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SCOTTSDALE VISITORS GUIDE

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From luxury five-star resorts to rugged desert adventures—there’s no doubt that Scottsdale, AZ, has it all.

With so many things to do and beautiful, temperate weather, you can rest assured you’ll never be bored during your time in “The West’s Most Western Town”!

We have lived in Arizona for most of our lives and are proud to call Scottsdale home. To help you have a memorable experience during your stay in Scottsdale, we created this detailed guide that shares all the best that Scottsdale has to offer you.

Your next vacation awaits! We look forward to seeing you in Scottsdale.

Stay With Style Scottsdale

Overview

Scottsdale, Arizona is a desert city located in Maricopa County, just 13 miles east of Phoenix—the state capital. The city is best known for its temperate climate, renowned luxury resorts, and hundreds of world-class golf courses.

In 2016, Time Magazine noted that Scottsdale was the 50th most livable city in the United States. It’s no wonder why—Scottsdale offers unique benefits for locals and visitors alike. Between the desert terrain at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, the bustling urban center at Old Town Scottsdale, and the gorgeous weather, there is something for everyone to love in Scottsdale.

Location & Population

Scottsdale is bordered by the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to the east, Phoenix in the west, Tonto National Forest in the north, and Tempe and Mesa to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, Scottsdale’s estimated population in July 2019 was 258,069.

Climate

One of Scottsdale’s major draws is the comfortable desert climate. Scottsdale boasts 299 sunny days and zero inches of snow per year, with the U.S. average at 205 sunny days and 28 inches of snow per year.

Due to the sunshine, the average high temperature in July—Scottsdale’s hottest month—is 104 degrees. However, the average high in December—Scottsdale’s coldest month—is 65 degrees.

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Keeping Cool in Arizona Over the Summer

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The Best of Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a premier vacation destination—whether you want to spend your time relaxing or exploring. From stunning resorts and local eateries to massive shopping malls and lively nightlife, Scottsdale has something for every visitor to enjoy.

Recreational Activities

Scottsdale’s reliable warm weather makes the city an excellent location for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and golfing. Scottsdale offers well-maintained hiking and mountain biking trails through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and over 150 golf courses and country clubs for a world-class golfing experience.

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Luxurious Resorts

Scottsdale is best known for its sophisticated resorts and spas. The Phoenician, Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, and Sanctuary Camelback Mountain are a few of Scottsdale’s most esteemed resorts that offer luxury accommodations and impressive amenities.

Vacation-Rental-vs-Hotel-Benefits

Vacation Rental vs Hotel: Benefits

Esteemed Shopping

Peruse quaint boutiques and local shops in Old Town to find unique cultural treasures, or visit Scottsdale Fashion Square—the largest shopping mall in the American Southwest—to shop over 40 of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands.

Fashion_Square_Scottsdale
The-Safest-Spots-for-Scottsdale-Shopping-During-COVID

The Safest Spots for Scottsdale Shopping During COVID

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Shopping Locations in and Around Scottsdale

Interesting Museums

Old Town is home to two of Scottsdale’s most famous museums—Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. History buffs and art lovers alike will find something of interest in the Old Town museums.

Information-on-the-Penske-Racing-Museum

Information on the Penske Racing Museum

World-Class Dining

Scottsdale was ranked one of the “Best Foodie Destinations in the U.S.” by Travelocity in 2017. Though Citizen Public House and The Mission topped their list—you’ll have no trouble finding delicious, chef-inspired restaurants peppered throughout the Scottsdale area.

Top-7-Healthy-Scottsdale-Restaurants

Top 7 Healthy Scottsdale Restaurants

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Restaurants Near Kierland

Your Next Scottsdale Vacation Awaits

History

Scottsdale was not always a booming urban center and premier vacation destination. The city started as a hub for farming and ranching, which later contributed to Scottsdale’s famous moniker, “The West’s Most Western Town.” Even though Scottsdale has grown to become a tourist epicenter in the American Southwest, its western history is woven through the culture for visitors to experience today.

The Agricultural and Ranching Years

Scottsdale was purchased and settled by U.S. Army Chaplain Winfred Scott in 1888 as a farming settlement. Scott recruited settlers from the East and Midwest to the area. While agriculture was the primary draw, many settlers were societal pioneers. They worked to establish the Scottsdale public school system, the area’s earliest resorts, and a dynamic art & writing culture by the early 20th century. The reliable water supply from the Salt River was crucial to Scottsdale’s community growth.

In 1916, one of Scottsdale’s most prominent businessmen purchased land north of Scottsdale to establish a cattle ranch, DC Ranch, that covered nearly 45,000 acres. DC Ranch continued to operate until the 1950s. Now, DC Ranch is home to dozens of Scottsdale’s most popular golf courses and resorts, including the Four Seasons Resorts Scottsdale at Troon North.

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Winfield Scott and Helen Scott with their mule "Old Maud" in Scottsdale, Arizona

The Great Depression and Taliesin West

The Great Depression brought a large influx of artists, including famous architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright. He built Taliesin West—his winter home—on 600 acres of land in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains.

Today, Taliesin West is a UNESCO World Heritage site and National Historic Landmark and is home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. You can purchase tickets to visit Wright’s architectural masterpiece during your visit to Scottsdale.

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Population Growth and Western Identity

After World War II, the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce was formed and developed a Western theme for downtown Scottsdale to memorialize the city’s history. After Malcolm White was appointed Scottsdale’s first mayor in 1951 by Scottsdale’s 2,000 residents, the city adopted the motto, “The West’s Most Western Town.”

During the 1950s and 1960s, Scottsdale began to grow rapidly. During this time, Scottsdale hosted the Baltimore Orioles for the first spring training season, and residents organized the first All Arabian Horse Show. Even today, these activities draw visitors from across the country to Scottsdale.

By the end of the 1960s, Scottsdale had grown from one-square-mile to 62-square miles and 2,000 residents to 68,000 residents in 20 years.

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All Arabian Horse Show Scottsdale, Arizona

Tourism & Community Development

Scottsdale continued to grow over the remainder of the 20th century. At the turn of the 21st century, over 200,000 people were living in Scottsdale. As the city’s population grew, master-planned communities—like McCormick Ranch and Gainey Ranch— were developed to accommodate the influx of residents.

As communities developed, the tourism industry developed, too. Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the largest shopping malls in the American Southwest, was built in the 1970s and continued to expand. Downtown Scottsdale began to grow during the late 1990s and early 2000s to accommodate more restaurants and nightclubs.

During the 1980s, residents started a movement to protect the McDowell Mountain slopes from development to set aside the mountains and adjoining land in a vast preserve. Thanks to this movement, visitors and residents can enjoy hiking, biking, and horseback riding through the untouched desert beauty of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, just miles outside of Scottsdale’s city center.

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The West’s Most Western Town

Scottsdale offers locals and visitors a unique environment, where vibrant city bustle meets the peaceful desert atmosphere. Today, you might find more businessmen and tourists in Scottsdale than farmers and cattle ranchers. However, it’s evident that the city has never forgotten its small-town, western roots and is still proud to be known as “The West’s Most Western Town.”

Top-Ghost-Towns-to-Visit-in-Arizona

Top Ghost Towns to Visit in Arizona

Your Next Scottsdale Vacation Awaits

Interesting Facts About Scottsdale

Chances are, you know about Scottsdale’s esteemed resorts, upscale shopping malls, and attractive golf courses. However, the city’s rich history and dynamic culture lend themselves to some characteristics you might not already know about Scottsdale.

Here are ten interesting facts that set Scottsdale apart from any other city in the United States.

1. Scottsdale was Originally Named “Orangedale”

When Winfred Scott arrived in Scottsdale in 1888, he named the town “Orangedale” after observing how well citrus grew in the area. The city was renamed in 1894 after a newspaper article misidentified “Orangedale” as “Scottsdale.”

Despite the name change, Scottsdale is still home to plenty of citrus groves. It’s common to find grapefruit, orange, and lemon trees throughout the greater Phoenix area, and many homeowners grow citrus in their backyards.

2. Don’t Cut Down a Cactus—It’s Illegal

When you visit Scottsdale, you’ll notice saguaro cacti peppering the city. Before you are tempted to bring a piece of saguaro cactus home as a souvenir—think again.

Saguaro cacti only grow in the Sonoran Desert and are protected under Arizona law. Cutting down a saguaro cactus is considered a felony, and you can receive up to 25 years of jail time if you are caught.

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3. Major in “Cowboy” at the Arizona Cowboy College

When you think of attending college in Arizona, chances are you think of Arizona State University, the largest university in the country. However, Scottsdale offers a unique college alternative at the Arizona Cowboy College™—where you can learn the ropes of being a cowboy.

The Arizona Cowboy College is a family-owned business operating since 1969 and had its first cowboy class in 1989. Ride on the range, learn ranching techniques, and work with cattle during your time in the “West’s Most Western Town.”

4. Scottsdale’s Official Food is Chili

Don’t forget to enjoy a bowl of chili when you visit Scottsdale. It’s been the official food of Scottsdale since a mayoral proclamation in 1994.

5. Scottsdale Has the Largest Amount of Destination Spas Per Capita

Scottsdale is known for its destination resorts and spas that offer luxurious treatment and breathtaking desert views. It’s no wonder that Scottsdale holds the record for the largest number of spas per capita in the United States and is a leading wellness destination for visitors worldwide.

Popular Scottsdale resorts with an emphasis on spa treatment and relaxation include the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, The Phoenician, and CIVANA spa and resort.

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6. Scottsdale Has 299 Sunny Days Each Year

One of the major draws to Scottsdale is the warm, desert climate. Scottsdale enjoys 299 sunny days each year, with zero inches of snow—the perfect escape from a cold, icy winter.

In fact, Scottsdale hosts 29% of the city’s tourists each year during the winter months of January, February, and March—which is 4% more than any other season.

7. Scottsdale Makes $1.3 Billion Per Year on Overnight Trips

Tourism is a vital component of the Scottsdale economy. In fact, according to a study by Longwoods International in 2018, Scottsdale makes $1.3 billion per year on overnight trips that are enjoyed by 4.6 million people. This total includes lodging, transportation, dining, retail, and entertainment.

Shopping and fine dining contribute significantly more to Scottsdale’s economy than they contribute to the economy of most other U.S. tourist destinations. Additionally, a larger percentage of visitors stay in a resort when visiting Scottsdale than a hotel or motel. For most U.S. tourist destinations, this statistic is flipped—more visitors stay in hotels and motels than resorts.

8. Scottsdale Doesn’t Observe Daylight Savings Time

You might not have realized that Scottsdale, along with the rest of Arizona, does not observe Daylight Savings Time. This is due to the extreme heat and extra sunlight that the state experiences during the summer months. Arizona has used Mountain Standard Time year-round since 1967.

9. Scottsdale’s Sonoran Preserve is the Largest Nature Preserve in the Country

The beautiful McDowell Sonoran Preserve, located just minutes away from downtown Scottsdale, is the country’s largest nature preserve. In fact, this desert preserve is larger than the entire city of Tempe!

The Sonoran Preserve is also the hottest desert in the United States, so don’t forget to wear your sunscreen if you go hiking or biking in the desert!

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Information-On-The-McDowell-Sonoran-Preserve

Information On The McDowell Sonoran Preserve

10. Papago Park was a Prisoner-of-War Camp during World War II

Today, Papago Park is an excellent spot to go golfing, admire the beautiful Desert Botanical Garden, or visit the animals at the Phoenix Zoo—but it wasn’t always that way.

During World War II, Papago Park was the most famous prisoner-of-war camp on American soil, with a capacity of over 3,000 Axis prisoners. This area became famous after “The Great Papago Escape” in 1944 when 25 prisoners escaped. All of the prisoners were eventually captured or turned themselves in.

Your Next Scottsdale Vacation Awaits

Major Scottsdale Neighborhoods

Scottsdale is rated as a stellar community to visit, live, and do business in. The city is nearly 185 square miles—spanning 31 miles from north to south—and is home to almost 250,000 people.

Scottsdale is composed of excellent neighborhoods that offer something special for families, singles, and retirees alike. Unique elements surround each area—whether you are looking for a community with easy access to outdoor activities, vibrant nightlife, or shopping centers, there is a perfect Scottsdale neighborhood to suit your lifestyle.

Here are a few of Scottsdale’s most popular neighborhoods.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town is Scottsdale’s hub—filled to the brim with history, culture, and excellent entertainment. This Scottsdale neighborhood offers close access to luxury shopping, contemporary dining, and vibrant nightlife, as well as famous historical landmarks. Saba’s Western Wear, Sugar Bowl, the Scottsdale Historical Museum, Hotel Valley Ho, and other local shops and historic establishments add local charm to the area.

The concentrated area of leisure establishments in Old Town Scottsdale draws singles, young professionals, and seasonal visitors seeking a social, fashionable, and fun lifestyle. Scottsdale Fashion Square and the Entertainment District are popular Old Town locations for locals and tourists.

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North Scottsdale & Pinnacle Peak

North Scottsdale is a beautiful community with upscale, desert-style homes and luxurious, world-renowned resorts and golf clubs. The area offers easy access to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Gateway Trailhead. At the center of the North Scottsdale community rests Pinnacle Peak—a popular mountain park offering scenic hiking trails and remarkable desert views.

North Scottsdale offers residents a peaceful lifestyle in the heart of the Sonoran Desert—it’s relatively removed from the city while remaining a part of the Scottsdale area. North Scottsdale is beloved among retires and snowbirds—this area draws more second-home buyers than any other Phoenix location.

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Fun Things to Do by Market Street North Scottsdale

South Scottsdale

South Scottsdale is situated just south of Old Town and stretches to Tempe—the location of Arizona State University. South Scottsdale is primarily a residential neighborhood and offers close access to the Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, and the Scottsdale Stadium—the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants.

You can find local eateries, parks, golf courses, and community centers in the South Scottsdale neighborhood.

Central Scottsdale

The Central Scottsdale area spans between North Scottsdale and Old Town. Central Scottsdale is home to many popular tourist spots, including the OdySea Aquarium, Talking Stick Resort and Casino, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, and Salt River Fields—the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.

Multiple Scottsdale neighborhoods, like Gainey Ranch, McCormick Ranch, and Kierland, are located in the Central Scottsdale area.

Gainey Ranch

Gainey Ranch is an upscale Scottsdale community that was previously an Arabian horse ranch. Gainey Ranch Golf Club is the center of the community and is a massive draw for golf enthusiasts.

This posh zip code is home to one of Scottsdale’s most popular resorts—Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch—and is conveniently located a short drive away from many of Scottsdale’s most popular attractions.

McCormick Ranch

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McCormick Ranch is located directly south of Gainey Ranch. Scottsdale’s McCormick Ranch is one of the most desirable places to live in Arizona—it offers scenic views, easy access to most Scottsdale attractions, and is one of the largest master-planned communities in the state. These qualities make McCormick Ranch a family-friendly neighborhood.

Kierland

Kierland is a residential community located in North-Central Scottsdale and offers those who live there plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, including the Kierland Golf Club. The community offers close access to Scottsdale Quarter and Kierland Commons—two of the most popular outdoor shopping centers in Scottsdale.

Guests to the area can enjoy dining at popular local restaurants, shopping at upscale boutiques, and attending events hosted at each outdoor lifestyle center.

Your Next Scottsdale Vacation Awaits

Scottsdale Statistics

Get a glimpse into what life in Scottsdale, Arizona, is like—these interesting Scottsdale statistics will help shape your understanding of the city.

Size and Population

Scottsdale spans nearly 185 square miles, and the population of the city is rapidly growing. According to the United States Census Bureau, the Scottsdale population was about 258,069 in July of 2019. If this estimation is correct, the Scottsdale population has grown 18.7% since 2010.

57.2% of the Scottsdale population holds a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, which is more than double the Arizona average at 28.9%. Scottsdale’s median household income is $84,601—nearly $25,000 more than the national average.

Scottsdale is a popular location for retirees. 23.4% of Scottsdale’s population is 65 or older, which is over 5% more than the 65+ average population in Arizona.

Unique Desert Climate

Scottsdale sits at 1,257 feet above sea level and offers a dry, mild climate that is unique to the desert. Scottsdale enjoys over 300 sunny days with only seven inches of rain each year.

On average, Scottsdale’s hottest day of the year is July 2nd at 106°F. However, Scottsdale’s temperature frequently rises above 110°F during the summer months.

Housing Market

Scottsdale homes sell for 60% higher prices than the median sale price of other Arizona homes. Scottsdale’s typical home value is $545,828, and on average, houses are listed at $673,000 and sold for $423,700.

School Districts

Scottsdale public schools are primarily operated by the Scottsdale Unified School District, Cave Creek Unified District, or Paradise Valley Unified School District. There are over 40 public schools in the city of Scottsdale, and there are over 125 private or charter schools in the area.

Outdoor Recreation in Scottsdale

Scottsdale offers ample opportunity for outdoor recreation. The McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve is the largest urban wilderness area in the United States and spans over 350,000 contiguous acres with 225 miles of recreational trails.

Things to Do in Scottsdale

Here are the best things to do in Scottsdale—by the numbers!

Shopping

Scottsdale is the home of Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall—the largest shopping mall in Arizona. Fashion Square is nearly 2 million square feet and boasts nearly 250 stores—including 40 of the world’s most prestigious luxury brands.

Parks

Scottsdale has over 40 city parks and recreation facilities, including popular spots like the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park and Pinnacle Peak Park.

Museums

Scottsdale offers locals and visitors over 20 diverse museums to explore.

  • The Musical Instrument Museum displays instruments from nearly 200 different countries around the world.
  • The Hall of Flame Museum commemorates fire fighting equipment used for centuries around the globe.
  • The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is Arizona’s only museum dedicated to modern art and design.
  • Taliesin West is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark that commemorates Frank Lloyd Wright’s design innovation and architectural genius from the 1930s.

Golf

Scottsdale is one of the most popular golf destinations in the United States thanks to Arizona’s temperate weather and the city’s 200+ golf courses.

Scottsdale also hosts the Waste Management Phoenix Open, one of the country’s most famous golf events. The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the most attended PGA Tour event. In 2018, a record-setting 719,179 fans attended the Phoenix Open.

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Hotels & Resorts

Scottsdale is home to over 70 gorgeous resorts and hotels to choose from during your stay. From romantic getaways and spa destinations to family-friendly stays and golf getaways, there is a place for everyone in Scottsdale!

Your Next Scottsdale Vacation Awaits

Myths & Assumptions About Scottsdale

Like with any other city, people have developed their fair share of Scottsdale assumptions that deter others from moving there or visiting. Here are five of the most common myths about Scottsdale—debunked!

1. Everyone who lives in Scottsdale is rich and snobby.

If you’ve lived in Arizona for a while, you’ve probably heard Scottsdale referred to as “Snobsdale” or “Snotsdale.” Because Scottsdale is an affluent city with a flair for designer fashion, fine dining, and luxury resorts, the upscale area has earned a reputation for being “snobby.”

However, the assumption that every person who lives in Scottsdale is pretentious and flaunting their money is not correct. Many individuals and families who live in Scottsdale are a part of the middle or working class, and some are even college students at nearby universities.

Even then, many of the affluent people who live in Scottsdale are kind, generous people. In 2017, Scottsdale ranked 17th on WalletHub’s list of the most caring cities in America. WalletHub determined this list by the number of sheltered homeless individuals in the area, volunteering hours per capita, and the share of income donated to charities.

Despite their snobby reputation, Scottsdale’s people have proven that they are committed to using their resources to positively impact the community and make a difference in the world.

2. Scottsdale is an unaffordable place to live.

Many people assume that Scottsdale is an expensive place to live—and in some neighborhoods, they are right. However, many people confuse Scottsdale with cities like Carefree, Cave Creek, and Paradise Valley that have several million-dollar communities and are much more expensive to live in than Scottsdale.

According to the US Census Bureau, Paradise Valley has a median household income of $204,145 compared to Scottsdale’s median household income of $84,601.

Additionally, there are multiple areas in Scottsdale that offer beautiful homes at an affordable cost. South Scottsdale offers residents a fun environment outside the city, with the average home cost just under $300,000. The houses in the McCormick Ranch master-planned community are shy of $500,000 and perfect for families with school-aged children.

3. Everyone who lives in Scottsdale is a snowbird or retiree.

Despite Scottsdale’s reputation as a retirement community or a haven for snowbirds, Scottsdale’s population is relatively young—only 23.4% of Scottsdale’s population is over 65.

Although the 65+ population in Scottsdale is more significant than in Phoenix (10.3%), there are multiple cities throughout the Phoenix area with an older population than Scottsdale. Retirees and snowbirds are more likely to live in places like Cave Creek (34.8%), Fountain Hills (36.5%), and Sun City (75.9%).

Scottsdale is a diverse city that offers something for everyone. The top-notch schools and low crime rate make Scottsdale a wonderful place to raise children, and the lively culture creates an exciting environment for young adults to begin their careers.

4. It’s always scorching hot in Scottsdale.

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Many people assume that Scottsdale’s temperatures are always scorching hot because of the city’s location in the Sonoran Desert. During June, July, and August, they are right—Scottsdale’s heat can be unbearable. But if you can withstand the heat, Scottsdale offers locals and visitors one of the most beautiful, temperate climates in the United States during the remaining nine months of the year.

From October to March, Scottsdale’s average high temperature ranges from 65°F to 87°F, and the average precipitation per month ranges from 0.77 inches to 1.26 inches of rainfall.

Unlike most places in the United States, Scottsdale’s climate is perfect for hiking, biking, and spending time outside during the winter, making it an excellent place to live if you dislike snow. Additionally, visitors love escaping to Scottsdale during the winter to experience sunshine and a reprieve from the snow.

5. Arizona is a desert full of cacti and dirt—there won’t be anything to do!

When you think about the desert, do you picture cacti, tumbleweeds, and abandoned ghost towns? If so, you’re not alone. The myth that Arizona is the “wild west” deters many people from experiencing Arizona’s exciting and diverse landscapes.

Although there are plenty of places in Scottsdale to enjoy Arizona’s desert terrain and cowboy culture, like the McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve and MacDonald’s Ranch, Scottsdale is considered a residential-resort suburb.

Scottsdale is filled with shopping malls, restaurants, bars, museums, neighborhoods, businesses, resorts, spas, golf courses, and more. Phoenix, the capital of Arizona and Scottsdale’s neighboring city, is the fifth-largest city in the nation with a population of over 1,680,000 people. Phoenix is also the fastest growing city in the country.

When you venture out of the cityscape in Scottsdale and Phoenix, you’ll find more than just cacti. From the Coconino National Forest’s dense trees in Flagstaff, the breathtaking red rock views in Sedona, and crystal blue Havasu Falls located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation, Arizona offers diverse landscapes for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

Getting to Scottsdale & City Transportation

The “Valley of the Sun” hosts nearly 30 million visitors per year—with over 9 million visitors traveling to Scottsdale and almost 20 million visitors traveling to Phoenix in 2019.

Thankfully, the Phoenix area is home to excellent airports and multiple ways to get around the city once you arrive. To help you decide what transportation works best for you, we’ve dedicated this portion of our Scottsdale visitor’s guide to airports and transport!

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

If you are flying into the Phoenix area, chances are, you’ll be flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport has 1,200 takeoffs and landings to transport 125,000 passengers to their next destination on a typical day.

Local Places to Eat at Phoenix Sky Harbor

After flying into Phoenix, you might be ready for a quick bite to eat. We recommend trying these local restaurants located in the airport:

Coffee

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Giant Coffee—First-rate espresso and single-origin coffee

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Cartel Coffee Lab—Popular craft coffee shop and local coffee roasters

Drinks

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Phoenix Beer Co.—Gastropub concept with locally brewed beers

SanTan Brewing Company—Award-winning, locally brewed beers

Terminal 4

Four Peaks Brewery—Award-winning, locally brewed beers, and other menu options

Food

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Ajo Al’s—Authentic Mexican cuisine with Sonoran flair

The Tavern—Local dining experience from Phoenix chef Mark Tarbell

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Blanco Tacos & Tequila—Modern, gourmet Mexican specialties and full bar service

Chelsea’s Kitchen—Gluten-free American and Southwest dishes

La Grande Orange—Local café with take-out and dine-in options for breakfast and lunch

Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles—Juicy, fried chicken and fluffy, buttery waffles

Olive & Ivy—Flavorful Mediterranean classics

OHSO—Unique grill and brewery

Zinburger—Delicious burgers, milkshakes, and wine bar

Zookz—Local sandwiches that are perfect or grabbing and going

Dessert

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Sweet Republic—All-natural, handcrafted, award-winning ice cream

Rental Cars

After grabbing a bite to eat, you may want to pick up a rental car for your time in Scottsdale. The Rental Car Center is located within its own building off-property at 1805 E. Sky Harbor Circle South.

The easiest way to get to the Rental Car Center from the airport is to take the Rental Car Shuttle that stops every few minutes on each terminal’s baggage claim level.

The following rental car companies operate at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar
  • Enterprise
  • Fox
  • Hertz
  • National
  • Payless
  • Sixt
  • Thrifty
  • NÜ Car Rentals

Drive Time to Scottsdale

Once you leave Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport:

  • Old Town Scottsdale is 9 miles away (about a 15-minute drive)
  • Central Scottsdale is 19 miles away (about a 25-minute drive)
  • North Scottsdale is 24 miles away (about a 24-minute drive)

Scottsdale Airport

Another option for flying into Scottsdale is to fly into the Scottsdale Airport. This premier corporate jet facility is popular among business and leisure travelers because it offers air-side vehicle access and no ground delays.

The Scottsdale Airport is one of the nation’s busiest single-runway facilities—with 150,000 landings and takeoffs each year.

Rental Car Options

The most popular car rental company on the property at Scottsdale Airport is Hertz Rentals.

However, the following companies are located within five minutes of the airport:

  • Enterprise
  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Dollar

Drive Time to Scottsdale

Once you leave the Scottsdale Airport:

  • Old Town Scottsdale is 10 miles away (about a 18-minute drive)
  • Central Scottsdale is less than a mile away (about a 3-minute drive)
  • North Scottsdale is 5 miles away (about a 10-minute drive)

Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport

The Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport is another option for visitors flying into the Phoenix area. Though it is located nearly 45-minutes from the Scottsdale area, this airport is an excellent choice for visitors flying Allegiant, Swoop, or WestJet airlines. The Phoenix Mesa Airport offers flights to 50 cities in the U.S. and Canada.

Scottsdale Transportation

Scottsdale has tons of fun attractions and exciting activities for visitors to enjoy. To see the best that Scottsdale offers, you’ll need to consider which form of transportation is best for you.

Here are some ideas for getting around town during your time in Scottsdale:

Rent A Car

The distance between North Scottsdale and Old Town Scottsdale spans 16 miles. If you plan to explore all that Scottsdale offers, renting a car is likely the most practical and affordable option.

Uber & Lyft

Uber and Lyft are both widely available in the Phoenix area if you’d like to use quick, easy transportation during your trip to Scottsdale.

Go Rentals Luxury Rentals

Don’t just rent any car for your Scottsdale vacation—ride in style with a luxury vehicle from GoRentals. GoRentals offers rentals from luxury brands like Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Ferrari, Mercedes, Porsche, and Tesla.

Old Town Trolley

The Old Town Trolley is an exciting, unique way to explore Old Town Scottsdale. The trolley runs from 10 AM to 9:25 PM daily.

Shared Electric Scooters

Bird, an electric scooter rental company, has scooters that run at 15 miles-per-hour located in Old Town Scottsdale that visitors can use as an eco-friendly and fun transportation method. Download the Bird app to locate and pay for scooters.

Street Legal Golf Carts

Did you know it’s legal to drive golf carts on roadways in Arizona? Before you decide to make this your primary transportation method in Scottsdale, read more about the requirements for driving a golf cart on AZ roadways.

E-Bike Rental

Are you looking for a fun way to get around town? Consider exploring Scottsdale on a battery-powered bike from Pedego.

Scottsdale Accommodations

Although Scottsdale is known for its many five-star hotels and luxury resorts—you might want to think twice before booking a hotel room during your stay in Scottsdale. Wouldn’t you rather stay in a spacious, luxurious vacation rental that gives you room to relax and play in a peaceful, private setting?

Vacation rentals offer many benefits that a hotel or resort just can’t match:

  • Large families or groups of friends can stay together in one space without purchasing separate rooms!
  • You’ll have your own kitchen—eliminating the need to eat out at a restaurant for every meal.
  • You’ll have access to private amenities—you won’t have to share the swimming pool, golf course, billiards table, BBQ, or jacuzzi tub with anyone else!
Vacation-Rental-vs-Hotel-Benefits

Vacation Rental vs Hotel: Benefits

There’s no doubt that a vacation rental is the perfect home base to enjoy the beautiful weather and exciting events that happen year-round in Scottsdale.

Whether you are looking for a family-friendly vacation rental or a stylish, luxury home for a weekend getaway—Stay with Style Scottsdale has the perfect space for you.

Here are some popular reasons that Scottsdale visitors book our Scottsdale vacation rentals:

Golf Accommodations

Scottsdale is one of the most popular cities for golfers in the United States. With warm weather year-round, stunning desert views, and dozens of beautifully maintained golf courses, it isn’t easy to choose a better destination!

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Perfect Scottsdale Golf Vacation Rentals

If you’re planning a Scottsdale golf getaway, here are a few vacation rentals that are ideal for your trip:

Luxe

The Luxe House is a seven-bedroom family home on a one-acre resort lot located within a few miles of the Starfire Golf Club, Camelback Golf Club, and Orange Tree Golf Course.

The Luxe House is also located just 15 minutes from the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course.

Birdie

Birdie is a beautifully designed, stylish property that sleeps ten guests and is equipped with a 9-hole putting green in the backyard.

Birdie is also located within a few miles of the Starfire Golf Club and is less than 4 miles from the TPC Scottsdale Champions Course.

Back 9

Want to bring the golf course home with you? Back 9 is the perfect vacation rental. This fully-renovated, designer family home includes an expansive outdoor area with an extensive nine-hole putting course.

Back 9’s yard is also equipped with a ping pong table, bocce ball court, croquet, cornhole, horseshoe area, heated pool, hot tub, and backyard kitchen for endless outdoor fun.

Family Accommodations

Vacation rentals are an excellent option for large families or families traveling with small children. Parents and kids can each have their own space to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing, and an expansive backyard gives kids plenty of room to play.

Hidden Room

Hidden Room is a contemporary, comfortable vacation rental that is perfect for families with small children. One room upstairs has been converted into a “safe room” with a custom, crawl-through bunk bedroom that is semi-hidden for children to enjoy. This room is adjoined to a master bathroom and closet—perfect for parents wanting to keep kids close by.

Pet Friendly Accommodations

Pets aren’t always welcomed at hotels and resorts, and even when they are, small rooms and restrictive rules do not offer the best environment for your pet.

These spacious, pet-friendly vacation rentals are ready to welcome you and your furry friend to Scottsdale!

OMG

The OMG vacation rental is a cute, cozy home that is pet-friendly and sleeps up to eight people. This rental is located within walking distance of Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter and offers proximity to tons of other Scottsdale attractions.

Park Place

Park Place is the perfect pet-friendly home for your visit to Scottsdale. This three-bedroom home is within walking distance from premier Scottsdale dining and shopping, and the large backyard gives your pet plenty of space to play while you relax.

Luxury Accommodations

Scottsdale is a luxurious destination—so why not enjoy luxury accommodations during your time in Scottsdale?

Modern Compound

The Modern Compound is the ultimate choice for stylish, luxurious accommodations in Scottsdale. This brand new, custom house includes 7,000 square feet of comfortable living space, including a kitchen, great room, and dining room.

The most impressive area of the home is the resort-style backyard. Amenities include a newly constructed heated pool with a hot tub, whimsical shaded hammocks, 135″ projection TV, an outdoor kitchen, outdoor cabana, outdoor shower, corn hole, ping-pong table, driving golf cage, putting green, and more.

Group Accommodations

Finding accommodations for a large group can be a challenging endeavor. The following two vacation rentals accommodate 24 people each, making them perfect for a family reunion, business conference, adults-only weekend, and more.

Ultimate Compound

The Ultimate Compound is a 5,700 square foot property designed for large groups because there is something for everyone to do. With tons of outdoor activities to enjoy with a sports court, horseshoe pit, outdoor ping pong table, outdoor pool table, gaming table, and firepit—your group won’t ever want to leave!

Modern Compound

The Modern Compound is clean, modern, stylish, and the perfect spot for hosting your large group. This property includes 11 bedrooms, 10.5 bathrooms, 12 TV screens that are 50” or larger, a heated pool and hot tub, and a backyard filled with activities to give everyone in your group space to relax.

Mayo Clinic Lodging

Comfortable, private vacation rentals are an excellent option for those traveling for treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Many of our vacation rentals, like ParadiseOMGHummingbird, and WineDown are situated between the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and the Mayo Clinic Phoenix locations, which makes traveling for treatment hassle-free.

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Mayo Clinic Lodging: 5 Reasons To Choose Vacation Rentals

Things To Do In Scottsdale

From exciting museums and luxury shopping to excellent restaurants and world-class golf courses, there’s no shortage of fun, diverse activities to enjoy in Scottsdale, Arizona!

To make planning your trip to Scottsdale easier, we created a list of the best things to do, see, and discover in Scottdale for a memorable vacation. Trust us—you can’t miss these phenomenal experiences when visiting our beautiful, dynamic city!

Museums

Scottsdale is home to dozens of excellent museums that feature the best of history, art, music, and architecture. These five museums stand out above the rest.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West

Looking for somewhere to learn how Scottsdale became “The West’s Most Western Town?”

You’ll learn all that and more at Western Spirit—Scottsdale’s Smithsonian Affiliate museum that celebrates, informs, and educates visitors about the Western USA with engaging exhibits, programs, and activities.

Musical Instrument Museum

You can’t miss visiting the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) during your time in Scottsdale. The MIM is the largest instrument museum globally, and it celebrates culture and music with a collection of 8,000 instruments from over 200 countries.

Visitors will become immersed in the unique galleries—from the Geographic Gallery featuring instruments from around the world to the Artist Gallery featuring famous musicians’ instruments, like Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash.

Heard Museum

he Heard Museum is located just outside of Scottsdale in Downtown Phoenix. It was founded in 1929, making it one of Phoenix’s oldest museums—Arizona only became a state in 1912, after all!

The Heard Museum is nationally-recognized for its world-class exhibits, collections, programming, and festivals that present, interpret, and advance American Indian art. Visiting the Heard Museum is an educational experience that both children and adults will enjoy.

Taliesin West

Taliesin West is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and National Historic Landmark tucked away in the gorgeous McDowell Mountains in Scottsdale, AZ. Taliesin West was built and maintained by Frank Lloyd Wright and his apprentices and is now home to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.

While visiting, take an interactive, self-paced tour of Taliesin West to marvel at Wright’s architectural genius, and learn how nature, poetry, and art inspired his work.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is dedicated to contemporary art, design, and architecture. This museum has ongoing exhibits and rotating exhibits, and art lovers will only need about an hour to stroll through the museum. Tickets are only $10 per adult, which makes this an affordable outing during your Scottsdale vacation.

Music & Art

Celebrate art, culture, and music in Scottsdale at these esteemed locations.

Scottsdale Arts District

The Scottsdale Arts District is located in Old Town Scottsdale and is home to over 100 art galleries. Each Thursday night, many of these galleries open their doors for art lovers to explore their unique exhibits and local collections.

If you’re in town, the Scottsdale Gallery Association sponsors ArtWalk events on select Thursday nights, where you can explore the fine art galleries while enjoying free entertainment, music, food, and beverages.

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ArtFest of Scottsdale

Scottsdale Performing Arts Center

Watch live concerts and shows at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts to experience the best talent from Broadway, classical music, dance, and more. View the upcoming events on their website to see what experiences are coming to the Center next!

ASU Gammage Theatre

Located at Arizona State University in Tempe, ASU Gammage is a world-class organization that brings the best in the performing arts to Arizona. Watch your favorite shows and musicals and enjoy engaging events while you’re in Scottsdale. To see what’s showing during your Scottsdale vacation, visit the ASU Gammage website.

Sports in Phoenix & Scottsdale

Whether you prefer to watch sports, play sports, or both, there are plenty of sporting events and activities to experience in the Phoenix area during your visit to Scottsdale!

Watch Professional & College Sports

Catch a professional or college sports game during your time in Scottsdale and Phoenix.

  • Watch the Arizona Cardinals (NFL) play at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
  • Watch the Arizona Coyotes (NHL) play at Gila River Arena in Glendale, AZ.
  • Watch the Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB) play at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Watch the Phoenix Suns (NBA) play at the Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Watch the Arizona Sun Devils play at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ.

Golf

With beautiful weather year-round and over 200 golf courses to choose from, there’s no doubt that Scottsdale is a golfer’s paradise.

These courses are recommended by golfers as “can’t miss” destinations on a golf vacation in Scottsdale.

  • Troon North
  • TPC Scottsdale
  • Talking Stick
  • Grayhawk Golf Club

Spring Training

Each spring, Arizona attracts thousands of out-of-state visitors who come to watch Cactus League spring training games.

In Scottsdale, you can catch a game at Scottsdale Stadium, the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants, or at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, the spring training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies.

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Fun Things to Do in Scottsdale in March

Topgolf

Looking for a fun way to golf with family or friends? Visit Topgolf in Scottsdale, an entertainment venue where you can play golf in a competitive yet family-friendly environment.

Order appetizers, drinks, and dinner to your climate-controlled bay while you wait for your turn to aim at the giant outfield targets. It’s a similar concept to bowling, but with a high-tech, exciting atmosphere!

Hiking

Arizona is a hiker’s paradise. Enjoy these beautiful trails in the Phoenix area during your time in Scottsdale.

Papago Park

Just outside of Scottsdale in Downtown Phoenix, Papago Park is a dynamic place to visit with tons to do, including the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo. However, Papago Park also has some incredible hiking trails.

A few of the most notable are Hole-In-the-Rock, a short 0.2-mile hike that ends at a boulder with a naturally eroded hole that provides a spectacular view of Phoenix. The Double Butte Loop Trail is a longer hike in Papago Park, 2.2-miles, that’s perfect for hiking, mountain biking, and walking. Both trails are dog-friendly.

McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve

Another wonderful spot to hike in Scottsdale is the McDowell Sonoran Desert Preserve. There are dozens of trails to choose from in the scenic McDowell Mountains, but two of the most notable are Tom’s Thumb and the Gateway Loop Trail.

Tom’s Thumb is a challenging 4-mile switchback trail that provides remarkable views of Scottsdale from the top of the mountain. Gateway Loop Trail is a 4.2-mile hike that’s ranked a moderate difficulty level, so it’s a great trail for families, dogs, and beginner hikers who are looking to explore the Sonoran Desert.

Water Activities

The desert doesn’t have water, right? Actually, you’d be surprised by the water activities that Scottsdale offers!

Water Sports at Tempe Town Lake

Just outside of Scottsdale sits Tempe Town Lake, an artificial reservoir that offers tons of water sport opportunities, including kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, rowing, and more!

During your time in Scottsdale, rent a kayak, paddleboard, or electric boat to cool off and enjoy the oasis in the desert.

Salt River Tubing

Located just under 30-miles from Scottsdale, Salt River Tubing is a great way to cool off during the summer heat in Phoenix.

Bring some friends, fill a cooler, rent a tube, and simply relax as the Salt River carries you for either two, three, or five hours, depending on which float trip you choose. Remember to drink plenty of water, apply sunscreen, and wear protective footwear to have a safe, fun time at the river.

Swim in Style

With warm temperatures year-round, Scottsdale is the perfect place to swim, relax, or play by the pool.

Here are a few options for swimming during your time in Scottsdale:

Go to a Waterpark

Hurricane Harbor Phoenix by Six Flags and the Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark are both popular options for waterparks in the Phoenix area with thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, and wave pools, and more!

Visit Resort Pools

Make reservations through ResortPass to experience the fabulous pools, spas, and amenities at dozens of Scottsdale’s most popular resorts without ever booking a room!

Enjoy Your Private Pool

Book a vacation rental through Stay with Style Scottsdale to enjoy the benefits of a luxurious, private pool during your Scottsdale vacation.

Desert Adventures

Are you a thrill-seeker who’s looking to experience epic adventures in Arizona’s desert? If so, we’ve got you covered!

Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is a great way to explore Scottsdale’s beautiful desert while accomplishing an excellent workout. The Gateway Trailhead and Brown’s Ranch Trailhead offer both intermediate and rigorous mountain biking trails.

You can rent a mountain bike during your visit to Scottsdale from the REI Co-op Adventure Center. Another popular bike rental option is Pedego Electric Bikes. Pedego offers electric bike rentals, guided, and self-guided electric bike tours through different parts of Scottsdale!

Rock Climbing

When you arrive in Scottsdale, you’ll notice the impressive granite boulders that surround the city. They’re not only beautiful—they’re perfect for rock climbing too!

Pinnacle Peak, Tom’s Thumb, and Praying Monk (Camelback Mountain) are all excellent places to give rock climbing a try. Remember that rock climbing is a challenging and potentially dangerous sport—read this safety guide before attempting to climb during your time in Scottsdale.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hiking is great, but there’s no doubt that a hot air balloon ride offers the most beautiful, panoramic views of Scottsdale and Phoenix.

Make a once-in-a-lifetime memory with family and friends during a scenic hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert. Rainbow Ryders offers several options for sunrise or sunset balloon rides for a memorable experience you’ll never forget. They even provide signature Prickly Pear Mimosas and Arizona treats after your ride!

Dining

When visiting Scottsdale, prepare for your tastebuds to be amazed. Scottsdale is home to tons of local restaurants, healthy eateries, and unique bars that offer topnotch dining experiences for every meal of the day.

Biltmore Fashion Park

The Capital Grille—High-end, upscale steakhouse that serves nationally-renowned steaks and over 350 wine labels from around the world.

Seasons 52—Stylish, fresh American grill that features a season menu with carefully sourced meats, seafood, and produce.

True Food Kitchen—Healthy, anti-inflammatory dishes crafted by Dr. Andrew Weil, a renowned physician and doctor, are made with fresh seasonal ingredients to accommodate gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian diets.

Tomaso’s—Voted the best Italian restaurant in the Phoenix area since 1977, Tomoso’s offers an authentic Italian-style dinner with antipasti, pasta, fish, meat, gelato, and pastries.

Old Town Scottsdale

Barrio QueenBarrio Queen is a trendy, award-winning Mexican restaurant that serves unique tacos, burritos, and tortas with hundreds of tequila options.

Old Town Tortilla Factory—This cozy, locally-owned Southwestern restaurant had a relaxed ambiance and regional menu.

Rancho Pinot—Owned by award-winning female Chef Chrysa Robertson, Rancho Pinot offers a warm, comfortable setting with a healthful rotating menu and expansive wine list.

Sugar Bowl—Since the 1950s, Sugar Bowl has been serving up sundaes, floats, and ice cream cones and still has the classic décor and retro flair to go with it!

Farm and Craft—Enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, or happy hour at Farm & Craft, a locally-owned restaurant focused on sustainable food and community living.

North Scottsdale

Hash Kitchen—Build your own Bloody Mary, create a mimosa flight, or dig into an eggs benedict, breakfast sandwich, or stack of pancakes at this hip, local brunch spot.

Postino Winecafe—With several locations around the Valley, this wine bar is known for its delicious, colorful bruschetta boards and unique wine selection.

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Restaurants Near Kierland Commons

Nightlife

Scottsdale offers a vibrant nightlife scene with bars, clubs, and lounges that are perfect for dancing, partying, or just hanging out with friends.

Old Town Bar Scene

Looking for a lively, young crowd? Check out Maya Day and NightclubDakota, or Rockbar Inc. for live music, entertainment, and dancing in Old Town Scottsdale.

If you’re looking for something more mellow, District Burger Bar & Nightclub is a popular spot for food, drinks, and dancing. Or, visit the Rusty Spur Saloon for an authentic country-western experience with live music that’s perfect for two-stepping and line dancing.

Casinos

Get a taste of Vegas in Scottsdale, Arizona, at one of the area’s many casinos.

Talking Stick Resort and Casino is by far the most popular casino in the Scottsdale area. Not only does it have tons of slot machines and gaming tables, but also plenty to do in the surrounding area—it’s next to Salt River Fields, TopGolf, and OdySea Aquarium.

Other casinos near Scottsdale include Casino Arizona and Wild Horse Pass Hotel and Casino.

Shopping

Scottsdale is one of the most robust shopping locations in Arizona. Whether you’re looking for high-end retail stores, local boutiques, or luxury brands, Scottsdale has it all—and more!

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Shopping Locations In and Around Scottsdale

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Scottsdale Fashion Square is the largest luxury shopping center in the American Southwest.

Home to over 40 of the world’s most prestigious brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Versace, you’ll find an excellent mix of high-end fashion and popular retail chains throughout the indoor mall’s 200+ stores.

Scottsdale Quarter

With over 80 retailers, Scottsdale Quarter has a great mix of popular retailers like Apple, H&M, and Restoration Hardware, and small local boutiques. They have dining options to suit every occasion, like Breakfast Kitchen Bar, True Food Kitchen, and Eddie V’s Prime Seafood.

Plus, Scottsdale Quarter hosts fun events in The Quad, a recreation area with grass, water features, and seating in the open-air shopping mall center.

Kierland Commons

Kierland Commons is an outdoor lifestyle center just across the street from Scottsdale Quarter. You can peruse over 70 specialty shops, including Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, Madewell, and Sur la Table, and dine at delicious restaurants like Zinc Bistro, North Italia, and Snooze.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is the best place in Scottsdale to shop for southwestern furniture and décor, unique souvenirs, and local goods. Kaktus Jock is a popular local gift shop that sells Arizona-themed items, from mugs and hot sauces to t-shirts and home décor.

Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market

The Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market has been operating for over a decade from 8 AM – 1 PM each Saturday from October until May. They feature over 100 local growers and food producers and sell flowers, fruit, natural meat, freshly-baked bread, jams, and more!

Family-Friendly Activities

If you’re visiting Scottsdale with kids, you’ll be thrilled to discover there are tons of family-friendly activities located in the Phoenix area. Here are a few of our favorites.

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11 Best Kids Activities in Scottsdale

Desert Botanical Garden

The Desert Botanical Garden is located just outside Scottsdale in Phoenix, AZ. It’s accredited by the American Alliance of Museums for education, research, exhibition, and conservation of desert cactus, trees, and flowers—over 50,000, to be exact! People of all ages will enjoy hands-on experiences in nature during a day at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Odysea Aquarium

The OdySea Aquarium is the largest aquarium in Arizona. It features dozens of displays, exhibits, and hands-on experiences that families will love. Get up close and personal with penguins, otters, stingrays, sharks, and other unique sea creatures during your time at the aquarium.

Butterfly Wonderland

Did you know the largest butterfly conservatory in the country is located in Scottsdale, Arizona?

At Butterfly Wonderland, immerse yourself in the lush, tropical rainforest while admiring over 70 species of beautiful butterflies, along with tree frogs, koi fish, and finches. You can even watch butterflies emerge from the chrysalises in the Butterfly Emergence Gallery!

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Visit Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale Arizona

McCormick Stillman Railroad Park

The McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is the perfect family-friendly spot for a relaxing day outside. This 30-acre park offers tons of exciting activities beyond fun playgrounds for the kids—you can ride the Paradise & Pacific Railroad, take a spin on the 1950s vintage carousel, or explore the Scottsdale Railroad Museum and Model Railroad Building.

Phoenix Zoo

You’ll meet thousands of animals from around the world at the Phoenix Zoo, including tigers, giraffes, elephants, and local animals on the “Arizona Trail”. But aside from animal encounters, the Phoenix Zoo offers tons of engaging activities for kids, like a 4-D theatre, endangered species carousel, Safari cruisers, the Harmony Farm petting zoo, and water play areas.

Day Trips from Scottsdale

You don’t need to leave Scottsdale to have a wonderful time visiting Arizona, but while you’re here, it’s definitely worth taking some time to explore our beautiful state. After all, Arizona is home to iconic views, jaw-dropping scenery, and one of the seven wonders of the natural world.

Here are a few destinations to visit during your time in Arizona!

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The 6 Best Day Trips from Scottsdale

Grand Canyon

Witnessing the Grand Canyon in real-life is a bucket list experience. Spend at least a weekend at the Grand Canyon to participate in the following activities:

  • Go hiking on the Bright Angel Trail, North Kaibab Trail, or South Rim Trail
  • Ride a mule to stay the night at Phantom Ranch—a lodge inside the Grand Canyon
  • Take a rafting trip down the Colorado River
  • Ride the Grand Canyon Railway to historic Williams, Arizona
  • Go tent camping at one of the many campgrounds near the Grand Canyo

Sedona

Sedona’s gorgeous red rock scenery brings millions of tourists to Arizona each year. Here are a few things you can’t miss while you’re there:

  • Hike Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, or another scenic trail to enjoy the best views of the red rocks
  • See the city during a pink Jeep tour
  • Enjoy a wine tasting experience at Sedona Wine Adventures, Decanter, or Flying Leap Vineyards
  • Explore Sedona’s New Age culture in the shops located in Uptown Sedona
  • Go fishing at Oak Creek Canyon, or visit Slide Rock State Park

Jerome

Jerome was once the fourth largest city in Arizona, with a population of over 15,000 people. Today, Jerome has only 500 residents, making it the largest ghost town in America. Enjoy these activities during a day in Jerome:

  • Go on a ghost tour to learn about the abandoned city’s haunted history
  • Visit the Mine Museum to understand what it was like to live in Jerome over 100 years ago
  • Visit Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes—the world’s largest kaleidoscope shop
  • End your day at The Haunted Hamburger for a delicious burger and incredible sunset views.

Page

Page, Arizona, is located in Northern Arizona—just 15 minutes from the border of Utah. Although Page is relatively remote, it offers tons of outdoor beauty for visitors to behold.

Visit Antelope Canyon—a scenic slot canyon carved from red sandstone

Enjoy fishing, kayaking, boating, or paddleboarding on Lake Powell

Snap a panoramic photo at Horseshoe Bend—a picturesque bend in the Colorado River that—you guessed it—looks like a horseshoe!

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls is a jaw-dropping waterfall located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Havasu Canyon. But visiting Havasu Falls is not for the faint of heart—you can only reach this scenic spot after a strenuous 10-mile hike in each direction.

To visit Havasu Falls, you have to have a permit, and they book out months in advance. Reserve permits on February 1st during the year you plan to visit to secure your spot! You’ll also need to spend at least one night in the canyon, so plan your trek to Havasu Falls accordingly.

One of Scottsdale’s major draws is the comfortable desert climate. Scottsdale boasts 299 sunny days and zero inches of snow per year, with the U.S. average at 205 sunny days and 28 inches of snow per year.

Due to the sunshine, the average high temperature in July—Scottsdale’s hottest month—is 104 degrees. However, the average high in December—Scottsdale’s coldest month—is 65 degrees.

Annual Events

Each year, millions of tourists visit Scottsdale, Arizona, to attend various events—from popular sporting games to art festivals. These twelve events are among Scottsdale’s most popular for locals and visitors alike:

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Spring Training

Major League Baseball spring training games are undoubtedly one of the most popular annual events in Arizona. Every March, spring training attracts nearly one million avid sports fans eager to watch the Cactus League warm-up for the upcoming MLB season.

Although there are ten fields in the Greater Phoenix area, two spring training fields are located in Scottsdale—Scottsdale Stadium and Salt River Fields. Scottsdale Stadium is the spring training home of the San Francisco Giants, and Salt River Fields is home to the Colorado Rockies and Arizona’s own, the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Waste-Management-Open

Waste Management Open

The Waste Management Open at TPC Scottsdale is another popular sporting event that attracts nearly 700,000 fans to Scottsdale each year. The Waste Management Open is usually the most highly attended event on the PGA Tour and has been named “The Greatest Show on Grass.”

The TPC Scottsdale Stadium has hosted the Waste Management Open each year since the late 1980s, and it usually takes place at the beginning of February. But don’t worry—even if you’re not visiting Scottsdale during the Waste Management Open, you can still book a tee time at TPC Scottsdale to play a round of golf on this beautifully maintained course built for the pros!

Fiesta-Bowl

Fiesta Bowl

The Fiesta Bowl is a college football bowl game that Greater Phoenix has hosted since 1971. Although the Fiesta Bowl was played at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe for over 30 years, it was moved to State Farm Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play, in 2007.

PlayStation currently sponsors the Fiesta Bowl, and it usually takes place during the first week in January. It’s a popular event for football fans to attend while visiting Scottsdale in the winter.

Territorial-Cup

Territorial Cup

The Territorial Cup Game, also known as the Duel in the Desert, is a college football rivalry between the University of Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Territorial Cup is certified by the NCAA as the oldest rivalry trophy in college football—in fact, the trophy is a decade older than Arizona!

These teams have played each other each year since 1946, and the game rotates between Tuscon and Tempe. If you’re in Scottsdale when the Duel in Desert is at Sun Devil Stadium, you can’t miss the chance to watch this competitive game!

Barrett-Jackson

Barrett-Jackson

If you’re a car collector or simply enamored by unique automobiles, you have to put “The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction” by Barrett-Jackson on your bucket list!

Barrett-Jackson is an American collector car auction company based in Scottsdale, Arizona. They host events across the United States, from Las Vegas, Palm Beach, and of course, Scottsdale!

The Scottsdale Barrett-Jackson auction has been hosted at WestWorld for over 50 years. If you attend, you can admire world-class automobiles, explore unique vendors and exhibitors in the marketplace, and meet thousands of bidders from around the world.

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Arabian Horse Show

The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has a rich history dating back to the 1950s. It’s a popular event that attracts thousands of top-notch horse trainers and breeders worldwide who are looking for their shot to win prize money in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Like Barrett-Jackson, the Arabian Horse Show takes place at WestWorld. When you aren’t watching the horses, you can explore the hundreds of vendors and exhibitors on the trade show floor. If you’re a horse rider or horse lover, you can’t miss the chance to experience this unique event in Scottsdale!

ZooLights

ZooLights

Looking for a fun, festive event while visiting Phoenix during the holidays? ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo is a popular seasonal event that will delight everyone in your family!

Each night from the end of November until the end of January, you and your family can see the Phoenix Zoo decked out for the holidays with millions of colorful, glowing lights. And aside from the beautiful light shows and displays, your family can enjoy the three-story-high holiday tree, live reindeer, 200-foot-long polar slide, photos with Santa, and Wildlife Lantern Safari.

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Carefree Art and Wine Festival

The Carefree Art and Wine Festival is a three-day art festival hosted by the Thunderbird Artists that attracts hundreds of artists to Downtown Carefree, Arizona, each year. You can find every piece of art imaginable at the festival—from life-sized bronze sculptures, clay pottery, one-of-a-kind jewelry, colorful stained glass, watercolor paintings, and more.

Although the event’s focus is art, you can also enjoy the wine booths, food trucks, and live music at the festival. After attending, you can explore the shops, restaurants, and boutiques in quaint, charming Carefree.

Tempe-Festival-of-the-Arts

Tempe Festival of the Arts

The Tempe Festival of the Arts is a dynamic urban event that features 350 artists from across North America. This festival is a bi-annual event that usually occurs during the last weekend of March and the first week of December.

During the festival, you can view visual artwork that’s carefully selected from a pool of applications by a jury from the local art community. You can shop photography, jewelry, ceramics, and other unique art pieces from artisans and vendors down Mill Avenue for an experience like no other!

Arizona-Fine-Art-EXPO

Arizona Fine Art EXPO

Looking for a place to discover fine art and watch skilled artists at work during your trip to Scottsdale? The Arizona Fine Art EXPO is the perfect event for you!

The Arizona Fine Art EXPO takes place each year for 10-weeks from January to March in Scottsdale, Arizona. It features a wide variety of art from around the United States—including western, contemporary, mid-century modern, abstract, and other compelling styles. And the best part? You can buy a season pass for just $10 to come back as many times as you’d like during the Art EXPO!

Scottsdale-Culinary-Festival

Scottsdale Culinary Festival

If you love to experience culture, you’ll love the Scottsdale Culinary Festival. This one-day outdoor lifestyle event celebrates fashion, music, dance, and of course—fine food!

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival occurs at the Fountain Stage in Scottsdale Civic Center Park, and it’s been operating for over 40 years. A portion of the proceeds from every event support arts organizations in Scottsdale—including the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and more.

During your time at the festival, you can peruse booths from local restaurants, watch renowned chefs at work, or enjoy the entertainment. Tickets are $12 if you buy them in advance and $15 at the gate.

Scottsdale-Arts-Festival

Scottsdale Arts Festival

Scottsdale loves to support the plethora of excellent arts programs in the city. The Scottsdale Arts Festival is a great way you can do the same when you visit!

The Scottsdale Arts Festival recently celebrated its 50th year in operation. This event occurs at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park and is a major fundraiser to support the programs, exhibitions, and outreach programs offered by the Scottsdale Arts.

You’ll meet tons of artists from the United States and Canada while you enjoy world-class art, live music, and delicious food and beverages! This fun-filled festival is a weekend-long event and typically occurs in the spring.