Museum of the West
3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale
The wildness, grandeur, and folklore of the American West come alive at this museum in Old Town in dramatic temporary exhibits as well as through the permanent collection. Especially worth checking out: the massive display of Hopi ceramics; saddles, spurs, and boots from old mining towns (including artifacts from a saloon once co-owned by Wyatt Earp); and striking bronze sculptures of historical figures by the award-winning sculptor John Coleman. It's all impressive, but the exquisite abstract paintings of western America by Maynard Dixon, on view through August 2020, are especially worth seeing. We also loved the yearlong exhibit of works by female artists at the nearby Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
6316 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
The answer to "What do I order?" at Fat Ox is staring at you from the middle of the menu: twenty-five layer lasagna. Bolognese, thin house-made lasagna noodles, San Marzano tomatoes, whipped ricotta, and charred rapini make up the many layers, and they’re all made fresh every morning. While you're waiting for it, dig into a Caesar salad for two (they prepare it tableside) and the mozzarella with cara cara oranges. The other standout is a brick-grilled organic chicken that comes with creamy polenta and dripping with jus.
3815 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale
You'll be dreaming about this guacamole—handmade, right at your table—and the margaritas, which rival any you'll get in Baja. There’s a pozole that will melt your heart and tacos (mahi mahi, roasted butternut squash, or mole duck) on fresh, hand-pressed corn tortillas. It's all incredible, but get the roasted pork shoulder. Big enough for two, it's slow-cooked for twelve hours and comes out sticky and sweet, served with a habanero pineapple glaze.
Andaz Scottsdale Resort and Bungalows
6114 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
This property is so serene, you can almost hear the birds moving through the air. The hotel is made up of 185 private bungalows and suites that dot the walking paths weaving through the grounds. Each is outfitted with a private patio, huge bathrooms, mid-century modern furniture, and quirky sculptures, paintings, and ceramics by local Scottsdale artists from the nearby Cattle Track Arts Compound. There's lots to do right on the property: Have blue corn pancakes delivered to your bungalow and eat them on the patio overlooking Camelback Mountain. Head to a yoga class at the fitness center before getting a Himalayan salt stone massage at the spa. Sip margaritas by the pool, or take a nap on one of the property's several hammocks. At night, head to Weft & Warp, the on-site restaurant that serves, among other delicious things, a decadent, creamy scallop risotto and incredible desserts. Stay for the live music before melting into your oversize bed.
Page Spring Cellars
1500 N. Page Springs Rd., Sedona
About twenty minutes outside of Sedona is one of the most remarkable sights around: Arizona wine country. Known as Verde Valley, this unlikely wine terroir is rocky, full of clay, well over 3,000 feet in altitude, and increasingly considered a wine region of note. One of the first wineries in the region was Page Spring Cellars, which opened in 2004. It produces several varietals of red, white, and rosé—and is deeply committed to sustainable practices. These are clearly essential to the ethos of the winery, which also has a bistro café on-site and offers yoga and massage treatments. Bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, hit the tasting room, and buy the bottle you want to have with your picnic (plus a few more to bring home). The grounds are lovely, and exploring them is highly encouraged.
2245 AZ-89A, Sedona
Lisa Dahl has a handful of restaurants in Sedona—Mariposa, Dahl & DiLuca, and Cucina Rustica all deservedly get a lot of ink. But our favorite feather in her cap may be her less famous pizzeria. Pisa Lisa is more of a lunch joint than a fancy evening out. It’s loud and boisterous, and there are televisions mounted on the walls. But the pizza is all wood-fired and could easily rival the best in Italy. The melanzane parmigiana (homemade tomato sauce, grilled eggplant, and spicy peppers topped with Parmesan and fresh mozzarella) tastes like something you would have had as a kid in Naples, if you’d ever been a kid in Naples. There are salads, grilled panini, and plenty of antipasti to choose from, but the reason to come here is the pizza. Oh, wait. Did we mention the gelato bar?
700 AZ-89A, Sedona
An evening at Mariposa is like a tiny trip to southern South America. The menu, which favors sustainable, organic ingredients, is heavily influenced by chef Lisa Dahl’s travels to Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile. That translates to handmade empanadas (the portobello, poblano, and queso version is insanely good), shrimp ceviche, fresh fish, carne, carne, carne, and accents of mole or chimichurri sauce throughout. It’s all spectacular. We had to mention the menu first because if we started with the space, we might never have gotten around to the food. The restaurant is built on a rise over Sedona, and some smart person thought to make the windows as big as the walls. The view will blow your mind. Our advice: Go early, order as much as you can possibly eat, and stay until they kick you out. This is an evening to remember.
671 AZ-179 D, Sedona
Imagine comfort food, only more elegant. Now imagine eating that elegant comfort food in a beautiful dining room with a vaulted ceiling or, better yet, on the deck overlooking maybe all of Arizona. The view is so stunning that you might think it’s the star of the show. It’s not. Chef Jeff Storcz’s menu consists of unfussy, completely delicious crowd-pleasers. An evening might look like this: a glass of Riesling, salted soft pretzel bread with mustard, some form of bruschetta (there are many), and butternut squash ravioli with crispy sage. Or maybe the chicken pot pie? Oh, or the Hudson mushroom burger? No, no, definitely the ravioli. And chocolate peanut butter pie for dessert.
350 Jordan Road
Head to Elote Cafe about an hour before sunset. It’s inside the Arabella Hotel, but there’s nothing much worth checking out in the hotel, so go right to the café. Grab a table outside close to the firepit. Order the guacamole (it’s the perfect level of spicy) and a mezcal margarita, while you check out the menu. Chef Jeff Smedstad leans heavily on local, seasonal Southwestern and Mexican food. Charred green corn tamales, fish tacos—you really can’t go wrong. It’s the kind of food you should be eating in this environment. And when the evening starts to get chilly, wrap the blanket (it’s behind you, on the back of the chair) over your lap. Order another mezcal, lean back, and look up at the stars. This is what you came to Sedona for. (But be advised: The café doesn’t take reservations.)
Dahl & Di Luca
2321 AZ-89A, Sedona
Ask anyone what the best fancy restaurant in Sedona is and they will likely point you to Dahl & DiLuca (and if they don’t, they’ll probably suggest its sister restaurant, Mariposa). If you’re craving fine Italian, Dahl & DiLuca is the place to find it. This is Italian food by way of Sedona—many of the ingredients are organic and local to Arizona—but the architecture of the meal is classic Old Country. Arancini (fried risotto balls stuffed with peppers and cheese), something invitingly called the Wine Lovers Antipasto (Pecorino, cured meat, you can imagine the rest), insalata mista, gnocchi alla vodka, polenta con funghi…all the marquee players are here.