The trifecta of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, Arizona comes together to create the ideal destination for a weekend getaway. Together, the three cities offer everything one could ask for during a fun Arizona trip with the family, a solo retreat, or a vacation with friends. Lush golf courses, luxury spas, diverse zoos, and renowned restaurants pepper the area and attract visitors from all over the country.
This means that those traveling from out of town for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Arizona races – whether you run the KiDS ROCK, 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Marathon – will be greeted with a multitude of activities. The average temperature in January is 67 degrees, the ultimate running weather for a winter race. As a bonus, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Arizona Marathon weekend aligns with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which makes it all the easier to take an extra day off exploring the area.
Friday, January 12th
Exploring Phoenix is a great way to spend the first day of your Arizona getaway. Phoenix has plenty to offer visitors that fits the bill for the whole family. Today’s the first day of the Health & Fitness Expo at the Phoenix Convention Center, South Halls F & G. Doors open at 12pm, so pick up your bib and swag before heading out to check out the city.
Musical Instrument Museum
Rated the number one attraction in Phoenix and one of the top 20 museums in the United States, the Musical Instrument Museum is a must see during a visit to the city. The museum displays more than 6,500 musical instruments from all over the world, including the world’s largest playable sousaphone. Private tours, performances, and interactive exhibits bring the museum to life and make learning a fun, engaging experience.
Desert Botanical Garden
The expansive offering of diverse plant life in the Desert Botanical Gardens is impressive. Explored via trails and exhibitions, the gardens exude the beauty of the Sonoran Desert. Trails include the Desert Discovery Trail, the Center for Desert Living Trail, and the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail. Food options, gathering areas, and retail offerings make the gardens a comfortable and convenient place to spend time. The gardens are open daily from 7am to 8pm, giving you plenty of time to enjoy one of the most beautiful Arizona attractions.
Children’s Museum of Phoenix
Designed for children up to the age of 10, this museum’s rules are anything but typical. Visitors are welcome (and encouraged) to touch and play with the exhibits. The museum offers over 300 learn-and-play opportunities plus classes and programs with subjects ranging from music to yoga to math and science.
The Phoenix Zoo aims to connect its visitors to the natural world in new and fascinating ways. With a range of animals including the African lion, Andean bear, desert tortoise, and reticulated giraffe, the zoo provides a comprehensive sampling of the desert animal kingdom. A variety of camps and programs help to further inform guests about the different species.
Saturday, January 13th
Tempe and Scottsdale
What better way to spend the afternoon than by discovering the attractions of Tempe and Scottsdale? With only a 15-minute drive to divide them, these two desert cities offer a diverse array of culinary, educational, outdoor, and recreational offerings, each destined to surprise and delight each visitor. Events for today include the KiDS ROCK held at Tempe Beach Park and the 5K presented by Brooks starting on Mill Ave. at Rio Salado Parkway in Tempe.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park features a functioning railroad, a vintage carousel, a variety of shops and museums, and one-of-a-kind playgrounds. The museum has model trains on display for those who are interested in locomotives. The whole family will find entertainment in this beautiful, nostalgic Scottsdale park.
This luxury spa offers a multitude of services at an affordable price. Massages, facials, body treatments, and specialty treatments are all available for your indulgence. The tranquil, serene spa atmosphere sets the mood for relaxation and rejuvenation. You deserve to pamper yourself before and after your Arizona race – Scottsdale Spa is the perfect place to do just that!
Mirabel Golf Club
Set in an intimate landscape, the Mirabel Golf Course has a lot to offer its visitors. In addition to its renowned golf facilities, the club also includes tennis facilities and social and fine dining opportunities. Mirabel makes it possible for visitors to enjoy each other’s company in an elevated setting while indulging in the finer things.
There are plenty of fantastic shopping options in Scottsdale, all within relatively close proximity to one another. One of the most popular destinations is Kierland Commons, which has a good mix of clothing stores, specialty shops, dining, and more. The shopping plaza and individual stores host events throughout the year where guests can snag exclusive deals, attend in-store parties, and celebrate grand openings.
A new event added this year is the 1-mile race, which will qualify runners for the Remix Challenge, if they run on Friday and Sunday. For runners who race all three days, there will be an extra reward for meeting that challenge as well. The 1-mile race will be held in Tempe on Friday night at 6pm and will be followed by an after-race concert and beer at the finisher line. Continue the good times by heading to one of the area’s most popular hotspots for dinner and celebration.
Mill Avenue District
Mill Avenue District is the hub of nightlife in Tempe. Featuring some of the city’s best dining establishments, entertainment venues, shops, and events, Mill Avenue District has proven to be a favorite among visitors and a frequent hangout among locals. Because of its diverse offerings, the district is known to be a sampling of Tempe.
Low Key Piano Bar
In a laid back, stylish atmosphere, Low Key Piano Bar features dueling piano players playing recognizable tunes. Guests are free to relax and enjoy drinks and refreshments while being immersed in the more mellow side of Tempe nightlife. This musical destination is ideal for those who enjoy a night out but prefer a relaxed atmosphere.
Famous for its eclectic environment and creative offerings, Culinary Dropout serves the best in unique fare in Tempe. While enjoying carefully crafted meals and beverages, Visitors can enjoy the performances of local musicians. Menu items include snacks, soups, sandwiches, and full entrees.
The District at Tempe Marketplace
Looking to get a taste of the local vibe? The District at Tempe Marketplace is the perfect place to listen to live music. From jazz to indie and gospel to blues, there are performances representing nearly every musical genre. You’ll also find plenty of dining and shopping options, which means you can easily spend a few hours here taking it all in.
Sunday, January 14th
Race day! Start times for the 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon all start at 7:50am. Give yourself enough time to head over to the starting line and enjoy the pulse of the course, thrill of the crowd, and pleasure of starting your new year off right with a race to the finish.
Once you’ve received your finisher’s medal and danced and mingled at the post-race concert, it’s time for brunch. But where to go? We have a few options to recommend.
Snooze an A.M. Eatery
A favorite spot for those who like options, Snooze allows diners to choose from both sweet and savory breakfast items like pancake flights or mix-and-match bennies. Then, there’s the OMG! French Toast stuffed with mascarpone and topped with decadent caramel, vanilla creme, strawberries, and toasted coconut; truly the indulgent, post-race treat.
Morning Glory Cafe
Take advantage of the mild winter temperatures and eat al fresco at Morning Glory Cafe. The farm-to-table restaurant specializes in locally made sausages and pastries, while also serving up omelettes, breakfast burritos, and belgian waffles.
Butters Pancakes & Cafe
As the name would suggest, this place is ideal for pancake lovers. Although the cafe offers benedicts, breakfast sandwiches, and other egg dishes, the pancakes are what they’re known for. Choose from buttermilk, wheat cakes, and even gluten-free. Then, take your pick of toppings from chocolate chips to banana cream to wild lingonberry sauce, to name a few.
Boasting Arizona’s largest Bloody Mary bar, a brunch at Hash Kitchen sounds like the perfect, post-race spot. From breakfast starters such as Cannoli Donuts to specialties like Breakfast Lasagna, it’s clear this place isn’t your average brunch joint.
This red, white, and blue-themed breakfast spot has traditional favorites like breakfast skillets and creative omelettes. But their specialty Protein Pancakes filled with wild Maine blueberries, homemade granola, almonds, and cinnamon are worth ordering.
With an all-day brunch menu, what’s not to love about Ncounter? House items like chilaquiles, build your own breakfast sandwiches, and fruit-filled smoothies are enough to satisfy the hungriest of post-race appetites.
Round out the day by catching a NBA game. The Phoenix Suns will host the Indiana Pacers at 6pm at Talking Stick Resort Arena conveniently located in downtown Phoenix.
Monday, January 15th
Before heading home from a full Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon weekend, make sure to enjoy “Massage Monday” in Scottsdale. Nothing will feel better than some much-deserved pampering. The Spa at Camelback Inn, Spa Avania at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort, and Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa in Montelucia are all favorites to feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Bask in your race achievements from the weekend and take the extra day to relax, explore, and experience all that the trifecta of Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale has to offer. Register for your race, and explore Arizona with Rock ‘n’ Roll!