things to do
Things To Do
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Things To Do
Photo by Jill Richards, models provided by the Agency Arizona
Page Springs Vineyards & Cellars
Loving the Valley means seeing it in your rearview mirror from time to time – especially when the mercury hits triple digits. So in the spirit of sweet summer relief, we present seven weekend road trips to cooler Arizona climes, featuring every place to eat, drink, shop, discover and play from Friday to Sunday.
Cottonwood & Jerome
Grand Canyon North Rim
Nowhere else is rust so captivating. Sedona’s oxidized iron-tinted red rocks have attracted daytrippers, enlightenment seekers, hikers, bikers (both kinds), and world travelers for years. You’ve probably been there more than once, and probably been let down a few times by overhyped attractions and amenities that paled next to the geological grandeur. So we’ve distilled the sans pareil of Sedona into an easy weekend getaway calibrated to everyone from outdoor adventurers to shopaholics.
: Airport Loop Trail
After the drive to Sedona, you’ll be itching to stretch your legs and take in vermilion vistas. This 3.5-mile loop, which intersects Table Top Trail at roughly the halfway point, delivers a continuous dose of spice-colored scenery at sunset. (Bonus: The entire site is a vortex, so your exercise is worth double body-and-soul points, or something like that.) From the 89A, turn south onto Airport Road and park in the dirt lot on the left; the trailhead is about 100 yards southeast. (
: Elote Cafe
Mexican, local, organic, sustainable, award-winning, delectable…Elote Cafe (771 Hwy. 179, 928-203-0105,
) is requisite exquisite eating. Order the eponymous appetizer – fire-roasted corn smeared with spicy mayo, lime and cotija cheese – and the meltingly tender lamb adobo. A line frequently forms before the doors open at 5 p.m., but the wait passes quickly with a blood orange margarita on the patio.
Photo by Madison Kirkman
Mountain biking in Sedona
Depending on your appetite for adrenaline, an array of outdoor adventure awaits. Center Focus Experiences (928-567-8580,
) will get you face-to-cliff-face with the red rocks on an all-day rock climbing excursion suitable for novices. Up the vertical ante with Red Rock Helicopter Tours (two locations; 928-204-5939,
), which offers numerous flights, from 25 white-knuckle minutes at Secret Canyon ($129/person) to three hours zigzagging across Northern Arizona ($399). Free and no less beautiful, Devil’s Bridge trail is an easy 1.8-mile roundtrip ramble to a massive, natural sandstone arch – cross it if you dare. From the 89A in west Sedona, turn north onto Dry Creek Road. Go two miles to the fork and veer right; from there, the access road to the trailhead 1.3 miles away is for high-clearance vehicles only – trust us, a Hyundai Elantra will not make it.
: Oak Creek Brewery & Grill
Maybe Sedona’s water is the secret ingredient that lends Oak Creek Brewery’s award-winning ales their smooth flavor. Taste for yourself with a hop to Oak Creek Brewery & Grill in Tlaquepaque (336 Hwy. 179, 928-282-3300,
), where you can pair a spicy Nut Brown ale with upper-crust pub fare like pizza topped with gouda, fontina and brie.
More than a dozen vortexes, or swirling eddies of spiritual energy, are said to emanate from the earth around Sedona. Explore this metaphysical Disneyland with Sedona Vortex Tours (150 Hwy. 179, 800-943-3266,
). They’ll take you on a three-hour tour of two or three sites ($89/person) and teach you about medicine wheels, power points and ceremonial drumming.
Photo by Madison Kirkman
Dahl & Di Luca
: Dahl & Di Luca
Dahl & Di Luca’s (2321 Hwy. 89A, 928-282-5219,
) darkly romantic decor, pitch-perfect cocktails and nightly jazz pianist are the ideal salve after a day on the rocks. The farm-to-table food – from fresh pasta to veal saltimbocca – is certified organic and certifiably the best Italian in town.
Stargazing with Evening Sky Tours
You may glimpse heavenly bodies from time to time in the city, but they’re dim entertainments indeed compared to the celestial spread in Sedona, where this summer you can get ringside seats to a Saturn sighting. At 9 p.m., professional astronomers with Evening Sky Tours (928-853-9778,
) spend an hour and a half blowing your mind, astronomically speaking. Tickets cost $60 per adult, $35 per child older than 6.
You can’t throw a granola bar without hitting a bike trail in Sedona, so feel free to pedal it alone, or go guided with Sedona Bike & Bean (6020 Hwy. 179, 928-284-0210,
), where you can fuel up with a pre-jaunt java. They rent bikes starting at $25 for two hours and offer be-“spoke” tours, from a family-friendly spin to a straight-up insane thrill-ride for the hardcore enthusiast. For a more serene excursion, rise with the sun (literally) on a dawn float above Sedona with Red Rock Balloon Adventures ($195 per person; 105 Canyon Diablo Rd., 800-258-3754,
) culminating with a picnic.
Photos - From left: Red Rock Helicopter Tours • Oak Creek Brewery
: Wild Orchid
Painted fans adorn the walls, origami napkins deck the tables, and more than 60 Asian fusion dishes grace the Thai-focused menu with clean, fresh flavors that leave you light and satisfied. (2611 W. Hwy. 89A, 928-282-4422,
Photo by Madison Kirkman
Shopping, Art and Antiques
Start your sumptuous shopping spree at Tlaquepaque (336 Hwy. 179, 928-282-4838,
), a sycamore-shaded Spanish village-style plaza with vine-webbed walls, cobblestone paths and more than 40 art galleries and shops. Head north to uptown Sedona along the 89A between Jordan and Art Barn roads, where you’ll find a constellation of shops, galleries and cafés perfect for a Sunday meander. In the Sedona Center plaza, pick up an Original Red Dirt Shirt (as featured on Dirty Jobs) for the dudes in the family, or taste your way through Sedona Olive Oil Company (320 Hwy. 89A, 928-282-1887,
). Farther up the road, Sedona Arts Center (15 Art Barn Rd., 928-282-3865,
) features fine arts and frequent artist demonstrations.
Chapel of the Holy Cross
The Chapel of the Holy Cross (780 Chapel Rd., 928-282-4069,
) impresses pious believers and simple sightseers alike: The 250-foot-high rectangular Roman Catholic chapel looms over the mesa like a book sticking out from between the cushions in God’s couch. It’s open until 5 p.m. on Sundays, so hurry up and behold.
Where to Stay:
Sky Ranch Lodge
Sky Ranch Lodge (1105 Airport Rd., 928-282-6400,
) boasts the best view at the best price; for about $150 a night, you can nest on the 500-foot throne that is Airport Mesa. While not luxurious, the quaint property features frills like a garden bar, walking paths, a pool and a hot tub.
L’Auberge de Sedona
Surrender your inhibitions (and your credit card) to this sophisticated, sybaritic resort replete with private outdoor showers, creekside dining and alfresco couples massages. (301 L’Auberge Lane, 928-282-1661,
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