Ever since my parents moved from Long Island, New York to The Village of Oak Creek in Arizona a year ago, it’s become my home away from home. During the summer months, I drive nearly every weekend with my four-year-old boxer pup, Sofia Loren. The temperatures are typically 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix so we can enjoy the outdoors year round and continue to get in our morning runs. I’ve become somewhat of a part-time resident, so if you’re planning a trip, here are a few places to try:

1. Best Cup of Joe

Firecreek Coffee Company in downtown Oak Creek is the real deal. It’s located on 89A before you reach downtown Sedona. It’s a cozy coffee shop where dogs are always welcome and friendly staff members are pleased to advise you on the coffee selections of the day, which happen to be hand roasted on site. The barista’s latte art always puts a smile on my face and the homemade granola is to die for. On any given weekend, you’ll see a gathering of locals and visitors alike on the outside patio enjoying the weather, the company, and the great coffee. 

2. Delectable Breakfast

When I’m in the mood for a hearty breakfast, there’s no place better than the Coffee Pot in Sedona. There’s usually a long wait, but I promise it’s worth it. While waiting, take in the ambiance. The walls feature an abundance of celebrity headshots and autographs, and a small boutique inside the waiting area provides a brief distraction with unique, local treasures. Once seated inside, you’ll find one of the largest breakfast menus in town. Everything from Mexican classics like huevos rancheros to traditional breakfast eats including biscuits and gravy, waffles, pancakes and even 101 different kinds of omelets. 229_FallColors1_hiedit.jpg

3. Sedona Airport

A hidden gem, the Sedona Airport is a great place to grab a cocktail with a view. The Mesa Grill at the Sedona Airport features all-glass walls providing diners panoramic views of incoming private jets and military helicopters. On one visit, I had the opportunity to see an Osprey V22 taking off – an incredible sight! If you’re lucky enough to be there during Airport Days, you’ll have to stop by. You’ll see World War II planes, fully restored antique planes and can even sit inside state-of-the-art experimental planes. 

4. End the Day at Elote

By far, one of my favorite dinner restaurants to frequent in Sedona. Again, if you don’t mind the wait, Elote Café is one of the best experiences in town. Your best bet is to arrive half an hour before they open to get in line and get your name on the list. Next step, have someone grab a table outside while you head inside to order a few of Elote’s famous margaritas. There’s a delicious ginger margarita, cucumber-lime and even a flight option if you can’t decide. Don’t forget to grab a heaping helping of Elote’s signature popcorn to munch on while you’re waiting. While perusing the menu, be sure to consider a few of my favorites, including the corn soup, guacamole and enmoladas. Although you may have to enjoy a couple of rounds of margaritas before you get to dinner – the weather is perfect year round so sit back, relax and enjoy.

Long Island-native Amy La Sala moved to Arizona to attend college, but stayed for the sunshine and palm trees. Aside from regularly traveling up north, in her spare time she enjoys running outdoors year round and exploring Arizona’s culinary landscape with friends and family.