When you go to Paradise Valley in Arizona, you will immediately be struck by its apparent wealth; the small town is well-named. With such wonderful natural landscapes in the immediate vicinity, it was obviously a place that pioneers would pick to settle, even if it was in the middle of the desert at the time.
Situated in Maricopa County close to Phoenix, if you are looking for a base while you are in Arizona, Paradise Valley is certainly a place to consider. The restaurant quality reflects the wealth of the small town, as do the shopping facilities.
The huge variety of attractions available in Arizona means it is worth doing some planning before you visit.
This part of Arizona is famous for its golf courses and it seems logical if you enjoy a game to include golf in your 15 Things to do in Paradise Valley.
Nearby Phoenix is the HQ of Ping, one of the world’s leading golf equipment brands. Not surprisingly, you have a huge choice of golf courses locally, including some that regularly host PGA Tour events.
The decision of which course to pick for a game may well depend upon your ability. Some of the courses demand accuracy if you are not to spend much of the time in wasteland away from the lush fairways
If you’re looking for ideas, why not try either the Short Course at Mountain Shadows or Camelback Golf Club?
2. Mohave Trail
The Mohave Trail allows you to get back to nature; the views are stunning and remain entirely natural as you hike. You can even take your dog on a lead if you wish.
It is not especially exacting and your photo album will certainly be enhanced by pictures you take on the walk.
Wildflowers capture your attention seasonally and if you look closely, you may see small reptiles and snakes – though take care not to go too close to any rattlers. Take plenty of water and wear comfortable footwear for a great day out.
3. Mummy Mountain
Another great wilderness area is Mummy Mountain, which has been developed as a recreational area. In total, there are 320 acres. The views are impressive from the peak of the mountain at just over 2,200 feet.
The name was given to the mountain in the ‘40s when Charles Mieg – a New York banker – looked at the outline and thought it looked like an Egyptian Mummy. While there has been development around the bottom, there is no question of it moving further up the slopes.
This trip provides another great way to get out of towns and cities and enjoy the natural environment at its best.
4. Cosanti Originals
This gallery that has been created for public appreciation was the idea of Paolo Soleri; it was formerly this Italian-American architect’s studio and gallery.
The wind bells are especially interesting, with the pieces in ceramic and bronze other notable exhibits. It is the bells that have largely created its reputation, with several imaginative pieces.
You can see many artifacts of historical value such as bowls and pots.
There are some Soleri originals for sale and other novelty items that may well catch your eye.
5. O.H.S.O. Brewery
So, what does O.H.S.O stand for? This venue – which serves a range of drinks and a wide menu – is the Outrageous Homebrewer’s Social Outpost, thus O.H.S.O.
Fear not if you have dietary requirements because there are both gluten-free and vegetarian alternatives on that menu.
Happy hour is a very popular time to meet locals and other visitors; however, you can go for everything from brunch to dinner or simply enjoy a few drinks.
6. Jade Bar
As long as you are not driving, you are certain to enjoy the Jade Bar, which is situated in the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort.
The Jade Bar prides itself on the extensive range of drinks it offers; wherever possible, the Jade Bar uses natural ingredients in its spirits and cocktails. At certain times, the entertainment is provided by local musicians.
Take a taxi so that you can all enjoy some alcohol without having to worry.
7. Paradise Valley Country Club
The Paradise Valley Country Club is a place where the impression of local wealth is confirmed. The amenities it offers – including golf – mean that you can easily spend a day there with something to occupy the whole family.
The setting is lovely and if you just want to relax and take in the views, you are welcome to do so. However, many people come to the Country Club for its health and fitness facilities.
Ten tennis courts and an impressive swimming pool for cooling off are both popular features, while the club has established a good reputation for its fine dining and wine.
8. El Chorro Lodge
The calendar of events taking place at El Chorro Lodge means that something will always be going on when you visit.
If you have never played bocce – a game similar to bowls or boule – there are five courts here, so give it a try. You can enjoy a drink, a meal, or listen to the music being played that day.
El Chorro is a great place for a special occasion or even for your wedding. Such things need to be booked well in advance, but if you just want a day or evening out, you simply have to turn up.
9. Cholla Trailhead
If you’re thinking about going for a hike close to the town of Paradise Valley, Cholla Trailhead is certainly worth consideration. You will get some lovely views of Paradise Valley as you walk and there is a chance to see some wildlife. You can run the route if you wish, but in either case, take plenty of water.
The total length is around three miles and it is not an especially exacting hike. You are likely to meet birdwatchers as you walk – you may be one yourself. Get ready with your camera because you never know what you might see.
10. Joya Spa
Joya Spa is located in the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa, where you can expect to get treatments to refresh and reinvigorate yourself.
You might want to start in the pool before heading for the sauna or steam room. The treatments available include healing stones and there is little doubt that after a busy day, a couple of hours at Joya Spa will have you ready for another busy day tomorrow.
The staff at the Spa are well-trained to look after you; if you’re staying in Paradise Valley for an extended time, you may begin to think about returning later in your holiday.
11. Barry Goldwater Memorial
Barry Goldwater was a Senator who represented Arizona for five terms, as well as standing for US President in the 1964 elections only to lose to Gerald Ford. To many Republicans, he is seen as the father of American conservatism in Post War USA.
He made Paradise Valley his home for many years and the city erected a memorial to him – a bronze statue made by Joe Beeler, a cowboy artist. It stands in Botanical Gardens as it has done since 2004 and is surrounded by famous quotes from the Senator in the paths. The milestones in his career are set in stone walls.
12. Franciscan Renewal Center
The Order of the Friars Minor was established early in the 13th century to act as a missionary organization, spreading the word of St. Francis of Assisi. It still exists today with the avowed aim to help the poor and improve the spiritual life of all people.
You can meet today’s friars in this center, which is part of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix. The center is happy to welcome visitors, whether they come to pray or not. There is always the opportunity to volunteer for even a very short time – as an individual or a family. Every pair of hands is useful in improving the lives of those in need.
13. Glendale Historic District
Glendale is a sizeable city half an hour west of Paradise Valley. There are a number of attractions within the city that justify a day out.
While you are there, you should take a look at Glendale’s historic district. One part still has the old bungalows, mature trees, and white picket fences. Elsewhere, you may like to eat in one of the restaurants in an area with glowing gaslights in the sidewalks and antique shops which are worth exploring. For a while, you will think you are living many decades ago.
14. Scottsdale Marketplace
If you want to go shopping but don’t really have any firm ideas about what you want to buy, head for Scottsdale Marketplace.
There is everything from antiques to gifts and houseware. Many of the items are the top brands in their field; remember this is a fairly affluent region where shoppers demand the best.
If you want some ideas of places to look out for, remember Heidi’s Corner and Artique Asian Imports if your time is limited. Something is bound to catch your eye.
15. Tonto National Forest
The largest forest in Arizona, Tonto National Forest covers just under three million acres, with an altitude range from 1,300 feet up to just under 8,000 feet. Not surprisingly, there is huge variety going from desert areas to thick pine forest.
It is a great place for walking and just breathing the fresh air. That is an opinion shared by visitors, who number around six million each year.
Just a word of warning: the wildlife in the forest includes black bears who generally look to avoid humans but be prepared. If you are camping, keep your site clean and don’t attract them with waste food.