Phoenix, Arizona Vacation

Well friends, we just got back from our first trip of 2022 to Phoenix Arizona. We escaped the Iowa weather for four days and it was amazing! 

 Am I the only person that is an overthinker when it comes to booking a vacation? No? Good! I remember those days where I would travel and just wing it and then…. I became a mom! I love to travel. What I love more is to see places through my son’s eyes. There is just something special about watching your child explore new places and take in their surroundings. My husband and I love to take our son out and often our family says, “You guys never stay home” which is true because we love to explore! Other times people tell us, “He isn’t going to remember those trips” and those people are totally missing the point of taking a vacation. We decided to go on vacation to create memories of new places and new adventures together. 

Anyways, when planning a trip the most important part is; is it toddler friendly? Phoenix Arizona sure is toddler friendly! There are tons of parks, museums, legoland, amusement parks, water parks, zoos, wildlife parks, etc. So many fun places for the whole family! I am going to be talking about toddler attractions specifically since Julian is 2 years old and what we did on our trip. 

Here is where my brain takes me when planning a trip: 

-Is the hotel/Airbnb/VRBO toddler friendly? 

-What restaurants are nearby?

-What toddler attractions are there? 

-Is the weather ideal for a toddler? 

If all yes then it’s a no brainer! I didn’t realize how much there is to do in Phoenix until I googled it. I feel like it’s kind of an underrated destination. Here is why we chose Phoenix; well first we have thought about moving there for my husband’s job so we want to see if we actually like it. Also, the weather is great right now (it was mid 80s for two days and 70 for two days). Lastly, there are TONS of things to do in the Phoenix area but also tons to do in the surrounding areas like Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, Tempe. We had a blast! I also feel like it is budget friendly. For reference we are spending $3000 for a 4 day trip for a family of 3 (includes flights, hotel, rental car, and spending money). 

I actually did some shopping for our trip because I realized a couple things- 1. I have hardly any summer clothes and 2. Julian has absolutely no shorts. So Pro tip: make sure you have clothes for the weather before you leave! 

This is what our packing list looked like:

-5 pairs of socks

-6 pairs of underwear

-pajamas

-1 sweatshirt

-1 long sleeve shirt

-1 pair of pants (2 for Julian)

-4 pairs of shorts

-6 short sleeve shirts

-1 dress for me

-1 dressy outfit for everyone

-2 workout outfits for me

-3 swimsuits

If I could change the way I packed for this trip I would bring a few casual outfits for myself in place of dressier outfits. 

Where do I book vacations: 

Personally, I prefer to book a vacation package with Travelocity. You may be skeptical of third parties, but honestly this is the second trip we have booked with Travelocity and it is way easier and there is no sketchiness involved. The hotel we decided to stay at is right downtown. There are many hotel options depending on your budget. There are also many great Airbnb options. It was super convenient staying downtown and I’ll get into why a little later. 

Children’s activities that I recommend: 

Phoenix: 

Children’s Museum of Phoenix

Whenever we travel we always try to find a children’s museum. Let me just say this museum is AMAZING. It is three floors of non-stop fun and it is very reasonably priced. This was within walking distance from our hotel!

Scottsdale: 

McCormick Stillmand Railroad Park

You guys, this park is a child’s dream. There are two free museums on the park grounds. There is a carousel and train that are both $3 to ride and there is a huge playground area. There is also tons of green space. A must in Scottsdale!

-Chapparal Park

This also has tons of green space, a pool when it is hot enough outside, and a park for the kiddos

These are the only 3 areas that we went for Julian specifically but he purely enjoyed everything else we did. 

We look up everything in advance so we know what we could possibly do and then just go with the flow when we get there. My son still takes a nap midday so our day may look a bit different than if you were to travel. Also, it is March so it is not the hot season in Arizona. The average temperature is 70-80 degrees. What we prefer is to google activities and then instagram places to eat. We research #phoenixeats #phoenixfoodie and go from there to see the best restaurants. Which leads me to places I recommend eating!

Some things we will definitely do again or next time we travel: 

-Legoland

-More parks or splash pads

-Enchanted Island Amusement Park

-Children’s Museum 

-DT Phoenix Churchill

-DT Gilbert

-DT Phoenix Farmers Market

Additional things we did: 

Farmer’s Markets

-Lots of walking around and just enjoying the outdoors

-Tons of eating

-lots of swimming

Places I recommend eating: 

We are huge foodies! Well my husband is a huge foodie and I just adapted into that. 

Breakfast: Morning Squeeze, Cartel Coffee, Jojo’s Coffeehouse (Scottsdale)

Lunch: Ramen Kagawa, Hot Bamboo

Dinner: Blanco Tacos + Tequila, Casa Filipina Bakeshop and Restaurant

Dessert: Meet Fresh (Chandler) 

-Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market 

-Uptown Farmers Market

-Gilbert Food Truck Feastival

These are all the places we ate and I will recommend all of them to everyone who travels. Morning Squeeze, Cartel Coffee, Blanco Tacos + Tequila, Ramen Kagawa, and The DT Phoenix Farmers Market were all within walking distance of our hotel. There are SOOOO many other restaurants within walking distance as well. I highly recommend just walking around downtown and scouting out what there is to eat because there are so many options. 

Things I had to buy prior to traveling from Amazon:

Sunglasses- so cheap and cute

Water shoes or crocs

Sunscreen 

Stroller bag

I highly recommend getting a stroller or car seat bag if you are taking either because the bag was so beat up from the plane ride that we actually threw it away and I couldn’t imagine taking the stroller without the bag. 

Take it from me that Phoenix and surrounding areas are definitely worth the visit. The days went by so fast and we were back to the hotel about 7:00 every night for Julian to go to bed. We really enjoyed the downtown and Scottsdale areas. Staying downtown is definitely worth it for the convenience and we have many good things to say about the Hyatt Regency Hotel! I hope this helps you plan your next trip to Phoenix Arizona! We can’t wait to go back!

Happy Traveling!

XO Kristi

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