Actress and reigning Instagram Stories queen Busy Philipps has a lot going on right now. Not only is she gearing up for her late night talk show, Busy Tonight, which airs on E! this fall, she’s also going to release her hilarious (how could it not be?) memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, on Oct. 16. And she was also just in New York to promote her partnership with Tropicana Kids juice. So yes, Busy is a little, well, busy at the moment.
And though she’s Los Angeles-based, when she and her husband, screenwriter Marc Silverstein, are ready for a dose of calm, they load up the kids in the car and road trip to Scottsdale, Arizona, where much of Philipps’ family lives. “It’s only a six-hour drive,” she explained from the sofa of a penthouse suite at the New York Edition hotel.
Only six hours? “I didn’t grow up on the East Coast, so I don’t understand these quick trips,” she said. “I grew up in Scottsdale, where if you wanted to get to another state, you had to drive at least six hours. I’ve visited my husband’s family in Maryland and I’m baffled when we’re traveling through three states in 30 minutes. It’s like, you’re in D.C., you’re in Virginia, you’re in Maryland, you’re in Pennsylvania — how is that even possible? Small states don’t make sense to me. To me, six hours is a short road trip.”
Even for “short” drives, she comes prepared with provisions. “The secret with kids is constant snacks,” she said, adding that she fills a cooler with fruits, vegetables, and yes, Tropicana Kids juice drinks. And speaking of food, when the family finally arrives to Scottsdale, they seek out the best pizza and ice cream in town.
Where to find the chicest hotel
Philipps and her crew like to stay at Boulders Resort & Spa, a Southwestern oasis nestled in the foothills of the Sonoran Desert. The draw? Sweeping views of the surrounding 12-million-year-old boulder formations. “You’re literally in the middle of the desert, in these giant boulders,” she said. “The landscaping is so, so cool.”
Where to feed the whole family
The general consensus of the Silverman/Philipps clan is that Pizzeria Bianco in nearby Phoenix is the best pie around, and they like to order up one of the three white pizzas on the menu: the Rosa, with rosemary and pistachios; the Biancoverde, with ricotta and arugula; or the Wise Guy, with house-smoked mozzarella and fennel sausage. “[My 10-year-old daughter] Birdie’s a real pizza connoisseur, and she says it’s her top pizza in the country,” Philipps said.
And when they’re in the mood for Mexican — Philipps loves a good margarita — they hit up The Mission in Old Town for tacos made with hand-pressed corn tortillas. Oh, and cocktails of course. “They have incredible margaritas, which is always a must for us,” she said. “And there are some healthy options, or you can at least make it healthy.”
Best ice cream scoop in town
Her favorite after-dinner treat comes from The Sugar Bowl, an old-school ice cream parlor in Old Town. “It’s a must hit,” she said. “It’s all pink and white striped inside and it looks like it’s from the ’50s. It’s really cute.”
Where to find your beat
The family likes to make a stop at Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum, one of the only museums of its kind in the world. Of their 6,800 instruments on display, some dating as far back at China’s Neolithic period, Philipps has one favorite: “They have the Rush drum set!”
Where to enjoy the great outdoors
“The McDowell Mountain Range is one of my favorite places to hike,” Philipps said of the area’s 100 miles of trails. In fact, two of her high school friends founded a group that opposes impending development on the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. “The desert is so beautiful and home to so many little buddies that would be displaced, so I’ve tried to support them in any way I can. And also help my kids understand that nature, especially in the Sonoran Desert, is so important, so we should protect it and keep it safe.”
Aug. 10, 2018, 10:22 a.m. Eastern: This story has been updated.