Send us on a fun mini-trip based out of Phoenix
December 3, 2012 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Where should we go after a week in the Phoenix area?

Us: A mid-twenties lady and her boyfriend visiting her dad in Phoenix (technically outside of the city center, more towards Chandler) for 5-6 days in mid-January, staying in his home and catching up and hanging out.

What we're seeking: A mini vacation after the time spent in his house. Could be within driving distance, maybe even a short flight away. I've done Sedona, Taliesin West, Jerome, he's done the Grand Canyon recently.

What we like: Neither of us are particularly outdoorsy, but we're not opposed to outdoor things. More like a hot springs day trip, less like a serious hiking stint. We like great food and are kind of on the lazy/indulgent side when vacationing, to be honest, so wherever we go we'd probably like a decent hotel with a cushy bed. We both need quiet recharging time after being out for a while. We're both on the nerdy side, but are plenty social. We like beer, books, video games, music, and relaxing together.

Recent successful trip synopses: Atlantic City, stayed in a nice hotel, slept in, ate at great restaurants, gambled a bit, walked the boardwalk, got dressed up, stayed up late. Philadelphia, stayed in a nice hotel, visited a lot of local foodie destinations (Reading Terminal Market! YES!), walked around a bit.

Places that came to mind are Mexico, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Denver? Tucson? More local to Phoenix is fine by me, I just don't really know what's out there that would be fun for us. Budget is a concern, but with the money we'll save by staying with my dad for a few days, we can probably swing a decent trip.

I'm guessing our mini-trip will be January 17th-20th, 2013, or thereabouts.

Where would you go? Where shall we go?
posted by rachaelfaith to Travel & Transportation around Phoenix, AZ (9 answers total)
Palm Springs! 3 hour drive from Phoenix, and a great place to veg out and drink in a swimming pool. Maybe the Ace Hotel?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 4:37 PM on December 3, 2012

Cushy with good food, you say? Stay at Bear Mountain Lodge in Silver City, NM. Silver City is a real gem with a funky downtown and a ton of good restaurants (Curious Kumquat and Cafe Jalisco come to mind). Be sure and take the route that goes through Safford though, the section that goes from Surprise to Globe is particularly scenic.

Bisbee, AZ is very similar in that it's an old mining town that's been taken over by artists and retirees. If I had to chose between them, I would pick Silver City by a nose. Bisbee has more old west ambiance, being close to Tombstone and all, but Bear Mountain Lodge is an AMAZING place to stay and Silver City has a slightly better restaurant selection.
posted by TungstenChef at 4:59 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

San Diego, Vegas, or Puerto Penasco, MX.

Skip Tucson.
posted by Exchequer at 8:36 PM on December 3, 2012

Seconding Bisbee. Funky old mining town that is a nice quiet hideaway.

Vegas is an easy drive, especially with the new bridge. Stop by and see the Hoover Dam while you're there. Being comfortable walking shoes; you'll be walking a LOT more than you think there. There's a ton to see and do there.

I live in Tucson. January is when tourist season really ramps up here. The weather is perfect. But event-wise, there isn't any huge draw during that time. You can always come down and try the best Mexican food available! We have the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum here, which is worth the trip if you're out this way. We also have the Pima Air and Space Museum if you or he is so inclined. Really, though, the weather is the draw here more than anything else. It is a beautiful place, especially when the weather is good.

San Diego is a nice trip, although it works better in the summer. We like to go, hang out around Mission Beach in the sand, ride the old wooden roller coaster, and get food from the little taco shop by the beach there.

Last, but not least - if you're willing to brave the cold, Santa Fe has lots of little luxuries to offer, and fantastic food. Casa de la Cuma B&B is a bit on the expensive side ($150-200 per night, although you could spend a lot more in SF) but it is one of the few places that I would say is worth that kind of money. We splurged on a couple of nights there, and it was just fantastic. Plushest beds we've ever slept in, great hosts, and stellar breakfasts. It's only a five minute walk to the Plaza and art galleries. (We left our car parked for the whole time we were there; it was awesome to do that.) If that's a little too pricey, there's a lot of decent room rates in SF that time of year because it isn't peak season.

Good luck! If for whatever strange reason you pick Tucson and need pointers, hit me up at my mefi user name at the gmail.
posted by azpenguin at 8:50 PM on December 3, 2012

Oh, don't hate on Tucson! I recommend staying at a nice resort/spa in the Catalina Foothills for a few days. From there you can do short day trips to Mt. Lemmon, the Saguaro National Park (go to the one on the East side of town), Kartchner Caverns, the Chiricahuas, and Bisbee. No major hiking is required at any of these destinations and there will be plenty of places to stop and take in the beautiful vistas or kick back and read. The Wings over Willcox Birding & Nature Festival coincides with your travel dates, if that's your kind of thing. If none of the day trips appeal to you, just stay in Tucson, visit a micro brewery, browse through a bookstore or two, and enjoy the weather.

If you want to take a trip to Mexico, Rocky Point (Puerto PeƱasco) is only a 4 hour drive from Chandler. I have friends who just returned from a 4 day stay in a condo on the beach for $89 per night (Groupon).
posted by kbar1 at 10:25 PM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]

Taliesin West! Frank Lloyd Wright's Arizona compound is worth a morning, there is an informaative tour, and you will be amazed at his influence on modern architecture.
posted by citygirl at 5:42 AM on December 4, 2012

Peyson, Prescot used to be nice.

I'd still go to Sedona for the rest and relaxation part. Or head out to Carefree, or a resort like The Pointe.

Why go anywhere?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:49 AM on December 4, 2012

Seconding Silver City for a real out of the way vacation you can tell people about that no one else has been on. Make sure you go see Gila Hot springs and Cliff Dwellings. Supposedly the birth place of Geronimo. Lots of old ghost towns and the VLA. After that you can go to Albuquerque and Santa Fe for more metropolitan offerings.

I would rent a car. It is a half day drive to Silver city and if the weather is good you can go through the Mogollon Rim Country of Globe, Safford and lordsburg on your way to silver city. Stay a day or two than a day drive to Albuquerque (if you stop and sight see at VLA and some other stops along the way) or a half day. A day or two there-ride the tramway, go to the zoo, eat at Sadies and than on to Santa Fe (covered upthread). BTW New Mexico (albuquerque in particular has the best restaurants in the world if you like spicy mexican food).

none of this requires much hiking, mostly walking from parking lots to attractions and everywhere will have hotels/resorts available. Some of them will be rustic but that is part of their Charm. However if the weather is bad in the southwest while you are making your trip (and it can great really bad in Janaury) you want to stay in the big cities. There are lots of long, lonely highways in that part of the world and stranded in a blizzard there can kill you-although most likely a nice man/family in a pickup will stop and help you out-true story).
posted by bartonlong at 10:41 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all of the input, everyone. We decided to go to Seattle, out of the blue, and extend the trip by a day to have 5 full days there. We leave Thursday. :)
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:34 PM on January 7, 2013

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