North Scottsdale is a superb spot for an Arizona staycation. The upscale city has much to offer in dining, shopping, culture, and outdoor activities.
If you're looking for a luxury resort with plentiful family activities, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa will not disappoint.
Choose a traditional guest room or a more spacious casita, depending on the size of your family.
When you check-in, you can head over to The Mining Co (aka "the department of fun") to pick up a weekly activity guide and a compass for an on-property scavenger hunt. Kids can walk the property to get stamps on their compass. Every location visited will earn your child a (super cute) pin to attach to their lanyard. A definite highlight for our three girls (ages 4, 7, 9).
The well-designed pool area includes a 110-foot waterslide, a 900-foot lazy river, and a super nice shallow area with beach entry (plenty of spaces that are under 3 feet for wading with small children). Check the schedule for fun poolside games - like a Dive Stick Contest or Cannonball Contest (with prizes!). There is also an adults-only lap pool if you are looking for a quieter retreat or a place to get in a bit of exercise despite the high temps.
This summer, you can beat the heat with the Westin Kierland's BIG CHILL activities on select weekends - including Summer Snow (have a snowball fight in 100+ degrees!), Splish Splash (5 giant water inflatables on a grass lawn), and Complimentary S'mores (on Fridays & Saturdays). For an additional fee, you can also try your hand at boogie boarding and/or surfing in the simulated FlowRider. Half-hour and hour long sessions are available.
At night, don't miss the patriotic Paintscaping Light Show. Projected on to the side of the building, the 3D show is twenty minutes long and set to music.
Other on-site activities include a sprawling golf course, tennis courts, an oversized chess board, ping pong, fitness center, snakes to view in the lobby, and a basketball court.
One wonderful amenity that The Westin Kierland offers is a complimentary shuttle to Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter - a delightful shopping and dining area adjacent to the resort. When the weather is nice, you can stroll over easily...but rest assured that the shuttle is air-conditioned and lightning-fast. We used the shuttle twice during our weekend stay and never waited longer than 5 minutes.
Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter really blend together so you'll probably barely notice when you crossover between them. The stores are decidedly upscale and you'll find top brands like Pottery Barn (and Pottery Barn Kids!), 7 For All Mankind, Chico's, Apple, and more. Even if you don't have anything on your shopping list, the tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly streets are pleasant for strolling - even in warm weather.
The restaurant scene is also top-notch. There are countless options with excellent streetside cuisine! See below for two eateries we highly recommend.
Although not exclusive to the Scottsdale area, you can't go wrong with a meal at P.F. Chang's. The Chinese restaurant is one of our favorites - in large part because of the fact that they hire chefs (not kitchen managers) and use local ingredients. Menu items are made-from-scratch using a wok-style of cooking that is almost 2,000 years old.
You may not know that each P.F. Chang's offers unique local dishes in addition to national favorites.
If you've never been in the doors, you absolutely must order Chang's Chicken Lettuce Wraps ($9.25) as an appetizer. Not to bully you in to a good experience, but the lettuce wraps are so good, you may want to enjoy them as your main entree.
Exclusive to the Kierland location are the Sriracha Chicken Wontons ($7.95) - which offer the perfect combination of hot, creamy, and crunchy. Everyone at the table will gobble them up...including kids!
For dessert, try out the Vietnamese Chocolate Lava Cake ($7.50), a molten chocolate and coffee cake, served with vanilla bean ice cream.
Speaking of children, Pei Wei offers one of the best children's menus around. No macaroni & cheese or burgers to be found! Can I get a cheer? Almost all kids will enjoy the taste of lo mein ($4.95) and/or fried rice ($4.50). Served with a beverage and choice of side.
For date night or girls' night out, you will love the social, upscale atmosphere of The Greene House - a Fox Restaurant (same owners who bring you the very popular Zinburger, Sauce, North, True Food Kitchen, and more).
The breezy, light-infused space inspires conversation and is perfect for a leisurely meal. Look around and you'll notice that many of the patrons are enjoying a glass of fine wine or an expertly mixed cocktail.
The best thing about Greene House is that you really can't go wrong with your order. Everything is made in-house with love. Don't be afraid to try something that a bit out-of-the-ordinary. Case-in-point? The Sweet Corn Agnolotti ($17) is a true winner - your tastebuds will approve of the bacon, parmesan, and basil.
All five members of our family agreed, however, that the melt-in-your-mouth Braised Short Rib ($26) took top honors. The perfectly seasoned meat falls off the fork and is accompanied by rich smoked cheddar grits.
If you're walking around the commons after dark, don't hesitate to stop in for dessert. The Chocolate Mocha Bars ($7) are to-die-for - a decadent combination of praline and dark chocolate with vanilla bean gelato on the side. The Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta (strawberry shortcake themed; also $7) is also a smart pick for summer.
Although there is no children's menu, your server should be able to give you a "verbal" menu with classics. Or you can order off the regular menu - the Grilled Chicken Club ($13), Fresh Pasta ($14), or Kobe Burger ($15) will likely please even the pickiest eaters.
The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa is an outstanding spot for a staycation at any time of the year. You'll get the best rates during the summer months (due to the scorching weather), but the property is positively heavenly between October and March.
Stay tuned (and Follow TucsonTopia on Instagram) for future posts about other staycation options that are drivable from Tucson. Road trips make for fun memories without the steep cost of airline tickets!
What are your favorite things to do in North Scottsdale and/or at Westin Kierland Resort & Spa?