
Twelve treatment rooms are scattered around a Zen meditation garden. The more intimate size usually discourages bachelorette parties and the like, so you are guaranteed a truly quiet experience that a massage should be. Try the 60-minute Lymphatic massage to help eliminate the buildup of toxins in the body.
11 a.m. Phoenix Art Museum. Located in downtown Phoenix on Central Avenue due north of McDowell Street, the Phoenix Art Museum is considered the finest art museum in the southwestern U.S.
While there are many wonderful exhibits, I would buy a ticket to Fashion Subversives, an exhibition with over 40 pieces from designers who broke the acceptable norms, like Yves St. Laurent, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Balenciaga. Learn about the history of denim, the tailored tuxedo suit for women, and Chanel’s little black dress. Fashion Subversives runs through November 8th. Buy your ticket here.
1 p.m. Lunch at Pizzeria Bianco, Heritage Square. Every Phoenician should know about Heritage Square, the group of buildings constituting the only remaining structures of the original city of Phoenix built between 1891 and 1923.
After a tour of the Rosson House museum, enjoy lunch at Pizzeria Bianco, where James Beard Award-winning Chef Chris Bianco’s pizza and bread making techniques are famous throughout the world. If you are not ordering pizza, I would recommend the Farmer’s Market Salad and the Fresh Mozzarella Market Vegetable Sandwich. Eat while you ponder how far we have come as a city over the last 100 years.
If you’re looking for more ways to escape the afternoon heat in Phoenix, here’s a list of great lunch spots from the Dine Like a Local contest.
3 p.m. This is the toughest time of day in the summer in Phoenix as it is the hottest. But resist the temptation to go home and nap and instead drive north up the 51 to the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), one of the world’s largest global instrument museums.
With over 8,000 musical instruments from over 200 countries on display, the MIM offers an incredibly fun and interactive museum going experience. Tickets can be purchased online here or in person.
6 p.m. Cocktails at the Wrigley Mansion. For the best sunsets in town, head to Wrigley Mansion. The mansion is the former private residence of chewing gum personality, William Wrigley, Jr. and was built in 1932 as a 50th anniversary gift to Wrigley’s wife. The mansion is a Phoenix “Point of Pride” and operates as a restaurant, bar, and special event venue.
Order a drink from Jamie’s Bar or the main bar, and explore some appetizers created by another James Beard award-winner, Chef Christopher Gross. Due to city regulations, the property must maintain private club status. But memberships are very reasonable, starting at $5. **The sun sets about 7:30 in the summer. **
9 p.m. Late Dinner at Tarbell’s. Chef Mark Tarbell opened Tarbell’s in 1994 and, for the last 27 years, Tarbell’s has been the place to be seen in this town. Getting a reservation at 7 p.m. is hard to come by, but that is ok because I prefer to wait until closer to 9 when I have a little more elbow room.
Nothing beats capping off a day sitting in a booth with a glass of Burgundy and sharing a steak tartare with some pommes frîtes. Bonne nuit!
This was so much fun! I think I will make this a regular thing! Please drop me a line in the comment box to let me know what more you would like to see or if you have any other ideas for things to do in Phoenix this summer.