Can coolness wedge itself into walls and floors? Because every inch of the Hotel Valley Ho is cool — and has been since 1956. Everyone knows it's the meticulous renovation of this historic, Midcentury Modern resort that makes it cool, but the extreme hipness of the people who hang out there — poolside and in the Ho's lounge and restaurant — make it even more chic.
Whether it's Tuesday at 6 at the ZuZu Lounge or nearing midnight at the poolside OH Pool Bar and Cabanas, nightlife at the Valley Ho is happening. Happy hour stretches 'til 7 at each of these locations, with an entire menu of specialty drinks for just three bucks a pop. Don't miss the signature cocktail, the Bramble, concocted with gin, lemon and blackberry liqueur, or the Ho-Hattan, a house martini with bourbon, vermouth and homemade bitters.
The lush appetizer menu can be ordered from every dining spot on the property, and the wide-open flow of the bar and cafe and cabana areas make the Ho feel like one big swank party, any night of the week.
6850 E. Main St., 480-248-2000, www.hotelvalleyho.com
Scottsdale is a Mecca for fine dining, but if locals keep returning to the same couple of places, it may be because these iconic restaurants have proved that serving great food isn't enough. One of the first places to offer now-standard "comfort food" way back in 1981, Don & Charlie's screams "Scottsdale!" by combining a casual atmosphere with fine linen and good silver. And few eateries anywhere offer a better museum-quality collection of sports memorabilia than this stalwart, which specializes in thick pork chops and a home-run macaroni and cheese that's a Scottsdale staple.
Scottsdale's oldest restaurant, established in 1947, also bursts with sports-themed décor. The Pink Pony has drawn crowds for nearly 65 years for its mesquite-grilled steaks, renowned pot pie, and scrumptious seafood. But sports fans come to Scottsdale Road's Pepto-pink landmark for grub that's served alongside one of the most stunning collections of baseball memorabilia in the country. Both the Pony and Don & Charlie's are true eatery icons in a city that tends toward come-and-gone trendy.
Don & Charlie's, 7501 E. Camelback Rd., 480-990-0900, www.donandcharlies.com
Looking for something to boast about to your artier friends when they come for a visit? Schlep them to Civic Center Mall (located between Scottsdale Center for the Arts and the Civic Center Library), and show them our very own Robert Indiana LOVE sculpture.
Point out to them that Scottsdale was the first city to purchase this stunning version of Indiana's hugely iconic artwork, made of red and blue polychromed aluminum and weighing 3,800 pounds, and that it was only later that other cities around the world began buying similar editions in Indiana's 2002 series of five LOVE icons.
Created by Indiana as an illustration for a series of poems he wrote in the late '50s, LOVE has become a worldwide symbol of peace and one of the most celebrated images in the pop art movement. Mass-produced since its debut in 1958, LOVE is now one of America's most recognizable icons — second, perhaps, only to the smiley face. And Scottsdale has one of the rarer versions — and that's something that even houseguests who aren't up on art ought to appreciate.
Civic Center Mall, 3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd.