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We have been to Phoenix twice with Milana. The first time, in late April 2017 for 3.5 days. The flight from SNA is only 50 minutes, making it a great destination for a quick getaway. I used Southwest points for my flight, and Milana has the companion pass, making our flights free. Dave was there for work and staying at the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort, so our hotel was covered as well.
The hotel is great if you are traveling with kids. All rooms are suites, so the living room area is separate from the bedrooms. We had two beds in our room and it was a great size.
They also have a water park on site, with several pools, a lazy river, and slide. This was definitely the highlight for Milana! There are other pools near every building, but the water park is definitely the place to be if you have kids. One of the pools has a zero entry, which is perfect for even the smallest kids. For the slide, kids have to be a minimum of 42 inches to ride.
As you can see, being 5 is really hard!
Our second trip was over Memorial Day weekend in 2018. We stayed at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa using points. This hotel is super family friendly, with a great pool area that has a lazy river, multiple pools and a small splash pad.
The grounds have botanical gardens that are perfect for a photo session:
And they have a huge open field where all the kids played at night. When you check in, each child gets a ball which was the best toy to play with!
THINGS TO DO
One of our favorite things to do while traveling is visiting children’s museum and Phoenix has a great one! When you walk in, there’s a huge climbing structure which Milana really enjoyed. There’s also an art studio, which we spent quite some time in as always! And as always, lots of other fun things to do. Don’t miss this when you visit!
The Arizona Science Center is another great place to explore on a hot day. It’s free admission if you have a membership to a participating ASTC science center near you, which made it even better!
Another thing we like doing while traveling is discovering new playgrounds. We were worried about it being too hot, but while it was 95 outside, the park felt fine and was packed with kids. Most parks in the area we have found are shaded so even on the hottest day, you will be fine. This park also had a splash pad, which is great for hot days. Riverview Park is in Mesa and awesome! They have a huge climbing structure, which is the highlight of the park.
One afternoon, we headed to Scottsdale to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. This place is definitely worth a visit! They have a miniature train that takes you around the park, a carousel, two playgrounds (one fully covered), a museum and a room with miniature railroads/towns that Milana really enjoyed looking at. I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area!
After the train, we headed to Old Town Scottsdale to explore and do some shopping. The area is super cute with lots of stores and restaurants and the best part is, the majority of it is shaded so you don’t have to be in direct sun.
Milana spotted a toy store, so of course we had to go shopping!
And it’s not a visit to Scottsdale without getting ice cream at Sugar Bowl. They have a ton of options and toppings, there’s something for everyone!
Of course, it’s not a trip without finding some great eats! Milana is the least picky eater in the world, so we are never stuck to chain restaurants or ones with kid menus, making travel that much easier! One of the best finds was The Teapot, which has good breakfast options and a play ground outside/play area inside for the kids. If you have kids, you must check this place out! The staff is super friendly and it’s nice to be able to drink coffee in piece while your kids play. Milana wanted the waffle board and I had an acai bowl, which was super yummy!
Another great place for breakfast, and one that is very popular, is The Farm at South Mountain. The grounds are beautiful and all seating is outdoors. It was definitely one of the best breakfast spots we’ve been to! Milana ordered the banana French toast, I had the breakfast sandwich and Dave had the veggie omelet. Everything was fresh and really good.
Milana is a huge fan of sushi, so one evening for dinner we headed downtown to Harumi Sushi. They use black rice instead of white on all their rolls, so keep that in mind if you don’t like to stray from the usual.
We ordered a ton of rolls and couldn’t even finish half, but everything was yummy! The OMG roll is prepared at your table. Or I should say, set on fire at your table! They also had fresh wasabi, not the pasty stuff all the other places serve. Such a different taste than the fake stuff!
One of our favorite restaurants was Flower Child. It was so good, we went two days in a row! They serve organic, natural food and their kid meals are actually something I don’t mind feeding to my child. Milana ordered the chicken with broccoli and mac and cheese as a side and loved it. I had the The Rebel wrap and Dave had the Thai cashew quinoa bowl. We also tried the quinoa and sweet corn as a side, which is a must try while there. Everything was really good and fresh!
We also stumbled upon Polish Goodies and decided to try it. Being Polish, I miss my mom’s home cooked meals and while this wasn’t as good as mom’s, it was delicious! We ordered pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms, kielbasa with homemade sauerkraut, stuffed cabbage and nalesniki (Polish version of crepes) which were stuffed with plum better and topped with sweet cream.
One of our favorite meals was at Christopher’s and Crush. Keep in mind, that this isn’t what I would call kid-friendly (Milana was the only kid there) and pretty upscale. But if your child is used to dining at nicer restaurants, definitely check them out! We’ve taken Milana to a 2.5 hour tasting menu in LA before, so this was nothing new to her! We ordered mussels (Milana’s favorite!), lamb chops, fish, a cheese plate (also one of Milana’s favorites) and mac and cheese. Everything was really good!
Down the street from the Hilton, we found one of the best ice cream places we have ever been to. The flavors are amazing and everything is all-natural, you must try Sweet Republic if you are in Phoenix. I had the banana foster, Dave had the carrot cake and Milana had the peanut butter with a in-house made marshmallow (no high fructose corn syrup or chemicals!). All 3 flavors were really good.
Another ice cream place we tried was Churn . While the line was out the door (because the place is super tiny!), this ice cream was pretty bad compared to Sweet Republic. I wouldn’t waste the calories here and go to Sweet Republic instead! The coolest thing about this place was their wall, which was covered with cassettes. Milana was intrigued by them, having never seen them, and kept asking why we are calling it tape when it’s not sticky!
As you can see, there are lots of things to do in Phoenix with kids. It’s the perfect few day destination!