Sedona, Arizona is one of my favorite places on earth. Since before I was born my family has owned cabins right along Oak Creek so Sedona has been a part of my life forever. It’s absolutely magical and some of my fondest memories are in Sedona. It’s a small city, and pretty compact, but there’s so much to see and do you’ll have no problem keeping busy. In this post I’ll break down some of my favorite sites, attractions, restaurants, and stays. Bare with me, it’s going to be a long one, but a good one :]
*Note: all names to sites are links to further information. Click the links to learn more!*
TOP places to eat:
- Garlands General Store – This spot is everything for us. It’s probably two blocks from our cabins on 89A and they have AMAZING breakfasts. When I was a little girl, it was simply a general store. They sold small gifts and souvenirs, fishing and hunting gear, camping staples, and permits. As Sedona’s popularity grew as a tourist destination, they shifted focus from just a general store to a general store and small restaurant. They have a lovely patio in the back and often have live music to enjoy. Definitely try the smoked salmon avocado toast and one of their delicious cappuccinos.
- The hideaway – Another nostalgic spot for me. Whenever the entire family was together at the cabins we would always make reservations for our group at the Hideaway. The restaurant gets its name because it’s tucked into the back of a small shopping complex and hangs over the cliff that drops down to the creek below. You have to descend a flight of stairs to get to the restaurant but the patio seems to float amongst the tree tops and it creates the most serene setting to enjoy lunch. They have great pizzas and pastas and it’s family owned so you feel the love.
- Mariposas – If you’re looking for something a little more classy Mariposas is an amazing option. It’s one of the newer restaurants in Sedona and it’s positioned on the North Side of 89A just west of the round-a-bouts that lead north towards Oak Creek and Flagstaff. It has some of the most beautiful views of the mountains of any restaurant in Sedona, and believe me, that’s saying a lot since the entire city is perfectly picturesque. Their menu features upscale Latin-American cuisine and it’s damn tasty.
- Elote – This is probably one of the most highly rated and recommended restaurants in all of Sedona. It’s only open from 5p-close (9-10p) everyday so it’s a commodity for Sedona-folk. The menu features some of the most authentic Mexican dishes that I’ve tried North of the border. It’s always PACKED so be prepared for a wait.
- The Hudson – Saving my absolute favorite for last is The Hudson. This restaurant also has beautiful views of the red rocks and its menu features rustic American dishes with an upscale, yet casual feel. I’ve never had a bad experience here and it’s a wonderful place to stop for dinner and drinks any day of the week. Make sure to make a reservation as there tends to be a wait.
TOP places to shop:
- Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village – Tlaquepaque is a Spanish style shopping village that’s home to numerous galleries, spiritual shops, and restaurants. It’s great for strolling around during the day. There’s often live music in the evenings and during the holidays, they have a Christmas light display throughout the village. Definitely check out the candy shop in there, it’s amazing and they sell some candies that you can only buy there as they’re made from local ingredients.
- The Shops at the Hyatt Village – This is where all the main shopping is along 89A highway. Shops line both sides of the streets and you can find everything from crystal shops, to the infamous Red Rock Fudge Co, to Pink Jeep Tours (more of this later), and TONS of dining.
- Oak Creek Vista – This is a great spot to not only soak of the jaw-dropping views of Oak Creek Canyon but natives from the local tribes sell beautiful silver and turquoise jewelry.
TOP Things to do & See/Stay
- Slide Rock State Park – This probably Sedona’s best known attraction. Originally an Apple Orchard to the Frank Pendley family from the early 1900s to 1982 when the land was sold to the state as a national park. It’s a series of pools and moss covered falls that create natural waterslides and swimming spots. There’s a few fun cliffs to jump off if you’re brave enough. It’s a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and a bit of swimming.
- Grasshopper Point – This one is located about halfway between the city of Sedona and Slide Rock so it’s possible to do both. Grasshopper point is another spot to enjoy Oak Creek and Grasshopper Point has even more, and higher cliffs to jump off of than Slide Rock. It’s also less known so it’s a great spot for swimming with less people around.
- Pink Jeep Tours – This is perhaps my favorite thing to do when in Sedona. The tour starts by climbing into an open air pink Jeep Wrangler and setting off through the Sedona back roads. There are a variety of tour options but my favorites are the Ancient Ruins/Diamond Back Combo, and the Broken Arrow/Scenic Rim Combo. The Ancient Ruins tour takes you into the canyons and up close and personal with ancient Indian settlements. Fun Fact: Sedona is home to over 10,000 archeological sites with a majority of them pertaining to the ancient Indians that once inhabited the areas. I’m an anthropology nut, can you tell?
- Vortexes – That’s right, vortexes. Or is vortex already plural, like fish? Anyways, a vortex is thought to be a swirling concentration of energy, or a magnetic force field. All of Sedona is considered a vortex but there are a four vortex in Sedona where the energy is extremely concentrated. It’s interesting, actually, when you step into the vortex the hair on your arms stands up and you can almost feel a vibration. It’s said you can stand.
- Hiking – Sedona is famous for its many picturesque hiking trails that weave through the stunning red rock formations. Perhaps the most popular hikes, and one of my personal favorites is Devil’s Bridge. It’s a rock formation that was formed underwater hundreds of thousands of years ago and creates some amazing photography opportunities.
- Trout Farm – Right along 89A, on your way north towards Slide Rock and Flagstaff there is a trout farm that uses the natural flowing waters of the creek to create natural tanks for the rainbow trout. It’s a great option for kids as its safe and pretty mellow, and you pay for fish by what they weigh.
- Jerome – Another local gem that’s becoming a tourist hotspot, so get there before the magic is come. Jerome is an old mining community that was established in the early 1800s and is situated high in the mountains behind Cottonwood, AZ, which is just about 30 min outside of Sedona. It make for a great day trip. The town is rumored to be haunted and this is partially do to the fact that the town once played home to a mental asylum that has since been turned into the Jerome Grand Hotel.
- Page Springs – Wine tasting anyone? Page springs is nestled about halfway between Sedona and Cottonwood and if you didn’t know it was there you’d miss it every time. The exit is a time turn off from the main road that winds back into the hills and features some amazing, award winning wineries. The terrain is pretty rough so the grapes really have to struggle to grow so they wine they produce is very bold and flavorful.
- Enchantment Lodge – When my sister and I were little girls we would always say how we wanted to get married at the Enchantment Lodge. Picturesque doesn’t even come close to describing the setting. It’s tucked back into the canyons a mile or two off the main strip (89A). With adobe structures that blend perfectly into the environment, a perfectly manicured golf course and landscaping, luxury accommodations and high class restaurants its a great spot to enjoy the views of some of Sedona’s most iconic rock formations.
- Hyatt at Piñon Point – This hotel is located right in the heart of Sedona where 89A meets highway 79. It’s features some of the best accommodations and shopping in Sedona and it’s prime location makes it a great base for exploring all that Sedona has to offer.
Whether you’re looking for exploration, a spiritual experience, peace and quiet, or stunning nature scenes, Sedona is the place to make it happen. Alas, as a somewhat local, I am reluctant to share this information with my readers but I hope that those that visit Sedona respect what a magical place it is, and work to keep it that way.
*Special offer to my readers: we rent our cabins out, get in contact with me for more information*