What's There To Do in Scottsdale? Travel Guide

Feb 18, 2024

Tags:travelscottsdalearizonaaztravel guide

aerial view of scottsdale what is there to do in scottsdale whats special about scottsdale

Nestled in the heart of Arizona, Scottsdale, also known as the “Beverly Hills of Arizona,” is a vibrant city known for its exquisite landscape, rich history, and bustling cultural scene. This guide will dive into the myriad activities that make Scottsdale a must-visit destination. We'll pay special attention to Arizona Bike Week, a highlight for many visitors and locals alike.

So, What’s There to Do in Scottsdale? Short Answer

In Scottsdale, you can immerse yourself in a mix of natural beauty, cultural richness, and luxury, from exploring the Sonoran Desert and vibrant art scenes to indulging in upscale shopping, dining, and even attending the exhilarating Arizona Bike Week. Attend festivals and events, and truly see what Scottsdale has to offer.

1. Exploring Scottsdale: A Blend of Nature, Culture, and Luxury

The Sonoran Desert

Scottsdale is your gateway to the Sonoran Desert, offering breathtaking landscapes and unique wildlife. Here are a few spots you shouldn't miss:

  • McDowell Sonoran Preserve: With over 30,000 acres of protected land, it's a paradise for hikers, bikers, and nature enthusiasts.
  • Pinnacle Peak Park: Ideal for a family hike with picturesque trails and stunning views.

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Art and History

Scottsdale's rich cultural tapestry is visible through its:

  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA): Exhibiting modern art, design, and architecture.
  • Old Town Scottsdale: A charming area filled with galleries, boutiques, and restaurants, showcasing the city's history and Southwest heritage.

picture of bench in the old town of scottsdale whats there to do in scottsdale travel guide

Spas and Golf

  • World-Class Spas: Unwind in luxury spas known for their rejuvenating treatments.
  • Premier Golf Courses: Home to some of the finest golf courses in the nation, offering spectacular desert golf experiences.

Shopping

  • Scottsdale Fashion Square: Arizona's premier shopping destination, featuring over 200 stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. It's a one-stop shop for luxury brands, trendy finds, and upscale dining options. 
  • Kierland Commons: An open-air lifestyle center with a mix of luxury retailers like Johnny Was, Ann Taylor, and Sundance, alongside popular chains like Lululemon and Tesla. The vibrant atmosphere and scenic setting make it a delightful place to stroll and shop. 
  • The Shops at Gainey Village: Located at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, this collection of boutiques features locally-owned shops, art galleries, and home decor stores, offering a curated selection of unique finds and personalized service. 
  • Old Town Scottsdale: Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Old Town, lined with charming shops selling Native American jewelry, art, souvenirs, and quirky keepsakes. Explore galleries, boutiques, and antique stores for one-of-a-kind treasures. 
  • Fifth Avenue Shops: Discover a curated selection of local boutiques and eateries around Fifth Avenue. Find clothing, jewelry, home goods, and art from talented local artists and designers. 
  • Scottsdale ArtWalk: Held every Thursday evening, this open-air art market features local artists showcasing their paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and photography. It's a delightful way to find unique pieces and support the local art scene. 

2. Arizona Bike Week

What to Expect

Arizona Bike Week, typically held in April, is more than just a motorcycle event; it celebrates biker culture and accommodates events for more than just riders. It’s a festival and celebration of lifestyle. Here’s what it offers:

  • Concerts and Entertainment: Live music featuring renowned bands and artists.
  • Motorcycle Shows and Exhibits: Showcasing the latest models and custom designs.
  • Charity Rides: Participate in rides supporting various causes.
  • Experience the Community
  • Meet Fellow Bikers: It's a perfect place to connect with motorcycle enthusiasts.
  • Vendor Exhibitions: Explore a wide range of motorcycle gear and accessories.
  • Bull Riding: a new event for 2024. 

Learn more about Arizona Bike Week HERE.

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3. Culinary Delights and Nightlife

Scottsdale's culinary landscape is as diverse as it is innovative. Don't miss out on:

  • Southwestern Cuisine: Experience authentic dishes that blend native and Spanish influences.
  • Fine Dining: Award-winning restaurants offering a fusion of global cuisines.
  • Vibrant Nightlife
  • From upscale lounges to lively bars, Scottsdale's nightlife is all about variety.

Top Recommendations for Restaurants & Nightlife

  • Atlas Bistro: A cozy Scottsdale spot offering a unique and sophisticated dining experience with an emphasis on local and organic ingredients.
  • Craft 64: Known for its artisan wood-fired pizzas and extensive selection of locally brewed craft beers in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
  • Andrelio’s Italian Grocer: A charming Italian grocer and eatery serving authentic, homemade Italian dishes and specialty groceries.
  • AZ/88: A sleek and stylish bar famous for its creative cocktails and modern, artistic ambiance.
  • The Beverly on Main: An upscale, vintage-inspired lounge in Scottsdale, providing a classy and intimate setting for cocktails and conversation.

4. Outdoor Adventures

  • Hot Air Balloon Rides: Witness the desert's beauty from above.
  • Off-Road Tours: Explore the rugged terrain in an ATV or a Jeep.

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5. Festivals and Events

  • Celebration of Fine Art: This juried art show, held from January 13th to March 24th, 2024, showcases over 100 artists at Civic Center Mall.
  • Scottsdale International Film Festival: Taking place in April, this festival screens independent, documentary, and foreign films, offering a platform for emerging filmmakers and engaging the audience with diverse cinematic experiences.
  • A Taste of AZ Food and Drink Festival: This festival gathers local restaurants and purveyors, offering delectable bites and refreshing drinks, alongside live music and entertainment.
  • Scottsdale Culinary Festival: Held in November, this premier culinary event features renowned chefs, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and exclusive dinners, making it a paradise for gourmands.
  • Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction: This world-renowned auction, held from January 20th to 28th, 2024, showcases and sells stunning classic and collector cars, attracting automobile enthusiasts from around the globe.
  • WM Phoenix Open: Dubbed "The Greatest Show on Grass," this PGA Tour event takes place in February, offering electrifying golf action, a lively stadium atmosphere, and parties galore.

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Scottsdale- The “Beverly Hills” of Arizona

Scottsdale, often called the "Beverly Hills of Arizona," epitomizes luxury and sophistication within the Arizona landscape. This chic designation is a testament to Scottsdale's upscale lifestyle, where opulent homes, high-end shopping experiences, and gourmet dining are the norms. The city's polished streets, dotted with designer boutiques, art galleries, and some of the state's most prestigious real estate, mirror the elegance and affluence found in Beverly Hills. From the meticulously manicured lawns of its residential areas to the plush resorts and spas, Scottsdale exudes a sense of exclusivity and glamour. It's a haven for those seeking a high-quality living experience, merging the allure of a desert oasis with the refinement of a metropolitan haven. This unique blend of desert charm and urban sophistication makes Scottsdale not just an affluent suburb of Phoenix but a standout destination in its own right, attracting visitors and residents who appreciate the finer things in life.

Additional Information

Safe travels and enjoy the diverse offerings of Scottsdale, Arizona!

Explore Scottsdale by Motorcycle - Scottsdale Motorcycle Rentals with Riders Share

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Conclusion

Scottsdale, Arizona, is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you're drawn to its natural beauty, cultural richness, luxury experiences, or the exhilarating Arizona Bike Week, this city promises an unforgettable experience. So, pack your bags and set off on an adventure to explore the many wonders of Scottsdale!