Scottsdale, Arizona, is a vibrant city located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Known for its luxurious spas, world-class golf courses, and outdoor recreation opportunities, Scottsdale is a top destination for tourists from around the world, and one of the reasons why Scottsdale, AZ, vacation home rentals are so popular. If you’re planning a trip to this beautiful city, here are 10 things to do in Scottsdale, AZ.
Explore Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is the historic heart of the city, and it’s where you’ll find a charming mix of boutiques, art galleries, nightlife, and some of the city’s best restaurants and bars.
One of the best ways to explore Old Town Scottsdale is on foot. You can take a self-guided walking tour of the area, or join a guided tour to learn more about the history and culture of the city. As you wander the streets, you’ll see beautiful Spanish colonial architecture, quaint cafes, and art galleries featuring works from local artists.
Old Town Scottsdale is also known for its shopping, with many boutique stores offering unique gifts, clothing, and home decor. Some of the most popular shops include Fashion by Robert Black, which specializes in vintage and designer clothing, and Scottsdale Olive & Antipasto Company, which offers a variety of gourmet food products.
In the evenings, Old Town Scottsdale comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. There are plenty of bars and clubs to choose from, ranging from laid-back watering holes to upscale cocktail lounges. Some popular options include The Rusty Spur Saloon, a historic cowboy bar, and Second Story Liquor Bar, a rooftop bar with stunning views of the city.
Visit the Desert Botanical Garden
Visiting the Desert Botanical Garden near Scottsdale, Arizona, is an experience like no other. This 140-acre garden is home to more than 50,000 plants, including cacti, succulents, and wildflowers, all set against the stunning backdrop of the Sonoran Desert.
One of the best ways to explore the Desert Botanical Garden is to take a guided tour. The garden offers a variety of tours, including birding tours, photography tours, and even moonlit tours. You can also take a self-guided tour using a free audio guide, which is available in several languages.
Another highlight of the Desert Botanical Garden is the Butterfly Pavilion, which is open seasonally. This pavilion is home to hundreds of butterflies from around the world, and visitors can walk among the fluttering insects and learn about their life cycle and behavior.
Hike Camelback Mountain
Hiking Camelback Mountain is a popular activity for both locals and tourists in Scottsdale, Arizona. This iconic mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding area and a challenging hike for those looking for a physical challenge.
Camelback Mountain has two trails to choose from: the Cholla Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail. Both trails are challenging and require a good level of fitness, but the Echo Canyon Trail is considered the more difficult of the two.
Regardless of which trail you choose, be sure to bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and sturdy hiking shoes. Hiking Camelback Mountain can be strenuous, especially in the heat, so it’s important to be prepared.
Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride
Taking a hot air balloon ride is a popular and unique way to experience the beauty of Scottsdale, Arizona. Soaring above the desert landscape in a colorful balloon is an unforgettable experience that provides stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, desert, and city.
Hot air balloon rides typically last around one hour, and during this time, passengers will float over the stunning Sonoran Desert landscape, taking in breathtaking views of the mountains, cacti, and other desert flora and fauna. As the sun rises, the colors of the desert landscape become more vibrant, creating a beautiful visual display that is sure to be remembered for years to come.
Visit Taliesin West
Taliesin West is the former winter home of legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The home is now a museum and a National Historic Landmark. Taliesin West is located in the foothills of the McDowell Mountains, and it was designed by Wright to blend seamlessly into the surrounding desert landscape.
Guided tours of Taliesin West are available throughout the year, and they provide an opportunity to learn more about Wright’s architectural philosophy. The tours are led by knowledgeable guides who provide insights into Wright’s life and work, as well as the history of Taliesin West.
It’s important to note that Taliesin West is located in a residential area and that parking is limited. Visitors are encouraged to book their tours in advance and to arrive early to secure a parking spot.
Play Golf at Troon North
Playing golf at Troon North is an experience that is not to be missed for golf enthusiasts and those who appreciate natural beauty. The Troon North Golf Club is situated in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak and features two award-winning 18-hole golf courses, the Monument Course and the Pinnacle Course.
In addition to the golf courses, Troon North offers world-class practice facilities, including a driving range, putting green, and a short game area. Golfers can also take advantage of the Troon Golf Academy, which offers expert instruction and coaching from PGA-certified professionals.
Relax at a Spa
Relaxing at a spa is one of the most popular activities in Scottsdale and for good reason. The city is home to some of the best spas in the country, offering a wide range of treatments and services designed to help visitors unwind and rejuvenate.
One of the top spas in Scottsdale is the Joya Spa at the Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia. This luxurious spa features a wide range of treatments, including massages, facials, body wraps, and more. Guests can also enjoy the spa’s extensive facilities, including steam rooms, saunas, and hot and cold plunge pools.
Visit the Musical Instrument Museum
Visiting the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) is a unique and immersive experience that shouldn’t be missed by music lovers and cultural enthusiasts alike. Located in North Scottsdale, the MIM is home to one of the largest collections of musical instruments in the world, with over 15,000 instruments from more than 200 countries and territories.
In addition to the instrument exhibits, the MIM also features a theater that hosts concerts and performances by musicians from around the world. The theater is acoustically designed to provide an optimal listening experience, and performances cover a wide range of genres and styles, from classical to folk to contemporary.
Explore the McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Exploring the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a fantastic way to experience the natural beauty of Scottsdale and immerse yourself in the surrounding Sonoran Desert. The preserve covers over 30,000 acres and offers a wide range of hiking and biking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to more challenging summit hikes.
The preserve is home to a variety of desert flora and fauna, including saguaro cacti, javelinas, coyotes, and a variety of bird species. The preserve also offers a variety of educational programs and events, including guided hikes, nature walks, and talks by local experts on desert ecology and wildlife.
Take a Food Tour
Taking a food tour in Scottsdale is a great way to explore the local culinary scene and sample some of the best dishes the city has to offer. Food tours typically visit a variety of different restaurants, cafes, and specialty food shops, and provide an opportunity to meet local chefs and learn about the history and culture of the city’s food scene.
In addition to these organized food tours, there are also a variety of food markets and festivals that take place throughout the year in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Farmers Market is a popular weekly event, featuring local produce, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and other specialty foods. Other annual food festivals in Scottsdale include the Arizona Taco Festival, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and the Arizona BBQ Festival.
In conclusion, Scottsdale, AZ, has a lot to offer tourists looking for a unique and exciting vacation. Whether you’re interested in outdoor recreation, culture, or relaxation, you’ll find plenty of options to choose from in this beautiful city.