Arizona is home to way more than cacti and blazing sun. Coming from "The Windy City", I always look forward to ditching my winter parka for a pair of flip-flops. The day after Christmas, my countdown to my Spring Break vacation begins. Whether you are a native resident of Arizona or a trendy tourist like myself, we have you covered! Here is the ultimate guide to eating and exploring Scottsdale, Arizona.

Where to Stay?

1. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

If you wish to live the lifestyle of a princess, this is the place to be. With 750 luxury rooms, 6 pools with 9,000 feet of white sand, an award winning spa, golf course, and 7 restaurants (perfect for the foodies out there), this stylish and elegant retreat is sure to elevate beyond your highest of expectations.    

2. Saguaro Scottsdale

This 4-star art deco hotel is any Instagrammer's dream. The Saguaro Hotel is filled with pops of color from the bright yellow lobby to the hot pink couches. With a premium spa, fitness center, restaurant, and 2 outdoor pools, you will never want to leave the resort. Come unwind at this "Barbie dream house-like" hotel...and take some cute pictures while you're at it! 

Feeling Adventurous?

1. Salt River Rafting in Scottsdale, Arizona

Complete your stay in Scottsdale, Arizona by going on a whitewater rafting trip in the 2000 feet long Salt River Canyon. For a day, leave the resort and experience the natural beauties Arizona has to offer. If you're in need of an adrenal rush to kick you old of the winter blues, this thrilling rafting trip through the majestic canyons of Arizona is sure to do the trick.

Salt River Rafting offers half day, full day, and even multi-day trips for all levels. The peak of the rapid season in Scottsdale is from late March to early May, just in time for the spring breakers Sun, splashes, scenery, and saguaros — what could be better?

2. Pink Jeep Tours

Take a day trip to Sedona or the Grand Canyon and experience the gorgeous canyons AZ has to offer. Whether you opt for a quick 2 hour trek or a whole day excursion, grab your family and friends and do it in style...AKA in a pink jeep wrangler.

Since 1960, Pink Jeep Tours has been the premier off-road adventure company. Serving over 700,000 tours to almost 5 million guests, Pink Jeep Tours will lead you on a tour that will spark your curiosity, wonder and awe.

3. Tom's Thumb Trail

Add this to your bucket list: hike Tom's Thumb Trail at the golden hour. For the best views of Scottsdale, AZ, this is the trail to take. 4.2 miles—this hike is considered a moderate level and will count as your workout for the day. To catch the most impressive views, go early morning or at dusk to catch the sunset or sunrise. 

What to Eat

1. Kale and Clover

"Responsibly sourced, seasonal ingredients designed with the body and soul in mind." Kale and Clover accomplishes just that with their diverse and expansive nutritionally balanced menu. Serving the needs of vegetarians, vegan, gluten-free and carnivores, Kale and Clover is guaranteed to satisfy anyone's hunger. The menu contains everything from cold pressed juices and smoothies to burgers, superfood salads, sushi and pho.

#SpoonTip: Order the cauliflower wings and turkey jambalaya, which makes for perfect Instagram #foodporn. 

2. Coconut's Fish Café

We are going nuts for Coconut's Fish Café! With a casual and fun ambiance, this is the perfect spot after a day in the sun. With fish tacos and coconut shrimp specialties, you feel like you're in Hawaii at this simple, contemporary and affordable joint.

#SpoonTip: Top your tacos with the mango salsa.

3. Breakfast Kitchen Bar

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast Kitchen Bar is an upscale and trendy breakfast spot to fuel your day of adventure that lies ahead of you.

Perfect for all ages and taste buds, Breakfast Kitchen Bar meets both your savory and sweet desires. Whether you decide to satisfy your sweet tooth with churro waffles and blueberry French toast, or the savory breakfast quesadilla, there is no way you can go wrong.

4. Press Coffee

But first, coffee. With cappuccinos, drip coffee, and even kombucha on tap, everyone town needs a Press Coffee. They also serve a variety of sandwiches and avocado toasts, making it a perfect casual breakfast/lunch spot. Their espressos are highly addicting. Order a flight to try them all.

5. SOL Mexican Cocina

Inspired by the coastal Mexican cooking of Baja California, SOL Mexican Cocina offers over 24 fresh salsas to go with the unique wide range of street tacos. Whether you want veggies like sweet potatoes and black beans, duck, chicken, pork, beef or shrimp, you have a full array of different flavors and varieties to try. This place is giving us something to taco 'bout.

6. Baked Bear  

No bears harmed here. Baked Bear is guaranteed to make your followers on Instagram drool Choose your ice cream and then choose a brownie, cookie or donut to create your own customizable sandwich. Your creation is then hot pressed, essentially creating a dessert panini. Funfetti cake cookie plus signature "Bear Batter" ice cream plus brownie bits, Nutella, and sprinkles. Nuff said.

7. Scoop and Joy Lounge

This ice cream is almost too cute to eat! (I said almost). Pink salted caramel, guava cheesecake, passion fruit sorbet, banana caramel chocolate chip, Kauai pie are just a few of the creative and unique flavors Scoop and Joy Lounge have to offer. The best part about this lounge: Ice cream made into little animals, perfect for kids and adults.

8.) Nekter Juice Bar

After a grueling hike in Arizona's scorching sun, Nekter is the spot to cool off and refuel. This juice bar has several locations out west, one of them being in Scottsdale. The entire menu contains no refined sugar, which is hard to believe considering how delicious it is.

With all natural ingredients, Nekter offers pressed juices, smoothies, acai bowls, healthy snacks and the newest addition to their menu — cashew milk ice cream.       

9.) In-N-Out Burger

You can't go to Arizona without an obligatory stop at In-n-Out Burger. Animal style fries, a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake outdoes any other burger joint. Coming from the Midwest, I can tell you that Five Guys and Meatheads need to learn the secret ways of In-N-Out.

If this doesn't convince you to come to Arizona, I don't know what else will. Arizona isn't all cactus and sunshine. With a thriving foodie scene and a wide variety of activities, AZ is guaranteed to spark your adventurous side!