This article is a part of the 2024 Spring Travel Guide, a sponsored collection brought to you by our travel advertising partners. You can find more spring travel destinations and events here.

Let’s face it, the biggest of the big deal choices when planning a trip include these three things: lodging, activities, and food. A total miss on any of them can (and often will) turn your dream vacay into at best, a “meh” experience, and at worst an unhinged Yelp review.

Well, if you’re headed to Downtown Phoenix, there’s no need to worry. We have you covered. Bank on these choices for a flawless adventure in America’s fifth-largest city.

Where to Stay

Hotels and resorts…for these, Phoenix is an endless treasure trove. In an attempt to significantly narrow down the choices, here are two of our favorites. The only question is, are you more posh or panache?

Arizona Biltmore

With an eye-popping design influenced by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, The Arizona Biltmore boasts a dazzling legacy 95 years in the making. Once a private retreat for some of the most influential celebrities and dignitaries of all time, it now pampers and delights us commonfolk as well. In 2020, a $100 million renovation meticulously restored (and reinvented) the property, flawlessly accentuating its original mid-century grandeur. A few minutes here and you’ll almost expect to see Marilyn at the pool and Sinatra at the bar.

Egyptian Motor Hotel

If the name has you thinking spring mattresses and coin-operated vibrating beds, think again (though that was likely the case when it opened in 1954). But following new ownership and an overhaul that kept the spirit of the era, all 49 rooms at the Egyptian Motor Hotel have now been turned into retro-modern crash pads with mid-century furnishings and vibrant decor that’s a serious blast from the past. And heads up foodies: Chilte, the hotel’s highly lauded food pop-up turned must-try restaurant was named “One of the Best New Restaurants of 2023” by Bon Appétit, and also landed on Esquire Magazine’s“Best New Restaurant” list. There’s even a 250 seat outdoor cocktail bar where you can imbibe on inventive bevvies while enjoying live entertainment that spotlights local artists. All of that and outdoor games. It’s a gas!

Where to Eat

As evidenced by the aforementioned Chilte, Phoenix has a well-earned reputation for outstanding Mexican fare. But that’s not ALL we offer here. (Seriously, Arizona invented a James Beard Award-winning hot dog.) So, pull up a chair and get ready to pig out.

Pizzeria Bianco

If you’re a foodie and have never heard of Pizzeria Bianco, you must be living under a woodfired pizza oven. Owner Chris Bianco won a James Beard award for Best Chef in 2003 and in 2005 Pizzeria Bianco was declared the Best Pizza in America. It has received similar accolades from the Food Network, The New York Times, Gourmet, Martha Stewart Living, and Vogue.

The downside to all this amazingness? The wait for a table can span hours and they don’t take reservations. If that happens, don’t wallow in pizza pity. Instead, head over to nearby Que Sazon South American Cuisine & Ceviche Bar, a family-owned eatery that masterfully serves up authentic flavors inspired by the rich culinary traditions of Latin America.

Fry Bread House

Fry Bread House

In 1992, Tohono O’odham native Cecilia Miller opened her tiny, two-room Fry Bread restaurant in a Phoenix strip mall simply because she was tired of having no public restaurant for Native American people to gather and eat as they would at home. Twenty years later, she won a James Beard Award. Today, people flock to the Fry Bread House for unforgettable dishes like Red Chili Beef, tamales, posole, hand-stretched flour tortillas (chumuth), and sweet fry bread.

What to Do

With 300+ days of sunshine every year, there is zero excuse to not get outside and explore Downtown Phoenix. Nearly endless activities abound (think outdoor adventure, golf, and more), but we have chosen a few for you culture lovers. The first one is coming right up so hop on that trip planning.

Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair and Market

Dedicated to the advancement of American Indian art, The Heard Museum connects Indigenous creativity to the world by presenting the voice and vision of American Indian artists. March 2-4, 2024, you can enjoy the Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market, one of the largest American Indian art markets in the world. Every year it draws nearly 15,000 visitors and features more than 600 artists.

Japanese Friendship Garden

A Japanese garden in the middle of Phoenix? That’s bonsai! Known as RoHoEn, the Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix is an authentic 3.5-acre Japanese Stroll Garden established as a sister city project between Phoenix and Himeji, Japan. This tranquil setting showcases more than 1,500 tons of hand-picked rock, stone footbridges, lanterns, and more than 50 varieties of plants. The grounds feature flowing streams, a 12-foot waterfall, and a Koi pond with 300 vibrant Koi fish. Exhale.

From fun to funky to fab, Phoenix has it all. Now’s the time to go downtown in the desert.

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