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Top Things To Do In Scottsdale

Known as “The West’s Most Western Town,” Scottsdale is one of the crown jewels of the Grand Canyon State. Golf, shopping, and a thriving nightlife define the city as one of premier leisure. Its location proximity to the Greater Phoenix area allows Scottsdale residents the chance to travel to neighboring cities with ease. Not only does Scottsdale blend wild west themes with a high-class atmosphere, it’s also home to some of the best golf courses in the country. Explore relaxing spas, nearby nightlife, and more.

One of the best places to start your trip to Arizona is in Old Town Scottsdale. That’s where the city was originally founded, and it maintains classic cowboy saloons alongside modern restaurants. The rest of Scottsdale expanded to be a thriving business center and a place of residential bliss. This creates a balanced ecosystem fit for tourists looking to explore and weekenders looking to party.

The best things to do near Scottsdale include:

  • A hike on nearby Camelback Mountain
  • Shopping and eating at Kierland Commons
  • A night out at the clubs in Old Town
  • Attending an event at WestWorld
  • A round at the famous TPC Scottsdale golf course

Every Thursday night, the city holds an ArtWalk in the Scottsdale Arts District near Old Town. Visitors can stop by gallerias, restaurants, and exhibits to examine local art. Take part in the festivities by hopping on a free trolley ride around the ‘hood.

Here’s some more cheap things to do near Scottsdale:

  • The Scottsdale Trolley, with routes all throughout the city, is free every day
  • The Fiesta Bowl Museum near Scottsdale Fashion Square
  • Tom’s Thumb Trailhead, a notable and ‘gram worthy destination
  • Chaparral Dog Park off of McDonald Road, a pet lover’s dream
  • The Scottsdale Public Library hosts a number of free events for all ages

Frank Lloyd Wright, the notable American architect, designed several buildings around Scottsdale. Tour his Taliesin House, the ASU Gammage Theater, and the Piper Cherry House while you’re in town to experience the wonder of his mid-century modern works.

Other popular attractions near Scottsdale include:

  • The Western Spirit: Scottsdale Museum of the West, filled with regionally inspired art
  • The boutique shops in the Scottsdale Quarter
  • A day of education and fun at Odysea in the Desert
  • A free trip to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
  • An ice cream sundae at the famous Sugar Bowl

One the most fashionable urban centers in Scottsdale is Kierland Commons, an outdoor mall aiming to provide high quality shops, restaurants, and entertainment to visitors. Stop by and shop at one of the well-known retailers or grab lunch at Zinc Bistro or North Italia.

Check out these exciting activities near Scottsdale:

  • Explore the beauty of the desert at the Desert Botanical Garden
  • Take a photo at the popular Robert Indiana LOVE statue near the Scottsdale Civic Mall
  • Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West house offers tours for curious architect lovers
  • Stop in for a seasonally themed lunch at Farm and Craft
  • Shop and dine at the Desert Ridge Marketplace

For a taste of Scottsdale’s nightlife, look no further than Old Town Scottsdale. Bottled Blonde, El Hefe Scottsdale, Bevvy, The District, and Hi-Fi are all within walking distance of each other. Stop in for a late bite to eat at Kazimierz World Wine Bar.

Nighttime activities near Scottsdale include:

  • A night of dancing at Maya Day & Nightclub
  • A flight of beers at Mesquite River Brewing Company
  • The Comedy Spot, the best place to see stand-up
  • Live country music at Dierk Bentley's Whiskey Row
  • Dinner and cocktails at local favorite Olive & Ivy

Scottsdale’s spas, golf courses, casinos, and pools ensure that there’s no shortage of weekend activities. The city also attracts festivals and tournaments to dot your calendar year. For instance, the Waste Management Open is an iconic golf tournament hosted in Scottsdale every February. Dubbed “the Greatest Show on Grass,” the event attracts nearly 500,000 spectators to its 18 holes at the lush TPC Scottsdale Golf Course.

Some of the best Scottsdale weekend activities:

  • Experience the magic of flight at iFly Phoenix Indoor Skydiving
  • Quench your need for speed with go kart racing at Octane Raceway
  • Get your tan on at the Release Pool Parties at Talking Stick Resort
  • Buy local at the Old Town Farmers Market
  • Mimosas and brunch at Morning Squeeze

Scottsdale isn’t all Old West – many Arizonans see Scottsdale as an upscale suburb of the Greater Phoenix area. With so many families calling the city their home, it’s not hard to find tons of things to do with kids in Scottsdale.

Family-friendly things to do include:

  • The hands-on room for kids at the Musical Instrument Museum
  • Petting the penguins at Odysea Aquarium
  • Riding the train at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
  • Learning to pop an ollie at Scottsdale Skate Park
  • Experiencing the country’s first wave pool at Big Surf
  • Meet the animals at the Phoenix Zoo

Sometimes the most sentimental gift is spending time together. Spend a weekend together at the luxurious Fairmont Scottsdale Princess lounging near one of the, dining at the Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar, or relaxing at the award winning spa.

Date night ideas near Scottsdale include:

  • Watching a performance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
  • Traveling Scottsdale Wine Trail to sample local wines
  • Snuggling up for a movie at Roadhouse Cinemas
  • Having a date on horseback at MacDonald’s Ranch
  • Showing off your moves at The Mint

Scottsdale has more group activities to offer than shopping malls and escape rooms. The Musical Instrument Museum is an under-the-radar example — it has a collection of 15,000 instruments and rotating musical performances. The museum offers visitors headphones that automatically explain each exhibit when you walk by. The museum also hosts regular children’s events and workshops for all ages.

Check out some of the best group things to do:

  • The Phoenix Pub Crawl tours
  • Explore the city in a self-guided quest with Big City Hunt
  • The Splatter Ranch Outdoor Field, the number one paintball venue in the Valley
  • Watch a soccer match at Phoenix Rising FC
  • Meet for pizza at Oregano’s

Old Town Scottsdale is home to boutiques with a shanty-town exterior that feature both touristy trinkets and upscale wares (especially artwork). For national retailers, visit Fashion Square Mall for a wide variety of options.

The top things to do indoors in Scottsdale:

  • Unleash your inner artist at the Scottsdale Artists’ School
  • Visit the Cosanti Gallery to view a one-of-a-kind work space
  • Play with the butterflies at Butterfly Wonderland
  • The Sanctuary Resort Spa, located right on the side of picturesque Camelback Mountain

Tee off at some of the most popular golf courses in the city, including McCormick Ranch Golf Club, Troon North, TPC Scottsdale, Kierland Golf Club, and Top Golf.

Scottsdale is full of things to do outdoors:

  • Bring your pets for a walk along the Arizona Canal
  • Practice your swing at the Scottsdale Batting Cages
  • Hike up to the Hole in the Rock in Papago Park
  • The Desert Botanical Gardens’ concerts and events
  • The McDowell Sonoran Preserve, home to breathtaking desert landscape

Scottsdale is home to some of the greenest parks in the state, even with its desert reputation. Spend the day near one of the many pond-filled spaces throughout town, like Vista Del Camino Park, Eldorado Park, and Scottsdale Ranch Park. Once done, stop by one of Scottsdale’s nearby restaurants, bars, or shops.

Some of the must-see places near Scottsdale:

  • Guido’s Chicago Meat and Deli for homemade Italian sausage
  • Organ Pizza Stop and its Mighty Wurlitzer Pipe Organ
  • McDowell Mountain Ranch Aquatic & Fitness Center
  • Carlsbad Tavern, a delicious and bat-filled restaurant
  • Chaparral Park, a desert oasis with a 100-acre pond