Romantic Arizona

Original open uri20160815 3469 1jbq61e?1471300287?ixlib=rails 0.3
Romantic Arizona
Arizona shares its birthday with Valentine’s Day, and with jaw-dropping views and over-the-top experiences, Arizona tugs on the strings of even the most skeptical of hearts.
By Katarina Kovacevic, AFAR Local Expert
Photo courtesy of Royal Palms Resort and Spa
  • 1 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1jbq61e?1471300287?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Beyond Relaxation: Arizona's Spas
    Arizona’s natural environment and strong connection to American Indian healing techniques make it a popular spa destination. For couples, these experiences go beyond relaxation—they’re also a great way to reconnect. In Sedona, Mii Amo at the Enchantment Resort has a series of couple’s spa treatments—everything from Thai massage to an Ayurvedic herbal experience. With more than 50 spas, you’ll have your pick of the best in Scottsdale; you can’t go wrong with Alvadora Spa at the Royal Palms Resort or Omni Resort Montelucia’s Joya Spa. You'll also find internationally-renowned spas in Tucson.
    Photo courtesy of Royal Palms Resort and Spa
  • 2 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 174dh2s?1471300291?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Where to Propose
    There’s no bad place to pop the question in Arizona. It’s really more about your personal style. Want a grand, sweeping gesture? Take your pick of private aerial tours: hot-air balloon rides, seaplane flights, helicopter voyages over Phoenix’s city lights or Sedona’s sparkling red rocks. For couples more in tune with nature, your options run the gamut from horseback excursions to memorable hikes with 360-degree views—Doe Mountain, Tumamoc Hill, and Camelback Mountain among them. You can get similar panoramas, but without the dirt and gravel, on a hotel rooftop—try Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale or Phoenix's Clarendon Hotel.
    Photo by age fotostock
  • 3 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 u6wy9p?1471300295?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Arizona’s Wine Trail
    Conditions in Arizona’s three largest grape-growing regions have been compared to those of Napa Valley. Leave the soil and climate debates to the experts, but do make sure you go winetasting in Arizona. The main trails you’ll hear about are northern Verde Valley (en route to Sedona), Sonoita (in the south), and Willcox (near Tucson). In Verde Valley, turn water into wine on a kayak float down the river with Sedona Adventure Tours, whose guides lead you to the banks of Alcantara Vineyards. Designed to look like a Tuscan villa, the estate's 87 acres are at the confluence of the Verde River and Oak Creek.
    Photo courtesy of Arizona Office of Tourism
  • 4 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 zypx0r?1471300300?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Romantic Small Towns
    Small towns are perfect sparks to rekindle the flame. They force you to slow down, take a breath, and reorient your focus on what’s really important. Driving Arizona’s Route 66 will take you to some cool and quirky spots, but many couples will want to make a few detours. In the central highlands, Prescott shines with Old West charm, and Payson affords a quiet woodsy retreat near the Mogollon Rim. You'll find high-country romance on deck in the White Mountains town of Greer, while down south, Patagonia thrills lovers with its dramatic mountain landscape.
    Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS
  • 5 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1lmobp0?1471300305?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Awe-Inspiring Views
    Arizona’s most jaw-dropping views are worth the trek. It's a steep hike to the summit of Humphrey’s Peak in Flagstaff, but from there you can see the Grand Canyon and out towards Oak Creek in Sedona. Few stargazing expeditions measure up to a night spent in the Chiricahua Mountains, though the Knight Rise Skyspace—designed by artist James Turrell—at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is an intriguing alternative view. Sunset at Taliesin West—once Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home—is a canvas of purple, red, and yellow over the craggy desert terrain.
    Photo by age fotostock
  • 6 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1qspas6?1471300310?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Honeymoon Escapes
    Rumor has it that Jay-Z and Beyoncé celebrated their nuptials at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort in Scottsdale, and it's no wonder. Scottsdale's luxurious hideaways, part of the reason the city has been called the “Beverly Hills of the Southwest,” are perfect for honeymooners seeking a peaceful and intimate escape. Artsy couples prefer Flagstaff’s hippie vibe, while Sedona and Tucson draw outdoor enthusiasts, spiritualists, and anyone who appreciates a good view. The Grand Canyon is another honeymoon hotspot, as are the placid waters of Lake Powell.
    Photo courtesy of the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • 7 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 51yxgi?1471300315?ixlib=rails 0.3
    Dinner under the Stars
    Dinner with a view is easy to come by in these parts. Some of Arizona’s most lauded restaurants—such as Talavera, Elote Café, and J&G Steakhouse—come with a side of star-sprinkled vistas. No matter where you travel in the state, you’re bound to come across an al fresco dining table that’s begging you to stop and soak up the scenery. Sit creekside in Sedona at L’Auberge, or enjoy a mountain backdrop at The Grill at Hacienda del Sol in Tucson. The Phoenix area’s list of atmospheric restaurants is a long one: Quiessence, Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, House of Tricks, and SASSI are all big with the locals.
    Photo courtesy of Visit Phoenix
  • 8 / 8
    Original open uri20160815 3469 1waful?1471300319?ixlib=rails 0.3
    For the Love of Art
    Make a date with Scottsdale’s arts district on Thursday nights for Scottsdale ArtWalk, a free event where galleries host wine receptions, live demonstrations, and artist talks. For an equally lively local arts community, visit Flagstaff, Jerome, or Sedona. Some of the country’s best shows take the stage at ASU Gammage, Herberger Theater, Mesa Arts Center, and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. The Phoenix Symphony Hall is Arizona’s main stop for Broadway shows. Opened in 1972, it’s the official home of the Phoenix Symphony, Arizona Opera, and Ballet Arizona.
    Photo by age fotostock