So anyone that knows me well, knows I waste way too much damn time on Reddit. A recent result of that time-wasting was a discussion I got into with some locals about great places in the city to view the city lights.
I’ve always loved a killer view, and part of that love spawned a love for beautiful homes. There are so many beautiful homes around the valley, that you can literally spend days driving around looking at them all (ask me how I know)! From the western tip of Happy Valley road, east to Scottsdale Rd. & Carefree Hwy, and south to Tatum & Lincoln, there are dozens of beautiful neighborhoods in this city, and I suggest everyone visits them at least once.
Anyways, my experience in driving around and looking at all of these places eventually led to me finding a few hidden little spots in the valley that I can get away to, without leaving the city. I am here to share some of these places with you. Whether you want to go snap some awesome photos of the sunset or city lights at night, or you simply want to impress that first date and find a quiet little spot to cuddle up with a blanket and make out, I am here to help.
The first place I am going to share with you is a spot you should already know, but may not. This one is no secret, which is why I am sharing it first.
Whether you want to look out upon the city from a mountain top, or get a clear shot of the horizon, South Mountain is the catch-all place to go.
If you aren’t familiar with South Mountain, go ahead and look south from most parts of the city at night and look for the red flashing lights in the sky. Bam. Now you’re familiar with South Mountain.
Go ahead and check out a map of the place by clicking here and figure out how to get there from your part of town.
I should note: This is a reserve park, and thus has operating hours and many tourists. Once you enter the park at the base of the mountain (where I marked the map), it is about a 20 mile drive to the top, so be sure to have fuel and drinks with you before you head up!
There are numerous places to go once you begin to ascent the mountain, and I am not familiar enough with any of them to offer you advice here, so take some time, drive around, and explore. I can tell you that there are areas where you can look South, as well as North. East and West, I am not too sure of. Check it out one of these days, and experience it for yourself. The up-side to this spot is you can drive the whole way: no hiking required.
This place is a hidden gem. It is quiet, peaceful, secluded, and I’ve yet to see anyone else around when I’ve gone there. On top of that, as far as I know, it isn’t trespassing (I COULD BE WRONG, SO DON’T TAKE MY ADVICE IDIOT!).
From this place you can see East from Paradise Valley. The night view is beautiful. This is one of those spots that will get you laid. You’re welcome.
I will show you a map that explains how to get from Tatum Blvd. to the spot I am talking about. If you can’t figure out how to get to Tatum (or use the map) then you don’t deserve this awesome place.
Check it out here and get a feel for it. If it isn’t obvious, balloon ‘B’ denotes the spot.
Go to this place after 8PM with a significant other and bring a blanket. You’ll want something to lay down for the two of you to sit on.
When you approach the area I’ve dropped the marker, you will notice that the road dead-ends and there is a gate blocking it off. This gate is to stop vehicles. Simply park at the gate and walk up the road a few hundred feet. Lay your blanket at the edge of the road and viola, you can now look over half of the city.
This spot is special to me, so please don’t fuck it up for the rest of us. Don’t be noisy, and don’t leave a mess. Sneak in like a ninja, and leave the same way. I don’t want the folks in the houses below to shut the place down. I love this spot so much that I tend to visit it alone from time to time just to clear my head.
Also, keep it to yourselves please! I don’t need every idiot in the city to learn about this place!
This is the last spot I’m going to share today, mostly because I’m busy as hell and don’t have much free time, but also because these three places will cover most of your needs.
Spot 3 rests on the western side of Shaw Butte, near 19th Ave & Thunderbird. This spot is great for a picnic, but you have to be comfortable with random people walking past you, even at 1AM. There are a lot of people that hike this mountain every day, and quite a few that do so at night as well. That being said, this place is awesome. I took a date up here one night for a picnic and planned it so that we would get there just as the sun began to set.
The great thing about this spot is it faces West, so you can watch the Arizona sun set in it’s entirety.
Now, G maps won’t let me drop a damn pin on the spot I am talking about, so here is a picture of it circled for you.
So park at the base of the mountain, hike up the trail for 5 minutes, and you’re at an awesome flat little spot that you can set up a full picnic at if you wish (or a tripod) to enjoy both the beautiful Arizona sunset, and the incredible city lights at night.
I’m not sure if this place has hours or not, but I went through multiple bottles of wine up there and I don’t believe we ended up leaving until 3AM or so, and we had no issues.
I WOULD however suggest bringing a weapon, if you carry one, as it is kind of a remote area in the city, and you just never know. I packed my Fox spray and my baton in my bag, along with a bright flashlight, and felt quite comfortable the whole night.
So that’s it for now. I hope these help some of you! And again, please don’t ruin it for everyone else. Pick up after yourselves, carry your trash out, and be courteous.