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Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

New York, NY
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Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

A friend will be in Scottsdale for a long weekend business trip in mid-November, and I am joining as a tag-along.

Neither of us have ever been to Arizona before. First, will we need a car in Scottsdale itself (or in Phoenix)? How is public transit in the Scottsdale/Phoenix metro area?

Second, we may have a full non-business day and we're looking for things to do together for the whole day. I noticed on a map that there's something called Tonto National Forest nearby. Is this worth visiting if neither of us have ever been to the southwest before?

Finally, I'm looking for things to do on my own while my friend is dealing with business. Are there places in Scottsdale (or nearby) where I can occupy myself by just wandering for a few hours?

Thanks in advance.

tucson az
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1. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

Yes, you need a car. Public transit is what it is, slow buses. There is one light rail route at present, and it doesn't go to Scottsdale.

For the one full day together, consider taking a day trip to Sedona and Jerome.

Yes, Tonto National Forest is nearby. An alternate day driving trip could be Hwy 87 to Payson, Hwy 260 to Strawberry, Pine, Camp Verde, and Cottonwood, then Hwy 89A to Jerome, Prescott and 89 to Wickenberg, then Hwy 74 over to I-17 and back to Scottsdale.

For things to do while your friend is in meetings, go to the Phoenix forum and look at upper right in Top Questions "Things to Do." There's lots, but as above you will need a car.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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2. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

Yes, you should rent a car. Public transit is abysmal. Where will you be staying? Suggestions for a day trip and things to do can change depending on location. Scottsdale and Phoenix are a huge area. and things are scattered. Also, how adept are you at mountain driving.

Sedona, Payson and Jerome are great places but require driving in the mountains. The suggestion of Payson, Jerome and Wickenburg could be a bit too ambitious.

You might be better off with a day trip to Cave Creek and Carefree, which are on the northern fringe of the metro area. Both have loads of cafes, many somewhat funky and scenic places to visit such as Spur Cross Ranch, the Sears Kay Ruin and Bartlett Lake. Sears Kay and Bartlett are on the Tonto National Forest.

You might also enjoy going east to Apache Junction and get on the Apache Trail. Lost Dutchman State Park is handy with awesome views of the Superstition Mountains and trails for hiking. You could take a run out to Tortilla Flat and Canyon Lake and take a cruise on the lake. The road beyond Tortilla Flat is unpaved so you might want to turn around there.

While your friend is in meetings, there is the Desert Botanical Garden, Musical Instrument Museum, Taliesin West or a run out to Fountain Hills to watch the fountain go off. Downtown and Old Town Scottsdale has a load of galleries and shops.

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3. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

Abigguy -

Thanks for that info. We're staying at the Camelback Marriot on E. Lincoln Drive.

Regarding mountain driving, I'm from New York City. :-)

Edited: 18 October 2012, 15:36
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4. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

That's a very nice resort. You might not want to leave. Great spa.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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5. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

As a P.S., I might add if a lake cruise sounds interesting Saguaro Lake is closer and it also has cruises.

tucson az
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6. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

The mountain driving that might be encountered is really nothing to fear. Driving to and around Sedona you would encounter none except the tame ascents and descents on I-17. The only area that is steep is going up to Jerome with two switchbacks. There is another switchback climbing the mountain leaving Jerome but the rest is many curves but mostly mild and not scary. No driving on the edges of precipices. If you want to see the forest, the roads are seldom flat but none in Arizona are at all perilous.

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7. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

Thanks all, this is helpful to get some good ideas. Basically, I was asked to make a really quick decision on whether or not I could keep somebody company on a business trip, and I bought flights without knowing anything about Arizona (or even the hotel). From here on out, I'll do some homework on the area and then come back with more specific questions.

As to the resort - that's good to know! Very much looking forward to seeing the arid part of the USA for the first time!

Phoenix, Az
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8. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

Actually, driving up to Payson, Pine, and Strawberry is a nice option. Less than two hours up SR87 and pretty scenery. Nice shops in Pine as well as some restaurants and bars.

9. Re: Relaxing during business trip in mid-November

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