12 Fun Free Things to Do in Scottsdale
Scottsdale may have a reputation as an expensive destination. However, that doesn’t mean the city lacks fun things to do—completely for free!
If you’re traveling on a budget and searching for some inexpensive entertainment to keep you busy during your stay, we’ve got you covered.
Check out this list of free things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona, that will leave you with life-long memories without costing a dime.
1. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
With railway-inspired playgrounds, tons of green space, railroad museums, and more, the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is the perfect free thing to do in Scottsdale with kids.
In addition to the free entertainment, families can also ride the Paradise and Pacific Railroad and Scottsdale Charros Carousel and get snacks, drinks, and ice cream from Hartley’s General Store for an additional charge.
2. Native American Cultural Presentations
At the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at 5 PM on Friday nights from September through May, you can witness Native American dance performances led by the Living Traditions Dance Troupe.
These free dance performances introduce you to Arizona’s Native American tribes through live music, dance, storytelling, and other theatrical elements.
3. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is the city’s hub for modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design. The museum features one of the world’s only “skyscapes” by acclaimed artist James Turrell.
You can visit SMoCA for free all day on Thursdays and the second Saturday of the month.
Scottsdales has a ton of museums you can explore. While there are more listed below, check out this blog post on Scottsdale museums to discover even more!
4. McDowell Sonoran Preserve
If you’re looking for some of the best hiking trails in Scottsdale, look no further than the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. You can hike, bike, or adventure through the magnificent Sonoran Desert for free or join a horseback riding tour for an additional fee.
If you’re looking for more hiking, visit Papago Park or Pinnacle Peak Park for desert views and the opportunity to encounter wildflowers, cacti, and desert critters!
5. Desert Botanical Garden
When you’re ready to get up close and personal with plants beyond the Sonoran Desert, coordinate a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden. This 140-acre garden boasts over 500,000 desert plants, allowing visitors to experience the vibrant tranquility of the picturesque desert.
Plan your visit to the botanical gardens on the second Tuesday of the month for free all-day admission.
6. Scottsdale ArtWalk in Downtown Scottsdale
If you’re searching for a great place to explore Scottsdale art, the Scottsdale ArtWalk at the Scottsdale Arts District provides the perfect opportunity. From 7 PM to 9 PM on Thursday nights, select art galleries keep their doors open late, allowing visitors to mingle with professional art dealers and local artists.
Visitors will also enjoy special exhibits showcasing various styles, from modern art to traditional western cowboy art, and live entertainment, like free concerts, on select nights.
7. Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market
Over 100 local vendors gather to provide a wide range of goods, from fruits, vegetables, baked goods, fresh meats and cheeses, beautiful flowers, and more at the Farmer’s Market in Downtown Scottsdale every Saturday morning from October to May.
You can also find unique handmade items, like hot sauces, local honey, fresh-brewed coffee, personal care items, and more at the market.
8. Old Town Scottsdale Entertainment District
While you’re in Old Town Scottsdale, be sure to explore the Scottsdale Entertainment District. Located in central Old Town Scottsdale, the walkable one-block district is home to close to 30 of the town’s most popular restaurants, bars, and clubs.
It’s a beautiful by day, and electrifying at night! Read more here to learn more about the best places to visit in the Scottsdale Entertainment District!
9. Scottsdale Rodeo Museum
If you’re looking for a unique Scottsdale historical museum, don’t miss the chance to visit the Scottdale Rodeo Museum, open from November to May.
This museum displays artifacts and items dating back to the first Parada del Sol rodeos in 1953, like bull ropes and saddles. Although entrance to the museum is free, donations are greatly appreciated.
10. Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum
Did you know the Fiesta Bowl has been played in the Greater Phoenix area since 1971? If you’re a college football fan, you can’t miss the chance to visit the Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum—offering free admission on weekdays only.
Here you’ll be able to learn about Fiesta Bowl history and see plenty of football memorabilia, including all 120 subdivision team helmets.
11. Heard Museum
At this world-renowned museum, you’ll be able to learn about Native American history and see American Indian art on display.
The Heard Museum offers free admission for visitors on the first Friday of each month from 6 PM to 10 PM, except in March.
12. Scottsdale Quarter & Kierland Commons
From luxury retailers to specialty shops, you’ll be able to find every store imaginable at the Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons.
Although the shopping isn’t free, there’s plenty of other free entertainment at these popular open-air shopping centers. For example, kids can cool off at the splash pad while adults window shop and families can enjoy evening entertainment, like free concerts, during evenings in the fall.
Have a Fun-Filled Trip to Scottsdale with These Free Activities
No matter what you enjoy doing on vacation, these free things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona, are sure to help everyone have a memorable time during their visit to the city.
While you’re booking your vacation, browse our wide selection of stylish, spacious vacation homes for the ultimate level of comfort, relaxation, and fun during your trip to Scottsdale.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our friendly team at Stay With Style Scottsdale—we’re never more than a phone call away!