Super Bowl 49 took me to the beautiful state of Arizona, with its bright blue skies, warm weather and incredible desert landscapes.
Playing host to the big game and its surrounding festivities were the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Glendale, which welcomed visitors from all over the world looking to soak in some rays, enjoy good food and vibrant culture, and most of all, load up on football. A week of fun football-themed events and experiences to enjoy, plus all the offerings you would find on any Arizona vacation? This would be the trip of a lifetime.
Unrivalled Outdoor Adventure
Arizona’s scenic mountain ranges are designed for adventure, and the unique ways to explore them are endless. Hike or bike for an immersive experience, or take a ride in a hot-air balloon or helicopter to appreciate Arizona’s spectacular panoramic views.
Opting for a slower pace, I meandered through the picturesque trails of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. With thousands of unusual plant species, and a wealth of fascinating exhibits and cultural events, the garden is a special experience that should not be missed.
Afterward, I traveled to The Boulders, just north of Scottsdale, to play a round of golf on one of the coolest courses I have ever seen. As the title suggests, large granite boulders dot the course in every direction, providing a unique and majestic desert landscape.
Fun activities at the NFL Experience at Phoenix Convention Center
World-Class Culture and Cuisine
After a day spent in nature, I hit up downtown Phoenix to take in Arizona’s cool culture and arts scene. With fascinating museums, stunning mural art and delicious cuisine, it’s a traveler’s dream. To recharge, I stopped in at Bitter & Twisted Cocktail Parlour for a drink and a bite. This trendy bar has everything from classic concoctions to contemporary creations, and its ramen burger is a definite hit!
For a sweet finish, I checked out the 20th annual Glendale Chocolate Affaire in Historic Downtown Glendale. The quaint local festival featured handcrafted wares, homemade goodies and chocolate-covered, deep-fried everything!
Fun in Scottsdale
In Scottsdale, there’s so much to do, it’s hard to know where to start. I spoiled myself with a few luxury items from downtown’s Scottsdale Fashion Square. Luckily, the upscale shopping center was also playing host to Fan Fest Scottsdale, where I got an exclusive look at the ESPN Live Broadcast, while enjoying fan rallies, interactive events and so much more.
Next, I headed to Old Town to pick up some one-of-a-kind souvenirs at the local shops. Nearby, I learned all about the state’s Native American history at the Arizona Indian Festival in Scottsdale Civic Center Park, with authentic music and dances, traditional food, and handmade jewelery and art.
Street festival atmosphere at Super Bowl Central in Arizona
Exciting Super Bowl Events
Arizona really knows how to throw a Super Bowl party! In Phoenix, 12 downtown blocks were converted into Super Bowl Central, a football-themed epicenter with live music, games and events. The NFL Experience in the Phoenix Convention Center was the perfect place to snag an NFL autograph, snap a selfie with the Vince Lombardi Trophy and enjoy kid-friendly games fit for the whole family. Plus, late-night concerts and parties hosted by some of today’s hottest artists and celebrities ensured that the legendary fun carried on well into the evening.
To catch the final game between the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks, I made my way to Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Scottsdale, the perfect place to end my incredible vacation. The bar was packed with friendly locals and excited visitors sharing a beer or two over their mutual love for the game. I stepped outside to catch one last desert sunset, thankful for my unforgettable time in Arizona, and already dreaming of my next visit.
Watching the game at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row in Scottsdale