Located in the Sonoran Desert at the base of the McDowell Mountains, Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect getaway for scenic views and pristine temperatures. Scottsdale is a destination full of art, outdoor activities, top-tier restaurants, and must-see crazy looking cacti and flowers. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the when’s, where’s, and what’s of Scottsdale to get ourselves acquainted with this sun-filled, scenic town. Whether you’re nine or ninety-nine, Scottsdale definitely has a place for you. Keep reading to discover what this desert, western city has to offer.
1. What Scottsdale is Known For
When discussing Scottsdale, Arizona, forget about the Wild, Wild West concept and just keep the West part. Actually, Scottsdale is the finer, grandeur West, as it offers famous championship golf courses, world-class resorts, luxurious spas, deluxe restaurants, high-class shopping, art galleries, top-class night clubs, and a famous Old Town.
Still more, our beautiful city of Scottsdale’s upscale, metropolitan reputation is also home to a wide variety of hiking trails, biking paths, and scenic desert views that the American west can offer. One of the most talked about areas to enjoy this city’s outdoors is McDowell Mountain Ranch Park, which has 35 acres of well-kept public land where visitors can be as active as they want. Additionally, just twenty minutes by car outside of Phoenix, Scottsdale is a great place to visit for a day or two if you’re already in Phoenix. As you can see, Scottsdale is a location that can offer excitement and adventure for all.
2. When To Visit Scottsdale
Each season has its charms in here. So, each season deserves a visit. Even more, with over 300 days of sunshine a year, any season will allow you to enjoy the Arizona sun. Here is the gist of what each time of the year can offer you during your travels:
With temperatures ranging from 103 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 73 degrees Fahrenheit at night, you’ll want to be sure to bring a water bottle and sunscreen. Summer offers some of the best activities such as rafting, tubing, or kayaking on the Salt River. If you get a rainfall, don’t sweat it because the city has world-class museums, like Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Odysea Aquarium, Taliesin West (Former home of Frank Lloyd Wright), and Western Spirit Museum.
If you’re coming out here to the west to see blooming wildflowers and the crazy-amazing looking cacti mentioned above, spring is the time to head to Scottsdale—especially from mid-March to late April. After gazing at the wildlife, head over to cheer on your favorite team during a spring training baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium. With an average high of 79 degrees Fahrenheit and average low of 47 degrees Fahrenheit, don’t forget to pack a light jacket.
Autumn here in Scottsdale is equally as amazing as summer and spring. Take a day trip to Sedona (only an hour or so drive away) to see the beautiful array of fall’s oranges, reds, browns and yellows against the scenic greenery Arizona seasonally offers. Additionally, hike to Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve of Pinnacle Peak or the iconic Camel Back Mountain. Temperatures range from an average high of 87 degrees Fahrenheit and average low of 56 degrees Fahrenheit.
Yes, you read that right – even winter is a great time to head to Scottsdale. No snowmen live in this part of town, with an average high of 70 degrees Fahrenheit and average low of 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Scottsdale is an ideal area for those who don’t dwell well in those snowy areas. Actually, it’s perfect for those of you who thrive under the sun. During these months, take time to try horseback riding, take a hot-air balloon ride, and play a round of desert golf.
3. Things To Do White Visiting Scottsdale
Now that you know what it is known for and which season to visit, here are some of the many things you can do in our beautiful city of Scottsdale.
Scottsdale’s Old Town is a must-visit when traveling in our part of the west. The area is comprised of nine colorful districts that each offer their own activities and is luckily condensed into one easily walkable square mile. The zone consists of local boutiques, galleries, original restaurants, attractive wineries and breweries, and more. You can access these areas through several different transportation routes such as Old Town’s Pedego electrically powered bikes that let you do as little or as much pedaling as you want, the free and easily accessible Scottsdale Trolley which stops at each downtown district, and, when the sun goes down, try the golf cart and pedicab transportation which is a great and safe way to get from bar to bar in the downtown district.
Don’t forget your tennis shoes on this trip. Whether you’re an avid hiker or using a cane, there is an outdoor activity for everyone on this trip. Here are some of our favorite hikes and trails in Scottsdale:
- McDowell Preserve: The McDowell Preserve is an immense, famous desert habitat that offers incredible hikes for the whole family.
- The Gateway Loop: For those who own hiking poles and want the hiking challenge, The Gateway Loop is an excellent adventure.
- The Jane Rau Trail: Alternatively, The Jane Rau Trail is a superb option for those who solely crave a picturesque stroll, especially if you are using a stroller or wheelchair.
- Pinnacle Peak Park: Finally, check out the smooth 1.75 mile Pinnacle Peak Park trail with striking views.
- Camelback Mountain: This iconic mountain is ideal for hiking and rock climbing. It’s actually between the cities of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Paradise Valley and offers some awesome city views.
Be sure to check out this website for more outdoor activities offered in the area!
Did someone say Pinot Noir? Scottsdale is the perfect location for wine lovers, as it is stock-full of wineries. The family-owned Carlson Creek Vineyard, located 20 minutes by car from Scottsdale, has a mirroring terrain to Rhones, France and allows for excellent production of wine. Another amazing winery is LDV Winery, located in Scottsdale’s Old Town, offering a patio and tapas with wine tastings. If you’re more of a partygoer, make sure you hit Entertainment Distract for high-energy nightclubs after the sun goes down – don’t worry, they have wine there, too.
A hole-in-one at these set of Scottsdale public and private golf courses seems slim to none, but never say never. This city is home to some of the best courses in the world.
TPC Scottsdale is a legendary course that is home to one of the biggest golf tournaments in the world: The Waste Management Phoenix Open. Though this course is made for pros, players of all levels can enjoy an opportunity to play here. Another favorite is the Rancho Mañana Golf Club which was tilted by Golf Digest as “One of the Top 50 Courses in the Country for Women,” and rated as the “Top 10 Golf Courses” in Arizona by ‘Ranking Arizona.’” Another incredible course is offered at the Longbow Golf Club which was listed by Arizona The State Of Golf Magazine as one of the “Top 25 Places to Play in Arizona.”
As you can see, Scottsdale is an amazing place for golf-fanatics of all levels.
Spa & Wellness
We can’t talk about Scottsdale without mentioning its luxurious spas. Scottsdale offers more than 50 resort and day spas inspired by healing traditions from around the world. While The Spa at Boulder incorporates Native American traditional healing techniques into their therapies, the “Well & Being Spa at the Fairmount Scottsdale Princess” offers relaxation through rewarding personal care treatments. Because services usually aren’t cheap, make sure you check out monthly and seasonal spa & wellness special offers offered to the community and guests on this website.
Scottsdale’s diversity in culture and art amongst its modernity is yet another reason to visit this special place. Whether it’s a rainy day or hot enough outside to fry an egg, you can walk along the Marshall Way Arts District and find a unique escape at the many world-class museums this city has to offer. Scottsdale’s motto is “The West’s Most Western Town,” and they prove their point by offering the unique Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West which displays stories from Native Americans and cowboys in what once considered the “Wild, Wild West.”
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is a must-do. Odysea Aquarium was voted best indoor attraction. Both entertaining and interactive for all ages to enjoy. Taliesin West is a National Historic Landmark. Being Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home years past, maintained by himself and his apprentices, it makes his former home one of the most personal of all his creations. Be sure to make a reservation to see for yourself the beautiful job he did. As you can see, there are a variety of museums you can visit, depending on your taste in museums. Trust us when we say that there is something for everyone.
Scottsdale has ongoing, annual events for each season! Be sure to check out some of these events coming up this year and to check out this website to get the latest event information. Here are some of our favorites:
- Sunday A’Fair: Enjoy a free outdoor concert along with fun, family activities (Select Sundays in Jan.-Mar.)
- Old Town Famers’ Market: Oct. – May annually, Saturday mornings
- Waste Management Phoenix: “The Greatest Show on Grass” attracts the largest crowds on the PGA Tour (End of Jan. – 1st part Feb.)
- Summer Spectacular Artwalk: These free Thursday night artwalks began in 1975 and offer lively entertainment while you browse Old Town’s galleries (July)
- Scottsdale Skyfest and Balloon Glow: The newest Scottdale tradition that displays over 50 hot air balloons, curated crafts and lively entertainment (End of Nov.)
4. Where To Eat While Visiting Scottsdale
Scottsdale is known for its luxurious, unique, and delicious restaurant scene. If you’re a foodie, this is the city for you.
Food under the stars? Say no more. One famous restaurant that literally puts their guests under the starry desert skies is Cloth & Fame. Make sure to check this highly reviewed restaurant for the ultimate starry night experience.
Another well-known restaurant that is tucked away in Old Town Scottsdale’s quaint Bespoke Inn Bed and Breakfast is locally owned Virtù Honest Craft, which offers a global take on Mediterranean food.
Since Scottsdale offers over 800 restaurants to choose from, we have compiled a list of some iconic, best-named restaurants in the Scottsdale area that locals and tourists alike think you shouldn’t miss.
- Alto ristorante e bar at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa (Italian)
- FnB (American, locally owned)
- Shinbay (Japanese)
- The Mission (Latin, locally owned)
- New Wave Market (American Brunch)
- Café Monarch (American)
- Tomaso’s Italian Kitchen (Italian)
- Dilla Libre Dos (Mexican & Vegan options!)
5. Where To Stay While Visiting Scottsdale
Scottsdale has diverse accommodations from five-star luxurious resorts to city-centered hotels to quaint retreats that will leave you mesmerized under the desert constellations. If you prefer your own space, it is worth considering AirBnB as a more affordable lodging option. Or, try Glamping Hub, which offers a unique, luxury camping getaway.
If the lavish resorts and chic hotel options sound more suitable to your tastes, here are some good options for you.
- Mountain Shadow Resort
- Hotel Adeline
- Fairmount Scottsdale Princess Resort & Spa
- Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
- Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
As you can see, Scottsdale is home to numerous, fun-filled activities and no shortage of sunshine. Even more, its proximity to Phoenix allows for tons of entertaining activities nearby. If you’re looking for your next adventure, whether it consists of a relaxing spa retreat, intensive hiking, or practicing your golf swing, look no further than our beloved city of Scottsdale, Arizona.
Better yet, these are just the five things to know before visiting Scottsdale—who’s to say you won’t stumble upon exciting adventures or restaurants on your own? Get to Scottsdale to see all that this sunny, desert land has to offer.