Dramatic rocky red landscapes, a night sky full of glowing stars and no skyscrapers in sight make Sedona, Arizona, pretty much New York’s polar opposite.
The only true bar in town (Mooney’s Irish Pub) empties out long before midnight, and you’re roughly a million times more likely to see a hiker traveling down any street than a pile of trash bags.
Take a long weekend to escape the concrete jungle for this mystical desert wonderland, which boasts highs in the 70s come winter and an abundance of fresh air to breathe and space to stretch out.
The great outdoors
Sedona is all about the outdoors. More than 100 official hiking trails offer plenty of variety to take in the unique red topography, and even newbie hikers can take on the easy or moderate (considerably easier than walking through midtown rush hour foot traffic, in the opinion of this indoorsy New Yorker) routes.
The Devil’s Bridge, Bell Rock, Snoopy Rock and Cathedral Rock are arguably the most Insta-famous hikes as of late. But lesser-known, more locals-frequented hikes on Boynton Canyon Trail, Yavapai Vista Trail and Doe Mountain Trail offer just as impressive views.
Stop into the visitors center (331 Forest Rd., sedonachamber.com/visitor-center) for trail guides and hiking advice.
Not a hiker? Hot air balloon rides with Red Rock Balloon Adventures ($225/adult; redrockballoons.com) are yet another way to take in the impressive landscape, with completely unobstructed aerial views.
And for those who prefer to stay grounded, Pink Jeeps (tours start at $59/adult for 90 minutes; pinkjeeptourssedona.com), Sedona’s signature off-road vehicles, take visitors into the rocks for bumpy yet scenic adventures.
After you’ve worked up an appetite . . .
For a town with a population of a little more than 10,000, Sedona has a disproportionately high number of excellent restaurants, ranging from cheap eats to splurge-worthy fine dining destinations.
Chef Lisa Dahl is a pioneer in the vacation town’s fine dining scene. She owns Dahl & Diluca (2321 AZ-89A, 928-282-5219, dahlanddiluca.com), a white-cloth Italian restaurant; Mariposa (700 AZ-89A, 928-862-4444, mariposasedona.com), a Latin-inspired grill slinging out meats with complex flavors; Cucina Rustica (7000 AZ-179 #126A, 928-284-3010, cucinarustica.com), a pasta-centric eatery, and the more casual Pisa Lisa (2245 AZ-89A, 928-282-5472, pisalisa.com), a Neapolitan-style pizza joint firing pies rivaling Brooklyn’s top thin crusts.
Beyond the Dahl empire are impressive resort restaurants, from Amara’s SaltRock Kitchen (100 Amara Lane, 928-340- 8803, saltrockkitchen.com), which serves a dramatic DIY guacamole kit and more modern Southwestern cuisine, to The Enchantment Resort’s Che Ah Chi (525 Boynton Canon Rd., 928-204-6000, enchantmentresort.com), an upscale New American restaurant.