Mike’s Travelogue: Flocking to the AZ weather
Jul 21, 2023, 2:33 PM | Updated: Aug 29, 2023, 2:51 pm
SPONSORED – Once again, the football gods have given us a gift: Arizona in January. When the rain (or maybe snow) are starting to get you after the holidays, what could be better than a trip to the desert to see Seattle dominate a division foe?
The stadium is in Glendale, land of chain restaurants and fast food. But that doesn’t mean a careful eater can’t find something unique and awesome! Make sure you find a few minutes to hit Culver’s. Yes, it’s a fast food joint, but the food is top notch and you can’t find them in the Northwest. The butter burgers are amazing, the cheese curds are better than fries and the frozen custard desserts are the best reason to go. And then make sure you come back for spring training in March so you can get the Walleye Sandwich (only available in the spring). Trust me on this one.
There are plenty of hotel options in the Glendale area, but to turn this into more of a vacation, I’d recommend staying in Scottsdale, just on the other side of the basin. It’ll be a hike on gameday but will make your stay a lot more fun. Old Town Scottsdale is action packed with bars and restaurants galore. It’s fun to stay at the Hotel Valley Ho – a uniquely updated 1950’s style hotel with vintage style. It has a great pool and bar scene as well. For dinner in Old Town, I recommend Citizen Public House and specifically the scallops.
If you are there in January, you want to bring your golf clubs. Stand anywhere in the Phoenix area and you are likely within driver-range of fun course. Here are a few of my favorites:
Wigwam – It’s a hike to get there but they have 54 holes and it is as lushly green as any course in the area. Not easy either!
Greyhawk – 36 holes and none are easy. It’s not cheap, but the course is often used for college tournaments and championships. Plus, Phil Mickelson practices there and the restaurant bears his name.
Boulders – Two courses set amid an outcropping of giant formations. It is a beautiful spot, in tremendous shape, and has an interesting layout. It also might be a great, upscale place to stay as they have amazing cottages, pools and other resort amenities.
Sun City West – No, it isn’t fancy. At all. It is one of a few courses that sits on a retirement community near Peoria. But it is a great value amid high priced options and I’ve had fun picking up with the local retirees!
If you aren’t inclined to get mad at a small white ball that won’t go where you want, a unique option is the Musical Instrument Museum (4725 E Mayo Blvd) in Phoenix. It has instruments from the last 6,000 years of music and plenty of interactivity.
A few more dinner spots to consider:
Pizzeria Bianco (4743 N 20th St) has gourmet pizza that you shouldn’t miss.
Mastro’s (multiple locations): As good a steakhouse as you’ll find.
Mama por Dios (7301e E Butherus Dr): Upscale Mexican.
Los Dos Molinos (8646 S Central Ave). It is a hike but the authentic Mexican food and homemade tortillas are worth the ride!
Another option is to stay at the beautiful Fairmont Princess in North Scottsdale. The rooms are delightful but the restaurant scene there is special. Chef Michael Mina has a new steakhouse called Bourbon Street that you’ll want to explore. And La Hacienda is another upscale Mexican spot with maybe the best guacamole I’ve ever had. You can’t go wrong.
That should have you ready for gameday where you should find yourself around enough Seattle fans to drown out the noise of the locals. Make it a ninth home game by saving your voice for Sunday!
Stadium: State Farm Stadium
Stadium Food: Churro Donut Sundae (obviously)
Seattle haunt: Skeptical Chymist (we met tons of Seattleites there in January 2015) (Editor’s Note: Skeptical Chymist has closed)