Lauren Layne & Anthony LeDonne
Lauren Layne is the New York Times best-selling author of romantic fiction. Her books have sold millions of copies and were featured in Oprah Magazine, Publishers Weekly, Glamour, The Wall Street Journal and Inside Edition. Lauren’s high school sweetheart, Anthony LeDonne, is an NYC-based comedian, writer, actor, chef and award-winning photographer. He also hosts the POAT Podcast every week, where he discusses topics like why restaurants push the window seat, how not to get divorced when both spouses work from home, and why people quit social media. Together, they have a black and orange Pomeranian, Bailey, who is about 3x “too big” for her breed at 15 lbs. and refuses to acknowledge she’s technically elderly. Her hobbies include chicken treats, barking at her kibble for not being chicken treats and nervous toots when it rains.
Hey, we’re Anthony and Lauren, a 30-something couple from NYC — no kids, just a really spoiled Pomeranian — and let’s just get this out of the way...
We are cold-weather people.
Nothing makes us happier than when flip-flops get put away, the boots come out and there’s a snowstorm when we have nowhere to be. But…
There comes a time in late February where we think: If we have to put on that puffy parka ONE more time…
Enter the spring getaway where we’re craving one thing and one thing only: sunshine.
We recently took our Vitamin D-starved selves to gorgeous Scottsdale, Arizona, for a romantic vacation, and our only complaint? It ended way too soon.
If you’re looking for romantic things to do in Scottsdale, check out this recap of our trip with our recommendations for activities, restaurants and where to stay for your own special getaway.
Where to Stay in Scottsdale
Listen, we love each other and making romance a priority, even after 20+ years together. And as any longtime married (or cohabitating) couple knows, the secret to keeping the magic alive is … a little bit of space.
We booked a two-bedroom villa at Scottsdale Resort and could not be more pleased with our choice.
In addition to the getaway “must-haves” — epic shower, dreamy beds, quiet, adults-only pool — our favorite part of the resort was being able to enjoy each other with room to relax.
The Serenity Pool at Scottsdale Resort
The comfortable living room, full dining room and huge kitchen gave us plenty of space to be together without driving each other crazy in a tiny hotel room (hypothetically, of course).
Bonus: Scottsdale Resort had a lovely, paved walkway over to a couple great dining options across the way.
We enjoyed cocktails at Bourbon Steak so much that we went twice. The Manhattans were exceptional, and the free snack at happy hour didn’t hurt either!
Where to Eat in Scottsdale
We are big foodies (you know, Anthony being a chef and all), so when you need some fuel before, after or between adventures, check out these Scottsdale restaurants.
Best Breakfast Place in Scottsdale: Butters Pancakes & Café
We actually loved eating breakfast in our villa most mornings so we could relax and enjoy resort life, but when you’re on vacation, sometimes you just need a Big Breakfast, you know?
Butters Pancakes and Café completely hit the spot for us. We had a pretty hard time deciding how to narrow down all the options on the menu but were thrilled to see the egg skillet dishes we were eyeing had the option to add their fancy pancakes. Think fresh bananas with graham cracker caramel pecan topping.
And since nothing says romance like strawberries with the perfect amount of decadent chocolate sauce, we got those, too.
Pro tip: Don’t skip the bacon either.
Best Lunch Spot in Scottsdale: The Mission Old Town
Phoenix has no shortage of incredible Southwest, Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants, but we’re pretty sure we hit gold with our lunch at The Mission Old Town.
Tucked into the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, this cozy, elegant place delivered perfect margaritas, innovative and delicious tacos, and the best guacamole we’ve ever had.
Pro tip: Make reservations, especially if you go at peak lunch hours. We got there just after noon and there was a huge wait!
Best Place for a Romantic Dinner in Scottsdale: Hillstone
Brace yourself; we’re about to recommend a chain restaurant to you, but we love Hillstone restaurants. A lot. If we visit a city that has one, you can bet we’ll make time for it, and it never, ever disappoints.
Even with the bar set really high, the Phoenix location exceeded expectations. The atmosphere, food and service deliver the perfect experience for a couple looking for a date night that feels both special and perfect.
The French dip sandwich is one of their signatures, though we’re also convinced that they do something magical to their salads because they never taste like, well … salad.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the artichoke appetizer if it’s in season. And if you can’t get a spot at Hillstone, try their sister restaurant, Houston’s, which … we also went to on this trip. Don’t judge us!
Discover even more ways to find adventure in Arizona:
- Arizona National Parks: Your Guide to Planning Amazing Desert Adventures
- Top 10 Best Things to Do in Scottsdale
- Scottsdale Vacation Tips: How to Plan a Family Adventure
Best Things to Do in Scottsdale for Couples
Scottsdale has some pretty amazing things to do between bite-fuls of … pancakes, guac and non-salad salad. These are some of the best couple-y things we did (or reallllly wanted to do) during our trip.
Head to the pool
We’re just saying, if you’re taking a romantic vacation to Phoenix or Scottsdale and don’t make room for at least one afternoon to sit by the pool and read, you might be doing it wrong.
The adults-only pool at Scottsdale Resort was nice and quiet, perfect for a relaxing soak in the sun with your special someone.
Desert Botanical Garden
We’ll be honest; we were a little surprised by how much we loved our time at Desert Botanical Garden. Even if you don’t think of yourself as a “garden” person, this is such a fun place to get lost in.
We had the best time ambling along the winding paths, trying (and failing) to identify the various cacti, and finding a shady spot under the trees to talk about everything and nothing.
We also had the pleasure of going during the Chihuly in the Desert glass exhibit. This art/architecture/nature combo exhibit is set amongst saguaro cacti, Papago buttes and a World Heritage site. Highly recommend if it coincides with your visit!
Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Photo by Nathaniel Willson
We’re cheating here; we were too early for spring training during our visit, so we didn’t actually get to go. But rest assured, if the timing was right, we would have happily spent every afternoon enjoying hot dogs, baseball and sunshine together!
The Musical Instrument Museum
Strictly speaking, we’re not really museum people, but if you’re looking for an indoor activity with a bit of culture, the Musical Instrument Museum is a great option!
Living in New York, one of our go-to date nights usually includes a jazz show, so next time we’re looking for romantic things to do in Scottsdale, we’ll see if we can catch a jazz show at MIM.
They feature a wide range of musicians, so even if jazz isn’t your jam, be sure to check their concert calendar for something more your speed.
Historic Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale was a really pleasant surprise for us! We weren’t quite sure what to expect and finding parking in this historic (and popular) corner of Scottsdale was no joke. But this made for such a fun day.
It was so neat to see the landmarks like the Old Adobe Mission — the oldest standing church in Scottsdale — right next to a bustling farmers market and an authentic western saloon nestled amongst some gorgeous art galleries.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants, so this is a great place to spend a few hours simply wandering.
Pro tip: Despite being completely full from lunch at The Mission Old Town (mentioned above), we did not regret stopping into Sugar Bowl, an authentic 1950s soda fountain. We grabbed an ice cream cone for the walk back to our car — the perfect ending to our perfect adventures in Scottsdale.
We didn’t get the chance on this trip, but on previous visits to Scottsdale, we’ve loved heading out for an afternoon at the range.
Top Golf isn’t your typical driving range. It’s a cross between a driving range and target practice … and a bar.
If your idea of a romantic getaway includes hitting a few golf balls, then make sure to add Top Golf to your list.
As a comedian, Anthony would be remiss not to mention Scottsdale’s comedy clubs. CB Live and House of Comedy are actually just a few miles away from Scottsdale Resort.
If your favorite act isn’t playing at either of those, try Tempe Improv, Stand-Up Live Phoenix or Stir Crazy Comedy Club.
And there you have it: A run-down of some of the most romantic things to do in Scottsdale!
Whether your idea of romance involves relaxing by the pool or grabbing great food and a bit of culture in town, Scottsdale Resort delivered on all levels during our getaway.
Picture Your Own Scottsdale Adventures
Hiking through giant fields of cacti, teeing off at world-class golf courses, spending sunny days at Splash Canyon — check out some of the things that make Scottsdale so special. (And if you can smell the fresh Tex-Mex through your screen, it mighttt be time to start planning your trip.)
Our guest bloggers are compensated for their writing contributions and honest opinions.
All information is subject to change. This article is a curated guide and is neither sponsored nor considered an official endorsement. Please be sure to check information directly with any/all tours, guides or companies for the most up-to-date and direct details.
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