If you’re searching for a warm destination full of fun recreational activities to enjoy all year, Scottsdale is just the place you’re looking for. This picturesque old western town has been attracting many visitors for generations. With its unique past, thriving art scene, and a plethora of outdoor activities, the “West’s Most Western Town” is one of the most fun places to visit in the Southwestern United States.
Scottsdale is awesome whether you’re looking for a girls’ getaway, spending some quality time with the guys, a romantic getaway, or for families with young children. Visitors can enjoy world-class golfing, relaxing luxury hotels, horseback riding, hiking trails, and everything in between.
With all the fun and excitement, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Scottsdale. From a school that teaches you the ins and outs of being a true cowboy to some of the most intriguing architecture in the country, there’s nowhere quite like Scottsdale. Continue reading to find out all the best and most fun things that Scottsdale has to offer!
|Most significant landmark||Old Town Scottsdale|
|Best park||Pinnacle Peak Park|
|Best free activity||McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park|
|Best activity for kids Activity||OdySea Aquarium|
|Best activity for adults||McDowell Sonoran Preserve|
|Best food||The Mission Scottsdale|
|Best nightlife||Rusty Spur Saloon|
|Best place to stay||Scottsdale Marriott Old Town|
Things to Do in Scottsdale, Arizona
1. Taliesin West
Address: 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, United States
If you’re a fan of fascinating architecture, visit Taliesin West, the winter home of famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Today, this National Historic Landmark serves as the headquarters for the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The foundation has worked to preserve the historical feel and appearance of Taliesin West, allowing visitors to get the full experience of the architect’s genius work.
The best way to experience this house is by taking a guided tour. You won’t regret spending a lovely afternoon with the attentive Taliesin West tour guides as they provide interesting details and insights into the space. The home was inspired by Arizona’s incredible desert landscape and was built using local materials.
Taliesin West also once served as an architecture school, but the school recently closed down. However, a few legacy students still live on the grounds of this architectural wonder. Throughout the year, in addition to guided tours, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation hosts various events, including wellness programs, live music, and movie nights at Taliesin West.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Tucson
2. Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Address: 3830 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is the place to be in Scottsdale to learn more about Mexican culture and the Wild West. The museum contains informational exhibits of 19 states in the West, Western Canada, and Mexico. This museum celebrates the unique art and culture of the West and engages guests with various mediums and exhibitions.
Exhibitions at Western Spirit include paintings, mixed-medium works of art, pottery, and artifacts that represent life in the Old West. One of the most popular ongoing exhibitions is the A.P. Hays Spirit of the West Collection, which includes more than 1,400 items gathered by Scottsdale local Abe Hays. Many items in the collection are rare and super cool to see in person!
Most tourists visit the acclaimed cowboy movie posters and Hopi pottery. If you’re keen on sculptures, there’s a sculpture garden in a courtyard in the heart of the museum.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West is open year-round, with reduced hours from May to October. Guests can visit on their own or enjoy a docent-led tour. Nearby, the Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town features a stunning rooftop pool and modern amenities. The hotel is also pet-friendly!
See Related: Things to Do in Mesa, Arizona
3. Octane Raceway
Address: 9119 Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, United States
If you want to add a bit of an adrenaline rush into your Scottsdale vacation, you’ll have a grand time at North America’s only outdoor and indoor racing track that’s operational year-round. Octane Raceway features a 1/3-mile-long track that begins indoors before looping outdoors. Adult races are the first to 14 laps, while junior races are the first to 10 laps.
The raceway features many other activities, including VR gaming, ax throwing, and a full arcade. There’s something for nearly every thrill-seeker at Octane Raceway. It’s an awesome place to stop by at any time of year, especially to beat the summer heat.
If you’ve worked up an appetite with all these thrilling games and activities, head over to the Brickyard Grill. The restaurant offers kid-friendly meals and a bar to woo visitors of all ages. During the week, visitors can enjoy happy hour prices on drinks and appetizers.
If you’re looking for affordable places to stay in Scottsdale, the nearby Hampton Inn & Suites Scottsdale at Talking Stick features an outdoor swimming pool conveniently located right next to the Casino Arizona at Talking Stick Resort.
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4. Laser + Mirror Maze
Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura #200, Scottsdale, AZ 85256, United States
Laser + Mirror Maze is the perfect quick escape to beat that desert heat. It is located at the Arizona Boardwalk, which hosts many fun things for the whole family to enjoy. This activity is great for kids and families and is a go-to destination for Scottsdale visitors.
Here you can take on the challenge of escaping a mind-bending mirror maze in the jungle, traversing rickety bridges and false passages as you try to escape the maze. The fun doesn’t have to stop once you’ve beaten the hall of mirrors. Next, you can try to navigate a trick laser maze straight out of a spy movie.
Admission to the Laser + Mirror Maze can be combined or purchased separately. The company does advise that children under the age of five may be scared of the sights and sounds of the mirror age, though all ages are welcome.
See Related: Best Things to Do in Sedona With Kids
5. OdySea Aquarium
Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura Suite A-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256, United States
Located at the Arizona Boardwalk, OdySea Aquarium is one of the biggest aquariums in the Southwest United States. It holds more than 2,000,000 gallons of water and spans over 200,000 square feet, offering many things to see and do once inside. This is definitely somewhere where you can spend an entire afternoon.
OdySea Aquarium is home to over 6,000 animals, spanning 300 species across the aquarium’s 65 exhibits. You’ll get to explore a multitude of different enclosures to see tropical fish and water-loving animals like otters and penguins. This aquarium is also home to interactive touch exhibits, including stingrays, tide pools, and the world’s only Russian Sturgeon touch exhibit.
That’s not all, though. OdySea is also home to Voyager, a stadium-seating-style theater that allows guests to journey through the ocean in the world’s only revolving aquarium. You can also get up close and personal with different fish if you’re brave enough to try a SeaTREK, an experience where guests can don a wetsuit and helmet and get into the water with sea creatures. Visitors can also enjoy penguin encounters and sloth encounters!
See Related: Where to Stay in Sedona: Best Areas & Neighborhoods
6. Scottsdale Historical Museum
Address: 7333 E Scottsdale Mall, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
The Scottsdale Historical Museum is housed in the Little Red Schoolhouse in Old Town Scottsdale. It is free to visit and showcases the development of Scottsdale into what it is today. The museum comprises only two rooms and is located in the heart of the old town, making it the perfect quick afternoon stop.
This museum tells the story of the early development of Scottsdale, along with information about the town’s founder, Winfield Scott. You can find many old artifacts donated by the Scott family and the city. Artifacts include school items, musical instruments, tapestries, clothing, and old maps.
The Scottsdale Historical Museum is open with limited availability and is closed in June, July, and August. I recommend checking out the official website of the Scottsdale Historical Society to find the most up-to-date opening hours of the museum.
7. Butterfly Wonderland
Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura F100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256, United States
If you want a one-of-a-kind experience, then Butterfly Wonderland might be what you’re seeking. It’s an indoor, interactive rainforest habitat that houses thousands of butterflies. Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland is the largest butterfly conservatory in the entire country.
Over 70 different species of butterflies live among the lush tropical foliage inside the conservatory. You can even visit a butterfly emergence gallery to watch the butterflies exhibit their chrysalises for the first time. In addition to the butterflies, guests also see colorful koi fish, tropical finches, and even two chickens that call the conservatory home.
Guests can enjoy other activities, too, including a 3D movie theater, a reptile exhibit, insect viewing areas, aquarium tanks, a cafe, and a gift shop. There’s also a vending machine full of ~tasty~ treats made of insects. Butterfly Wonderland is open daily and is located at the Arizona Boardwalk.
8. Go Golfing
Scottsdale is known as the “World’s Finest Golf Destination,” and it’s easy to see why. Over 200 golf courses are in the area suitable for any budget and skill level. It’s a fantastic place to hit the links with your pals or spouse during a relaxing vacation.
Some of the most popular courses in Scottsdale include Grayhawk, TPC Scottsdale, Troon North, and McDowell Mountain. If you’re a beginner, Scottsdale Silverado Golf Club and Continental Golf Club are great options. No matter where you stay in Scottsdale, you’re never too far from one of its amazing golf courses!
For the ultimate rest trip, you can combine your love of golf with amazing luxury resorts. Upscale hotels like the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Boulders Resort & Spa Scottsdale, and the Four Seasons Resorts Scottsdale at Troon North are each surrounded by some of the city’s best golf courses.
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9. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Address: 7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, United States
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has remained one of the top things to do in Scottsdale since it opened over 40 years ago. The park comprises rides, model trains, a museum, and playgrounds. The main attraction is the mini train, which goes on a track around the park.
The Allan Herschell-built carousel from the 1950s is another highlight of the park and a must-see. It plays music from the same era, so you’ll have fun listening to classics surrounded by trains.
The most eye-catching part of the park is the impressive model railway building, which is 10,000 square feet in size. Here you can see four model railroad setups created by different model railroad clubs, like the Paradise & Pacific Railroad Club. Guests can interact with these impressive displays directly, pushing buttons to move trains and activate different lights.
When you’re done exploring the different exhibits and attractions, you can sit and have a quick bite to eat on the grassy grounds. Although entry is free, you’ll have to pay a modest fee to get on attractions like the train carousel or train ride. There are also yearly membership options for frequent visitors.
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10. Visit the Sonoran Desert and Tonto National Forest
The natural beauty and landscape surrounding Scottsdale is unlike any other. The stunning Sonoran Desert spans across Northwestern Mexico as well as parts of the Southwest United States, including Scottsdale. To the northeast of Scottsdale, Arizona, you’ll find Tonto National Forest.
If this is your first time in Scottsdale, I highly recommend taking a guided tour of the Sonoran Desert and Tonto National Forest. This two-hour guided tour is perfect for nature lovers to taste the desert without taking up a full day of your vacation.
You’ll drive to the Village at Pinnacle Peak, where you can see an old stagecoach station. Enjoy the desert landscape dotted with funky and unique cacti.
As you make your way to Tonto National Forest, you’ll be greeted by a tree-lined path toward the Verde River. You may even spot some wild horses sipping water along the river.
11. Penske Racing Museum
Address: 7125 E Chauncey Ln, Phoenix, AZ 85054, United States
If you’re a car and racing fan, quickly hop over to Phoenix to enjoy the Penske Racing Museum. The museum features a crazy collection of unique cars, trophies, and racing memorabilia.
Penske Racing has over 50 years of experience in racing, having won over 500 races. Many of the brand’s most iconic pieces of history are in the Penske Museum, making it a great place for racing fans to explore.
Some highlights include a replica of the iconic 1963 Pontiac Catalina driven by Roger Penske in NASCAR, numerous Penske Racing trophies, and other 500-mile winning cars that drove for Penske Racing. On the third of each month, the Penske Racing Museum hosts a Cars & Coffee event where you can check out some cool cars and enjoy free coffee and offerings from several local food trucks.
The Penske Racing Museum is open daily year-round and free to visit. During the week, there’s also a cafe at the museum that visitors can enjoy.
12. Arizona Cowboy College
Address: 30208 N 152nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, United States
If you want to have a true American cowboy experience but don’t know where to begin, check out Arizona Cowboy College, also known as Cowboy U. This family-owned and -operated business allows you to experience life as an American cowboy, learning about everything from horsemanship to different ranching techniques.
Guests learn Western and English horsemanship skills, jumping, Gymkhana, and event training here. While the five-day experience is the most comprehensive, Arizona Cowboy College offers basic riding lessons, instructional trail rides, and a four-day camp for kids.
Those who take classes here will walk away with ranching skills that they can take with them for the rest of their days. While you can sign up for a one-day session, a full five-day experience is recommended to get the most out of Cowboy Camp. No matter what, you’re sure to walk away having had much fun.
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13. Rusty Spur Saloon
Address: 7245 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
Looking for a good ‘ole time in downtown Scottsdale that’ll give you a true Wild West experience? Then head over to Rusty Spur Saloon to embrace your true Western spirit. This classic saloon is Scottsdale’s oldest bar and features authentic American West decor and live music seven nights a week, making it one of the top tourist attractions in the city.
Country legends like Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, and Toby Keith, along with international stars like Post Malone and Jennifer Aniston, have been spotted here. Rusty Spur Saloon brings those from all walks of life together to mingle in a fun atmosphere. Whether your drink is a margarita, aged bourbon, or an ice-cold beer, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.
Rusty Spur Saloon is a Scottsdale institution and has been part of the community for 70 years. Tourists and locals alike love to take in the unique ambiance of the bar. Don’t forget to sign your name on a dollar bill and pin it to the wall! At the end of each year, they clear out the walls and donate all the cash to the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
14. Scottsdale Wine Trail
Did you know that Arizona’s wine industry is one of the fastest-growing in the country? If you head to downtown Scottsdale, you’ll find plenty of wine tasting rooms to sample local wines and other products. In fact, several of these wineries and wine tasting rooms have teamed up to create the Scottsdale Wine Trail.
Many of the state’s top wineries participate in the Scottsdale Wine Trail, including Carlson Creek, LDV Winery, Arizona Stronghold Vineyard, Aridus Wine Company, Merkin Vineyards, Salvatore Vineyards, and The Wine Collective of Scottsdale. Each of these wineries produces award-winning wine you can sample at their tasting rooms throughout Old Town Scottsdale.
If you plan to visit at least a few of these wineries in Scottsdale, I highly recommend getting a Wine Trail Passport. The wine trail passport gives you a discount at each winery, and you do not need to visit every tasting room in one day to use the passport. Another great thing about it is that all participating tasting rooms are within walking distance from each other.
15. Arizona Taco Festival
The many Mexican restaurants in Scottsdale aren’t the only places for you to find Mexican cuisine. The city hosts a grand festival dedicated to tacos every spring.
The Arizona Taco Festival began in 2010 and had the honor of being the world’s first festival. Today, the festival attracts more than 40,000 attendees every year. It’s a two-day event where you can enjoy tacos from around 60 restaurants hoping to take the top taco award home.
Apart from the food, you can enjoy live bands, a Margarita competition, and a Tequila Expo with more than 100 tequila samples. Check out the festival’s website for when and where it will happen each year.
16. Historic Old Town Scottsdale
One of the top things to do in Scottsdale is to tour the Old Town area. Old Town Scottsdale has retained its Wild West charm and features some of the city’s best restaurants, hotels, bars, and shopping. There are always tons of fun events happening in the Old Town as well, so you’ll never get bored when visiting this incredible little city.
If you love to shop, head over to the Fifth Avenue shops. Nearby, you’ll find some of Scottsdale’s most popular bars, like Giligin’s and Social Tap Scottsdale.
As for food, some of the best eats can be found at The Mission, Olive & Ivy, and Cafe Monarch. If the Old Town sounds like your vibe, stay in the heart of the district at Scottsdale Marriott Old Town.
To see all of the Old Town’s top spots, I recommend going on a guided tour. This Segway tour takes you to all the best spots in this charming city, including the Rusty Spur Saloon and the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall. If you’re doing it for the ‘gram, this guide is also a professional photographer! Strike a pose in front of all the most aesthetically pleasing spots in Scottsdale and receive all your professional photos within one week.
17. Scottsdale Fashion Square
Address: 7014 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
Scottsdale also has one of the top tourist attractions for shopaholics – Fashion Square. This luxury shopping mall houses top-notch fashion brands, including Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus.
Scottsdale Fashion Square is listed among the 30 largest malls in the United States and is Arizona’s largest. Make sure you bring your credit card and put on your comfy shoes because you’ll surely want to walk around it, splurging on luxury items and local creations beckoning you through the displays.
Scottsdale Fashion Square is just a few blocks from downtown, making this an easy jump from most hotels. Even if you don’t want to plan a full shopping day, this could be a great spot for spending a rainy day, enjoying a meal, or finishing a day after sightseeing.
On the other hand, if you do want to be nice and close to all this, the W Scottsdale is practically across the street from Scottsdale Fashion Square and it also happens to be one of the nicest luxury hotels in the city.
18. Desert Botanical Garden
Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States
Located less than 10 minutes from Scottsdale in Phoenix‘s famed Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden is a tranquil spot to enjoy during your trip. The garden is a whopping 140 acres and features over 50,000 individual plants.
The botanical gardens display all the beauty found in Arizona, including cacti, wildflowers, and a huge assortment of trees and succulents. The garden also houses hummingbirds, woodpeckers, butterflies, and birds. While the birds whiz past, you can enjoy the representations of different deserts in the garden, such as the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Southwestern deserts.
Visitors will also find a stunning restaurant, cafe, gift shop, garden shop, library, and butterfly pavilion within the garden. It’s truly a beautiful place to spend an early morning or evening. Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a camera to capture the garden’s beauty.
19. Scottsdale ArtWalk
While some might think Scottsdale’s attractions consist mostly of golfing and the desert, there’s a lot of human-made art in the town. The Scottsdale ArtWalk is a celebration of the town’s historic art district.
On Thursdays, Scottsdale Gallery Association members host events showcasing certain exhibits in their spaces. You can wander the streets as you explore exhibits in different galleries to see some of the Southwest’s best artists.
Plus, between gallery viewings, you can visit local restaurants, take a carriage or trolley ride, and relax in the beautiful tree-covered courtyards in Old Town Scottsdale. Check out the Scottsdale Gallery Association’s ArtWalk website to see what’s going on during your stay.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Scottsdale
20. Pinnacle Peak Park
Address: 26802 N 102nd Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, United States
Active visitors can enjoy a nature hike with a view at Pinnacle Peak Park, located on the northern outskirts of the city just beside the aforementioned Four Seasons Scottsdale. This rocky point is covered with cacti and boulders, rising above the desert floor to reveal sweeping views to those who take the moderate hike to the top.
These stunning views include the McDowell Mountains, Four Peaks, Granite Mountain, and the resort below. The Grandview lookout also has stone benches, making it a good rest spot before heading back down the trail. It’s around four miles in total, and while not extremely challenging, it can get very hot on the trail.
While hiking, you can learn much about the region’s flora and fauna from the informational plaques on the trail. Make sure to go there early in the morning to find a parking space in the 90-space lot, as it fills up fast.
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21. McDowell Sonoran Preserve
On the other hand, less vertically-inclined hikers can find some trails for them in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, just a few miles south of Pinnacle Peak. While this preserve contains more flat desert land, note that it is still rocky and remote and contains some hill trails for those interested.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the perfect place for families that love to hike. Marked trails wind through cactus groves and rugged desert landscapes, revealing beautiful wildlife, plants, and flowers. Horseback riding and mountain biking are allowed here, and you can even take a backcountry bike tour through this preserve.
There are many hikes appropriate for various fitness levels at McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Brown’s Ranch Trail is one of the easier ones, while Tom’s Thumb Trail and Gateway Loop are a bit more challenging. Again, bring plenty of water, as the Arizona heat does not mess around!
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22. Camelback Mountain
Camelback Mountain has an elevation of 2,710 feet and gives you one of the best opportunities for hiking or climbing while visiting Arizona. There are two hiking trails to the summit; each will take you about two to three hours round trip.
Both trails are quite difficult and require at least an intermediate fitness level. Consider the Cholla Trail up Camelback Mountain for a more manageable climb.
This trail offers a much more gradual climb without so many large rock formations getting in the way. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Phoenix and Scottsdale.
If you prefer, you can embark on a private guided hiking tour of Camelback Mountain. The experienced guide will bring a day pack for everyone in your group to store your water, snacks, and other necessities. It is highly recommended to wear hiking shoes, athletic wear, sunglasses, and sunscreen.
See Related: Best Hotels in Page, Arizona
23. Watch a Live Performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Live entertainment can be found in the city at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the local venue that showcases talent from around the world. It has hosted well over 1,000 indoor and outdoor performances and has been used for festivals, educational programs, and other private events in Scottsdale; it’s one of the best things to do in Scottsdale for adults and families.
Located near the Old Town and next to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, this space is a local hub for all kinds of arts, serving nearly 250,000 guests annually. Whether it’s dancing, music, theater, talks, or other types of entertainment, Scottsdale locals and visitors alike can usually find it here at some point during the year.
Be sure to check the event calendar to see what’s happening on stage during your stay. If you need a room nearby after enjoying an event, Sonder the Monarch is right next door and is a lovely boutique hotel.
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24. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Address: 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is the perfect place to spend a few hours cooling off and admire ever-changing exhibitions dedicated to contemporary art, modern art, architecture, and design. The museum is located in the heart of the city center, just south of Old Town Scottsdale.
This small-scale museum has approximately 2,000 works of art in its permanent collection, shown annually. Typically, visitors will find two to four temporary exhibitions that change seasonally. The SMoCA Lounge also hosts “living” installations, including gatherings, events, and presentations.
One of the highlights of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is the Turrell Skyspace, called Knight Rise, created by Arizona-based artist James Turrell. The elliptical opening in the ceiling is located above the museum’s sculpture garden and manipulates the way light and color are seen. The best times to experience Knight Rise are sunrise and sunset.
25. Scottsdale Stadium
Address: 7408 E Osborn Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States
The Scottsdale Stadium is home to the Scottsdale Scorpions, who play in the East Division of the Arizona Fall League. The league usually begins its season at the end of the World Series and plays through mid-November. It’s a wonderful time to visit Scottsdale and catch a game!
If you’re a Giants fan visiting Scottsdale in the spring, you’re in luck! The San Francisco Giants do their spring training at Scottsdale Stadium. Spring training for the Giants usually begins in mid-February, and you can even catch a few pre-season games here. The stadium also hosts the annual Pac-12 Baseball Tournament in May.
Scottsdale Stadium is located on the outskirts of downtown Scottsdale. If you’re just in town to catch a game, you can stay nearby at the Courtyard by Marriott Scottsdale Old Town. The hotel features an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, and a lobby bar.
26. Take a Day Trip to Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is about three hours away from Scottsdale, making it a wonderful day trip destination. The closest part of the Grand Canyon to Scottsdale is the South Rim area, which includes many stunning viewpoints, the Yavapai Geology Museum, and the Grand Canyon Railway.
Along the way to the Grand Canyon, you’ll pass through some of Arizona’s other major towns, including Sedona and Flagstaff. These towns make great pit stops along the way to one of the most popular landmarks in the United States.
If you’re not planning to rent a car or just don’t want to make such a long drive, check out this Grand Canyon tour. The tour will pick you up bright and early in Scottsdale and take you on a full tour of the South Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park. On the way back to Scottsdale, you’ll enjoy stunning views of the red rocks surrounding Sedona.
27. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
Address: 27026 N 156th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, United States
If you have a soft spot for wild animals, consider visiting the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. This wildlife sanctuary takes in injured, orphaned, or displaced animals from around the Arizona desert.
Once the animals are rehabilitated, they are usually released back into the wild. Still, a few animals have become permanent residents due to their inability to return to their natural habitats.
To go on a wildlife tour of the sanctuary, you must make an appointment with the conservation center. Animals at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center include mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, owls, and deer. During the tour, you can get up close to some of the center’s permanent residents and learn more about their stories and the best ways to help wild animals in need.
This amazing organization’s main goal is to help animals in need and educate visitors on how to help wild animals. They even offer a full moon tour each month and twilight tours. One Saturday per month, the center hosts a Southwest Wildlife Family Day, which is fantastic if you have little ones.
28. Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden
Address: 5401 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, United States
The Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden is the perfect example of a sustainable desert landscape garden located on the north end of Scottsdale’s Chaparral Park. This six-acre garden is free to visit and open daily to the public.
The Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden features over 7,000 plants from more than 200 species. Here, visitors can learn about low-water-use plants and trees and their benefits. The garden’s mission is to bring awareness to water usage and educate about conserving water and other resources.
The Scottsdale Water Department often hosts walking tours through the garden as well as workshops to teach visitors about growing regionally-appropriate plants. In addition to the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden, Chaparral Park is home to a dog park, recreational fields, and a lake, so it’s a beautiful place to spend time in the city.
29. MacDonald’s Ranch
Address: 26540 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, United States
Looking for a fun and family-friendly Wild West experience? Head over to MacDonald’s Ranch, located in north Scottsdale. This family-owned ranch is open to families, large groups, and anyone looking for a true taste of the Wild West.
There are many fun things and experiences to enjoy at MacDonald’s Ranch; you can easily spend a full day here. Activities like horseback riding, games, cowboy cookouts, stagecoach rides, and a petting zoo are all offered here at the ranch. Visitors can enjoy the ranch’s pumpkin patch, a scavenger hunt, and a hay bale maze in the fall.
MacDonald’s Ranch is an incredible place to visit year-round and is perfect if you’re visiting with your family. The ranch also offers dinner and a hayride to dinner and horseback riding to create memories that will last a lifetime.
30. Scottsdale Civic Center Mall
Scottsdale’s Civic Center Mall district is located in the heart of the city. It features many tourist attractions, art galleries, museums, and gardens. If you plan to tour downtown and Old Town Scottsdale, stopping at the Civic Center Mall is a must.
Popular stops in Civic Center Mall include the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Scottsdale Historical Museum, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the Scottsdale Mall Amphitheater, and the gardens surrounding Scottsdale City Hall.
You’ll also find amazing bars and cafes in the area as well as popular hotels like Sonder The Monarch. It’s the perfect place to stay if you want to be in the middle of all the action in the city and within walking distance of all of the best bars and restaurants in Scottsdale.
31. Wonderspaces Arizona
Address: 7014 E Camelback Rd #584, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
After a day of exploring and shopping, visit Wonderspaces inside Scottsdale Fashion Square. It has a lineup of 15 art installations and offers signature cocktails to enjoy with friends and family. The exhibits constantly evolve, so you never see the same thing twice when visiting.
32. Go stargazing in the Sonoran Desert
Address: Sonoran Desert, Arizona 85321, USA
The Sonoran Desert under moonlight showcases a beautiful and quiet landscape, making for a spectacular view. Artists and photographers have beloved this landscape for years due to the stunning natural beauty to be found here, especially as day turns to night.
Depending on the time of year you visit, you may also be able to see lizards, toads, and other nocturnal creatures in the desert. However, more dangerous creatures call this place home, too, so it’s best to explore the Sonoran Desert at night with a guide, rather than on your own such as a stargazing excursion. For a more thrilling Scottsdale experience at night, book a nocturnal Jeep ride through the desert.
33. Catch a baseball game in the Salt River Fields Stadium at Talking Stick
Address: 7555 N Pima Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85258, United States
If you’re a baseball fan, Salt River Field is a must-see destination. Located near Scottsdale, Arizona, this impressive stadium was built in collaboration between the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, and local Native American communities and offers a unique opportunity to experience the region’s diverse cultures.
Not only is it a great place to catch a game, but it also boasts stunning views of McDowell Mountain, Camelback Mountain, and Four Peaks. Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as this popular venue tends to sell out quickly.
Is Scottsdale worth visiting?
Scottsdale is an excellent desert getaway for travelers of all ages. In terms of outdoor recreation, Scottsdale offers some of the best opportunities in the Southwest to hike, golf, walk, and bike. The city also has amazing shopping, fun bars, and great restaurants.
What is Scottsdale known for?
Scottsdale is a well-known luxury destination for a variety of travelers, but most notably, for golf enthusiasts, baseball fans, and snowbirds trying to escape the winter cold. The city has an array of excellent golf courses and plays host to a number of Major League Baseball teams for spring training.
Which museums are worth visiting in Scottsdale?
There are several awesome museums to learn more about Scottsdale’s history, art, and culture. The best museums include the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Western Spirit, and the Scottsdale Historical Museum.