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Discover Scottsdale: Top 10 Must-Do Activities

Photo things to do in scottsdale

Scottsdale, Arizona is a vibrant and diverse travel destination that offers something for everyone. Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is known for its stunning natural beauty, world-class shopping and dining, award-winning golf courses, luxurious spas, and rich history. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, Scottsdale has it all.

Key Takeaways

  • The Sonoran Desert offers breathtaking natural beauty to explore.
  • Hot air ballooning provides a thrilling way to experience the desert landscape.
  • Old Town Scottsdale is rich in history and culture, with plenty to discover.
  • World-class shopping and dining options abound in Scottsdale.
  • Award-winning golf courses offer a challenging and enjoyable experience for golfers of all levels.

Explore the Beauty of the Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is a unique and breathtaking landscape that stretches across Arizona, California, and Mexico. Known for its iconic saguaro cacti and diverse wildlife, the desert offers endless opportunities for exploration and adventure. Visitors to Scottsdale can hike through the desert trails, take guided tours to learn about the flora and fauna, or even go on a thrilling off-road adventure. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, with over 30,000 acres of protected land to explore.

Experience the Thrill of Hot Air Ballooning

One of the most popular activities in Scottsdale is hot air ballooning. Soaring above the desert landscape in a colorful balloon provides a unique perspective and stunning views of the surrounding area. Whether you choose to take a sunrise or sunset flight, you’ll be treated to breathtaking vistas and a sense of tranquility as you float through the sky. Hot air ballooning in Scottsdale is an experience that should not be missed.

Discover the Rich History of Old Town Scottsdale

Historical Site Year Built Architectural Style Current Use
Scottsdale Historical Museum 1921 Spanish Colonial Revival Museum
Little Red Schoolhouse 1909 Victorian Museum
Rusty Spur Saloon 1921 Western Bar
Old Adobe Mission 1933 Spanish Colonial Revival Church
Cavalliere’s Blacksmith Shop 1920 Western Art Gallery

Old Town Scottsdale is a charming and historic district that showcases the city’s rich history and cultural heritage. With its adobe buildings, art galleries, and western-themed shops, Old Town is a must-visit destination for history buffs and art enthusiasts alike. Take a stroll down Main Street and explore the many museums and galleries that line the streets. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West are two must-visit attractions in Old Town.

Indulge in World-Class Shopping and Dining

Scottsdale is known for its world-class shopping and dining scene. From luxury boutiques to high-end malls, the city offers a wide range of shopping options to suit every taste and budget. Fashion Square Mall is a must-visit destination for fashion lovers, with its impressive selection of designer stores and upscale boutiques. When it comes to dining, Scottsdale offers a diverse culinary scene with everything from fine dining establishments to casual eateries. The city is home to numerous award-winning restaurants that serve up delicious cuisine from around the world.

Tee Off at Award-Winning Golf Courses

Scottsdale is a golfer’s paradise, with over 200 golf courses in the area. The city is home to some of the best golf courses in the country, many of which have received accolades and recognition from top golf publications. Troon North Golf Club, TPC Scottsdale, and Grayhawk Golf Club are just a few of the top-rated courses that golf enthusiasts can enjoy. With its beautiful desert landscapes and challenging fairways, Scottsdale offers a truly unforgettable golfing experience.

Relax and Rejuvenate at Luxurious Spas

Scottsdale is renowned for its luxurious spas and wellness retreats. The city is home to numerous world-class resorts that offer a wide range of spa treatments and wellness programs. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing massage, a rejuvenating facial, or a full-body detox, you’ll find it all in Scottsdale. The Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa and the Well & Being Spa at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess are two top-rated spas that offer a truly indulgent experience.

Hike to the Top of Camelback Mountain

Camelback Mountain is one of the most iconic landmarks in Scottsdale and offers some of the best hiking trails in the area. The mountain is named for its resemblance to a camel’s hump and offers stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape. There are two main trails that lead to the summit, the Cholla Trail and the Echo Canyon Trail. Both trails are challenging and require a moderate level of fitness, but the reward is well worth it. Hiking Camelback Mountain is a must-do activity for outdoor enthusiasts visiting Scottsdale.

Tour the Taliesin West Architectural Marvel

Taliesin West is a must-visit destination for architecture enthusiasts. Designed by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Taliesin West served as Wright’s winter home and architectural school. The building is a masterpiece of organic architecture, seamlessly blending into the surrounding desert landscape. Visitors can take guided tours of the property to learn about Wright’s design principles and explore the various buildings on site. Taliesin West is a true architectural marvel and offers a unique glimpse into the mind of one of America’s greatest architects.

Enjoy Live Music and Entertainment at Top Venues

Scottsdale has a vibrant live music and entertainment scene, with numerous venues that showcase local and national talent. Whether you’re into rock, jazz, country, or blues, you’ll find a venue that caters to your musical tastes. The Musical Instrument Museum is a must-visit destination for music lovers, with its impressive collection of instruments from around the world. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is another top venue that hosts a variety of performances, including theater productions, dance shows, and concerts.

Learn About Native American Culture at the Heard Museum

The Heard Museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating Native American art and culture. Located in Phoenix, just a short drive from Scottsdale, the museum features an extensive collection of Native American art, including pottery, jewelry, textiles, and paintings. Visitors can learn about the history and traditions of Native American tribes through interactive exhibits and educational programs. The Heard Museum is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning about the rich cultural heritage of the Southwest.

Scottsdale, Arizona is a travel destination that offers a wide range of attractions and experiences. From exploring the beauty of the Sonoran Desert to indulging in world-class shopping and dining, there is something for everyone in Scottsdale. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing getaway, Scottsdale has it all. So pack your bags and get ready to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer. You won’t be disappointed.


What is Scottsdale?

Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, United States.

What are some popular things to do in Scottsdale?

Some popular things to do in Scottsdale include visiting the Old Town, hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, exploring the Desert Botanical Garden, and shopping at the Scottsdale Fashion Square.

What is the best time to visit Scottsdale?

The best time to visit Scottsdale is from November to April when the weather is mild and pleasant.

What is the weather like in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale has a desert climate with hot summers and mild winters. The average temperature in summer is around 100°F (38°C) and in winter it is around 70°F (21°C).

What are some family-friendly activities in Scottsdale?

Some family-friendly activities in Scottsdale include visiting the OdySea Aquarium, going on a hot air balloon ride, and taking a tour of the Taliesin West.

What is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve?

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a protected area in Scottsdale that covers over 30,000 acres of desert landscape. It is a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

What is the Desert Botanical Garden?

The Desert Botanical Garden is a botanical garden in Phoenix, Arizona, that showcases a variety of desert plants from around the world. It is a popular destination for nature lovers and photographers.

What is the Scottsdale Fashion Square?

The Scottsdale Fashion Square is a luxury shopping mall in Scottsdale that features over 200 stores, including high-end fashion brands and restaurants. It is a popular destination for shopping and dining.