I recently visited Sedona for the third time. Located in Northern Arizona south of Flagstaff and north of Scottsdale and Phoenix, its location among the red-rock monoliths is in my mind one of the most spectacular in the country. It is a great town to spend a few days or to see on a day trip from Scottsdale or Phoenix. If you stay longer you can easily do a day trip to the south Rim of the Grand Canyon, to visit Monument Valley or the Hopi Lands, to see the old buildings and homes in Prescott, taste wines in nearby Jerome and Cottonwood or to visit Flagstaff. The summer can be crowded as the residents of the valley come to escape the heat. If you are a photographer you might consider taking a tour to photograph Antelope Canyon, one of the famous slot canyons on the Navajo Reservation. It is high on my list of areas to visit.
The town has some excellent galleries and shops, plus some great accommodations and restaurants. You can enjoy the wonderful scenery by hiking, horseback riding or doing off-road tours. I want to someday do a hot air balloon trip over the town at sunset. There are a lot of touristy shops and galleries so I recommend that you avoid these and focus on the nicer ones. Pick up a map for the Sedona Gallery Art Walk which features 23 galleries uptown and in the gallery district. In West Sedona, there are six more on the list.
Visiting Tlaquepaque the very upscale and attractive Arts and Crafts Village. It was built in the 1970’s by Mexican artisans who built graceful arches, fountains, tranquil plazas and shady verandas. This is my favorite area of town where you will find giant sycamores and cottonwoods. There is a great collection of galleries, shops and restaurants. I really liked Nectar for some of its home accessories, the Renee Taylor Gallery and Kuivato Glass Art Gallery which carries some amazing glass pieces by Dale Chihuly and other top artists.
On the way into town stop at the Forest Service Red Rock Visitors Center to get your maps and hiking trail details. If you plan on hiking you should buy a pass so you can park at the trail heads. There are jeep tours as well through Pink Jeep Tours. Again, getting out on a hike is a great way to avoid the crowds in town.
There are several scenic view sites where you can stop and take pictures. Take advantage of these opportunities. I also recommend visiting Chapel of the Holy Cross on Chapel Road. The small chapel is surrounded by red-rocks. The views are amazing. The views from Airport Mesa are also really good especially around sunset.
On the way to or from Sedona, stop and see Montezuma’s Castle which is a ruin that was the home of the Sinagua Indians. It is one of the largest and oldest cliff dwellings in the entire Southwest. It is quite spectacular.