Host City and State
Our hosts have put together lists of the best, tastiest and most awe-inspiring places that you just have to see while you’re here.
Well, let’s get this out of the way: Yes, Phoenix is hot in August. But the old axiom is “it’s a dry heat,” and there’s truth to that. The Sonoran Desert’s super-low humidity means warm days can actually feel pretty nice, and the arid climate causes perspiration to evaporate quickly, keeping you cooler and drier. Plus, the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge has a killer pool scene.
Though it will be toasty, our Sonoran Desert landscape, with its iconic saguaro cacti, can still be safely explored with these fun summer ideas. You can also experience the desert from land, air and water with a local tour company, trek through the desert under a moonlit sky, or paddle your way down the Salt River alongside wild horses and bald eagles.
If you’d prefer to spend your time here in air-conditioned comfort, the nearby Musical Instrument Museum is the only one of its kind in the world, featuring more than 6,500 instruments from across the globe. A 25-minute drive from the resort brings you to Taliesin West, the former winter home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The landmark is open for a variety of tours.
Located a 15-minute drive from the resort is Scottsdale Quarter and the adjacent Kierland Commons. Both of these outdoor shopping complexes are home to a variety of high-end shops and restaurants popular with locals.
About 20-25 minutes away is central Phoenix, home to a number of popular eat/drink/shop gathering spots, and Central Avenue, where you can explore the thoroughfare’s dining scene or jump on the light rail for a pub crawl.
Any place can claim to be “vibrant” or “unique,” but Arizona transcends the utility of everyday adjectives.
And it’s not just the red-rock buttes, pulled-taffy canyons and cartoon-like cactuses. It’s also the frothy whitewater, the glassy lakes, the quaking aspens.
Arizona, of course, is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But there is so much more to the Grand Canyon State than the Grand Canyon itself. The longest unbroken stretch of Route 66? It’s in Arizona.
The only place where the U.S. Postal Service still uses a mule to deliver the mail? It’s in Arizona.
The site of the most famous gunfight in American history? It’s in Arizona.
When NASA was preparing to put men on the moon, Arizona is where those men trained. It’s the only state that contains all four North American deserts. It’s also home to the country’s two largest man-made lakes.
The world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest stretches across Arizona. This is also where you can visit America’s southernmost mile-high town and the country’s only UNESCO World City of Gastronomy.
So you know what you do: Go to VisitArizona.com to find excuses—make that reasons—to come early and stay late for ESTO 2018.
Combining small town charm and modern luxury, Sedona is an oasis in the desert and offers respite from the bustle of a big city experience—and, it's only a two-hour drive from the JW Marriott Desert Ridge! ESTO attendees can take advantage of exclusive deals and discounts to visit a wild country of mountains and mesas, sprawling canyons and endless blue skies.