Where to Stay in Sedona, Arizona

SD › Best Places to Stay in Sedona
Updated: April 9, 2022

Best hotel in Uptown Sedona.

The awesome Amara Resort and Spa in downtown Sedona.

Where to Stay in Sedona

Since the 1980s, Sedona in northern Arizona has been attracting New Age practitioners of all kinds, from crystal-sellers and tarot-readers to teachers of meditation and all things mystical. It’s supposedly “the heart chakra of the planet”, laced with a series of spiritual vortexes where psychic energies can be channeled (there are 4 primary ones: Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon). Psychic and author Page Bryant, who lived in Sedona at the time, is credited with identifying the area’s supernatural qualities in the late 1970s.

Today Sedona is equally known for its tranquil desert resorts, wellness spas, and opportunities for outdoor pursuits: spectacular landscape of red sandstone outcrops with some 400 miles of hiking trails (and 235 miles of designated bike trails) winding through the adjacent Coconino National Forest and Red Rock State Park. The town itself isn’t especially attractive, with the area simply divided into four neighborhoods: Uptown, the effective “downtown” area; resort-heavy West Sedona; the quieter Village of Oak Creek just to the south; and the even more tranquil hideaways of Oak Creek Canyon to the north.

• You’ll need a car to make the most of Sedona and the surrounding region – the Verde Shuttle ($1–2) connects Cottonwood/West Sedona with Uptown every 90 minutes along the main roads, but there’s no public transport beyond this. You’ll find plenty of free all-day (or sometimes 3-hour) parking throughout Sedona.

• Sedona’s Tourism Bureau created “Sedona’s Secret 7” to shed light on lesser-known trails and locations in the region: 7 scenic spots and 7 categories (hiking, biking, vistas, picnics, stargazing, arts and culture, and spiritual) for a total of 49 sights. Check their website for the full list.

• One of the modern icons of Sedona is the pink jeep wrangler – Pink Adventure Tours uses them for off-road tours of the area. The 2-hour Broken Arrow Tour is the most extreme as well as fun.

• Sedona follows Mountain Standard Time year-round (there’s no daylight savings time changes). This means in the summer it’s the same as Pacific Daylight Time.

Best Places to Stay in Sedona

Best Neighborhoods in Sedona for…

  • Best Neighborhood to Stay for First Timers/Sightseeing: Uptown
    Stay in Uptown for the best choice of bars, shops, and restaurants, with easy road access to the whole region. The Verde Shuttle zips up and down the main drag and runs across to West Sedona, if you fancy a break from driving. There are several local sights here (like the Sedona Heritage Museum), big malls like Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, and most of the major tour outfits (like Pink Adventure Tours).
  • Most Romantic Neighborhood: Oak Creek Canyon
    The lush, pine forested banks of Oak Creek Canyon north of Uptown Sedona are peppered with beautiful resorts perfect for romantic getaways. Orchard Canyon on Oak Creek, Sedona Views Bed and Breakfast, Destination @ Oak Creek, and the unique TinyCamp are all fun places to stay for couples. There are numerous places where you can swim in the creek in summer, stroll along its banks, or wander off into the surrounding hills, and it’s rarely as busy as the more central parts of Sedona.
  • Best Neighborhood for Nightlife: Uptown
    Sedona isn’t known for nightlife (only a few pubs and saloons open as late as midnight on weekends), but Uptown does boast the Sedona Beer Company which serves craft beers (and a mean fried chicken sandwich) and congenial bars like the Art of Wine, Lacuna Kava Bar, and Oak Creek Brewery.
  • Best Neighborhood for Food and Restaurants: Uptown/West Sedona
    Good restaurants are scattered all around Sedona, increasingly showcasing locally grown produce – including fruits, herbs, fresh trout from Oak Creek, and beef raised on local ranches. Uptown probably has the best selection within walking distance, with highlights including the burgers at Outlaw Grille, Italian food at Hideaway House, and refined contemporary food at Creekside American Bistro. We also like Momo’s Kitchen, a Korean food truck that knocks out excellent bulgogi beef and kimchi.

    In West Sedona, the best restaurants are more spread out along Hwy-89A. Top picks include the Japanese-oriented Angel Kitchen, Gerardo’s Italian Kitchen, and the beautifully located Casa Sedona Restaurant. We also love Señor Bob’s Hot Dogs.

  • Best Neighborhood for Shopping: Uptown
    Uptown is the best place to shop – there are intriguing stores in West Sedona and along the Oak Creek Canyon, but only in downtown Sedona are there enough stores to enable comfortable browsing on foot. Top of the list is the Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, a charming outdoor mall shaded by sycamores that comprises 50 specialty shops and art galleries, selling everything from bronze sculptures, ceramics, and blown glass to decorative arts, photography, and contemporary jewelry. The nearby Shops At Pinon Pointe is another open-air mall featuring fine art galleries, clothing, and accessories stores as well as gift shops. Just across from Tlaquepaque is the Artist’s Kitchen Shop, while nearby Hummingbird House is a beautiful gift shop with themed rooms (like art & antiques, bath & body, and baby & children).

    Other highlights include local clothing at Sedona Artwear & Shirt Co; women’s clothes at Dahling It’s You; gifts at The Hangin Tree, Sedona Sunset, and Scorpion on the Porch; New Age items at Sedona Crystal Vortex; and Native American arts and crafts at Clear Creek Trading Co, Bearcloud Art Gallery, and Garland’s Navajo Rugs.

  • Best Neighborhood for Budget Accommodation: West Sedona
    Staying in Sedona is never cheap, but (relatively) budget accommodation does exist, with the best options in West Sedona. Assuming you have a car, you won’t miss out staying here since West Sedona is a short ride from Uptown and is close to major attractions such as Airport Mesa, Thunder Mountain, and Red Rock State Park. There are also plenty of restaurants and stores strung out along Hwy-89A, the main drag. Sugar Loaf Lodge and White House Inn are solid budget choices here.

The 4 Best Neighborhoods in Sedona for Tourists

1. Uptown (Downtown Sedona)

Uptown is Sedona’s downtown area and its historic core, home to some of its best restaurants, shops, and accommodations (the local visitor center and Pink Jeep tours are also based here). Though the redrock surroundings are stunning, the town itself sports a mixture of styles and the main drag, Hwy-89A, looks more like a strip mall at first – the best accommodations and spas lie off the main road. Highlights include the Sedona Arts Center, housed in an old fruit-packing barn and featuring work by local artists; Sedona Heritage Museum, which chronicles local history; and the huge Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, where you can buy local arts and crafts. It’s also worth stopping by Winery 1912, which showcases the wines of southeast Arizona.

Hwy-179 runs another 3 miles south where Uptown merges into the smaller Chapel neighborhood, named after the iconic Chapel of the Holy Cross. Built into a redrock cliff face in 1956, the chapel is anchored by a stunning 90-foot cross. Also in Chapel is the trailhead to Cathedral Rock, a giant red sandstone formation that supposedly marks one of Sedona’s vortexes (the trail leads to the saddle point or gap between the formation’s 2 buttes – it’s a technical climb to reach the actual summit).

2. West Sedona

West Sedona is the built-up area along Hwy-89A, beginning a mile or so west of Uptown and the Oak Creek River Valley. It’s a bit more spread out and residential than Uptown, though the main drag also seems like a strip mall, lined with chain restaurants and supermarkets. Beyond the main drag there’s a huge range of accommodation here, much of it cheaper than Uptown, and there’s also a decent spread of cafes and restaurants, boutiques, craft shops, and thrift stores. Highlights include the Sedona Artist Market, home to over 150 local artists and craftspeople, and the Amitabha Stupa and Peace Park which encompasses 2 Tibetan Buddhist stupas.

West Sedona is also the closest resort area to scenic spots like Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon (2 more vortexes), Thunder Mountain, Lover’s Knoll viewpoint, Crescent Moon Ranch, and Crescent Moon Picnic Site (where you can swim in Oak Creek), as well as Red Rock State Park, where local wildlife such as javelin (a bit like wild boar), mule deer, coyotes, and even bobcats can be spotted.

3. Village of Oak Creek

Hwy-179 (aka Red Rock Scenic Byway) runs some 7 miles south from Uptown Sedona to the Village of Oak Creek. It’s a smaller community that feels more like a real desert oasis, with redrocks and sandstone buttes clearly visible all around. Stay here for a quieter experience (it’s a certified “International Dark Sky Place” with stunning night skies), with a little less choice in terms of restaurants, bars, and shops. There’s not much to see in the village itself, though the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center lies just to the south, while to the north there’s the Bell Rock vortex, several hiking trails, and 2 awe-inspiring viewpoints: the Courthouse Vista and Yavapai Vista Point. The village is also another access point to Red Rock State Park, and there are 4 golf courses (some attached to resorts) in the neighborhood.

4. Oak Creek Canyon

North of Uptown Sedona, Hwy-89A snakes through an incredibly scenic section of Oak Creek Canyon on route to Flagstaff. Staying here makes quite a contrast to the rest of the area; the resorts and hotels are more isolated, tucked away along the canyon, often with gorgeous views of the creek; and the landscape is more green than red desert, marked by ponderosa pine forest. Highlights, from south to north, include the historic Midgley Bridge; Grasshopper Point for picnicking, swimming in cooling Oak Creek, and cliff-jumping; and Slide Rock State Park, which features an 80-foot natural sandstone chute into Oak Creek and trails to the historic Pendley Homestead and apple orchard. On route, the Indian Gardens Cafe & Market is a good place for a pitstop, with adjacent Garland’s selling handmade Native American jewelry, hand-carved Hopi Kachina dolls, Navajo sandpaintings, Pueblo pottery, hand-woven baskets, and fine Navajo rugs. Further north, Hoel’s Indian Shop has been selling a similar array of Native arts since 1945. One of the most unique places to stay is TinyCamp, with 5 mini cabins, outdoor fire pits, and hot tubs.

Read More

Get All New Content

My Travel Newsletter