Scottsdale Travel Recommendations
For more maps and guides to the Scottsdale area, visit the Experience Scottsdale website.
Scottsdale’s Sonoran Desert is one of the world’s most diverse environments and provides endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve – 30,000+ acres of protected open space – is a popular spot for hiking, biking and rock climbing at all levels. For a more challenging trek, join the locals on a weekend hike up Camelback Mountain. Hot air ballooning and aerial adventures like small plane trips to Sedona and the Grand Canyon are popular activities, but what many people don’t realize is that there’s plenty of water recreation nearby, too. One of the best ways to get in tune with nature is on a kayak trip down the Salt River. More outdoor adventure.
There are more than 800 restaurants on Scottsdale’s dining scene! The eclectic lineup includes several James Beard Foundation-recognized chefs and eateries, many of which source their produce, meat and goods from area farmers, ranchers and purveyors. Just a couple of the local luminaries include Chef Charleen Badman (aka “The Veggie Whisperer) of FnB and Executive Chef Gio Osso of Virtu Honest Craft, known for a simple but delicious seasonal menu that’s a nod to his Italian roots. More dining and restaurants.
The most pedestrian-friendly portion of the city, downtown Scottsdale technically measures just one-square-mile, but packs a serious punch when it comes to dining, art and entertainment. It’s home to the Southwest’s largest shopping center, Scottsdale Fashion Square, plus a slew of local and independent boutiques. Scottsdale Waterfront, Southbridge and the 5th Avenue District are where to find some of the city’s most-acclaimed restaurants and bars. Old Town Scottsdale is nostalgic and charming, and the best place to get in touch with the city’s Western roots. There’s also an Arts District and the Civic Center Park, which is home to both the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. More downtown.
Arts & Culture
Scottsdale has long been a creative draw for artists – even Frank Lloyd Wright built his winter home, Taliesin West, here in 1937. Today, the city boasts a bustling arts scene with 70 galleries and museums, many of which you can peruse in the Scottsdale Arts District. Even a simple stroll along Scottsdale’s streets will bring inspiration, as the city is dotted with 50 large-scale public works. More arts and culture.
Scottsdale is synonymous with golf. It’s home to 1,223 holes and 51 golf courses within official city limits, not to mention 150+ more courses in neighboring regions. And, naturally, the 330 days of sunshine on average each year doesn’t hurt your game, either. You may have heard of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, aka “The Greatest Show on Grass,” which takes place at TPC Scottsdale – one of the city’s most popular courses. Other must-plays include Troon North, We-Ko-Pa, Grayhawk, The Boulders and Kierland Golf Clubs, just to name a few. More golf.
Spa & Wellness
More spas per capita than any other city in the country – that’s Scottsdale. Take your pick from 50 day, resort and health spas, each one with a distinct setting and menu. Some of the more unique experiences are inspired by the Sonoran Desert and treatments at places like Spa at The Boulders, The Spa at Camelback Inn and Agave Spa at The Westin Kierland are a relaxing reflection of the region’s climate, flora and fauna. More spa and wellness.
Events Worth Traveling For
- F. Chang’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon
- Celebration of Fine Art
- Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction
- Waste Management Phoenix Open