Traveler: Mike Ramsden
When: February 2020
Scottsdale, Arizona is becoming a hot bachelor/bachelorette destination. In fact, Traveltriangle.com recently had it listed among the top 25 (#22 bachelor party destinations in the world). For my brothers’ bachelor party we stayed near old town Scottsdale for a long weekend & it didn’t disappoint. Mixed in amongst the beautiful surroundings are art galleries, shopping, eateries and saloons at seemingly every turn.
Scottsdale is just east of Phoenix, about 15 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. We had a group of 15+ so we rented an Air Bnb that was close enough to old town Scottsdale that we could walk if we wanted to.
Hiking: Obviously while visiting Arizona, the outdoors offers plenty of options!
Camelback Mountain Trail:
Roundtrip Length- 2.8 miles
Elevation gain- 1280 ft.
Highest elevation- 2706 ft.
This trail gets its name because it looks like a kneeling camel. I enjoyed it so much I went back to do the hike on consecutive days. Like most hikes, it’s ideal to get there as early as possible to avoid the crowds. The entrance is located just outside the small town of Paradise Valley. There are two separate trail heads the “Echo Canyon trail” & “Cholla trail”. Both trails are 1.4 mile in length which will take 1.5-2 hours to complete the up & back. The hike starts out as an easy trek through some desert shrubbery, wildflowers & cactus. However, it quickly becomes more strenuous about halfway up the mountain weaving between a blend of sandstone & granite rock faces. Once you reach the summit you’re rewarded with a fantastic panoramic view of the valley, city & mountain ranges in the distance. It was the perfect early morning workout before all the food & booze we later consumed.
Bonus Tip: Get there with enough time to reach the peak for sunrise. As the sun illuminates the valley it gives you a seemingly endless view of the terrain.
As most avid sports would know, from February into March, Arizona is one of the two locations that welcomes the MLB for spring training. What we didn’t realize at the time is that we would miss the postponement of spring training by a mere two weeks. The COVID-19 virus had yet to make its presence felt. We were fortunate to get a chance to experience a game while in town.
During spring training, the San Francisco Giants call the Scottsdale Stadium home. The Giants were hosting the Angels while we were in town which allowed for us to get a glimpse of the game’s best player, Mike Trout. Whether you’re a big fan or just passing by, a spring training game is a fun experience for any group size. If you’ve never been to a spring training game it’s a different experience than a regular season game. It is highly likely the big names won’t even be playing as spring training is the opportunity for up & coming talent to audition for open roster spots. Therefore, I recommend researching starting lineups ahead of time if you’re really interested in seeing a certain player. The stadiums are also a lot smaller giving you more of a minor league feel. Many people take vacations for the sole purpose to watch a couple spring training games! Scottsdale stadium has bleacher & lawn seating which provides a more cost-effective option to a regular season game as well.
In total there are 10+ breweries within 20 minutes of Scottsdale. On our last day in town we decided to rent a party bus & tour as many as we could in a 4-hour span.
Four Peaks Brewery
In the late 1800s into the early 1900s the four peaks location on 8th street served as an ice factory/creamery. Then in 1995 it opened as Four Peaks Brewery. Today they now have a 2nd location along with a spot at the Sky Harbor Airport & have even started a partnership with Anheuser Busch. We opted to visit the 8th street location which is just south of Scottsdale in Tempe.
You’re welcomed by a lively outdoor area for either standing or seated spots. They have multiple bars inside with a fantastic gift shop so be sure to check it out. In total there are 13-year-round brews including their most popular brew the “Kilt Lifter”, it accounts for nearly 60% of sales. I really enjoyed the ambience at this location and would recommend a stop if you get the brewery itch.
Goldwater Brewing Co
The Goldwater origin story is a common one in the craft brew world. Two brothers along with a family friend & their dad grew up home brewing together. After settling into early careers & traveling the world for a bit, they realized brewing beer was their true passion. In 2015, they opened Goldwater Brewing Co. & now have two locations. This happened to be our last stop on the brew tour. Of the three locations Goldwater was setup the best for a large group looking to party. You’re greeted at the entrance with a large outdoor seating area that includes cornhole & a bar. But my favorite spot at Goldwater was what I’ll call the “secret bar downstairs”. It was an isolated location within the brewery hidden away from all the crowds with its own bar.
In all there were eight beers on tap. I was able to try their Machine Gun Teddy (brown ale), Birthday suit (west coast IPA) & Day beer (golden ale). Personally, I enjoyed the MGT the best.
Given our large group it was difficult to find a restaurant that had the space to keep us all together. In addition to space, we only had an opening for brunch on Friday. Most of the recommended spots for a good brunch were closed or booked. Morning squeeze ended up being a fantastic choice. Rated a healthy 4.2 on google it’s a safe play if you’re ever looking for breakfast or brunch.
Morning Squeeze has the look of an old school diner but with open air seating around the perimeter of the building it gives a little bit of a modern twist. Everyone enjoyed their meal but some of the group’s favorites included the chicken & waffles, huevos rancheros or the green chile pork skillet. Their bloody’s were a hit as well & I thoroughly enjoyed the mimosa flight if you’re in the mood for a fruity alcoholic beverage. They also have a 2nd location in Tempe.