Travel Tips for Scottsdale: Explore & Enjoy Arizona’s Gem

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Welcome to Scottsdale, Arizona, a city that boasts a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. Whether you are visiting for the first time or returning for another visit, there’s always something new to discover in this vibrant city.

To make the best of your visit, it’s important to have some travel tips in mind. With so many attractions and hidden gems, it can be overwhelming to decide where to go and what to do. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you explore and enjoy Scottsdale to the fullest.

Key Takeaways:

  • Scottsdale is a city with a unique blend of culture, history, and natural beauty.
  • To make the best of your visit, it’s important to have travel tips in mind.
  • This comprehensive guide will help you explore and enjoy Scottsdale to the fullest.

Best Things to Do in Scottsdale

Scottsdale offers a plethora of attractions and activities for visitors to explore and enjoy. Whether you’re interested in cultural experiences, outdoor adventures, or simply relaxing in luxurious accommodations, this Arizona gem has something for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do in Scottsdale:

1. Visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Get your art fix at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which features rotating exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

2. Take a Hike

Scottsdale is home to many scenic hiking trails, including the popular Camelback Mountain and Pinnacle Peak. Lace up your hiking boots and take in the breathtaking views of the Sonoran Desert.

3. Explore Old Town Scottsdale

Stroll through the historic district of Old Town Scottsdale, where you’ll find art galleries, boutique shops, and a variety of restaurants and bars. Don’t miss the Thursday night ArtWalk, where galleries stay open late for visitors to peruse the latest exhibitions.

4. Visit Taliesin West

Taliesin West is the former winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a guided tour of the property and learn about Wright’s design philosophy and his impact on the world of architecture.

5. Relax at a Spa

Scottsdale is known for its luxurious spas, where visitors can indulge in a variety of treatments, from massages to facials. Unwind and rejuvenate in a serene and tranquil setting.

6. Play a Round of Golf

Scottsdale is a golfer’s paradise, with over 200 courses in the area. Book a tee time and experience some of the most scenic and challenging courses in the country.

These are just a few of the many activities and attractions that Scottsdale has to offer. With its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and luxurious amenities, it’s no wonder that Scottsdale is a top destination for travelers from around the world.

Exploring Scottsdale’s Rich History

Scottsdale is a city steeped in history and culture. As you explore its streets, be sure to visit some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, which speak to its unique heritage.

Old Town Scottsdale

Old Town Scottsdale is the historic heart of the city, and it’s a must-visit for anyone interested in the area’s history. Stroll along Main Street, where buildings dating back to the early 1900s house boutique shops, restaurants, and art galleries.

Stop at the Scottsdale Historical Museum, which offers a glimpse into the city’s past with exhibits on local culture, industry, and art. You can also take a walking tour of the area with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about its history and architecture.

Taliesin West

Taliesin West is the former winter home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Take a tour of this stunning property, which showcases the visionary’s unique approach to design and features many of his original furnishings and artwork.

You can also explore the surrounding desert landscape, which inspired Wright’s work. Hike through the nearby McDowell Sonoran Preserve for stunning views of the valley and its natural beauty.

Discovering Scottsdale’s Natural Beauty

Scottsdale is a city that boasts of natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a nature lover, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore the natural offerings of this Arizona gem.

Hiking Trails

Scottsdale has a host of hiking trails that cater to different skill levels. You can take a leisurely stroll through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve or take on the more challenging routes such as the Camelback Mountain or Pinnacle Peak.

Trail Name Level
McDowell Sonoran Preserve Easy
Camelback Mountain Difficult
Pinnacle Peak Moderate

Scenic Spots

Scottsdale is home to numerous scenic spots that offer a feast for the eyes. Head to the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park to enjoy the scenic beauty while riding a train, or visit the serene Japanese Friendship Garden to experience the Zen-like atmosphere.

“The natural beauty of Scottsdale is truly one-of-a-kind. You’ll feel rejuvenated and refreshed after exploring the city’s scenic spots.”

Parks and Gardens

Take a stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden to witness the beauty of desert flora. Or visit the beautiful Butterfly Wonderland to get up close with the colorful winged creatures.

  1. Desert Botanical Garden
  2. Butterfly Wonderland
  3. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
  4. Japanese Friendship Garden

Scottsdale’s natural beauty is truly unique and worth exploring. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness the stunning landscapes and serene atmosphere this city has to offer.

Unearthing Scottsdale’s Art and Culture Scene

If you’re an art lover, exploring Scottsdale’s art and cultural scene is a must during your visit. The city is known for its thriving arts community and has plenty of galleries, museums, and theaters for you to enjoy.

One of the most popular places to visit is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which showcases a diverse range of contemporary art exhibitions from around the world. Another top spot is the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which highlights the history and culture of the American West through exhibitions and events.

Scottsdale’s Art Festivals

If you’re lucky enough to be in town during one of Scottsdale’s many art festivals, make sure to check them out. The Scottsdale Arts Festival, for example, is an annual event that features over 170 artists from around the country, live music, and family-friendly activities.

Tip: The Canal Convergence is another popular festival where art, water, and light come together to create a unique experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Aside from the festivals, Scottsdale is home to many art galleries and exhibition spaces that showcase emerging and established artists. Some of the top galleries in the city include the Gebert Contemporary Gallery, the Calvin Charles Gallery, and the Xanadu Gallery.

Theater and Music Venues

If you’re a fan of theater or music, Scottsdale has plenty of options for you to choose from. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of performances, including theater, dance, and music. They also have a popular outdoor concert series during the summer months.

Tip: The Musical Instrument Museum is another popular spot for music lovers, featuring a collection of over 6,800 musical instruments from around the world.

The city also has several music venues, including The Van Buren, a popular concert hall that hosts both local and national acts. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting, the Kazimierz World Wine Bar is a great spot for live jazz and blues.

Where to Eat and Drink in Scottsdale

When it comes to dining and imbibing in Scottsdale, you’ll find no shortage of options. Whether you’re looking for upscale eateries or casual watering holes, the city has something to suit every palate. Here are some recommendations to guide your culinary exploration:


Restaurant Name Cuisine Type Price Range
FN 5.7 American, Southwestern $$-$$$
Cafe Monarch American, French $$$
The Mission Latin, Spanish $$-$$$

If you’re in the mood for contemporary American and Southwestern cuisine, head to FN 5.7, located at the base of the iconic Camelback Mountain. For a more upscale dining experience, Cafe Monarch offers an ever-changing menu of French-inspired dishes, while The Mission serves up delicious Latin and Spanish fare in a vibrant atmosphere.

Breweries and Bars

  • The Beverly – This chic speakeasy-style bar boasts creative cocktails and a retro vibe.
  • Four Peaks Brewing Company – A popular local brewery serving up craft beers and pub-style eats.
  • The Montauk – A laid-back bar with a beachy vibe, offering classic cocktails and beer on tap.

If you’re looking for a watering hole, The Beverly is a must-visit, with its hidden entrance and creative cocktails. Four Peaks Brewing Company is a local favorite for craft beer enthusiasts, while The Montauk offers a laid-back atmosphere with beach-inspired decor.

No matter where you decide to dine or drink in Scottsdale, there are plenty of options to satisfy your cravings.

Shopping in Scottsdale: Retail Therapy Galore

When it comes to shopping in Scottsdale, you won’t be disappointed. The city boasts a diverse range of shopping districts, malls, and boutique shops, providing plenty of options for retail therapy.

Old Town Scottsdale is a must-visit destination for those seeking unique offerings. This historic district is home to a host of boutiques, art galleries, and souvenir shops. Here you can find everything from handmade jewelry to local handicrafts to southwestern-inspired apparel. Don’t forget to check out the Scottsdale Farmers Market for fresh produce, baked goods, and artisanal foods.

If you’re looking for luxury shopping, Scottsdale Fashion Square is the place to be. This upscale mall features high-end designers such as Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, as well as popular department stores like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. The mall’s beautiful architecture and numerous dining options make it a great spot for a day-long shopping excursion.

Shopping District Notable Shops
Borgata of Scottsdale Arhaus Furniture, Jake’s Unlimited
Kierland Commons Anthropologie, Crate and Barrel
Scottsdale Quarter Apple, lululemon

Other notable shopping districts in Scottsdale include Borgata of Scottsdale, Kierland Commons, and Scottsdale Quarter. Each district offers a unique shopping experience with a mix of high-end and mid-range stores, as well as restaurants and entertainment options.

For those seeking local brands or specialty stores, there are plenty of options to choose from in Scottsdale. Frances Vintage, for example, offers a curated selection of vintage clothing and accessories, while Sibley’s West showcases products made exclusively in Arizona. If you’re a book lover, be sure to check out The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, which specializes in mystery and crime novels.

From luxury malls to one-of-a-kind boutiques, Scottsdale has something to suit every shopping style. So, grab your wallet and get ready to indulge in some retail therapy!

Outdoor Adventure in Scottsdale

Looking for a thrilling and adventurous experience in Scottsdale? You’re in luck! This Arizona city offers a variety of outdoor activities to satisfy your craving for adventure.


Scottsdale is known for its world-class golf courses. With over 200 options to choose from, you’re sure to find a course that suits your skill level. Some of the most popular courses include TPC Scottsdale, Troon North Golf Club, and We-Ko-Pa Golf Club.


If you’re looking for a more rugged adventure, consider off-roading in Scottsdale. Explore the Sonoran Desert by renting a jeep or UTV and traversing the rocky terrain. Some popular off-roading areas include Tonto National Forest and the Apache Trail.

Hot Air Balloon Rides

Enjoy a scenic hot air balloon ride over Scottsdale and take in the breathtaking views from above. Experience the serene beauty of the Sonoran Desert as you float peacefully through the sky. Several companies offer hot air balloon rides in Scottsdale, including Rainbow Ryders and Hot Air Expeditions.

Hiking and Biking

There are numerous hiking and biking trails in Scottsdale for those who want to get some exercise while enjoying the beautiful scenery. Camelback Mountain, Pinnacle Peak, and McDowell Sonoran Preserve are popular spots for hiking. For biking, check out the Arizona Canal Trail or the Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt.

No matter what type of outdoor adventure you’re seeking, you’ll find it in Scottsdale. Plan your trip today and get ready for an unforgettable experience!

Exploring Beyond Scottsdale: Day Trips and Excursions

While Scottsdale has plenty to offer, there are also many great day trip options worth exploring nearby. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures or cultural experiences, there’s something for everyone within a reasonable distance from the city.

Grand Canyon National Park

No trip to Arizona is complete without a visit to the Grand Canyon. Just over 200 miles from Scottsdale, the Grand Canyon National Park is a must-see destination that’s worth the drive. You can take a tour or explore the park on your own, hiking the trails along the rim or even within the canyon itself.


Known for its stunning red rock formations and spiritual vibe, Sedona is just a 2-hour drive from Scottsdale. Spend the day hiking through the stunning landscape or visiting one of Sedona’s many art galleries or new age shops.


This former mining town turned artist colony is just an hour and a half from Scottsdale. With its historic buildings and charming narrow streets, Jerome offers a glimpse into Arizona’s past. You can also visit the nearby Tuzigoot National Monument to see the remains of a Sinagua Indian village.


Located just 2 hours from Scottsdale, Tucson is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, as well as plenty of outdoor activities. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, hike in Saguaro National Park, or explore the historic downtown area.

Petrified Forest National Park

This national park, located about 3 hours from Scottsdale, is home to some of the most stunning petrified wood in the world. Visitors can hike among the colorful petrified logs or explore the park’s many historic sites, including ancient petroglyphs and pueblos.

With so many great day trip options, Scottsdale makes a perfect home base for exploring the rest of Arizona. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, there’s something for everyone within easy reach of this beautiful city.

Scottsdale’s Nightlife: Where to Have Fun After Dark

When the sun sets, Scottsdale comes alive with its vibrant nightlife scene. From trendy bars to high-energy clubs, there’s something for everyone looking for entertainment after dark. Here are some top picks for a fun night out:

Bar Hopping in Old Town

For an unforgettable night out, explore the bars and restaurants in Old Town Scottsdale. This bustling district is home to some of the city’s most popular bars, including the lively Rusty Spur Saloon, the laid-back J&G Steakhouse, and the upscale Citizen Public House.

Dancing the Night Away

If you’re in the mood for dancing, head to Maya Day and Nightclub. This popular spot features a large dance floor, poolside cabanas, and a lively atmosphere. Another option is The Mint, which offers a great mix of live music and DJ sets.

Craft Cocktails and Speakeasies

For a more sophisticated night out, try some of Scottsdale’s speakeasies and cocktail bars. The Beverly is a hidden gem that serves up inventive cocktails in a chic and intimate setting. The Blue Clover Distillery is another must-visit spot, with its delicious craft cocktails and live music performances.

Comedy Clubs and Live Music

Those looking for some laughs or live music should check out the Stand Up Live comedy club or the Talking Stick Resort’s Showroom venue. Both feature big-name performers in an intimate setting.

Whatever your style, Scottsdale’s nightlife scene has something for everyone. So put on your dancing shoes, grab a cocktail, and get ready for a night of fun after dark.

Where to Stay in Scottsdale: Accommodation Options

When it comes to accommodation, Scottsdale has plenty of options to suit all budgets and preferences. Whether you’re looking for a luxurious resort, a cozy boutique hotel, or a budget-friendly accommodation, you’ll find it here. Here are some of the top places to stay in Scottsdale:

Accommodation Type Description
Luxury Resorts Scottsdale is known for its luxury resorts that offer top-notch amenities such as spas, golf courses, and fine dining. Some of the most famous resorts include The Phoenician, The Four Seasons Resort, and The Ritz Carlton.
Boutique Hotels If you prefer a more intimate and unique experience, consider staying in one of Scottsdale’s many boutique hotels. The Hotel Valley Ho, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows, and Mountain Shadows Resort are just a few of the options available.
Vacation Rentals For those who prefer more privacy and a home-like atmosphere, vacation rentals are a great option. Airbnb, Vrbo, and HomeAway offer a wide variety of rentals ranging from apartments and condos to villas and mansions.
Budget-Friendly Accommodation If you’re on a tight budget, Scottsdale has a number of affordable accommodation options. Motel 6 Scottsdale South, Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Scottsdale North, and Red Roof Inn PLUS+ Phoenix West are some of the options.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, be sure to book in advance as Scottsdale is a popular destination and accommodations can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel season.


Congratulations! With these travel tips, you’re ready to explore and enjoy the beauty of Scottsdale, Arizona. From outdoor adventures to cultural experiences, shopping, dining, and nightlife, this city has something for everyone.

Now that you have a better idea of the best things to do in Scottsdale, you’re ready to plan your trip. Don’t forget to prioritize your must-see attractions and activities, and add some of our hidden gems and local recommendations to your itinerary.

Remember to pack accordingly, wear comfortable shoes, and bring plenty of sunscreen and water when exploring the outdoors. And most importantly, have fun and make unforgettable memories in this Arizona gem.


Q: What are the top things to do in Scottsdale?

A: Some of the best things to do in Scottsdale include exploring the Sonoran Desert, visiting the Desert Botanical Garden, admiring the art galleries in Old Town Scottsdale, and playing golf at one of the city’s renowned courses.

Q: What is the history of Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale has a rich history dating back to ancient Native American civilizations. It became a thriving agricultural community in the early 20th century and has since transformed into a vibrant city known for its art and cultural scene.

Q: Where can I experience nature in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale offers numerous opportunities to connect with nature. You can hike the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, visit the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, or relax at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Q: What is the art and culture scene like in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale is known for its vibrant art and culture scene. You can explore numerous art galleries in the downtown area, attend art festivals such as Canal Convergence, or catch a performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Q: Where can I find good food and drinks in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale offers a wide range of culinary experiences. From trendy restaurants in Old Town to local breweries and bars, there’s something for every palate. Don’t miss trying Southwestern cuisine or enjoying a patio dining experience.

Q: What are the best places to shop in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale is a shopper’s paradise. From upscale malls like Fashion Square to unique boutiques in the Arts District, you’ll find a diverse range of shopping options. Don’t forget to explore the Scottsdale Waterfront and the Scottsdale Quarter.

Q: What outdoor adventures can I experience in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale offers a variety of outdoor adventures. You can go hiking in the McDowell Mountains, take a hot air balloon ride over the desert, or embark on an off-roading adventure in the Sonoran Desert.

Q: Are there any day trips or excursions from Scottsdale?

A: Yes, there are several day trips you can take from Scottsdale. Consider visiting the Grand Canyon, Sedona, or the Apache Trail for stunning natural beauty and unique experiences.

Q: What is the nightlife like in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale boasts a lively nightlife scene. From trendy bars and clubs in Old Town to live music venues and unique nighttime attractions, you’ll find plenty of options to have fun after dark.

Q: Where should I stay in Scottsdale?

A: Scottsdale offers a range of accommodation options. You can choose from luxury resorts, boutique hotels, vacation rentals, or budget-friendly options. Popular areas to stay include Old Town Scottsdale and North Scottsdale.

About the Author
Justin Abbate

Justin Abbate is a passionate traveler and explorer, having journeyed to diverse destinations from the historic streets of Italy and Greece to the breathtaking landscapes of Australia. Born in Scottsdale, Arizona, his wanderlust has taken him to hidden gems like Nice, France, where he spent a summer, and to renowned spots in Switzerland, Germany, London, and beyond. As the Account Director at Single Origin, Justin combines his love for travel with his expertise in digital strategy. Dive into his articles as he shares captivating tales and insights from his global adventures.