Things to do in Scottsdale
Scottsdale was famous as a vacation spot long before it became a city. Not many years ago, it was a crossroads where cowboys rode in on Saturday nights along the unpaved trails to celebrate the end of the week. Now it is considered the shopping and art center of the Valley of the Sun.
Geographically, Scottsdale covers about 185 square miles. It has some of the country’s most exclusive and expensive resorts within its boundaries, but there are also middle class neighborhoods. At the Little Red Schoolhouse visitors begin a self-guided walking tour to fourteen destinations. The site of the first general store; Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, which is home to the Scottsdale Symphony; and a vintage blacksmith who still keeps local horses shod in the present day, are points of interest. Olive trees planted by town founder General Winfield Scott; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art; the tastefully rendered Fashion Square mega mall; and The Borgata are among other places featured on the tour.
Many Scottsdale events center upon its three cultures: Native American, Spanish, and western pioneer. More than 90 art galleries offer paintings, sculpture, and crafts.
Scottsdale has a thriving downtown, outstanding art galleries, and many restaurants that offer the finest cuisine from the cultural traditions represented.
Indian Bend Wash has been developed into the city’s most popular park and accompanying lake. The park runs the length of Scottsdale along Hayden Boulevard. Roller skating, fishing, soccer, volleyball, baseball and jogging are among the activities provided there year round.
There are also equestrian activities of all types – everything from English and Western performances to roping, jumping, and halter events, as well as those that feature the Arabian, the Quarter Horse, and the world’s longest horse-drawn parade.
Attractions in Scottsdale
Cosanti Foundation-Paolo Soleri Windbells
6433 Doubletree Ranch Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253-1826
Toll Free: 800-752-3187
An Arizona Historic Site. A unique complex of concrete structures designed and constructed by Paolo Soleri. Visitors may browse the studios where the Soleri Windbells are made and sold.
IMAX Theatre Scottsdale
4343 N. Scottsdale Road, #2501
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Images come alive on a screen over six stories high. You feel like you’re in the movie.
Rancho Verde – Big Birds of Arizona
15419 E. Rio Verde Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
An operating western ranch specializing in the livestock of the future – Ostrich, Emu and Rhea. Beautiful Sonoran desert setting. Handson guided tours, cookout facilities, haywagon.
CrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Park
15455 N. Greenway Hayden Loop, C15
Scottsdale, AZ 85260-1609
Wholesome family entertainment! Miniature golf, golf driving range and golf school, go karts, bumper boats, volleyball, batting cages, arcade, restaurant, meeting rooms. Parties and groups up to 1500.
Fiddlesticks Family Fun Park
8800 E. Indian Bend Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250-3422
Laser tag, two 18-hole mini-golf courses, gokarts, bumper boats, batting cages, video arcade. Customized corporate events. Group rates.
McCormick Railroad Park
7301 E. Indian Bend Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
(602) 994-2312/Fax: (602) 994-7001
Rawhide 1880s Western Town
23023 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85255-4101
Arizona’s largest western theme attraction. Old West town with gunfights, stagecoach, train and burro rides, petting ranch, museum, gold panning, shootin’ gallery, shops, cookouts, saloon, world famous Steakhouse and more!
Buffalo Museum of America
10261 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85253-1424
Focused on the American Buffalo, these unique collections combine fun, history, art, collectibles, and more to interest all ages. Gift Shop. Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm. Admission charge.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West
114th Street and Cactus Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85261-4430
The winter home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright: Taliesin West: “set with immense care in a scene of almost overpowering beauty.” one to three hour tours and desert walks.
Scottsdale Historical Museum
7333 E. Scottsdale Mall
Scottsdale, AZ 85252-0143
Scottsdale Historical Museum, in the 1910 Little Red Schoolhouse, chronicles the city’s history with photographs, artifacts, and changing displays. Monthly (first Sunday) programs. Group tours, speakers available.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
7380 East 2nd Street
Tues.-Sat. 10-5; Sunday noon-5.
Features work by contemporary artists from Arizona and around the world. Displays focusing on modern architecture and design are also available.
The Fifth Avenue arts district from Scottsdale Road to Goldwater Boulevard combines the ambience of old Scottsdale with some of Arizona’s best restaurants, unique shops, salons, contemporary art, and nightlife. Over 35 eating establishments and 80 specialty shops are within a five minute walk of our famous Bob Park’s Horse Fountain, one of Arizona’s most photographed spots. Visit 5th Avenue for a daytime shopping and dining experience, an afternoon being pampered in our salons, or an exciting evening at the nightspots along our story-book street.
Biltmore Fashion Park
Biltmore Fashion Park offers more than 60 stores and restaurants, combining national retail brands and specialty boutique shops in a lush, open-air garden setting. Macy’s and the newly updated Saks Fifth Avenue, which houses five boutique shops including Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, anchor the center. Enjoy strolling outdoors while shopping and dining at Escada, Ralph Lauren, Stuart Weitzman, CALYPSO Christiane Celle, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Cole Haan, Coach, roberto botticelli, Hyde Park and The Capital Grille.
Desert Ridge Marketplace
This beautiful lifestyle and entertainment experience offers great shopping, live music, 30 eateries, an 18 screen luxury cinema, rock climbing wall and more. Convenient access from Loop 101.
Kierland Commons is an upscale center that artfully blends shopping, dining and entertainment. This development incorporates more than 70 high-end stores such as Crate & Barrel, Coach, Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Café and Emporium and BCBG Max Azria, alongside favorite local concepts such as Blossoms/bbz, 42 Saint and Harari. Guests may also choose from a variety of the Valley’s best restaurants, from regional cuisine to Continental. Enjoy great sounds all summer long at the Summer Concert Series in June and July. Celebrate the holiday season at Miracle on Main Street, Saturdays in November and December. Please visit the Concierge Desk for a complimentary Shopping & Dining Visitor Rewards book and a visitor’s guide.
Promenade Shopping Center
The Promenade, located at one of Scottsdale’s most prominent intersections, Scottsdale Road and Frank Lloyd Wright, has emerged as one of the Valley’s most important destination shopping and commerce centers. It combines a unique mix of large box retailers, specialty boutiques, restaurants, and Class A office. Incorporating a total of one million square feet, the Promenade introduced several national brands to the Arizona marketplace, including the state’s first Great Indoors, Fox Sports Grill, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Benihana, and Nordstrom Rack. The project – deemed by some as the “Gateway to Scottsdale” also houses a 125-foot spire designed by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center
Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center, located at Loop 101 & Indian Bend Road, is a 1.1 million-square-foot power center with open-air shopping, dining and entertainment. The center is a one-stop destination with a variety of local and national favorites including Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Circuit City, PETCO, Shepler’s Western Wear, Sports Authority, United Artists, Pavilion Lakes Golf Course, Starbucks, and 5 & Diner. Rediscover Scottsdale Pavilions and be on the lookout for some exciting changes as the center undergoes its redevelopment into a true community destination. Please visit the Scottsdale Pavilions Shopping Center Web site for the complete merchant listing and check back frequently for updates on the upcoming series of signature events.
The Shops at Gainey Village
Offering a series of linked outdoor plazas and buildings reflecting an upscale rustic “village” atmosphere. Reminiscent of the historic roots of the original Gainey Ranch, the plazas also feature inviting pedestrian paving patterns with abundant landscape. The Village combines a distinctive blend of upscale shops, boutiques, trendy eateries and fine dining establishments. Residents and tourists will find everything they need and all that they want at The Shops at Gainey Village. Enjoy life’s pleasures.
The Scottsdale Waterfront is a 1.1 million-square-foot project located in downtown Scottsdale and includes retail, office, and high-rise residential buildings. Retailers in the $60 million commercial space include Borders, P.F. Chang’s, Urban Outfitters, Sur la Table, Wildfish, Isaac Jewelers, Estilo, Moody Blues, High Point, Sauce, Pink Taco, Optika of Arizona, Olive & Ivy, Sabrina Sky and Glass Slipper. The development is also home to the Fiesta Bowl headquarters and museum. In addition to the surrounding paths and landscaping, a pedestrian-only bridge across the canal links the Waterfront to Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale’s Fifth Avenue shopping district and the South Canal Bank Project.
Dining in Scottsdale
Breakfast served 6:30a.m. – 11:00a.m., lunch from 11:00a.m. – 4:00p.m. and dinner from 5:00p.m. until 9:00p.m. Sun – Thu. until 10:00p.m. Fri & Sat. Dinner only served in Fairway Terrace Lounge on Sun – Wed. Chefs Table on Wed at 6:00p.m. – reservations required. Serving Champagne Brunch on major holidays 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Price Range: entrees $15-$20, a la carte and sides $3 – $5; brunch $33.00. Chefs Table $55/person. Live entertainment Friday and Saturday.
Ahnala Mesquite Room
Ahnala Mesquite Room is the resort’s main restaurant, serving 3 meals a day, presenting local Native American, Southwestern and mesquite-grilled cuisine, showcasing citrus, pecans, herbs and mesquite grown locally at the Fort McDowell Yavapai Farm.
Alchemy at CopperWynd
Alchemy at CopperWynd, a AAA Four Diamond, Condé Nast Gold award winner, is CopperWynd’s magical culinary experience, providing the Valley with an intimate dining adventure not only in architectural design and name but in the culinary experience as well. Alchemy features New American Cuisine and offers specialty appetizers, unusual entrees, amazing drinks and a whimsical, fun atmosphere. Breathtaking views are a signature of Alchemy, with floor to ceiling glass panels that slide open any time of day or night, revealing the wonderful sites of the Valley and lights below as well as the pristine Sonoran desert and mountain vistas.
Alto ristorante e bar
Cross over the bridge and through a courtyard to find the vibrant, convivial setting of Alto ristorante e bar. This comfortable Italian restaurant offers fresh and flavorful dishes with an emphasis on “the season.” Alto features its unique Formaggio & Salumi Cellar, a collection of Italy’s best artisanal cheeses and meats. An extensive selection of wines from around the world, with an emphasis on Italy, is cradled on two wine walls. Dinner is served both indoors and alfresco nestled around terrace fire pits, creating a very inviting atmosphere. Your evening is complete with a gondola ride along the resort’s waterways.
Asada Desert Grille
Asada – A Sonoran Grill, a defining element of the renovation and of the new Xona Resort Suites experience, offers visitors and locals an authentic taste of the southwest. Asada’s tempting cuisine is a fusion of the diverse flavors of the region with the classic outdoor grilling and barbequing flavors of the American heartland. The new concept restaurant focuses primarily on grilled fresh seafood, steaks and chops, all prepared using the freshest seasonal ingredients available. The casual elegance of Asada’s décor captures Arizona’s haunting earth tones with a rich color pallet of chocolate browns, deep ochre and creams, with accents of kiwi and avocado green, all complemented by dark wood tables and woven chairs. Asada’s Sonoran desert ambiance is amplified by its al fresco patio, while intimate seating groupings offer a warm and comfortable environment. A beautifully decorated private dining room is available to accommodate larger parties.
Asia de Cuba
Overseen by renowned international restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, Asia de Cuba combines elements of Asian and Cuban cuisine served sharing-style in a high energy, sophisticated, yet relaxed environment. Asia de Cuba serves an innovative menu in its sleek-designed surroundings. Asia de Cuba also offers exquisite event space for up to 150 guests inside and 150 outside on the outdoor patio for seated banquet style dinners, and up to 500 guests for passed hors d’oeuvres. The private dining room space features a floor to ceiling sliding glass door opening onto the patio area with a fireplace and overlooking the plush gardens of the Scottsdale Civic Center. Seating up to 65 guests inside and 55 outside on the private terrace, this private area is ideal for social gatherings.
Bada Boom Pasta Room
This talked-about spot in Old Town boasts fine Italian cuisine in a casual setting. Bada Boom specializes in pastas, pizzas, salads, and appetizers. Relax inside while enjoying one of our private labeled wines, or dine on our romantic patio that creates a streets-of-Italy-like atmosphere. We’re a perfect place for a date, private party or just a glass of vino. Bon appetit!
Blanco Tacos + Tequila
Blanco Tacos + Tequila offers modern Mexican fare in a casual-chic setting. Updated classics like tacos, enchiladas, and queso crisps are reinterpreted with fresh, flavorful, and unique ingredients. The clean, minimalist, modern dining room offers a striking wood relief paneled wall, weathered wood floors, dark wood table tops, sleek and comfortable deep sky blue banquette seating and stark white walls. The bar offers a fine selection of wine, beer and nearly 30 premium tequilas. Signature drinks made with fresh seasonal fruits include house made white and red sangrias, a wide variety of traditional and unique margaritas and refreshing signature cocktails.
BLT Steak & Bar
Chef Laurent Tourondel is acclaimed as a “Best New Chef” by Food & Wine Magazine and honored with an array of accolades from Esquire, Travel + Leisure, Saveur and Bon Appetit Restaurateur of the Year. French-trained, Tourondel’s signature style is an accessible menu that features superior ingredients and precise techniques, presented in a casual and comfortable setting.
Getting Around Scottsdale
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
3400 Sky Harbor Blvd.
Phoenix AZ 85034
Located less than 30 minutes from Scottsdale, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is located in the heart of the southwest United States. There are hundreds of nonstop and connecting flights from points around the globe each day. The airport is served by many of the national and international airlines as well as certain regional carriers.
15000 N. Airport Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85260
An ideal choice for leisure and business travelers, located in close proximity to world class resorts, hotels, restaurants, golf courses, and corporate centers, with an average of 360 VFR days yearly.
Most of the major car rental companies, as well as taxi and limousine service is available at the Phoenix Airport. Limited services available at the Scottsdale Airport.
Located just outside of Phoenix, Arizona on the Pima Freeway. The city is accessible via Interstate 10 from the west (Los Angeles) and southeast (Tucson) and Interstate 17 from the north (Flagstaff)
Amtrak does not service Scottsdale directly. Service is available from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport.
3400 East Sky Harbor Blvd.
G.A.I.T. desk in each terminal
Phoenix, AZ 85034
This is a stop for Amtrak Thruway connecting bus service.
Scottsdale in not served by Greyhound. The nearest location is in Phoenix.
2115 E Buckeye Rd.
Phoenix AZ 85034
How to Get Around:
The easiest and most convenient way to get around is by either personal or rental car. Other services are available.
Scottsdale Trolley, a free downtown shuttle for tourists and shoppers, operates every 10 minutes, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 11am to 6pm., Thursday to 9pm.
4400 N. Scottsdale Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Luci’s Joyrides provides alternative cruising options in Old Town Scottsdale, featuring Tomos Mopeds, Bajaj and Vespa Scooters, and for some real fun, the ‘OZBIKE.’ Rentals are on an hourly or daily basis, with a discounted rate from Tuesday through Thursday.