I'm lucky to have good friends from all phases of my life, including a group of women I've known since high school. Back when we were 17 we declared that when we were adults we would go on a girls trip and have such an amazing time. It took 16 years, but we finally made that girls trip happen. With children, husbands, and fur babies at home we set our destination to Sedona, Arizona and started planning a trip half a lifetime in the making. So here you have it, everything we did with 4 days in Sedona: Girls Trip Edition.
Our trip was in October and we decided to make a long weekend of it, flying into Phoenix on Thursday evening and back out on Sunday night. A rental car got us to and from Sedona, along with taking us on a day trip to the Grand Canyon. As Sedona is in the high desert, it's not hot like I was imagining. That really canceled the idea I had in my head of lounging by the pool the whole weekend. What did we do instead? Here's a rundown of all the things we did, places we ate, and fun we had.
My Sisters Closet Consignment Shop
While three of us waited for our fourth to fly into the airport we had some time to kill and decided to explore. My friend Charlie visits her parents in town often and had flown in the night before to spend time with them. She and her mother found this gem of a consignment shop in Phoenix that I’m still bowled over by.
As an experienced thrifter this was one of the highest quality consignment shops I’ve ever been too, and as such, I was in awe of the number of items they had. It was huge! I got a cool hat you see me wearing below, a Tory Burch coat, a Rebecca Minkoff coin purse, a vintage gold metallic threaded mock turtleneck, and some adorable J. Crew shoes for under $150. It was well worth the stop and I'd go out of my way to shop here again. Yes, even worth noting here on a Sedona vacation guide.
Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles
This is also in Phoenix, but if you’re going to Sedona, you’re most likely flying into Phoenix so this makes the list. We had divine guidance from above on our trip, because Lo-Lo’s Chicken & Waffles was a random find from a Google Search of ‘food near me’ after hopping on the freeway from the airport, heading to Sedona after our fourth arrived on Thursday night. Lo-lo's was the breakout hit of the trip.
LoLo’s is obviously a Phoenix institution, but in that hip, bright, fun, Salt & Straw type of institution way. They serve kool-aid on tap and I’m pretty sure our server was an angel sent from heaven. From the signature chicken and waffles to the gluten-free version of their shrimp and grits, this was the best meal on our trip and the perfect place to hunker down and start catching up before driving to Sedona on full and happy stomachs.
It was dark by the time we started the drive to Sedona, and it took just around an hour and a half. Two of us split the driving for the entire trip, so we split this drive, too. In Sedona, we stayed at the most adorable Airbnb. We opted to find a place that was really central so we could walk to a lot of the local places, though we did end up in a good location to drive places easily, too. Highly recommend finding somewhere to stay central in Sedona because there are a lot of cute places within walking distance of each other, though I wouldn't exactly call Sedona the most walkable town.
Sedona Farmers Market
Our first morning in Sedona was a Friday and we timed it right to catch the final Summer farmers market at the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village. (As a note, the Winter version is held elsewhere in town.) Since we were staying in an Airbnb we went to the farmers market and picked up some things for a healthy dinner in on Friday night and a few snacks for the rest of the weekend. We ended up with several types of hummus, tortilla chips, mango salsa, a loaf of Olive Sourdough, gluten-free meatballs with sauce, spaghetti squash, a container of micro-greens, arugula, and a bag filled with freshly fire roasted poblano peppers. There were also a few vendors to grab food from, so we grabbed quiche to hold us over while we did some shopping.
Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village
The Summer Sedona Farmers Market is held at the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village making it super convenient to go to the farmers market and then explore the village. There are so many stores to peruse and vendors selling beautiful things. And the village itself is beautiful! The buildings and courtyards are pieces of art, and let me tell you, this place is an Instagrammers dream.
Our favorite store had to be Natural Wonders, where you can pick up all sorts of stones and rocks. Is that the proper way to talk about pretty rocks? Sue me if not. But there is a lot of woo woo energy discussion in Sedona, and this place fits right in, where you can buy one of a thousand stones that will align your energy and your soul if you’re into that sort of thing. I didn’t know I was into that woo woo stone life until I went to Sedona, but now I am definitely into that sort of thing. We picked up some rocks and did some window shopping and then headed back to the Airbnb for some down time before our next adventure.
Sedona's Local Winery & Tasting Room Javelina Leap
If Sedona is known for many things, it’s the red rocks, the energy vortexes, and wine. We got so many great recommendations for wineries and wine tastings within a stone's throw of Sedona, but when it came down to it, we didn’t end up having time to drive out and explore any wineries because we had an adventure planned. Instead, we stayed local and found a little wine room where there was an amazing view of the red rocks and a $20 wine tasting. Was it $20? Something like that. The website that the Google Maps links to has nothing to say about the place we actually went. But it was the perfect stop in between one place and another while in Sedona.
Sedona Segway Tour
You know how I said we were going on an adventure so we didn’t have time to go on a wine tasting? Well, this is that adventure that was definitely worth not making it tasting. By far, the highlight of our trip was learning how to ride Segways and then going on a tour around the backroads to see some beautiful panoramic views of Sedona. We bought a Groupon for this activity and it was about $60 per person and the perfect active-but not actually hiking-adventure for our group. It was super fun to do with friends, too, as we encouraged each other and then had a blast scooting around as we put our new skill to use. And while it’s not necessarily easy, it’s definitely something that most people can do. It was about two hours including the 30 minutes of training and I wish it had been longer. No joke, the Segway tour was my favorite part of the trip.
Sunset from Airport Mesa
After walking back to our Airbnb from our Segway adventure we picked up a bottle of wine and some farmers market hummus and drove out to the Airport Mesa to watch the sunset. You see, there are a bunch of energy vortexes around Sedona that are said to have all sorts of good woo woo energy for your soul. We grabbed the aforementioned stones that we’d bought earlier in the day and took our woo woo believing butts up to the Airport to stare at the sky. There is technically the Airport Mesa, which includes a hike that you need to get there about an hour early to climb, and then there’s the overlook next to the main parking lot where it costs $3 to park. Guess which one we did? Parking lot for the win.
After the sunset, there was a lot of traffic leaving since this is a popular tourist destination, so we tailgated in the parking lot with our wine and hummus while the sky darkened and a rainstorm passed through. Eventually, we drove back into town and made dinner at our Airbnb just enjoying being together and hanging out. It’s easy when on vacation to eat out every meal and always being on the go. In Sedona, it felt right to stay at an Airbnb where we could stay in and enjoy each other over a meal.
Sedona Beer Company
After a few hours spending the night in, we decided we wanted to go out. With a beer lover in our group, we decided to seek out a brewery we’d zipped by on our Segways earlier in the day. As a note, Sedona is dead at night. This is a small town where I’m pretty sure most people are in bed by 10 pm, and in our neck of the woods it didn’t look like anything was open much past 10 pm. But we hadn't figured that out yet, so when we rolled into this little brewery at 9:30 pm on a Friday night we were surprised that it was basically dead. At one point we had the bartenders all to ourselves to explain the beer. I don’t drink beer and I even liked the beer I had, which I had to since they didn’t have a full bar, so beer was the only option. Eventually, some locals did show up, so then there were about 10 of us here. The beer was good and the vibe was chill. It was the perfect way to wind down before heading to bed early to get up for our road trip the next day.
Grand Canyon Day Trip
This is when the big ‘ol bucket list item for Sedona or Arizona comes into play. You didn’t think I was going to go to Sedona without going to the Grand Canyon, did you? Yeah, no. None of the four of us had ever been to this natural wonder so we set aside an entire day to make a trip to take in the awe-inspiring hole in the ground. Yes, it was everything I imagined. Yes, it was worth it. No, there was not much physical exertion needed. No, it not scary.
We drove the two and a half hours from Sedona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in the morning without really stopping except to grab our permit ($32) at a gas station just before we entered the national park. Our first stop in the park was the visitors center where we caught the informational video on the history and preservation of the park which I think we all felt was worthwhile. I don’t feel like I need to give you a play by play of what we did, as there are a million day trip guides out there to the Grand Canyon. But the long and short of it was that we stopped at the visitor center, did the walk to the rim from there, drove East and stopped at several lookouts, then wrapped up going to a restaurant that took too long and really isn't worth mentioning. It was a great day and really just the right distance away from Sedona for a day trip.
Oak Creek Brewery
When we rolled back into Sedona that evening we decided to walk back over to the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village where the Oak Creek Brewery was located. The wait was something like 45 minutes so we went to grab drinks in the bar while waiting for a table. Luckily for me, they had a full bar so I got myself a Kettle One and soda. Unluckily for the beer enthusiast for our group, the beer was not that good. We were all tired from the day, but picky enough to decide to risk venturing out to find a different restaurant nearby versus waiting for a table. The food did look good, like basic brewery eats, but we left after a drink.
Dinner at Sedona Hideaway House
You know how I mentioned we were tired, well we might have started to get a little grumpy, too, and eventually hangry. We started walking and found a Mexican place, but it was too expensive. You see, Sedona is very much a tourist trap in many ways, so restaurants, especially in the Tlaquepaque area can be spendy. We decided to leave the complex and wander towards restaurants we saw on Google Maps. This did not quite work as well as it had when we found LoLo’s, but it did end with pizza, so it was a win.
After nay-ing about four restaurants and walking in the cold drizzly dark we rambled up to the Hideaway House. This place is deceptive from the road but has surprisingly large amounts of seating. With two levels of indoor and outdoor seating, we were sat outside where they have blankets for you to cozy up under. It was dark, but I can only imagine the view from this outdoor deck during the day. We ordered pizzas and salads along with wine and vodka and were all super happy with our dinner choice. This place was good enough to please all of us, including the budget minded and gluten-free folks. Would definitely go back during daylight to catch the views off the outdoor porch.
Olde Sedona Bar & Grill
After dinner, we’d planned on staying in and playing Bananagrams and drinking wine, which we did. But eventually, the wine was gone. With one of our group deciding to call it a night, three of us were buzzed and not quite ready to throw in the towel. It was around midnight when we tried to Google a place to go buy another bottle or two of wine and we set out into the night to go to the gas station we thought was open 24 hours only to find out it was, in fact, not open. Now that we were out, though, we were women on a mission. Remember how we’d run into some locals at the Sedona Brewery Company on Friday night, well they’d invited us to join them at “a bar across from Whole Foods.” Having relied pretty heavily on Google we searched for Whole Foods and zoomed in to find a single bar across the street from it, the Olde Sedona Bar & Grill.
Our first bright idea was to try to walk to the Olde Sedona Bar & Grill and the lack of street lights in the middle of the desert quickly put the kibosh on that. Somehow, when we ordered a Lyft, this sleepy little town had one! It drove us to the bar and dropped us into local territory. If you need a place in Sedona that has a DJ, dance floor, strobe lights, strong shots, and some great people watching, this is the place! The bar also had a business card for a Designated Driver who got us home safely when after closing the bar down that lone Sedona Lyft was nowhere to be found.
Cafe Jose Restaurant
In the morning we were reminded that we were in fact in our thirties and were ready for a big breakfast. I'm going, to be honest, that we were unraveling a bit at this point, flying by the seat of our pants. Still, we once again used Google to search 'good breakfast' in Sedona. Cafe Jose Restaurant is what we found and it was just what the doctor ordered. A mix of Mexican dishes and traditional breakfast fare, all four of us were full and happy for the drive back to Phoenix.
After breakfast, we hit a bunch of tourist sites on our way out of town. They included:
- Chapel of the Holy Cross
- Cathedral Rock
- Parking lot crafts fair on the edge of town
While we didn't make a ton of time for these items, they were easy to do quickly and worth the time we spent checking them out on our way out of town.
A final note on driving back to Phoenix from Sedona: leave early. We got trapped in heavy traffic and an hour and a half drive turned into three hours pretty easily. I'm pretty chill about when I get to the airport, but even I thought we were cutting it a bit too close for comfort by the end.
All in all, Sedona ended up being a great place to reconnect with my friends while also exploring someplace new as a tourist. The breathtaking vistas and otherworldly landscape make you feel as if you’re on a different planet, in a far-off land. And what else can you ask for from a vacation?
Want to see more of the Sedona trip? Go to my Instagram and check out the Sedona highlight of all my Insta-stories from the weekend!