Now to start, I’ll say that we only really had thirty-six hours in Sedona. We wanted to get a feel for what the city had to offer, and it certainly did not disappoint. Sedona is perfect for a weekend getaway. It’s actually pretty romantic (and I don’t think I feel that way only because Oliver stayed with his grandparents for the weekend).
(and traveling with Pokémon Go: yes, you read that right)
I’m only mildly embarrassed to say that both the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village and the Sedona Cultural Park Trailhead that we walked were both found by using Pokémon Go. Adam loves to use it when we travel, and generally, where there are a bunch of Pokémon and incentives on the map within the app, there are really cool local places to visit.
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
Adam and I found this the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village after eating at Creekside American Bistro. My parents hopped in their car and left, and we wanted to walk around for a bit. You could easily spend four hours in this village.
There is a chapel at the center and plenty of courtyards. The large water fountains and Talavera tile (a form of Mexican tile) make it the perfect place to sit and sip some tea while visiting with your travel partners, or in my case, Adam.
We found the most to-die-for kitchen shop called The Artist’s Kitchen Shop. It was basically a Sur La Table meets Anthropologie meets Etsy store. I mean—I really wanted everything in the store. I did get in trouble for taking pictures; otherwise, I would have taken a million more.
We visited several art stores, as well as a jewelry store, and a toy store.
The Tlaquepaque Toy Town was darling and had a lot of specialty toys that are hard to find. All of the toys are eco-friendly and non-toxic. The store also had a lot of toys out so kids could play with them, as well as sample them. There is nothing worse than buying a toy for your kid only for them to hate it once it’s out of the package…I wanted to buy everything in the store for Oliver. It took a lot of self-restraint to walk out with nothing.
If you are bringing your kids on this trip, I think to eat in this village and then letting them run around the village and visit the toy shop would be the way to do it.
Honorable mention: Sedona Kid Company
While we did not make it over there, we had several people recommend going to the Sedona Kid Company, which is also supposed to be an adorable toy store filled with great souvenirs and an interactive play area.
Sedona Cultural Park Trailhead
We found the Sedona Cultural Park Trailhead, again, thanks to Pokemon. It was a two and a half minute walk from our hotel. It was a total gem of a find. We walked up the road and the trailhead gives you this stunning panoramic view. (Note: you can take either the Girdner Trail or the Centennial Trail–we opted for the Centennial Trail as it was shorter)
Because I wasn’t expecting to find an incredible trail, I did this very short (two miles at most—and that’s liberal) trail walk in flip flops. That’s how easy this is. You could definitely take a child or even toddler in a stroller. It’s flat, so if you wanted little kids or elderly to walk, it wouldn’t be difficult. There are little markers all along the trail that tell you the different types of plants you’re seeing and maps out which mountains and rocks you’re looking at. It was a ton of fun.
I was told that there are plenty of other trails like this all around Sedona. Honestly, I would just ask your hotel where the closest trails are. No matter where you go in the city, you get a view. I promise.
Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen
First of all, and hang with me on this, Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen place is completely gluten-free (gf). That said, it doesn’t taste like what the average gluten eating human would expect. When I was visiting, I felt carbed out, so I swapped noodles for zoodles (zucchini noodles are available as a substitute for any meal). I had the Thai zoodle peanut bowl. It was amazing—spicy, but good. We ordered their pita “bread” and Adam (my gluten-free hating husband) loved it. He also got the ravioli and absolute adored it. He was more than happy with his food choice.
Tortas de Fuego
Okay, if you love Mexican food (and I mean real Mexican food—not Americanized at all), you need to go to Tortas de Fuego. They have every meat selection you can think of. The tacos were amazing. Obviously, they don’t have burritos because, again, legit Mexican. I ordered the carne asada and was blown away by the freshness, texture, and taste.
It is super cheap and, thus, affordable. The parking is malo (see what I did there…haha), but well worth the slight hassle (just park in the back). Finally, the service was wonderful. They were extremely accommodating and super fast to do refills and what not. It is a bit hole-in-the-wall, but I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Creekside American Bistro
Okay. I really wanted to love Creekside American Bistro. I loved my own meal, but everyone else’s was mediocre, which was kind of a bummer. That said, the view is phenomenal and if you drink coffee or tea, going around 9 AM to enjoy your morning cup of joe on their deck with a view would be ideal. My tea was really good (to the point that I insisted Instagramming it). I’ll put it that way.
I had the eggs benedict, which was creamy and flavorful. If you were going, I’d totally recommend that. The omelet, pancakes, and French toast were what made this restaurant mediocre for us as a group.
Honorable Mention: Pita Jungle in Flagstaff
We ate Pita Jungle after my graduation. Despite the cheap sounding name, it is a really nice sit-down restaurant with incredible food. It’s in a strip mall that would be fun to walk around (even though we didn’t have time to do that for ourselves).
Courtyard by Marriott Sedona
(4105 State Route 89A, Sedona, Arizona 86336)
We found this hotel because we were trying to use Marriott points. I highly recommend the Marriott Courtyard in Sedona. It is brand new (opened October 2016). The rooms were impeccably clean. The pool area is an absolute dream. It looks over Red Rock State Park. They literally are located on the edge of the State Park. They have a viewing deck on the third floor, but honestly, the view from our room and pool were equally as stunning.
They don’t have an included breakfast (which was a bummer—I love free breakfast at hotels), but the café area is beautiful and the food is actually pretty dang good. They have little nooks with TVs where you can watch the news or if you have kids, they can watch cartoons while you eat and regain some sanity.
This is definitely a place where you’re going to want a car. You can drive and park a lot of places—in fact, I’d recommend that. However, if you’re going to Sedona, you need a car. Things are too spread out to just walk around. A lot of the hiking in the area requires you to drive to the trailhead.
We drove to Sedona from Orange County, so we made a road trip of it. However, if you are flying, the most convenient airport would be Phoenix. You can fly into Flagstaff or Sedona, but that’s where flying prices jet up quickly.
Driving in this area is gorgeous and I’m positive that you’ll be sticking your head out the window like I did to take a million and one cell phone pictures.