Travel Lifestyle & Culture

Travel Nurse Guide to Phoenix

Kathleen Jordan, RN
January 7, 2019
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Things to Eat/Drink

Phoenix is a bit of a foodie town. There are several famous chefs with noteworthy restaurants both here and in Scottsdale. I also never hesitate to ask my patients for their local recommendations!

travel nurse guide to phoenix


Taco Guild. If there is one place you have to go to while in Phoenix, it’s Taco Guild! It’s located in a refurbished old church, giving the restaurant an eclectic feel. The tacos are some of the best in town!

Culinary Dropout. They have some amazing food, live music, and even a yard to play games! It’s the perfect place to grab a drink with a bunch of people or go out with friends.

The Henry. The first time I went here was with a group of girlfriends visiting me from out of town. While the food menu isn’t extensive, their cocktails are splendid, and the ambience is super-relaxing.

North Italia. This is one of my favorite Italian restaurants. Try the brick oven pizza!

The Dough Bird. I can’t say enough about this place! It specializes in rotisserie chicken: you choose the amount then choose from a delicious variety of sauces and sides. Not in the mood for chicken? There’s also salads and pizza!

I’ve also heard promising things about (or eaten great things at) the spots below. Give ‘em a try!

  • Olive and Ivy
  • Ingos
  • Le Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria
  • The Orchard
  • Chelsea’s Kitchen
  • Ocotillo Restaurant
  • Southern Rail
  • Federal Pizza
  • Windsor  
  • Tratto
  • Hillstone
  • The Covenant
  • Pizza Bianco
  • The Mission Old Town
  • Becketts Table
  • Smashburger
  • The Nook
  • Humble Pie
  • Cibo Pizzeria
  • Snooze  
  • Fame Cafe
  • Le ‘Crest Tea
  • Inn and Out

Bars and Nightlife

Postino. They have amazing bruschetta and cheese boards with a large variety of wines and beers. Great for a girls’ wine night or date night!

Old Town Scottsdale. Old Town Scottsdale is actually a shopping and dining area in Scottsdale, but Saturdays are for college football fans! With a quick Google search, you can find out which bar supports your team. For us Notre Dame fans, it’s Rock Bar!

Mill Ave. This place is stocked with a variety of bars, from country-themed to clubs. Side note: it’s pretty close to ASU’s campus, so it’s also a favorite among college and grad school students there.

If those bars aren’t your cup of tea, these spots are also on my bucket list!

  • The Yard
  • Cheese Burgers and Beer
  • Helton’s Brewery
  • Honor Among Thieves
  • Little Woody

Things to See/Do

I love that Phoenix’s running and hiking trails are centrally located. (I actually trained for my second marathon here!) It also has a great music scene, tons of natural beauty, and is filled with gems for those of us who love shopping!


Salt River. In late spring, grab a float, a cooler full of your favorite beverage, and float down the river for the day!

The Van Buren. This is the most popular music venue in Phoenix, although many of them are totally worth a visit.

The MIM. The Musical Instrument Museum can be pretty overwhelming—it has over 15,000 musical instruments you can learn about—but it’s definitely a must-see while you’re here!

Desert Botanical Gardens. If you aren’t familiar with the flora of the American Southwest, this is a great place

to walk around and see the different plants native to this area.

Also on my bucket list…

  • Phoenix Zoo
  • OdySea Aquarium
  • Gammage


travel nurse guide to phoenix

Camelback Mountain. This is one of the most popular hikes in Phoenix. You can easily finish it in a few hours.

Devils Thumb. Very popular hiking trail amongst locals!

Indian Walsh Belt. The best way to access this trail is at Eldorado Park, from there you have almost 11 miles of a beautiful paved trail to run on.

Arizona Canal Trail. The best way to access this is from Granada Park. From there, you can head in either direction to run along the canal. I recommend going towards the Biltmore estates!

For all you overachievers looking for extra trails…

  • South Mountain Park and Preserve
  • Papago Park
  • Sonoran Desert Preserve
  • Piestawa Trail

Also, if you end up needing stores or a running group to make the most of the trails above, I’ve got you covered!

travel nurse guide to phoenix 3

Runners Den. This store is locally owned and run, and the owner has run 50+ marathons and is a great source of knowledge about running and the local area!

Tortoise and the Hare Sports. They’ve got running shoes, apparel, and accessories, and even host events from time to time.

The November Project. Maybe you’ve heard about it before in other cities. It’s a great way to fit in a run and meet lots of new and awesome people! All abilities are welcome! The workouts are fun and the environment is high energy!

Wear Blue: Run To Remember. This organization strives to run miles in remembrance of fallen soldiers and hosts various meet ups at different locations throughout the US. Last year, their goal was to run a mile for every fallen soldier, a goal that they met and exceeded! Gilbert is the meet up location for Arizona. Join their Facebook page for more information about times and locations!


Urban Exchange. This is a store that retails high end luxury accessories, shoes, sunglasses and purses. Follow them on instagram and be the first to know about any items!

Poor Little Rich Girl. This is a high end thrift shop, a great place to find vintage items and luxury brands (Lululemon, Rag and Bones, Free People, Louis Vuitton etc..)  you can follow them on instagram and get updates on new items!

Last Chance. This is a Nordstrom retail store where you can get Jimmy Cho, Vince Camuto, Prada, Michael Kors shoes, and other items for clearance prices!  If you happen to be there when they are restocking your shoe size or the accessories then you are in luck!

Haven’t shopped ’til you dropped yet? Check these out.

  • Lululemon Factory Outlet
  • The Biltmore
  • Scottsdale Fashion Square

Local Events

Spring Training. If you are a lover of baseball, then you’ve come to the perfect place. Phoenix is the other location for spring training! Here are the list of teams you can see here play this spring!

Phoenix Waste Management Open: The Phoenix Open is a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, held in late January/early February, their website has a calendar of events! It’s always a good time!

Day Trips & Weekend Trips

Payson. This is a small town about two hours from Phoenix. I recently went hiking at Payson’s Horton Creek Trail, and it was

travel nurse guide to phoenix 4

amazing to see the landscape change from desert to pine trees and woods. It was also the first time that my dog got to see snow!

Flagstaff. This is your escape if you’re in Phoenix for the winter or summer. In winter, get your fix of snow, mountains, and winter sports. In summer, escape the heat and enjoy green fields and wildflowers!

Grand Canyon. You have to see the Grand Canyon while you’re here. Hiking within the canyon for longer than a day requires you to reserve a campsite years in advance, but you can still hike rim to rim (at certain times of the year) without a reservation. Their website is very helpful with everything!

Sedona. This city has a special place in my heart! It’s day-trip distance from Phoenix with so many different things to do. You can hike (I especially recommend Devil’s Bridge), camp, or go off roading.  You can also enjoy majestic views of Sedona’s red rocks from its wineries and restaurants.

If you’ve gotten to these places, I have some more for you!

  • Prescott
  • Tucson
  • Bisbee
  • Antelope Canyon

Self-Care & Downtime

Super Paulene’s Nails: This place is in northern Phoenix. I’ve had one of the best dip manicures here. Side note that gratuity does have to be in cash.

Luxe Nails: If you don’t want to make the drive north, this place is one of the best in central Phoenix! I know a few people who have gone, and their nails look great!

Snapdragon: This is my go-to hair salon. I loved my cut here and even had Balayage done for the first time. On their website, they link all of their stylists’ Instagram accounts so you can scroll through and find one who fits your needs!

Bonus: Fur-Friendly Spots!

My travel companion is a one year old goldendoodle. Below are some of my favorite places to take her!

travel nurse guide to phoenix

Hance Dog Park: This dog park is my favorite. The owners there are nice, and you rarely find an aggressive dog there.

Wag and Wash: Great place to give your dog a wash. They also have custom dog treats and birthday cakes!

OHSO: This is a bar/restaurant that allows dogs on their back patio. Great place to grab a drink with friends and bring your fur baby along.

Interested in traveling to another city? Check out our Trusted Guide to Denver!

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