Phoenix with Kids - A Travel Guide

After having Poppy, I have really worked on tailoring all of our little getaways to be as family and kid friendly as possible, while still being able to explore, and relax and HAVE FUN. Our last getaway was no different. We had the opportunity to visit Phoenix, Arizona over Thanksgiving weekend and we had the BEST TIME EVER.

We wanted to stay in the heart of Downtown, Phoenix and The Residence Inn, Phoenix Downtown was the PERFECT spot. We checked in, and the staff was BEYOND helpful. Getting in late night on Thanksgiving day meant that few places were open for dinner and they helped us find the perfect place to order some late night snacks and even shared their boiling water with me to make Poppy some plain noodles. Talk about hospitality!

The room was UH-MAZING.

It had a whole kitchen, full sized fridge (and freezer!). A dining area, a couch, two huge beds and an amazing bathroom. The whole thing was huge and felt like a cute studio apartment in NYC! The standout, though, was THE VIEW. The Phoenix skyline was breathtaking from the wall to wall window.

We loved rolling out of bed and grabbing some of the ::FREE:: breakfast each morning. From there we would hit up the cafe on the main floor which had a full Starbucks. THANK YOU COFFEE! There was also an amazing bar in the hotel called Little Rituals which had some incredible cocktails (and views!)

Once we grabbed coffee each morning, it was time to EXPLORE! Here is what we LOVED:


Children's Museum of Phoenix
Named one of the TOP 3 Children's museums in the nation, this was a MUST see for us. At 48,000 square feet, you can literally spend the entire day in here. There are 3 floors and 300 play experiences, WOW. We barely scraped the surface in here, but Poppy LOVED the grocery area, the cooking area, the ice cream stand, hot dog stand and flower garden.

ODYSEA Aquarium
Great for all ages, this aquarium offers entertaining, interactive and and education experiences. We were lucky enough to see the Mermaid exhibit where we saw mermaids swimming with the fish! Poppy also got to get her hair and makeup done, mermaid style and have a meet & greet with a mermaid. She was floored! We loved the Penguins and the touch pools. Also, you don't want to miss the bathrooms here on the main level, seriously, just trust me and check it out!

Butterfly Wonderland
Located right next to the aquarium is this incredible sight! Butterfly wonderland is the biggest butterfly conservatory in the country, with over 3000 butterflies! You can also experience koi feedings and face painting, which were Poppy's favorite!

Roosevelt Row
This walkable arts district in DTPX was one of the highlights of our trip. Boasting incredible murals, award winning galleries and exhibitions, amazing coffee, food and shopping, this is a MUST see. Every wall, alleyway, street etc is covered in beautiful murals. It is like an entire museum at your fingertips!

Phoenix Flea
We were SO excited that the Phoenix Flea was going on during our trip to Phoenix! It is an amazing market with handcrafted gifts, vintage clothing, art, food, crafts and so much more. This was located in the amazing Heritage Square which was also an incredible place to visit! Dating back to the 1800's this little area is a charming memory of Phoenix's past.


The Churchill
This place was GREAT for kids. It was comprised of 10 different small businesses, with lots of outdoor seating and games! It was chilly, but little heaters made the atmosphere super cozy. This was a great place to relax, and eat and let Poppy run around without judgement. Highly recommend!

Cartel Coffee Lab
We stopped here for some coffee and breakfast. The coffee was amazing and we got delicious chia puddings and pastries. Super laid back and quick. Perfect for families on the go!

The Duce
This place was our FAVORITE! You walk in, and there is a boxing ring inside! We got to watch some people spar, which was great (I love boxing!!) Then we walked to the outdoor area to order some delish food, which is all made in a 1968 streamline camper...umm GOALS! Again, a great atmosphere for Poppy to run around and the decor could not be cooler! This would be an amazing place to go have a drink at night, too. But we didn't get to do that! Next time!

Squid Ink Sushi
This amazing sushi place was right outside the hotel and across from the Christmas festivities and ice rink, which was awesome. The food was incredible, contemporary asian fusion. If you are looking for sushi, this is the spot, for sure!

Hash Kitchen
This brunch place was a little farther, on the way to the aquarium but SO worth it. They have a DJ spinning and a disco ball and a crazy bloody mary bar (Arizona's largest!). This place was hopping.

We were able to fit all this in in just a long weekend. Phoenix is just overflowing with culture, fun, excitement and so much more. We can not WAIT to go back and see more!


Santa Barbara

I will admit, when we moved to LA two years ago I had grand visions of weekend getaways every weekend to explore the entire California coast. We have gone on...a few...but on the top of my list has always been Santa Barbara. We finally decided to make it happen and booked a room at Hotel Santa Barbara.

It was important for us to find a hotel with a great location. Since we live at the beach, we didn't need to stay ON the beach in Santa Barbara. Instead, the most important factor for us was walkability. Hotel Santa Barbara is right smack in the center of State St (the center of it all!) A short walk west (literally 10 minute walk) to the beach and steps away from endless amounts of coffee, food, shopping, and incredible sights.

Stepping inside Hotel Santa Barbara I was immediately drawn to the colorful tile staircases and unique architecture. It looked like it was right out of a movie!

The stand out of the room was the brand new bathroom which was pristine! But truth be told, we didn't spend much time inside the room, as there was too much to see and do! But it was amazing to come back after a long day and relax in a beautiful and comfy room!

The first thing we did was check out The Santa Barbara Zoo. It was perfectly small for an almost 3 year old and she had SO MUCH FUN. There is an adorable train ride that goes around the whole zoo that she loved! Standout favorites were the gorillas and giraffes. There is also a play area for kids and tons of refreshments available throughout the zoo! We bought our tickets online and skipped the admission line, which is a nice little time saving hack!

Next on our list was State street. Which was great since the hotel was nestled right in the middle of it all! We walked up and down checking out all of the cute restaurants and shops. Everything from mom & pop shops to big names like Anthropologie, Free People and even a TJ Maxx! We walked up and down taking in the amazing architecture and vibe. It was amazing.

We had a dinner reservation at Bouchon and it definitely did not disappoint. It is always a little risky to go out to a nice dinner with a toddler but they went above and beyond to make sure Poppy was happy the entire time, so cool of them! There was a table next to us that was having a birthday party and Poppy was so intrigued, the waiter came by and dropped flower petals all over our table so Poppy would feel like she was a part of the party, they also brought her a little piece of cake, so nice. The food was amazing and the wine, too. YUM!

For breakfast the next morning we walked from the hotel to The Breakfast Culture Club which was awesome. It was airy, bright and spacious enough for Poppy to run around. The coffee was great and we got some awesome avocado toasts, yum! We explored a little more after and then went back to the hotel to check-out.

After checking out we drove a few blocks down to the water and took Poppy to the Moxi Children's Museum. What a place! She could have easily spent the entire day there, but we kept it down to 2 hours. The rooftop boasts amazing views of Santa Barbara, and there is just SO much to see and do there! It is definitely a must see for kids.

We could have spent a few more days in Santa Barbara for sure but I think we really got a nice taste of the area in our little weekend getaway! We can't WAIT to go back!


aura cacia

Becoming a mom 2.5 years ago was never my plan. In fact, I never even knew I wanted to be a mom. Before Poppy, my life was centered around my career. I did not want to do anything to veer away from what I had been working my whole life to achieve. Then one day, I just wanted a baby. Seemingly out of nowhere. It was as if Poppy was supposed to be mine all along and was just begging to be born. So, we got pregnant and in October of 2016 I had Poppy and my life changed. Mom life is everything and nothing I thought it would be. It is the hardest yet most incredible role I have ever played.

That being said, it is also the most important role. I have to make sure that I am constantly at my best (mentally and physically) so that Poppy can thrive. Aura Cacia helps me to elevate each day so I can focus on being the very best for my Poppy. I love relaxing after a (very) long day by diffusing oils in my diffuser. And I live for mid-day pick me ups by rolling some peppermint or eucalyptus on my wrists and neck.

Let's face it, being a full time mom is hard work. Me time is extremely limited and when I do find a moment to "relax" it is usually filled with getting everything done that I haven't been able to do. I have found that diffusing oils in our diffuser can really help calm and relax me after a long day. I put it right next to the bed so the room gets filled with the delicious scents.

To be completely transparent, I was totally in the dark when it came to oils. I did not know anything at all, but I was eager to try. The Discover kits are great for new users like me who may not be sure what they like or want to try a bunch of different oils.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, take the opportunity to give the Moms in your life something awesome because THEY are awesome!

Check out my gift guide on the MOMS WE LOVE page on the Aura Cacia website and pickup some treats for the mommas in your life (or some goodies for yourself too!!)