By Amanda Orr
The New Year has begun, and right now the temperature in the Valley of the Sun is simply perfect. This is the time of year to get out and get some fresh air; heck, it’s the very reason why we all live in Phoenix in the first place. It’s beautiful out during the winter months. And if you happen to be engaged (or just madly in love) and want to do something special for your main squeeze, we have some fun ideas to share with you.
If you were thinking about Engagement photos, but wanted to step it up a notch and do more than just pose in front of a camera, consider trying a Date Night Engagement Session around town, where there’s fun and romantic things to do! After you’ve got your engagement photos wrapped up, don’t end the date there; take your fiancé to a special restaurant, nearby art gallery, bike or horseback ride, or even sushi class to name a few!
Here’s a few of our personal favorite date night places in the valley that we’ve introduced couples to:
Phoenix Art Museum, the Contemporary Exhibit
We love The Phoenix Art Museum because it makes for a very modern and creative environment for portraits. The museum features traveling exhibitions as well as an impressive permanent collection. And its diverse exhibits give way to very cool backdrops--what can we say, it’s a great place for the creative photo lovers. There’s even a restaurant on campus called Palette; we recommend the crab cakes! Or if you’re a Broadway lover, catch a show next door at the adjacent Phoenix Theatre.
Desert Botanical Garden
In the middle of this desert city is an oasis of flora, exotic cactus, and growing architectural displays. We visit this place often with our couples, and we always find something new to see and do. The Desert Botanical Garden is a very popular place, but couples can still get lost in the beautiful sanctuary of secret nooks, shaded trails, and lush landscapes, making it feel like a little private paradise. There’s also great annual events, so plan ahead to get your engagement photos done before you kick back to enjoy your evening in the garden!
Here are 3 upcoming Desert Botanical Garden events we recommend:
Corks and Cactus
Feb 18 - 19
If you are a wine lover, you can sample up to 40 different boutique wines in the middle of the garden!
Music in the Garden
Get your tickets to the Spring Music in the Garden concert series, live performances by some of Arizona’s best bands and musicians!
The Seasonal Table Dinner Series
Jan 19 - Mar 2
Sip on some wine and dine in the open air of our beautiful Sonoran Desert with a customized menu designed by top Arizona Chefs!
Downtown Tempe is an exciting, busy place to have fun taking photos within the surrounding urban environment and college town. Not to mention some of the best cuisine you can find in the valley. Plan ahead for wearing comfortable shoes, because walking is a must!
I love restaurants that serve brunch all day. NCounter brings a modern twist to their menu and a cool environment to lounge in as well. This is a great place to refuel and reconnect after an engagement session!
This is not your typical wine and cheese place, oh no. The food is sensational, morning, noon and night, with seasonal entries from local farmers. I even feel a little more sophisticated after I dine here. And this place is close to many photo areas--a definite favorite.
6th Street Market
Oct - May, Sundays, 10AM - 4PM
Over 30 local artisans, food booths, and live music--need I say more? http://www.downtowntempe.com/explore/6th-street-market
Tempe Town Lake Pedal Boat & Bike Rentals
Tempe Town Lake Parks and Recreation
After an afternoon of waterfront portraits, there’s other fun ways to interact and be active. Consider renting some bikes and cruising the 2.5 miles of paths around the lake. Or take a spin right on the water with a pedal boat or kayak. Other recreational delights include horseback trail rides, and hiking in the adjacent Papago Park and LoPiano Bosque Habitat.
Downtown Gilbert is booming with new restaurants, shops, and outdoor spaces. If you like that old heritage, rustic brick and mortar type of feel, you’ll love getting engagement photos taken here. And afterward, head over to Liberty Market to enjoy a massive menu of organic and local farmed cuisine in a retro cafe!
Blue Wasabi’s Sushi School
Take a class together and learn how to make exotic and flavorful sushi rolls, while turning your tongue blue with dollops of wasabi! Didn’t you know wasabi is the new mint? LOL.
Gilbert Art Walk
Oct - Mar, 1st and 3rd Saturdays, 9AM - 1PM
Enjoy handmade goods--everything from art and food to ceramics and woodwork--all from local vendors! Plus, this event coincides with the Gilbert Farmers’ Market across the street! And pets are welcome, so bring along your pooch to participate in your portraits and then explore the art show.
Joyride Taco House
Saving one of the best for last, this is a wonderful place to wet your whistle with a tasty cocktail and indulge in as many street tacos as you can handle. Plus the place is so tubular; everything from the chairs to the bar and even the bathrooms are uber shabby chic. Truly a great place to take your date after hanging out with us photographers.
If you are looking to do something extra special during your engagement session and need some help planning something unique, give us a ring! We have lots more ideas to share.