Things To Do - 33 min read

45 BEST Things To Do in Scottsdale, Arizona (Fun and Unique!)

Kaylee Giacomini

Kaylee Giacomini, Updated October 4, 2022

Disclosure: Town & Tourist may receive a commission for purchases made through links in this article, at no additional cost to you.

Caption: agathe, Flickr

Scottdale is a bustling metropolitan area nestled in the suburbs of Phoenix. Vibrant arts, culture, entertainment, dining, and nightlife can be found across the gorgeous Old Town.

The city is highly influenced by American Indian and Latinx cultural touches, such as an old adobe mission and authentic Tex Mex cuisine. It also pays homage to its historic roots in the wild West. The city is close to exciting western destinations such as the Sonoran Desert and Sedona

Scottsdale has plenty of quintessential experiences that all visitors must do. From visiting one of the largest aquariums in the Southwest to eating authentic cuisine in historic cottages, there are endless things to do. The art scene of Scottsdale is also phenomenal. This city is home to one of the top five arts markets in the country.

Each district in Scottsdale’s Old Town and beyond offers something unique. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, but it should give readers the foundation necessary to have an excellent time in this part of Arizona. 

Contents

45 Top Attractions in Scottsdale

Museums, Exhibits, & Zoos

1. Scottsdale Selfie

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Scottsdale Selfie Museum and Photography Studio | Phone: +14803595474 | Scottsdale Selfie Museum and Photography Studio Website

Scottsdale Selfie is a BYO photography studio dedicated to providing individuals with instagrammable photo ops. Bring a camera and some friends and be ready to capture the moment. 

This studio promotes itself as the perfect date night, bachelorette party destination, or evening with friends. It is not a traditional museum or an exhibit, but an “experium.” The museum’s creator coined the term meaning an “experience museum.”

The interactive and immersive studio design allows people plenty of room to take pictures and use the props provided. Toss confetti, utilize a ring light, and enjoy the indoor and outdoor photo spaces. 

You can come on your own time or rent the space for a private event. No matter how you visit, you’ll leave with a bank of photography content and plenty of memories. 

2. Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

📍Map It: Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West | Phone: +14806869539 | Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West Website

Western Spirit is one of the top-rated attractions in Scottsdale. This museum features ongoing and rotating exhibits that pay homage to life in the Western United States. 

Last year, Western Spirit was named the “Best Western Museum of 2021” by True West Magazine. It won this accolade for its honest depiction of the pioneer days and Western culture. 

Experience this award-winning museum for yourself. View Western and American Indian artwork, rare artifacts, and portrayals of history. 

Exhibits change throughout the year. One of the exhibits features old west cowboy gear with clothing that the original cowboys wore in the 19th and 20th centuries. Another ongoing exhibit features American Indian Buffalo robes. 

The museum is in a gorgeous, contemporary building that adds to the appeal. Get tickets and go by yourself or with a group. They offer docent-led tours for the full experience. 

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Scottsdale

3. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art | Phone: +14808744666 | The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Website

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art showcases a collection of fine arts. The building is a converted movie theater in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. 

The on-site artwork features two-dimensional pieces, architecture, and other modern and contemporary art forms. The collection highlights creators from around the globe as well as local artists. 

The minimalist architecture of the building is the perfect place to showcase the artwork. The subtle design does not take away from the masterpieces around every corner. Spending a few hours wandering the corridors and checking out the masterful pieces is easy. 

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is open year-round from noon to 5 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday, and from noon to 9 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Mondays. 

4. The Scottsdale Rodeo Museum

📍Map It: The Scottsdale Rodeo Museum | Phone: +16026166901 | The Scottsdale Rodeo Museum Website

The Scottsdale Rodeo Museum is the perfect place for all equestrian and bull enthusiasts. Although bullfighting has become a thing of the past in the United States, rodeos are still incredibly popular. Especially in the Western United States where cowboy culture prevails. 

The museum showcases a range of vintage items dating back to as early as 1953. There are saddles, bull ropes, and gear worn by famous cowboys. One of the most prominent exhibits on display includes equipment from Jake Barns. 

There is also artwork on display in the museum. See some original Padre Del Sol posters and works dating back to the 1950s depicting ranch life. 

The museum is open from December through May in Scottsdale. Visitors may come from 10 am until 4 pm Tuesday through Saturday. 

Related Read: 15 BEST Restaurants In Scottsdale, AZ

5. The OdySea Aquarium

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: The OdySea Aquarium | Phone: +14802918000 | The OdySea Aquarium Website

The OdySea Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the United States. For a landlocked state, there are few better places in America to learn about the ocean than Arizona. 

The aquarium is home to over 6,000 sea creatures from turtles to sharks. They live in state-of-the-art aquariums tailored to each individual species. 

There is plenty that makes this aquarium stand out. One of the most exciting features is an escalator that walks guests through the layers of the ocean into the deep sea. Some other exhibits include one where people are encouraged to touch a Russian Sturgeon, a Giant Pacific Octopus viewing chamber, and one of the largest collections of sharks in the country. 

Purchase tickets to the museum ahead of time at their website and spend a day wandering the building. 

6. Tour the Scottsdale Art Galleries

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: The Marshall Gallery | Phone: +14809703111 | The Marshall Gallery Website

The Main Street Galleries of Scottsdale are one of the city’s points of pride. The Scottsdale Galleries feature artwork from over 1,000 artists. Whether you are there intending to purchase or casually peruse, viewing the galleries is an enjoyable experience. 

The collection of over 40 galleries in downtown Scottsdale is one of the Southwest’s largest concentrations of artwork. The gallery scene in Scottsdale has been ever-growing since 1965. It is among the top five places to purchase artwork in the United States. 

If you want to see a lot of galleries with a community of people, go on the Scottsdale ArtWalk. The ArtWalk takes place every Thursday from 7 – 9 pm. ArtWalks are a casual atmosphere with no pressure to purchase work. Simply stroll and enjoy the expansive collection. 

Watch artists paint live, listen to bands play mellow tunes, and experience the community coming alive after dark every Thursday night. ArtWalk is one of the best local activities in Scottsdale. 

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: The Marshall Gallery | Phone: +14809703111 | The Marshall Gallery Website

The Marshall Gallery is perhaps the best of the Scottsdale art galleries. This gallery features a collection of oil paintings and sculptures by various artists. Since its founding in 1998, the curator has created a fine collection welcome to the public. 

DeeAnn Gillespie founded the museum under the belief that “true beauty has power.” Much of the artwork in the gallery was curated from Utah, and the collection is continually growing. It is an excellent place to view – and even buy – contemporary artwork. 

The gallery is open every day but Sunday. Visitors are welcome from 10 am to 5:30 daily. 

Related Read: 15 BEST Brunch Spots in Scottsdale, AZ 

8. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

Credit: Trip.com

📍Map It: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West | Phone: +14808602700 | Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West Website

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is an intriguing landmark in Scottsdale. In fact, it is the city’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site. This historic landmark features Wright’s infamous architectural design, a gift shop, and a tour. 

Located in the Sonoran Desert, Taliesin West is the culmination of over 20 years of work by Lloyd Wright and his team of apprentice architects and designers. 

You may take a guided tour with a docent or an audio tour. Both versions last about 60 minutes and walk you through the surreal building and surrounding grounds. 

Guests are welcome to take a piece of Wright-certified artwork home with them from the gift shop. Plenty of unique finds here pay homage to the artist’s fantastic repertoire of work.

Nature & Wildlife

9. The Butterfly Wonderland

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Butterfly Wonderland | Phone: +14808003000 | Butterfly Wonderland Website

Butterfly Wonderland is a rainforest sanctuary in the arid, desert climate. 

Visit the Butterfly Wonderland of Scottsdale for a general sense of serenity and to see gorgeous butterflies. It is the largest butterfly conservatory in the country and is home to thousands of the beloved insects. 

Butterfly Wonderland has more than butterflies. Other rainforest dwellers live among the insects in the controlled climate. 

Walk around the conservatory and learn about butterflies. Plenty of educational presentations take place daily. Live exhibits on butterflies provide a sensory experience for guests to get into their world. There is even a 3D film on the migration of the rare Monarch Butterfly. 

Beyond the butterflies and other rainforest animals, the conservatory has a unique gift shop. One of the items for sale features edible bugs for visitors to try out. 

10. The Bearizona Wildlife Park

Credit: Art of It

📍Map It: Bearizona Wildlife Park | Phone: +19286352289 | Bearizona Wildlife Park Website

Bearizona is a wildlife conservation park with far more to see than bears. This drive-thru park features wolfs, badgers, bears, and even jaguars, to name a few. 

The animals at Bearizona live in a safe, controlled climate. Visitors may drive through the park to experience the wildlife up close. The park encompasses 160 acres of land and provides natural habitats for all animal species. 

If you don’t want to drive yourself, visitors have the option of taking an Animal Encounters Tour. Animal Encounters is an hour-long excursion that allows visitors to get up close with some of their favorite creatures. See a grizzly bear, feed otters, or even watch an animal training show. 

Guests can always walk through parts of the park safely. Fort Bearizona is separate from the driving area and has animals behind cages for the safety of pedestrians. 

Related Read: 15 Best Hiking Trails in Phoenix, AZ

11. The MacDonald’s Ranch

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: MacDonald’s Ranch | Phone: +14805850239 | MacDonald’s Ranch Website

MacDonald’s ranch is a nature preserve sitting on 1,280 acres of the Sonoran Desert. The live ranch is a popular destination for horseback riding and other Western excursions. 

Guests can partake in a range of activities whether they come by themselves or in a small group. Cookouts, parties, and events are welcome on the property. There are also hayrides and stagecoach rides if horseback riding isn’t for you. 

MacDonald’s ranch has expert staff to help maintain a safe and enjoyable outdoor experience. Beyond being an active ranch, MacDonald’s is a kid-friendly paradise. There is a petting zoo, a playground, and even old west games to play. 

12. The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park | Phone: +14803122312 | McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park Website

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park offers family fun right outside of Scottsdale. The park features a picnic area, concessions, rides, and games. There is also a fully functional miniature railroad to ride, which is how the park got its name. 

On the park grounds, there is a vintage, 1950s-era carousel that is still operational. It is one of the oldest functioning carousels in Arizona. 

There is also a railroad museum to learn all about the rail system of the Southwest. The nearby tracks cut through the desert and provide one of the most scenic routes in the country. 

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is an excellent place to take train enthusiasts and anyone looking for good, old-fashioned fun. 

13. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center | Phone: +14804719109 | The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Website

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is a nonprofit organization that protects and rehabilitates Arizona’s mammals. If you can find a creature in Arizona, the chance that its species has passed through the conservation center is high. 

To visit the conservation center, guests must schedule a tour in advance. It is only open to the public with reservations as it is a working sanctuary. 

If you take their famous Walk With Wildlife tour, you will have the chance to see their conservation efforts up close. The two-hour guided tour narrates the experience of helping these animals and their approach to wildlife aid. 

The Wildlife Conservation Center is open for group events and school field trips. Book in advance and learn about the wonders of your own backyard’s fauna. 

14. The Tonto National Forest

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Tonto National Forest | Experience Scottsdale

Tonto is a National Forest near Scottsdale that encompasses almost 3 million acres of land from forested areas to the desert. The land of the Tonto National Forest is rugged and somewhat uncharted. There are stunning trails and pathways through the trees and by way of the river. 

One of the most popular things to do in the Tonto National Forest, besides hiking, is kayaking. There is no better way to see the preserve’s varied topography than by boat. Venture down the river to see old rail lines, pine forest, and jagged cliff sides

Tonto National Forest is one of the best recreation areas to explore year-round. The weather in Arizona often stays warm and sunny throughout the day. If you are camping, be wary that nighttime temperatures can get freezing quickly. 

15. Civic Center Park

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Civic Center Park | Experience Scottsdale 

Civic Center Park is a peaceful retreat in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. The park encompasses acres of lush greenery, well-maintained lawns, and sculptures. 

Beyond being one of the city’s green areas, it is home to the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (item 3 on this list). It also holds the Scottsdale Performing Arts Center (item 20 on this list). 

Although the park is currently closed for expansion, when it reopens in early 2023, it will be even larger and grander than before. The updated Civic Center Park will include a shady pedestrian promenade, a botanical garden, and more shopping and restaurants. 

The renovations will be well worth the nearly 2-year long wait. There will even be a wedding reception area for couples who wish to marry in the heart of Scottsdale. 

Arts, Entertainment, & Nightlife

16. Ride an Arizona Party Bike

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Arizona Party Bike | Phone: +18446545544 | Arizona Party Bike Website

Party Bikes are a fast-growing phenomenon across the country. From Nashville to Scottsdale, the trendy, booze-fueled activity is becoming popular. 

Grab some friends and mount the Arizona Party Bike. These bikes typically seat between 6-12 individuals. A city guide steers the way as passengers pedal and drink their way through the streets of Scottsdale. 

Go on a pub crawl or stay on the bike for the duration of the experience. Either way, you are sure to have the time of your life. 

The Party Bike is available by day and night. It is popular for teambuilding, bachelorette parties, birthdays, and plenty more. Rent out the entire bike or take a friend or two. 

17. Party in Historic Old Town Scottsdale

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Town Scottsdale | Experience Scottsdale

Old Town is one of the best places to party in Scottsdale. On top of being an excellent area for nightlife, it is also gorgeous and one of the most walkable places in Arizona. 

There are plenty of exciting bars and nightclubs in Old Town. The best place to go for the largest concentration of clubs is the Old Town Entertainment District (item 41 on this list). There is no shortage of places here to drink and dance. If (and when) you need a bite to eat, there are excellent restaurants here too.

The most quintessential Scottsdale bar is the Rusty Spur Saloon. If you are looking for a gritty, down-to-earth Western bar, you’ll find it here. The Rusty Spur is a beloved installment in Scottsdale that often has live music and dancing. They have been open for over 70 years. 

This old-fashioned establishment is the perfect place for inexpensive drinks and a great time. Country music plays here, and you are sure to see at least one patron wearing boots and a cowboy hat. 

18. Attend Havana Nights Movie Night at the Scott

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: The Scott | Phone: +18005287867 | The Scott Website

Every Friday, the Scott hosts weekly movies. A range of classics are displayed on the big screen in this comfortable, laid-back setting. 

The Scott doesn’t play blockbuster hits of today. Instead, they project films from Hollywood’s gilded age of the early 20th century. 

Seats are limited, so come early to view the film. While you’re here, enjoy some of the Scott’s delectable small bites and signature cocktails. 

Havana Nights Movie Night at the Scott is perfect for anyone who wants a night on the town without visiting a rowdy club. It is an upscale environment designed to serve in an unpretentious manner. 

19. Check out the Live Music Scene

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Center Stage Bar | Phone: +14804441234 | Center Stage Bar Website

Scottsdale has a bustling live music scene. You will find plenty of Country and Western performers. Still, the clubs and bars around Scottsdale welcome a range of bands and singers from all over the country. 

You do not have to drink to enjoy a show. Plenty of resorts, restaurants, and event spaces around Scottsdale host live performers year-round. Choose a venue and enjoy the show. Talking Stick Resort, the Hyatt, and Casino Arizona are all known to host amazon performers. 

If you go to dinner in Scottsdale, the chance of running into a live band during your meal is relatively high. Restaurants often welcome performers to put on a show for patrons of their establishment. 

Center Stage Bar is one of the best places to go for live music in Scottsdale. The trendy spot is backed by picturesque views of the desert, with a giant Saguaro Cactus as the centerpiece. Enjoy the local music and small bites offered by the bar. 

20. See a Show at Scottdale Center for the Performing Arts

📍Map It: Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts | Phone: +14804998587 | Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Website

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is located right next to the picturesque Civic Center Park (item 15 on this list). The venue often hosts off-Broadway shows, concerts, and other performances. 

The Performing Arts Center welcomes a range of patrons and has exciting seasons to look forward to. Past performances have included comedians, one-person shows, orchestras, Flamenco artists, and more. 

After a night at the Center for the Performing Arts, grab dinner at one of the outstanding restaurants near Civic Center Park. 

21. Visit Casino Arizona

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Casino Arizona | Phone: +14808507777 | Casino Arizona Website

Arizona is one of the states in America that allows gambling, so visit the Casino Arizona while you’re in town. Casino Arizona is far more than gaming. It is an exceptional place for dining and live entertainment. 

The Casino is over 100,000 square feet large and has plenty of things to do. It is easy to spend a few hours at Casino Arizona. The Casino has over 900 slot machines, 50 blackjack tables, and six restaurants. 

The Casino is not only a great place for gaming and dining. It also has one of the largest collections of American Indian artwork in the Southwest. Pay attention to the intricate art as you play, dine, and watch live performances. 

Sports, Recreation, & Gaming

22. Golf at Camelback Golf Club

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Camelback Golf Club | Phone: +14805967050 | Camelback Golf Club Website

Camelback Golf Club is one of many phenomenal golf clubs in this part of Arizona. It stands out due to its size and atmosphere. The 36-hole course is an excellent place to spend a day with plenty of shaded areas and world-class golfing. 

This golf club features water features, hills, valleys, and gorgeous scenes of the multi-acre space. It makes golfers focus on precision of the put and unique elevation and landscape changes that engage players beyond the game. 

Beyond the course, the Camelback Golf Club has a 36,000-square-foot clubhouse with state-of-the-art designs and world-class services and dining. There is a golf shop, banquet space, restaurant, and more. 

23. Bike with Pedego Scottsdale

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Pedego Scottsdale | Phone: +14809944447 | Pedego Scottsdale Website

Pedego Scottsdale is an excellent way to see the town and the surrounding nature of Scottsdale. Pedego’s fleet of electric bikes takes visitors out on the town by wheel with an expert guide ready to share their knowledge of Scottsdale. 

Go on a guided tour or rent a bike for your own adventure. Pedego has you covered and is the perfect way to sightsee. 

If you don’t want to give your Pedego bike up, you can buy one in the Pedego bike shop. Beyond the rental fleet, Pedego owns plenty of bikes for sale, along with bike gear like helmets and baskets. 

24. Kayak at the Saguaro Lake Ranch

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Saguaro Lake Ranch | Phone: +14809840335 | Saguaro Lake Ranch Website

The Saguaro Lake Ranch is a historic site is in the shadow of Arizona’s stunning bulldog cliffs. It encompasses parts of the Salt River, the Saguaro Lake, and Arizona’s rugged countryside. 

Saguaro Lake is located within the Tonto National Forest (item 14 on this list). The lake and river are gorgeous places outside the city to paddle around and enjoy the waters. The summer heat of Arizona can be brutal. 

Beyond kayaking and paddleboarding, the ranch offers horseback riding, educational demonstrations, and more. They even provide orientation classes to paddle the Salt River within the National Forest. 

25. Do Yoga at Mountain Shadows

Credit: Cvent.com

📍Map It: Mountain Shadows | Phone: +18554851417 | Mountain Shadows Website

In search of a peaceful escape from the bustle of Scottsdale? Take some time to yourself and practice yoga at Mountain Shadows. 

Mountain Shadows offers various Free Flow nights in the shadow of the breathtaking Camelback Mountain. Bring a mat and head out to the lawn at Mountain Shadows. Partake in this guided evening course with a group of other yogis. 

Restaurants, Food, & Cocktails

26. The Cloth & Flame Desert Culinary Experience

📍Map It: Cloth and Flame | Phone: +14804286028 | Cloth and Flame Website

Cloth and Flame hosts one of the best culinary experiences in Scottsdale. 

There are few dining experiences quite like this one in the United States. Cloth & flame is so renowned that it won the 2022 Foodist Award for Inventive Fine Dining. Reserve a spot and see what makes this experience so unique. 

Cloth and Flame’s goal for their desert culinary experience is to connect diners with the nature and wildlife their food comes from. 

The table is set outdoors in the Sonoran Desert and begins with passed hors d’oeuvres. Mingle with others for cocktail hour before sitting down for a table service dinner. It is a multi-course meal curated by Scottsdale’s finest chefs served under the stars.

27. Arizona Stronghold Vineyards

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Arizona Stronghold Vineyards | Phone: +14807791600 | Arizona Stronghold Vineyards Website

Arizona is home to plenty of award-winning vineyards. Stronghold is one of the best. The wines produced here reflect the rugged terrain of Arizona. They emulate the desert air and shade of the mountains where the grapes are grown. 

Wine producers select the finest fruits for their wine varieties. The wines at Stronghold vineyards are produced in Bonita Springs. This grape-growing area is located in the highlands of Willcox, Arizona. 

A large variety of wines are produced through Arizona Stronghold Vineyards. Some classic selections include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and others. 

28. Carlson Creek Vineyard

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Carlson Creek Vineyard | Phone: +14809470636 | Carlson Creek Vineyard Website

Carlson Creek is another popular vineyard with a Scottsdale location. The winery provides fine, locally grown wines with artisanal cheeses.

Try vintage wins at Carlson Creek and cheeses hand selected by a cheesemonger. It is a unique experience that few places in the Southwest do. 

Carlson Creek also provides wine tastings for private groups. It is a great place to go for parties and corporate events. Even if you do not have a group event coming up, take a friend and enjoy a night of sampling the best local wines and cheeses from around the world. 

29. Huss Brewing Company

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Huss Brewing Company | Phone: +16024414677 | Huss Brewing Company

Huss Brewing Company utilizes the local flavors of the Sonoran Desert and Scottsdale specialties to craft their fine selection of beer. Visit the brewery for local craft beers and excellent small bites. 

The owners of Huss Brewing Company are a husband and wife duo with over 30 years in the brewing business. Leah Huss even co-owned the popular Papago Brewing Company in Scottsdale for nearly fourteen years. 

At Huss Brewing, Jeff Huss manages the brewing process while Leah Huss operates the back-of-house and marketing. The excellent team results in fine craft brews and a phenomenal Scottsdale place to hang out and sip some locally made beers. The family feel is just one thing that makes Huss Brewing so special.

30. Visit the Beer Garden at Brat Haus

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Brat Haus | Phone: +14809474006 | Brat Haus Website

Brat Haus is a German-inspired beer garden in the heart of Scottsdale. The restaurant has long picnic tables, an exceptional selection of domestic and international brews, and fantastic food. 

The Brat Haus is known for its selection of beers on tap. They source kegs from around the world and serve pints in an urban beer garden. Their food menu is far more than bratwursts. They have a great selection of small bites like pretzels, salads, fries, and burgers.

Brat Haus is also an excellent place for parties and small gatherings. They offer a suckling pig for group events and plenty of bar games like ping pong ad giant Jenga. 

31. Dine Inside one of Scottsdale’s Historic Homes

📍Map It: House Brasserie | Phone: +14806341600 | House Brasserie Website

One of the things that Scottsdale is known for is its high-end dining inside restaurant-converted homes. There is no shortage of gorgeous homes in such a historic city, from cottages to mansions. 

Choose one of the many historic home restaurants for your next romantic evening meal. The House Brasserie is one of the cutest dining locations in the city. It is perched inside a historic cottage built in 1939 with a white picket fence and tables scattered outside. 

Another excellent historic home dining option is Old Town Tortilla Factory. This eatery is in a red brick structure with an arched entryway. A step inside is like entering Arizona’s southern neighbor of Mexico. The Spanish Colonial design has southwestern flare and intricate designs. Enjoy authentic Tex-Mex cuisine and a wide variety of tequila while here. 

Cornish Pastry Co feels like entering a nation a bit farther East than Mexico – the United Kingdom. This English pub combines two former homesteads into a bustling bar and restaurant. 

32. Enjoy Scottsdale’s Happy Hour

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Citizen Public House | Phone: +14803984208 | Citizen Public House Website

Happy hour in Scottsdale is a huge deal. Enjoy one of the hundreds of restaurants or bars offering happy hour deals across the city. 

One of the best deals in the city is provided at Citizen Public House. They have a daily happy hour from 4 – 6 pm with cocktail discounts and lowered prices on their iconic bar snacks like beer fondue. 

In search of an excellent Tex Mex happy hour? Look no further than Diego Pops. Diego Pops is famous for its tequila selection. Every day from 3 until 6 pm, enjoy $6 wine and sangria, $5 margaritas, and $4 draft pours. While enjoying drink specials, indulge in their fantastic South-of-the-border-inspired cuisine. 

You don’t need to be in Hawaii to get a drink with Pacific flare. Visit Hula’s Modern Tiki for some excellent craft cocktails inspired by a tiki bar and great Hawaiian bar bites. Hula’s Modern Tiki has happy hour on Monday through Friday from 3:30 – 6 pm, all night on Wednesday after 3:30, and drink specials on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 until 6 pm. 

33. Visit a Rooftop Bar

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Outrider Rooftop Lounge | Phone: +14805903864 | Outrider Rooftop Lounge Website

The city comes alive with vibrant nightlife when the sun goes down and the Arizona heat subsides. One of the highlights of Scottsdale’s nightlife is its variety of rooftop bars. 

Outrider Rooftop Lounge is one of the best rooftop bars in Scottsdale. It is seated on top of the Canopy Hotel in Old Town and has sprawling views of the city and nearby Camelback Mountain. Soak up their stunning sunsets with a cocktail in hand. 

Volanti isn’t necessarily a rooftop, but it has a unique airport view from its terrace bar. This lounge is located outside the Scottsdale airport runway and is an excellent place to watch planes come and go. 

Shopping & Spas

34. Scottsdale Fashion Square

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Scottsdale Fashion Square | Phone: +14809412140 | Scottsdale Fashion Square Website

Scottsdale Fashion Square is a high-end shopping experience located within the city. If you have ever dreamed of a red carpet welcome to a store, now is your chance. 

For $125, guests can shop with the VIP experience. This includes a red carpet with a champagne toast upon arrival, welcome bags with a $50 gift card and other shopping coupons, refreshments at designer stores, a concierge, and black car transportation as needed. 

Even if you don’t choose this luxury experience, Scottsdale Fashion Square is an excellent place for casual shopping. They have plenty of high-end, designer-brand stores. 

35. Get a Treatment at Second Nature Clinic

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Second Nature Clinic | Phone: +14804259662 | Second Nature Clinic Website

Getting a spa treatment is one of the most popular things to do in Arizona. The desert heat and rugged nature inspire custom spa treatments across the state. One of the best spas in the state just so happens to be in Scottsdale. 

Second Nature Clinic in Scottsdale provides a range of health and wellness treatments. They are dedicated to holistic medicine and seeking the root of problems like back pain, stress, and anxiety. They utilize massage techniques, therapeutic essential oils, and more relaxing treatments. 

Beyond naturopathic treatments, the spa also features a peaceful zen lounge. Guests are encouraged to relax in this tranquil room before and after their sessions. 

36. The Desert Ridge Marketplace

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Desert Ridge Marketplace | Phone: +14805137586 | Desert Ridge Marketplace Website

Desert Ridge Marketplace is located outside of the city. It provides premier shopping, entertainment, and dining in Arizona. Take a day trip from Scottsdale to experience what makes this shopping center so beloved. 

With over 1,110 acres of luxury shopping and decadent restaurants, Desert ridge has something to entice anyone. The center has over 1.2 million feet of stores and boutiques. 

The outdoor setting of the shopping center creates a warmer, more colorful atmosphere than a typical mall. The design incorporates desert touches that make Arizona such a special place. 

There are plenty of places to go shopping here. The biggest stores include Marshalls, Target, Kohl’s, and Barnes & Noble. There is also an AMC theater, Dave & Busters, and plenty of restaurants. Among these bigger stores, there are plenty of small designer boutiques scattered around the marketplace. 

City Culture & Tours

37. The Old Adobe Mission

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Adobe Mission | Phone: +14809474331 | Old Adobe Mission Website

The entire state of Arizona has cultural destinations that reflect the American Indian and Latinx influence on the state. One of the state’s most fascinating cultural destinations is in Scottsdale. 

The Old Adobe Mission is a Mexican mission that was constructed back in 1910. This was when the first Mexican settlers arrived in this part of Arizona. Today, it is one of three remaining adobe structures in Scottsdale. 

The gorgeous architecture reflects Spanish Revival designs and reflects the traditions and customs of the region. Visit the mission for a moment of peace and spirituality, no matter what your denomination may be. 

38. Take an Apache Trail Tour

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Apache Trail | Forest Service

The Superstition Mountain Wilderness Center is one of the most stunning places to witness Arizona’s rugged beauty. Tour the Apache trail to learn more about this beautiful part of central Arizona. 

Go off-roading with a guide through the arid landscape. The Apache Trail is internationally famous and featured on both the Travel & History Channels. 

Disneyland fans may recognize the Apache Trail from the famous Indiana Jones ride. Rest assured, the real thing is much better. Tours go by Jeep and can span from one to four hours. Few places to experience the Wild West are left in America. This is one of the best. 

39. Take a Maverick Helicopter Tour

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Maverick Helicopter Tour | Phone: +19282045939 | Maverick Helicopter Tour Website

Another excellent way to see Arizona’s stunning cliffs, lakes, and valleys is by air. Take a Maverick Helicopter Tour to do just this. Maverick Helicopter picks up passengers outside Sedona and has an impeccable safety record. 

Board the helicopter with all seats facing forward and view everything from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas in the span of your trip. Dip in between valleys for a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

40. Walk the Scottsdale Waterfront

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Town Scottsdale | Experience Scottsdale

Perched along the breathtaking Arizona Canal, the Scottsdale waterfront is a stylish community in the heart of town. The waterfront is a 1.1-square-foot neighborhood with plenty of shopping, dining, and entertainment. It even backs to the famous Scottsdale Fashion Square (item 34 on this list). 

The waterfront is a gorgeous place to stroll along the water or access the Arizona Canal Trail. The promenade features plenty of Arizona’s native flora and colorful, European-inspired flare. There are statues, art installments, and an expertly designed pathway. 

Bridges across the Arizona Canal connect the waterfront to Scottsdale’s shopping district and other vibrant neighborhoods. 

41. Party in the Entertainment District

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Town Scottsdale | Experience Scottsdale

Scottsdale’s entertainment district is located in the heart of Old Town. It is a colorful part of the city filled with exciting nightlife. There are plenty of bars, nightclubs, and places to dance.

The entertainment district has nearly 30 bars and nightclubs, making it an excellent place to dance the night away. 

One of the best nightclubs in the entertainment district is the Maya Day and Nightclub. As the name implies, it is fun at all hours of the day. 

42. Socialize in the Brown & Stetson District

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Town Scottsdale | Experience Scottsdale

Brown & Stetson is a micro district located in Old Town Scottsdale. This part of town has plenty of shops, dining, and beauty salons. It is also known for business and a community of young professionals who hang out here. 

One of the best spots for a bite of food and a cocktail in the Brown & Stetson District is Social Tap Scottsdale. You can even dine al fresco in the crisp Arizona nighttime air with a balcony bar and rooftop lounge. Go to the bar with a small group of friends or use it to host your next event. 

43. Shop the 5th Ave Shopping District

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Town Scottsdale | Experience Scottsdale

The 5th Ave Shopping District emulates its New York namesake by providing designer brands in a small concentration of Old Town. 

Shop 5th Avenue for designer stores, locally owned clothing boutiques, and more. They are also known for their cafes. There are plenty of great places to grab a cup of coffee in the district, like the Cartel Coffee Lab. 

If you get tired of shopping, grab a local bite to eat at one of the fantastic Scottsdale restaurants in the district. Some of the best include Barrio Queen and Citizen Public House. 

44. Walk the Arts District

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Old Town Scottsdale | Experience Scottsdale

The Art District is one of the jewels of Scottsdale. Plenty of galleries are located around here as well as street installments. You may even see live artists painting or drawing in the street. 

Live entertainment is also popular in this part of town. Plenty of pop-up bands and artists perform in the streets, especially after the sun goes down. The district is also home to Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West (item 2 on this list). 

45. Go to a Pool Party

Credit: Trip Advisor

📍Map It: Wet Deck at W Scottsdale | Phone: +14809702100 | Wet Deck at W Scottsdale Website

Sometimes, there is nothing better than spending the day by the pool in the sweltering Arizona heat. Sightseeing can be unbearable in triple-digit temperatures that are common in the summer. 

One of the best pool parties in Scottsdale is the Wet Deck at W Scottsdale. This venue opens up to the public for a vibrant pool party with live DJs every weekend. 

Not looking to party? Visit one of Scottsdale’s more laid-back pools. Saguaro Scottsdale is an excellent place to spend the day relaxing on a pool float with a book or magazine in hand. 

Recommended for you

Travel smarter

Join the thousands of travel enthusiasts who are part of our T&T community.