When the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas start to get under your skin, sometimes an escape to a completely different place is the only way to cure the itch. Phoenix is just less than six hours from the Las Vegas Strip, but its entertainment offerings and plush local culture are a world away from the usual offerings found here. Plan an offbeat weekend getaway from Las Vegas by exploring some of the popular attractions, independent lodgings and unusual businesses the Phoenix area has to offer.
To get to Phoenix from the Las Vegas Strip, get on the southbound I-15 and merge onto the eastbound 215. Watch the signs as the freeways change: You should stay on the 215 until you reach the 95S/515S/95S at exit 1. Head south toward Boulder City there. At the 95S/93 south split, take a left turn, which will keep you on the 93 south. Just after you pass the 40 on the 93 south, you will reach a town called Kingman, a great place to stop for mid-roadtrip dining and shopping.
When you reach Wickenburg, take the exit for the 60 east/East Center Way/East Wickenburg Way. Stay on the 60 east for about nine miles, then take the AZ-74 east about 30 miles until you reach the 17 south, which will take you into the center of the Phoenix metropolitan area after about 24 miles. Once in the city, you can easily drive to your entertainment destinations, but if you prefer to park your car and ride, the Phoenix Metro Light Rail provides a scintillating visual experience as it stops at a number of local attractions.
Redneck Southern Pit BBQ
420 E. Beale St.
Kingman, AZ 86401
For an all-American barbecue experience during your road trip to Phoenix, grab a bite at Redneck Southern Pit BBQ, which offers standard fare including pulled pork, brisket and barbecued ribs, in a kitschy, Redneck-themed eating atmosphere. It’s closed on Mondays, so be sure to make it a weekend stop.
401 W. Clarendon Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85013
Price: roughly $70 per night
For a personal experience at an unconventional boutique hotel, spend a night at the Clarendon. Conveniently located right in the center of Phoenix, amenities include a pool area, massage jets in the pool and a massive hot tub that can hold up to 50 people. It also offers a rooftop deck and lounge for guests.
Ocotillo Golf Resort
3751 S. Clubhouse Drive
Chandler, AZ 85248
Price: roughly $30 to $50 per player
If golf is your favored past time, check out the Ocotillo, one of the most popular courses in the Phoenix area. The Ocotillo Golf Resort also offers onsite fine dining at its restaurant, Bernard’s. The expansive grassy knolls and widespread water features throughout the courses at this resort provide a welcome break from the desert atmospheres in both Phoenix and Las Vegas. The most popular courses at this resort are Blue and Gold, so book ahead accordingly. Make tee time reservations online.
Tempe, AZ 85281
A day at the renowned Papago Park offers a more varied and affordable entertainment option in Phoenix. This expansive park, located just east of the center of the city, offers a variety of outdoor entertainment options for visitors of all ages. Golfing enthusiasts with a more limited pocketbook will find surprisingly reasonable fees at Papago Golf, which starts at $6 per person and tops out at $31 per person for the full premium golfing experience at this park. Roadtrippers traveling to Phoenix with a pack of animal-loving rugrats will enjoy a day at the Phoenix Zoo, which costs $20 for adults and $10 for children. At Papago Park, grab a local day-use fishing license and go angling at the onsite lakes, or visit the Desert Botanical Garden, which costs $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, $10 for students/teens and $8 for children ages 12 and younger. If you like viewing unusual local roadside attractions, check out the pyramid tomb, which houses the remains of George Wiley Paul Hunt, first and longtime Arizona governor, as well as a number of amazing natural rock formations.
The Mill Avenue District
310 S. Mill Avenue #201
Tempe, AZ 85281
For an offbeat shopping experience that will be impossible to find at any of the chain-laden malls and outlet centers in Las Vegas, pay a visit to The Mill Avenue Shopping District. Among the unusual shopping options at The Mill Avenue District are specialty clothing stores Hippie Gypsy and Artizen Organics, independent bookseller Old Town Books, and the Montage Art Studio. This location also features a wide variety of eating options ranging from chain restaurants to local independent eateries for noshing while shopping.
1743 E Broadway Road 2
Tempe, AZ 85282
If your stomach is hungry for something hard to find, peruse the Scandinavian, Polish and Canadian fare at Beaver Choice. This affordable bistro offers a wide variety of items ranging from hamburgers, falafels and and salmon-burgers to brie cheese sandwiches and skewers of pork tenderloin and bacon.