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Biospheres, energy vortexes for spiritual recharge and architecture in the red rocks of Arizona.

Shelby Ramirez is a healer of the mind and body. The oft-praised acupuncturist is a co-founder of Mount Sunny, the Phoenix based acupuncture and wellness studio focused on traditional Chinese medicine. It isn’t infrequent that she can be found eating locally at restaurants and farmer’s markets or getting out to simply enjoy the deserts, red rocks and orange-sky evenings that her city has to offer.

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden offers more than 50,000 plants, most of which are native to the Arizona desert landscape, and about 400 plants that are rare or endangered. The garden is known for a large selection of agave and cacti; a saguaro cactus lover’s dream. With five trails to choose from, you can easily spend a few hours roaming the garden grounds. If you get hungry, find Gertrude’s Restaurant near the entrance, which features seasonal, local foods of the Sonoran Desert and cocktails made with ingredients like prickly pear vodka.

Pro-Tip: Check the events calendar ahead of time and visit during the Seasonal Butterfly Exhibit.


Biosphere 2

Located in the Santa Catalina Mountains (50 minutes north of Tucson), Biosphere 2 is the world’s largest living research center. Serving as a science hub, the biosphere conducts experiments to further understand and predict the effects of climate change on our ecosystems. To do so, seven microcosms of Earth’s biomes have been replicated inside. Owned and operated by the University of Arizona, tours are offered daily and last around 2 hours.

Pro-Tip: If you don’t have the time to make it to Biosphere 2, I encourage you to explore, study, and get to know Biosphere 1, aka Earth.


Papago Park

Now nestled in the heart of Phoenix, Papago Park was formed between 6 and 15 million years ago, giving it a unique red sandstone color and shape. The park is home to many hiking trails, which I would describe as more of a breezy walk. Looking for an added workout? Start with a few rounds up-and-down the amphitheater-style steps near the base of the mountain.

Pro-Tip: For one of the best city views, take the trail up to Papago’s Hole in the Rock, preferably while the sun is setting.



Sedona is known as one of the most sacred and inspiring places in Arizona. People travel from all over the world to visit and experience this city’s powerful energy vortexes and red rocks. Surrounded by lush greenery and inviting temperatures year-round, the hike to visit the vortexes alone will be healing. Sedona is the day trip I take when I feel like I need a spiritual recharge or pick me up. 

Pro-Tip: Look for the twisting tree trunks and branches as you get closer to the center of a vortex.



The beginnings of a self-sustaining utopia; Arcosanti sits an hour north of Phoenix, with the vision of becoming an eco-city of the future. Within this unique sci-fi architectural hub, there is a current population of about 80 residents who, as part of the living experiment, maintain the property and continue to evolve the city. Daily tours are given around the site highlighting the arcology and desert landscape. If you want to get the most insight into this unique town, rooms are available for an overnight stay. 

Pro-Tip: For an intimate festival experience, visit Arcosanti during FORM.


Written & Photographed by Shelby Ramirez

Did we miss any of your favorite spots in Phoenix? Let us know where you love to get Recreational below.