Picture this. You and your guests arrive at the destination, bags in hand, ready to check in at the hotel. All of your guests are in awe at the splendor of their surroundings. The excitement of the wedding festivities sets in, and people are ready to begin celebrating… but what’s next? Here’s your guide to the ultimate guests activities in Arizona that you don’t want to miss out on!
You can’t beat the breathtaking red rock formations in Sedona. For the outdoor enthusiast, Sedona is an obvious choice for a destination wedding. A few of the most popular hiking trails are Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Loy Canyon Trail, and Coffee Pot Trail, each with beautiful views that are well-worth the trek! While many of the trails are easy for all skill levels, some are considered moderate to advanced trails. Make sure to bring plenty of water! Other outdoor excursions include the famous Pink Jeep tours (where you can ride around Sedona in a fabulous bright pink Jeep), ATV tours, helicopter rides, hot air balloon tours, horseback riding, zip lining, and kayaking are just some of our favorites guests activities. Guests may also enjoy a spiritual excursion, traveling to Sedona’s world-famous energy vortexes. Vortexes are concentrated areas of energy, places for spiritual healing, self-exploration, and enlightenment. Vortexes are perfect sites for practicing meditation, yoga, or other rituals. Many who visit a vortex leave feeling recharged and uplifted.
For guests who are not so outdoorsy, the town of Sedona offers numerous restaurants, shops, and art galleries in the Uptown Mall and Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. Sedona is also home to several local wineries and vineyards. Enjoy flights of wine while gazing out into the horizon of magnificent red rock beauty!
The city of Flagstaff is situated amidst mountains, desert terrain, and ponderosa pine forests. If you are planning a winter wedding, Flagstaff is a popular destination for skiing or snowboarding. It is also home to the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort. The town of Flagstaff is known for its Historic Downtown and Railroad District, built along the railroad track that would later become Route 66. The early 1900s style buildings are now shops, restaurants, galleries, and breweries.
Another benefit of choosing Flagstaff for your destination wedding is being a short 1-hour drive from the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is located at Eagle Point, 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon. This enormous horseshoe-shaped glass bridge allows tourists to see straight down to the floor of the Grand Canyon and experience unparalleled views of one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders.
Imagine having your destination wedding in the city of Prescott, a place known for its historic charm and reminiscent of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls—but with a fun, Western twist! Many people refer to Prescott as “Everybody’s Hometown” due to its quaint, small-town characteristics. In Downtown Prescott, the legendary Whiskey Row was named after a block of saloons rebuilt after a fire in July of 1900. Whiskey Row is now a popular tourist location with art galleries, candy shops, boutiques, and (of course) old saloons.
One of the most popular times of the year to visit Prescott is during the winter months. Many people travel from out-of-town to see the light installation on the Courthouse, where numerous twinkling lights ignite the Courthouse Plaza during the holidays. The city also hosts a Holiday Light Parade, Gingerbread House Contest, and other festivities sure to bring holiday cheer to your winter wedding!
Popular hiking locations in Prescott include Thumb Butte or Granite Mountain, where there are amazing views of the entire city and the Bradshaw Mountains in the west. Lynx Lake offers paddle boat and kayak rentals, as well as a very easy hiking trail that is perfect for kids! Guests can also take a stroll through Granite Creek Trail, which runs through the heart of the city, adjacent to some of the best local restaurants. While Prescott is beautiful year-round, it is important to pay attention to the climate during the time you plan to visit as the city experiences warm summers and freezing winters.
Phoenix is known as the Valley of the Sun, with picturesque views of surrounding mountain ranges along with incredible sunsets. For a destination wedding, Phoenix has everything there is to offer! However, temperatures rise to 100+ degrees in the summertime, so be mindful of the weather when planning your guest activities. Luckily, pool season is year ‘round, so you can safely pack a swimsuit whether your wedding is in November or the middle of July!
Phoenix is also home to some of the best hiking spots in the nation, with the Phoenix Mountains including Camelback Mountain and Piestwa Peak. Camelback Mountain includes two hiking trails, Cholla Trail and Echo Canyon Trail. Cholla Trail is considered a moderate to extreme hike, with a few parts that require using your hands to climb. Echo Canyon Trail is an extreme hike with a steep ascent and several strenuous obstacles along the way. For all hikes, prepare by bringing lots of water and sunscreen to avoid sun burns and dehydration. The desert sun isn’t all that forgiving!
Downtown Phoenix is a hotspot for restaurants, nightlife, sporting events, museums, and entertainment venues. Spend a night out with your guests at Film Bar, where you can enjoy food, drinks, and movies at their one-of-a-kind independent theatre. Kazimierz World Wine Bar offers a world-class wine selection and live music. The Arizona Science Center also hosts monthly Science with a Twist events where guests can visit the museum and purchase drinks. The Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns stadiums are also located right in the center of downtown Phoenix, nearby many local favorite restaurants.
East of Phoenix, Scottsdale is known for equally high temperatures and panoramic views of nearby mountain ranges. Scottsdale is also famous for its luxurious spa resorts and golf courses. For guests who love to golf, Scottsdale is the place to be! Many people travel to Scottsdale in late January for the Waste Management Open, a week-long professional golf tournament held at TPC Scottsdale. Other large-scale events in Scottsdale include the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships and Barrett-Jackson Car Show.
Old Town Scottsdale is the most touristy destination in Scottsdale, with Fashion Square Mall, numerous bars and nightclubs, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries—all located within a few blocks from each other. The San Francisco Giants Spring Training stadium is also located in Old Town Scottsdale, walking distance from restaurants and bars. For guests who want to keep cool, The American Fine Art Gallery is a world-renowned art gallery in Old Town specializing in 19th-21st century European and American artwork.
Adults on your guest list will enjoy Talking Stick Resort, a fun entertainment venue and casino equipped with a spa, golf course, nightclub, and fine dining restaurants. Guests can enjoy a leisurely drink by the pool or take their chances at the poker table. Talking Stick Resort is also known to host several concerts and events, so make sure to check the entertainment calendar during the time of your trip! For a family-friendly guest activity, the OdySea Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Southwest United States. The aquarium is also located in the same plaza as other kid-friendly attractions such as Butterfly Wonderland, Dolphinaris, and Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs.
Jonathan Allison Photography
A few hours south of Phoenix is the city of Tucson, with towering cacti and views of the Santa Catalina Mountains in the northeast. Tucson is celebrated for its delicious Mexican food and influences from Latin American culture. Although Phoenix and Tucson have similar climates, Tucson is generally cooler due to its higher elevation. One of the most popular attractions in Tucson is Mission San Xavier del Bac, the oldest traditional Spanish mission in the United States. For guests who love to hike, the Seven Falls Trailhead is located at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is a beautiful 8-mile hike to tranquil waterfalls with several pools that you can swim in!
Guests who want to explore the city should definitely visit Downtown Tucson. Take a trip down Congress Street to find local restaurants, vintage shops, theaters, live music venues, and art galleries. The Presidio, formerly a Spanish fort, is Downtown Tucson’s historical district, featuring Latin American art and home of El Charro Café, The Nation’s Oldest Mexican Restaurant. The Tucson Convention Center, also in Downtown Tucson, includes three entertainment venues: Leo Rich Theatre, Tucson Music Hall, and Tucson Arena. Check the calendar of events during the time of your stay!
For family-friendly fun, take your guests to the Wild, Wild West of Old Tucson, a Western theme park which also served as the set for many famous Great Western movies. It is a complete Western town inspired by buildings from the mid-to-late 1800s. Experience staged gunfights, saloon musicals, living history presentations, and film history tours. Kids will love taking a ride on the carousel, horseless carriage, or the C.P. Huntington Train. The park also offers horseback rides around the 40-acre property or a stagecoach ride through town!
For a more intimate destination wedding, the village of Tubac is an art colony inhabiting a total area of 10.8 square miles. Tubac, Arizona is a place “where art and history meet”, with over 100 shops and world-class galleries that boast a wealth of painting, sculpture, ceramics, photography, fashion, leather, crafts, antiques, and jewelry. With plenty of art exhibits and historical sites, Tubac offers guest activities for all ages! Tubac Center for the Arts situated on the main intersection of the village and serves as a hub for art programs and seasonal exhibitions. Channel your inner artisan by cultivating an appreciation for Southwestern art and history!
History buffs will be thrilled to visit Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, which preserves the oldest Spanish Presidio in Arizona, San Ignacio de Tubac. Inside the park, visitors may also tour the Tubac Presidio Museum, Tubac Presidio Archaeological Excavation Exhibit, or hike the 4-mile Anza Trail which leads to Tumacácori National Historical Park.
Tumacácori National Historical Park is a historic site where you can take guided tours through the Tumacacori, Calagazas, and Guevavi Spanish Missions. Visitors may also tour the park’s museum, hike along the Santa Cruz River, or learn traditional crafts from historic craft artisans. Guests can immerse themselves in Southwestern culture by participating in crafts that include basket weaving, flour tortillas, painting, paper crafts, jewelry, leather working, and iron working.