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The Best Things To Do & See in Scottsdale, AZ

The Best Things To Do & See in Scottsdale, AZ

Published: May 28, 2024

If you’re a frequent flier to sunny Los Angeles or you love to warm up in Florida, consider Scottsdale for a change of scenery this year.

Located Northeast of Phoenix, Arizona, Scottsdale is a rapidly growing desert destination that offers chic, up-to-date dining and shopping options (always served with a healthy side of Southwestern culture).

Scottsdale is walkable and offers a diverse range of activities, making it perfect for trips with family and friends.

The heart of the city is its downtown area, commonly referred to as Old Town Scottsdale, where you’ll find dining, shopping, arts, historical landmarks, and local culture.

Booking a gorgeous vacation rental with a pool and saving your outdoor adventures for the morning or early evening can help you stay cool and get the most out of your Sonoran Desert expedition.

There’s something for everyone in Scottsdale– whether you’re indoorsy, outdoorsy, or a little bit of both, you’ll be able to craft the perfect vacation for yourself and your loved ones. Here are some 100 Collection-approved suggestions to kickstart your planning process!

1. Shopping and Dining

Fashion Square Mall Scottsdale Arizonaundefined

Throughout Arizona, Scottsdale stands out for its shopping and dining scene.

If you lean towards high-end labels, start at the Fashion Square, which boasts a wide variety of designer stores (including Jimmy Choo, Bottega Venetta, Dior, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Cartier, and more).

For gifts and artisan items with Southwestern flair, browse the 5th Avenue Shops of Scottsdale for Arizona-themed boutiques, art galleries, and perfect local photo ops.

Scottsdale’s cuisine is heavily inspired by its proximity to Sonora, Mexico. Stop by The Mission for legendary table side guac, or swing by Blanco Tacos and Tequila for an elevated twist on taco night.

Your options don’t stop there, though– despite its desert surroundings, Scottsdale has some world-class sushi spots (such as Hiro Sushi, famous for its authentic rolls, soups, and entrees). Or, reserve a table at Dominick’s or Maple & Ash for a perfect steak and intentional wine list.

2. Experience The Sonoran Desert

Desert Botanical Gardens Scottsdale, AZundefined

Scottsdale is beautiful, with plenty of opportunities for desert exploration.

The Desert Botanical Garden is wonderful for learning about Sonoran wildlife. Stroll along a series of well-manicured trails and experience the beauty of majestic saguaros, graceful ocotillo, and an ever-present abundance of prickly pear.

Or, head to the Gateway Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for a morning hike– aim to finish early so you can have lunch inside or relax by the pool during the hottest hours of the day (around noon to 3 pm).

Scottsdale also has the largest aquarium in the Southwest: plan a trip to OdySea to escape the heat and keep the little ones entertained with exciting sea creatures.

3. Explore Scottsdale’s World-Renowned Architecture and Art

Frank Lloyd Wright House Scottsdaleundefined

The former home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Scottsdale is known worldwide for its architecture and art.

To better understand Wright’s imprint on architecture, tour Taliesin West and the iconic Spire.

Every Thursday night, join the Scottsdale ArtWalk, a walking tour of various galleries and exhibitions throughout the city. Both locals and visitors enjoy the ArtWalk, which is often themed and includes refreshments.

For fantastic photo opportunities, check out the installations at the Fashion Square as well as the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Plus, there are a variety of bright, stand-out murals and individual art pieces sprinkled throughout the city so you can document your trip through beautiful images that will pop on your Instagram grid.

4. Discover The Old West With Historical Tours

Old Adobe Mission Scottsdale, AZundefined

If you’re a lover of history, be sure to visit Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.

This museum covers every facet of historical Western life– not just in the US, but also in Mexico and Western Canada. The Museum of the West is conveniently located in Old Town Scottsdale.

Also close by is the Old Adobe Mission– a historic, Spanish Colonial Revival-style church that dates back to 1910.

For a holistic exploration of Scottsdale’s history, take a self-guided Historic Old Town Walking Tour and learn the context behind landmarks, art pieces, and more.

Or, hop on a golf cart and enjoy a guided tour of the city’s historical landmarks.

Scottsdale might not be the first place you think of when you want to plan a warm, sunny getaway, but it probably should be!

It’s got oodles of arts, culture, and great food without the saturation or chaos of other popular vacation destinations.

The 100 Collection is proud to partner with Stay Porter, a curated collection of oasis-like vacation rentals in the Scottsdale area that range from 4 to 7 bedrooms.

Stay Porter is your ideal option for crystal-clear pools, resort-style amenities (such as entertainment rooms, workout rooms, and saunas), and expansive views of lush Sonoran greenery.

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