If you’re headed to Arizona Scottsdale is a popular city to visit. It is one of Arizona’s most well-known cities. There are lots of things to do in Scottsdale.
It is dubbed the west’s most western town. It is also home to more than 125 professional art galleries and studios.
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Just east of Phoenix, Scottsdale is a skinny strip running 30 miles north to south and about 13 miles wide. The city is home to over 240,000 people and can be divided into 4 sections:
17 Things to do in Scottsdale
- Butterfly World
- Cosanti Wind Bells
- Harley Davidson Dealership (largest)
- Lighthouse Art House
- McCormick Stillman Park
- McDowell Sonoran Park
- Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
- Musical Instrument Museum
- OdySea Aquarium
- Scottsdale Contemporary Art Museum
- Scottsdale Museum of the West
- Taliesen West
- Top Golf
- Talking Stick Resort
- TPC Golf Course
Things to do in Old Town Scottsdale
Whether you refer to it as downtown or Old Town, this area of Scottsdale is very popular for it’s high end shopping, tons of restaurants & bars, public art and art galleries.
Bordered by Chapparal Road to the north and Earll Drive to the south, Old Town is the historic and cultural district for Scottsdale.
Getting Around Old Town Scottsdale
There is a free trolley ride you can take as well to get from one destination to another within Old Town. Once you’re in the area it is very walkable.
Scottsdale has so many places to shop, but Scottsdale Fashion Square is the luxury mall in Arizona.
This cool art space is inside the Scottsdale Fashion Square near the food court. Wonderspaces is a mixture of interactive and immersive art. The exhibits are always changing, so there is always something new to see.
Lighthouse Art Space
Immersive art is very popular right now and Lighthouse Art Space is an experience for the senses. Popular events here are the immersive Monet and Van Gogh art experiences.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
This contemporary art museum focuses on architecture and design. It is near the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts and the Stadium. While visiting Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art check out the sculpture Knight Rise it is one of the handful of skyspaces open to the public. Take a photo of the iconic Love sculpture.
Scottsdale Museum of the West
An art museum dedicated to western art pieces. Some of the exhibits include Native American jewelry and Hopi pottery. Check out Jack Knife, a bronze sculpture of a rider on a bucking horse. The Scottsdale Museum of the West is just south of Indian School Road.
The San Francisco Giants practice at Scottsdale Stadium in downtown Scottsdale for baseball’s spring training season.
Things to do in Central Scottsdale
Central Scottsdale is home to many of Scottsdale’s premiere resorts. Scottsdale is home to over 70 resorts, second only to New York City as having more AAA Five-Diamond hotels and resorts than any other city in the USA.
Central Scottsdale is just north of Old town and south of Shea Boulevard.
Talking Stick Resort
The largest casino in Arizona, Talking Stick Resort host concerts and shows. In addition it has slot machines, keno, poker, and table games. In addition they have six restaurants, and several bars. They have a huge entertainment district including OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Top Golf, Mavrix to name a few.
See the largest aquarium in the southwest. We were so excited when Phoenix finally had an aquarium to visit. OdySea Aquarium has over 50 exhibits with marine life.
Don’t miss out on the Living Sea Carousel. The Living Sea Carousel is a cool experience, essentially you sit in a theatre and the seats rotate you through the ocean exhibits. See the sea turtles, sharks and sea lions.
Just behind the aquarium you can step into the a rainforest and butterfly wonderland. A fun place to take the kids to. You can watch the process of a butterfly metamorphosis live.
Then head into the rainforest area to see hundreds of butterflies in the plants, flying around or if you’re lucky one might even land on you.
Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament
A unique place to have dinner and see a show. At Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament eat a feast in a castle and watch a jousting show.
My golfing speed is miniature golf or Top Golf.
Hike Camelback Mountain
The most popular place to hike in Phoenix is Camelback Mountain.
Cosanti Wind Bells
Tucked away in a residential area, you might almost miss this little gem just outside Scottsdale in Paradise Valley.
If you enjoy the arts, you will love a visit to Cosanti. See an outdoor gallery of the famous Paolo Soleri’s Windbells.
Paolo Soleri was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright and has designed these works of art. Paolo Soleri creates beautiful ceramic and bronze wind bells.
Preferably visit on a day with a slight breeze, so you can walk around the grounds and listen to the beautiful chimes. It truly is a magical place to stop for a bit.
You can walk around the grounds, enjoy the sounds of the hundreds of wind bells, watch as they are crafted, and of course you can purchase them. The bells range from around $30 on up to hundreds or thousands of dollars.
McCormick Stillman Park
Most resorts in Scottsdale offer kid friendly programs. McCormick Stillman Park offers a lot of fun for the younger kids.
Things to to do in North Scottsdale
Most of the new development has been focused in the northern part of Scottsdale. It encompasses the area north of Shea Blvd and south of Carefree.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Some of the prettiest hikes are in McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
Ever since Frank Lloyd Wright decided to create his winter home here in the 1930’s, his architectural influence can be seen throughout the Phoenix area. Taliesin West is a top tourist attraction and a must see if visiting Scottsdale.
Golf – PGA Tournament
Golf at the TPC golf course where the PGA tour is held annually.
The The PGA’s tour Waste Management Open Golf Tournament is held each January in Scottsdale and attracts thousands of golfers and fans. Golf fanatics can choose from hundreds of golf courses just in Scottsdale alone.
After a day of watching the PGA tour you can see a concert at the Phoenix Birds Nest.
Visit the World’s Largest Harley Dealership
If you like bikes this is a really cool Harley dealership. Not only will you find a large selection of bikes here, there is also an indoor theatre, a tattoo parlor and even a wedding chapel here. This is the world’s largest Harley Davidson dealership.
The Musical Instrument Museum
Love music? The Musical Instrument Museum in Scottsdale has many hands-on exhibits dedicated to music. It is home to a collection of over 10,000 musical instruments.
Attend a Festival at WestWorld
Nearly every weekend you can visit one of the many festivals or shows held at WestWorld in Scottsdale. If you like cars check out the Good Guys car show held annual in Scottsdale.
Arizona Bike Week is held every spring and a great time of year to see one of the many concerts.
See a 500-foot Water Fountain
Have a picnic in nearby Fountain Hills at the nations second tallest fountain. The fountain is a landmark and shoots water over 500 feet into the air. Fountain Hills is a town about 15 minutes east of Scottsdale.