According to 800zipcodes.com, Scottsdale is located in Arizona and has the motto ‘The west most western town’. Scottsdale is on the west against Phoenix and on the east the city borders the McDowell mountains. Scottsdale exudes a cowboy vibe and is a great base for outdoor activities such as golfing, rafting and kayaking. In Scottsdale you can enjoy a five diamond hotel with all facilities to beautiful small-scale boutique hotels. You can combine your Scottsdale holiday with a Western Experience car tour, Fly Drive Phoenix / Scottsdale, Arizona – New Mexico Camper tour or view our overview of all tours through Western America.
16 Attractions in Scottsdale
Are you crazy about adventure? Or maybe you just want to relax? Maybe family fun is more your style? Or a little bit of everything? From outdoor adventures to quiet moments, old stories to family memories, Arizona and especially Scottsdale is a place that inspires, revitalizes and reinvigorates your sense of wonder. Scottsdale has something to offer for everyone.
1. Camelback mountain, Scottsdale area
Camelback Mountain is only 20 minutes from downtown and is one of the best hikes in Phoenix and the most popular attraction for thousands of visiting hikers each year. Two difficult trails ascend 1,420 feet to a summit that resembles the hump of a camel’s back and offers 360-degree views of the surrounding city. Camelback is part of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve and gets its name from the two rock formations that resemble the head and back of a kneeling camel. It became a city park in 1968 and is located right next to Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood – a great eatery – and the town of Paradise Valley.
2. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art(SMoCA) is located in popular Old Town Scottsdale and features the most fascinating modern and contemporary art, architecture and design from around the world. SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious renovation of a former movie theater), designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, includes a public “skyspace” by acclaimed artist James Turrell (one of only a handful in the world), where visitors can experience the ever-changing light of the desert sky. SMoCA also presents a wide variety of rotating exhibits, educational programs, educator-led tours, and special events for adults and families. Open 12pm-5pm, Tues, Wed, Sun; 12pm – 9pm Thurs, Fri, Sat; Closed on Mondays. Museum is free all day Thursday, and Fri and Sat 5-9pm
3. Papago park near Scottsdale
Looking for great outdoor recreation just minutes from downtown and the airport? Hike around the red butte formations in Papago Park, including the iconic Hole-in-the-Rock Trail; cast a line in seven acres of stocked fishing lagoons; enjoy a round on the Papago golf course; or head to the nearby Phoenix Zoo and Desert Botanical Garden.
Papago Park is home to many different pieces of Phoenix history: it was a tribal reservation, a fish farm during the Great Depression, a POW camp during World War II, and a VA hospital. Today, the park is home to The Phoenix Zoo, Desert Botanical Garden, golf courses, several museums, baseball fields, lakes, and Sonoran Desert plants and animals.
4. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, Scottsdale
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is Scottsdale’s only National Historic Landmark and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It serves as a prime example of Wright’s organic architecture, as the structures are built from the rocks and sands of the Sonoran Desert and merge with the lower McDowell Mountains.
The grounds and buildings were built over a period of about twenty years by Frank Lloyd Wright and his pupils. Set amidst a 491-acre Sonoran Desert Preserve, Taliesin West tours meander through provocative terraces, landscaped gardens and walkways with commanding views of Camelback Mountain and the Valley of the Sun.
Choose the self-guided audio tour if you prefer to walk around the site at your own pace. The tour leads you through the historic core and you even listen to a recording of Frank Lloyd Wright himself.
5. OdySea Aquarium, Scottsdale
Located in Scottsdale, OdySea Aquarium is one of America’s largest aquariums and has won numerous awards since opening in 2016. This state-of-the-art, multi-level facility holds over 2 million gallons of water and provides educational, interactive, and entertaining experiences for guests of all ages. From sharks, sea turtles and penguins to otters and rays, there are more than 370 animal species that call the OdySea Aquarium home. Aquarium highlights include SeaTREK™ underwater ocean walks, a giant submerged escalator descending into the deep ocean, a giant Pacific octopus, the world’s only Russian sturgeon touch exhibit, and OdySea Voyager, the world’s only rotating aquarium experience.
6.Butterfly Wonderland, Scottsdale
Explore the rainforest here in Arizona at Butterfly Wonderland! Featuring the country’s largest butterfly conservatory with thousands of fluttering butterflies, Butterfly Wonderland transports guests of all ages to the rainforest by immersing them in the world of butterflies and other rainforest animals. Live exhibits connect people to nature through a sensory experience that educates, entertains and provides a sanctuary from the outside world. Learn about the monarch’s migration in a captivating 3D movie, observe living chrysalis as they naturally grow into beautiful butterflies, spend plenty of time strolling through the conservatory with the butterflies, get close to unique reptiles that inhabit rainforests around the world, and even enjoy edible insects!
The Gateway Trailhead and a hike on the Gateway Saddle is a great way to experience the Sonoran Desert and the McDowell Mountains east of Scottsdale. It’s about 4.5 miles and reaches up to 650 feet, but overall not that stressful. You get great views of Thompson Peak and the McDowell’s and back to Scottsdale and Phoenix. There is good parking and the facilities are excellent. There are countless routes, but this is one of the easiest and most popular. Wear good shoes and it gets rocky.
8. Hole in the rock
The popular Hole in the Rock in Papago Park is the perfect place to enjoy the view and take unique photos!
Papago Park is right next to the Phoenix Zoo. The park is known for its rock formations and short walking/running trails.
The main attraction, the Hole in the Rock, at the top of the short trail, is a great place to take photos as it is one of the highest points in the area and offers great views of the rest of the park. To get there, just park in the parking lot (if the small parking lot is full, don’t worry. The Phoenix Zoo is right next to the park and you can find a parking space there) Once parked, follow the Hole In The Rock Path around the back of the rock formation. The trail is short, only reaching about 200 feet in elevation, so even kids can do it. Be careful as the path is rocky and it can be easy to trip or twist an ankle.
9. Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West features regularly changing exhibitions of Western art and artifacts, entertaining events, and informative programs that bring the nation’s Western heritage to life. The architecturally stunning 43,000-square-foot, two-story building is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certified, recognizing its best-in-class building strategies and practices. The Smithsonian Affiliate Museum and the 2019 “Best Western Museum” in the nation (True West magazine) opened in January 2015. The museum is located in the arts district of downtown Scottsdale, within walking distance of numerous art galleries and restaurants, and old town scottsdale.
10. Scottsdale Fashion Square
In Scottsdale, where shopping is a great passion for national and international visitors, Scottsdale Fashion Square offers the very best in every category. Top brands ogle at every turn – Apple, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Dillard’s anchor exclusive-to-market retailers such as Prada, Gucci, Bulgari, Salvatore Ferragamo and Cartier. Dining options will please every palate with choices like Nordstrom Café, Kona Grill, and Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill. Entertainment experiences including Harkins Camelview and Wonderspaces which are first to market are guaranteed to spark interest. Shoppers will experience Macerich’s commitment to perfecting luxury at Scottsdale Fashion Square, including new stores, Saint Laurent, Trina Turk, Apple, and retail concepts from Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo, Escada, Bottega Veneta, Omega and Gucci. The new luxury wing, anchored by Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s, also features a new grand entrance, providing a sense of arrival evoked by a striking two-story glass entrance flanked by destination restaurants, including the now-open Ocean 44 and soon-to-be Nobu, Toca Madera, Tocaya Organica, Farm and Zinque.
11. Casino Arizona Scottsdale
Casino Arizona, Scottdale is conveniently located on Loop 101 & McKellips, just minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler and Phoenix. Casino Arizona offers visitors over 100,000 square feet dedicated to gaming, dining and entertainment. Amenities include 900 state-of-the-art slots, nearly 50 blackjack tables, keno, six unique restaurants, including the Cholla Prime Steakhouse & Lounge, Scottsdale’s hidden gem for fine dining. The casino is home to one of the Southwest’s largest collections of contemporary Native American art.
12. Scottsdale Arts District
Scottsdale embraces creativity in all its forms, so it’s no wonder you’ll find an entire neighborhood dedicated to the city’s best art galleries and museums. Located in the heart of Old Town, the pedestrian -friendly Historic Arts District is the perfect place for art lovers to spend a sunny day in Scottsdale.
13.Old town Scottsdale
Downtown Scottsdale – better known as Old Town Scottsdale – offers boutiques of souvenirs, jewelry and art with a Southwestern flair, or upscale shopping in one of the best malls in the country. A density of bars, lounges, restaurants and clubs provide countless dining and entertainment options within easy walking distance of each other. And art lovers can peruse Main Street’s galleries and visit the district’s contemporary and Western museums.
14. Scottsdale’s Mcdowell Sonoran Preserve
This sprawling urban preserve—the largest of its kind in the nation—encompasses more than 30,500 acres and features 225+ miles of scenic shared-use trails in the McDowell Mountain foothills for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. One of the Preserve’s 11 trailheads, The Gateway is a great place to start your explorations. Here you’ll find trails for all skill levels, from the ADA accessible Bajada Nature Trail to the calorie-busting Windgate Pass Trail.
15. Sonoran Desert Adventures
The sunny skies and lush Sonoran Desert provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures like hot air ballooning, horseback riding, off-roading, river rafting and more. And thanks to our professional guides and outfitters, no experience is required to enjoy the best outdoor activities in Scottsdale! Book your Sonoran Desert Hike here!
16. Scottsdale Golf Courses
Scottsdale is known as “The World’s Finest Golf Destination ,” and it’s easy to see why when you consider the city’s array of luxury resorts, 330 days of annual sunshine, and high-end courses like TPC Scottsdale, Troon North, and Grayhawk. Top it all off with great dining and nightlife scenes, thrilling desert adventures, and a boatload of top-notch attractions, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more welcoming place to enjoy the round of your life.
Frequently Asked Questions about Scottsdale
What is Scottsdale known for?
Scottsdale is known as “The World’s Finest Golf Destination,” and it’s easy to see why when you consider the city’s array of luxury resorts, 330 days of annual sunshine, and high-end courses like TPC Scottsdale, Troon North, and Grayhawk.
Why is Scottsdale so popular?
In addition to having the largest number of luxury and destination spas in the country, Scottsdale’s growing number of upscale restaurants and nightclubs, trendy galleries, and upscale shops have made the city a popular vacation destination for the young crowd.
What is the coldest month of the year in Scottsdale ?
In December the average temperature is 13 degrees
What is the warmest month of the year in Scottsdale ?
In the month of July the average temperature is about 34 degrees
Is it safe in Scottsdale?
In general, it is generally safe to visit Scottsdale, Arizona. Crime rates are below average in most US cities, and there are currently no security threats.