Sedona, Arizona: Go for the great views, stay for the good vibes in this desert oasis
Turns out, the most beautiful city in the world is actually a teeny tiny Arizona desert town—population 10,000—nestled at the foot (literally) of awesome rock formations. Think Joshua Tree on steroids; the topography is mind blowing, the spas are some of the best in the Southwest, and the woo-woo hippie vibes are unrivaled. (Aura photo? Psychic reading? Yoga in an energy vortex? Take your pick!) If you’re looking for a place to connect with your totem animal, have a glass of wine while ogling red rock buttes, or just seriously chill out in nature, jump in your car, type “Sedona” into Waze, and hit that dusty road.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Great is an understatement. Sedona is buttressed by 1.8 million acres of national forest, two state parks, and four wilderness areas. To get your fill, scoot over to Devil’s Bridge (1420 Vultee Arch), a two-mile round-trip hike with a view like whoa. To beat the heat, cruise up to Slide Rock (6871 AZ-89A), a natural, algae-covered, 80-foot slide that shoots you into the chilly waters of Oak Creek. For something more formal, there are tons of Jeep companies in town happy to cruise you around on guided tours; Pink Jeep’s (204 AZ-89A) trip to nearby Native American ruins is a stunner. Hit up Red Rock ATV Rentals (1590 AZ-89A) to satiate a wilder streak; they’ll let you loose along Sedona’s back roads with nothin’ but a map and some Dukes of Hazzard feels.
Sedona is the Southwest’s unofficial hub of The Woo—the sheer number of crystal shops per square mile is astounding. A great place to restock your neo-hippie kit without breaking the bank is Mother Sachi’s (251 AZ-179)—grab some luxurious soaps and bath salts for the homies. The team of psychics at Mystical Bazaar (1449 AZ-89A) has a rep around town for turning out some of the most spot-on readings (bring tissues, don’t wear mascara). For woo of the Mother-Nature variety, head to any of Sedona’s four energy vortexes (believed to be special spots on the Earth where energy is either entering in or projecting out). There’s one to support masculine energy, the Airport Vortex (a short hike from Airport Rd.), that’s great for sunrises. The one to support feminine energy at Cathedral Rock, (500 Back O Beyond Rd.) is a personal fave—head there during a full moon for the drum circle. And there are two that balance masculine and feminine energies, Bell Rock (off AZ-179) and Boynton Canyon (Boynton Pass Rd.), both jaw-droppers, though Boynton is often the less crowded of the two. Feel like getting your vortex Shavasana on? Vortex Yoga Hiking in Sedona (2675 AZ-89A) is your gateway to doing just that.
What this town lacks in nightlife (the streets are empty by 10 p.m.) it makes up for in sumptuous pampering. Head to family-run Uptown Massage (452 Jordan Rd.) for a killer rubdown overlooking Sedona’s rolling hillside and the best facial of your life (ask for Beth). Up the street is Namti (2120 AZ-89A), a fave among locals that sidesteps the pomp and circumstance, serving up fabulous massages (especially the Ayurvedic Massage) at super affordable prices. If you want something more deluxe and tourist-y, head to Mii Amo (525 Boynton Canyon Rd.), a destination spa offering every kind of treatment imaginable—including Swedish and Thai massage, “Spirit of the New Moon/Manifesting” therapy, and yes, a crystal grotto. But the best way to relax in this Arizona getaway town is to just walk out the door and soak up the breathtaking scenery in every direction—it’s the greatest kind of medicine there is.
BITES + BOOZE
You’re gonna work up an appetite trekking this town, and there are a few killer spots when it’s time to grub. Head to Coffee Pot (2050 AZ-89A) for a breakfast menu that is actually insane. (So. Many. Omelets.) ChocolaTree (1595 AZ-89A) is the local vegan/vegetarian joint, sporting an entire case of mouth-watering handmade chocolates. Though, if you’re serious about dessert, head uptown to Black Cow Cafe (229 AZ-89A) and get your house-made ice cream and macaroons on. For legit, budget-friendly Mexican, pop over to Tortas de Fuego (1630 AZ-89A), and grab their enchiladas. Across the street is Picazzo’s (1855 AZ-89A), aka gluten-free heaven—do not pass up their mac and cheese. When it’s really time to treat yo’ self, Enchantment Resort (525 Boynton Canyon Rd.) boasts three restaurants, each with a kick-ass menu and views that won’t quit; hit up the happy hour at View 180 and you won’t blow through your savings. Speaking of happy, El Rincon (336 AZ-179), tucked into Sedona’s picturesque Tlaquepaque market, makes every drink with three shots, so prepare to feel no pain (and pay for a cab). Elote’s (771 AZ-179) cocktail menu leaves nothing to be desired either, and their food, though pricey AF, is worth every penny.
By Remy Ramirez
Photographed by Lauren Morley Butterfield
Top photo: Courthouse Butte
This article originally appeared in the October/November 2017 print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe today!
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