Day trip from (and tips for) Phoenix during NCAA championship weekend?
December 7, 2015 6:43 AM   Subscribe

Mr. Darling's dad won tickets to the NCAA football championship game in a charity auction last spring, so the three Darling men (FIL, husband and 15 y.o. son) will be travelling there Jan. 9-12. This will be son's first trip out west, so we'd love for him to see more than the hotel lobby.

Looking for ideas for a Sunday day-trip (either on their own in rental car or with a tour company) as well as suggestions for places to see/eat/go in Phoenix that might not be overrun with out-of-control football fans. Thanks and go __________ (your team's name here; we have no dog in this one)!
posted by Sweetie Darling to Travel & Transportation around Phoenix, AZ (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
When I went to the 06/07 championship game (grrrr), we stayed after the game and went to the Arizona Science Center. We drove through Sedona on the way out of town, and I wish we would have spent some time there. It wasn't a long drive.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:08 AM on December 7, 2015


Head south, about an hour and check out the Casa Grande Ruins, America's Stonehenge!

Another stop might be the Heard Museum.

If you're more up for an interesting drive, Montezuma's Well and Montezuma's Castle are pretty cool, then tool into Sedona and soak up the Vortex vibes. While there, check out the Red Rocks!

What sucks is that a LOT of great places to eat have folded. My go-to used to be Monte's La Casa Vieja, but alas, it is no more.

Poncho's at 7202 S. Central, in South Phoenix, our neighborhood Mexican joint is still there. It's dirt cheap and fantastic. I love the red chili, but everything is good. Check out the mural that memorializes President Clinton's visit for a plate of nachos.

Rustler's Rooste is an okay steakhouse, but it's got a great view and it's fun. It's the place that cuts off your necktie if you wear one.

Hope your menfolk have a wonderful time!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:09 AM on December 7, 2015

The Desert Botanical Gardens are incredible and in Phoenix.
posted by cyclopticgaze at 7:53 AM on December 7, 2015

Sedona, Prescott, Payson, and Flagstaff are within day-trip distances, assuming a long day. The Sonora desert southwest of Tucson seems a bit too far.

Superstition Mountains just southeast of Phoenix can be interesting. Lot of sprawl to drive through to get there, which can be said of anywhere in and around Phoenix.
posted by justcorbly at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Phoenix is surprisingly spread out. Like, the football stadium is in Phoenix, but it's 16 miles from downtown and surrounded by miles of generic sprawl.
posted by smackfu at 9:00 AM on December 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Nobody wants to stay in the hotel lobby on vacation! Unless you've got some fun things going on at your hotel.

You could make a day of it, if it's the right one. The Arizona Grand is a hotel in Phoenix with its own attractions. (It's also the home of The Rustler's Roost restaurant, previously mentioned) There's an on-site water park for your son (not your average hotel swimming pool) a golf course for the guys as well as a gigantic athletic club and spa that would take more than a Sunday to fully explore. It's a really expansive property based on a wilderness preserve so there's a lot of hiking and wildlife viewing.

Football fans do stay here but it isn't likely they'll be the rambunctious, obnoxious, tailgating variety.
posted by evcourtexaminer at 2:06 PM on December 17, 2015

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