19 Things to do in Scottsdale

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What to Know Before Visiting

Did you know that Scottsdale, Arizona, is often dubbed “The Beverly Hills of the Desert,” offering an unexpected oasis of art, culture, and adventure that rivals some of the world’s most famous luxury destinations?

19 things to do in Scottsdale

Nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale, Arizona, is a vibrant oasis that beckons travelers with its unique blend of natural beauty, sophisticated urban flair, and a lively cultural scene. Known for its world-class resorts, sprawling golf courses, and luxurious spas, Scottsdale offers a perfect getaway for relaxation and adventure. The city’s thriving arts scene, evident in the numerous galleries in the Arts District, and its rich Western heritage, showcased at the Scottsdale Historical Museum, provide a deep dive into the local culture and history. Outdoor enthusiasts will find solace in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, where miles of trails offer breathtaking desert landscapes. With an enviable array of dining options, ranging from gourmet eateries to local southwestern cafes, Scottsdale caters to every palate. For those seeking a destination that combines the tranquility of the desert with the vibrancy of city life, Scottsdale is an unparalleled choice. Ready to explore more? Dive into the diverse experiences this city has to offer with our guide to 19 things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona, and embark on a journey that promises unforgettable memories.

Top Attractions in

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  • 9500 East Vía de Ventura #200
  • 4.1 of 5
  • (401 total reviews)

The Laser + Mirror Maze in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States is an absolute must-visit for anyone seeking a unique and exhilarating adventure. This attraction offers a blend of modern technology and old-fashioned fun, providing an unforgettable experience. As you navigate through a labyrinth of mirrors and lasers, you’ll be challenged to use your problem-solving skills and agility to make it through. The maze is designed to be both puzzling and visually stunning, with a dazzling array of lights and reflective surfaces that create an otherworldly atmosphere. It’s a fantastic choice for families, groups of friends, or even solo explorers who love a good challenge. The Laser + Mirror Maze is more than just a tourist attraction; it’s an interactive experience that will leave you with lasting memories.

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  • 5401 Hayden Rd
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (2719 total reviews)

Chaparral Park in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States is a must-visit for both locals and tourists who appreciate outdoor activities. This expansive park, covering 100 acres, is a haven for recreation and relaxation, offering a multitude of amenities such as a large lake for fishing and boating, a swimming pool, sports fields, playgrounds, and well-maintained picnic areas. It also boasts a 3-mile walking and biking path that is perfect for taking in the natural beauty of the area. For bird watchers and nature lovers, the park’s Xeriscape Garden is a treasure trove of local flora and fauna. Chaparral Park is not just about the activities, it’s about experiencing the serene environment and breathtaking views, making it a worthwhile visit when in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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  • 2311 N Miller Rd
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (2214 total reviews)

Eldorado Park in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for both residents and tourists. This sprawling urban park offers a multitude of recreational activities that cater to all age groups. It features a large lake, picnic areas, sports fields, a skate park, and a community center with swimming pools. Eldorado Park is also home to a unique butterfly garden, providing a tranquil environment for nature lovers. Its vast green spaces and walking paths make it an ideal spot for relaxation and exercise. The park’s location in the heart of Scottsdale makes it easily accessible, and its beautiful landscape offers a refreshing break from the city’s hustle and bustle. Whether you’re looking for active outdoor pursuits or a peaceful retreat, Eldorado Park is a destination worth visiting.

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  • 7374 E 2nd St
  • 4.3 of 5
  • (1003 total reviews)

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. This museum offers a unique blend of modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design from around the world. With its rotating exhibitions, engaging public programs, and thought-provoking educational activities, it provides a dynamic, immersive experience. The museum’s minimalist design, created by award-winning architect Will Bruder, is a work of art itself, featuring five galleries, a sculpture garden, and an outdoor courtyard. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art not only entertains but also educates, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the art, culture, and issues of our time. Whether you’re an art aficionado or a novice, the museum’s diverse and innovative offerings make it a must-see on any Scottsdale itinerary.

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  • 18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (2036 total reviews)

Gateway Trailhead – McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts exploring Scottsdale, Arizona, United States. This preserve offers a unique opportunity to experience the stunning beauty of the Sonoran Desert. It boasts over 200 miles of well-maintained trails, perfect for hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and mountain biking. The Gateway Trailhead is the primary entrance to this vast preserve and offers amenities such as an educational center, restrooms, and ample parking. The preserve’s diverse desert ecosystem is home to a variety of wildlife and features breathtaking landscapes, including towering saguaro cacti, rugged mountains, and vibrant wildflowers in the spring. It’s an excellent spot for photography, bird watching, or simply enjoying the serene desert ambiance. Whether you’re an adventure seeker or a tranquility chaser, the Gateway Trailhead – McDowell Sonoran Preserve offers an unforgettable outdoor experience.

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  • 9500 East Vía de Ventura
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (793 total reviews)

The Museum of Illusions in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a unique and engaging destination that offers an extraordinary experience for visitors of all ages. This museum is not your typical art exhibit, instead, it presents an interactive, immersive journey into the world of optical illusions. It’s an ideal spot for those who love to challenge their perceptions and explore the fascinating intersection of art, science, and psychology. The exhibits are not only visually stunning but also educational, providing insights into how our minds interpret the world around us. The Museum of Illusions Scottsdale also offers an excellent backdrop for unique and memorable photos, making it a must-visit for social media enthusiasts. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, this museum guarantees an unforgettable experience that will leave you questioning reality.

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  • 1201 N Galvin Pkwy
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (17642 total reviews)

The Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and explorers alike. This 140-acre garden offers a unique experience to discover a variety of desert plants, including a vast collection of agave and cacti. The garden is not just a place to see beautiful plants, but also an opportunity to learn about desert ecosystems and conservation. There are five thematic trails that provide insights into the survival adaptations of desert plants, the importance of desert conservation, and the role of people in desert environments. The garden also hosts seasonal events, art exhibits, and educational programs, making it a dynamic and interactive venue. Whether you’re a plant lover, an environmentalist, or simply looking for a serene place to unwind, the Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, Arizona is a destination that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the beauty and complexity of our planet’s deserts.

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  • 3830 N Marshall Way
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (1117 total reviews)

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in exploring the rich history and vibrant culture of the American West. This museum showcases a vast collection of art, artifacts, and interactive exhibits that tell compelling stories of the region’s pioneering spirit, indigenous cultures, and cowboy legacy. The museum’s rotating exhibitions ensure there’s always something new to discover, making it a great place for repeat visits. Its state-of-the-art facilities, educational programs, and engaging events make it a worthwhile destination for people of all ages. By visiting Western Spirit, you’re not just observing history, but actively immersing yourself in the captivating narratives of the American West.

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  • 7014 E Camelback Rd #584
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (1024 total reviews)

Wonderspaces Arizona, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a unique and immersive art experience that is a must-visit for art enthusiasts and curious explorers alike. This innovative art show features extraordinary installations from artists worldwide, offering an interactive experience that transcends traditional art boundaries. Visitors can engage with art in a personal and close-up way, making it a truly memorable experience. Wonderspaces Arizona is not just about viewing art, but about experiencing it. The show changes periodically, ensuring there are always fresh and new experiences to explore. It’s an ideal destination for those seeking inspiration, a sense of wonder, and a deep appreciation for creativity and innovation. The fusion of art and technology presented in a welcoming and engaging environment makes Wonderspaces Arizona a unique attraction that shouldn’t be missed.

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  • 5802 E Indian School Rd
  • 4.4 of 5
  • (1520 total reviews)

Arizona Falls, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a remarkable destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical significance. This hidden gem, formed from a natural 20-foot drop along the Arizona Canal, has been a popular gathering spot since the late 1800s. Today, it’s not just a waterfall, but also an innovative hydroelectric plant and a stunning work of public art. The fusion of falling water, native plants, and the artistic interpretation of Arizona’s history makes it a must-visit site. It provides a serene environment for visitors to relax, enjoy the tranquil sounds of cascading water, and learn about the area’s heritage and sustainable energy. A visit to Arizona Falls is an opportunity to experience a unique blend of art, history, and nature, making it an essential stop for anyone visiting Scottsdale.

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  • 9500 East Vía de Ventura Suite A-100
  • of 5
  • ( total reviews)

OdySea Aquarium, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is an absolute must-visit for both locals and tourists alike. As the largest aquarium in the Southwest, it offers an unparalleled marine adventure to its visitors. With over 200,000 square feet and more than 30,000 animals, OdySea Aquarium provides an immersive, interactive, and educational experience that captivates all ages. It features more than 50 exhibits, a 3D theatre, SeaTREK underwater ocean walking, and a variety of other attractions. The aquarium is also home to a diverse range of marine life from around the globe, including sea turtles, sharks, and penguins. Whether you’re a marine life enthusiast, a family looking for a fun day out, or simply someone who appreciates unique experiences, OdySea Aquarium promises an unforgettable journey of discovery.

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  • 625 N Galvin Pkwy
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (5213 total reviews)

Hole in the Rock, located in Papago Park, Scottsdale, Arizona, is a must-visit natural landmark for anyone visiting the United States. This geological marvel, a massive sandstone formation with a large hole in the middle, offers a unique and awe-inspiring sight. It’s not just the rock formation that draws visitors, but the panoramic views of the city and desert landscape that it provides. The short and easy trail leading up to the formation makes it accessible to people of all ages and fitness levels. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a photography lover, or someone seeking a tranquil spot for relaxation, Hole in the Rock provides a distinctive experience that you shouldn’t miss when in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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  • 26802 N 102nd Way
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (1468 total reviews)

Pinnacle Peak Park, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is an absolute must-visit for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. This iconic natural landmark offers a unique blend of outdoor activities and breathtaking views that are sure to captivate any visitor. The park is home to a well-maintained 3.5-mile round trip trail, which is ideal for hiking, rock climbing, and horseback riding. As you ascend the trail, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of Scottsdale and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. The park is also rich in wildlife and plant diversity, making it a paradise for bird watchers and nature photographers. The combination of stunning landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and a plethora of outdoor activities make Pinnacle Peak Park a must-visit destination when in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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  • 7333 E Scottsdale Mall
  • 5 of 5
  • (319 total reviews)

Arizona Food Tours from Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, offers an exquisite culinary journey that every food enthusiast must experience. This tour is a must-visit as it provides an opportunity to explore Arizona’s unique and vibrant food scene. The tour guides you through the best local eateries in Scottsdale, allowing you to savor a variety of cuisines while learning about the rich cultural history of Arizona. The tour is not just about food, it’s about the stories behind the dishes, the history of the local food scene, and the people who bring it to life. It’s an immersive experience that combines gastronomy with travel, making it a must-do activity for foodies and travelers alike. Additionally, the SEO-friendly nature of their website ensures an easy and user-friendly booking experience.

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  • 7301 E Indian Bend Rd
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (5939 total reviews)

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is a unique and delightful destination that offers a blend of history, entertainment, and natural beauty. The park is renowned for its meticulously restored vintage trains and railroad artifacts which transport visitors to bygone eras of American rail history. The main attraction is the 5/12th scale train ride, which offers a scenic journey around the park. Besides the railway attractions, the park also boasts a charming antique carousel, a western-themed playground, and lush picnic areas. Furthermore, the park hosts numerous events and concerts throughout the year, making it a vibrant hub of community activity. The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is not just a paradise for train enthusiasts, but an enjoyable retreat for families, history buffs, and nature lovers. Its unique blend of attractions makes it a must-visit destination when in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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  • 7207 E Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (390 total reviews)

The Frank Lloyd Wright Spire in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States is a must-visit for architecture enthusiasts and culture seekers alike. This magnificent structure, designed by the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is a testament to his unique style and innovative design principles. The spire, with its dynamic upward thrust and vibrant blue hue, is a beacon of inspiration that illuminates the Arizona night sky. It’s not just a visual spectacle, but also a symbol of Wright’s philosophy of blending architecture with natural surroundings. Visiting the spire offers an opportunity to delve into the mind of a genius and gain a deeper appreciation for architectural artistry. Moreover, its convenient location in Scottsdale allows visitors to explore other local attractions, making it a worthy addition to any Arizona travel itinerary.

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  • 9500 East Vía de Ventura
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (5260 total reviews)

Arizona Boardwalk is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Scottsdale, Arizona, United States. This vibrant and engaging attraction offers a unique blend of entertainment, education, and excitement. With a world-class aquarium, a butterfly wonderland, and a thrilling 3D theater, it’s a perfect destination for families, couples, and solo travelers. The interactive exhibits and diverse range of marine and terrestrial species make it an educational adventure that appeals to all ages. Whether you’re a nature lover, a science enthusiast, or simply looking for a fun-filled day, Arizona Boardwalk has something for everyone. Its convenient location in Scottsdale also means it’s within easy reach of other local attractions, restaurants, and accommodations. Visiting Arizona Boardwalk is not just about enjoying a day out, it’s about creating unforgettable experiences.

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  • 9500 East Vía de Ventura F100
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (6217 total reviews)

Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States is a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and families alike. As America’s largest butterfly pavilion, this enchanting attraction offers an immersive experience that transports you into a tropical rainforest teeming with thousands of fluttering butterflies. Visitors can witness the fascinating life cycle of these colorful creatures at the Butterfly Emergence Gallery, explore the Rainforest Reptile exhibit, and even have close encounters with exotic creatures at the Honey Bee Extravaganza and Spineless Giants exhibits. The 3D theater and interactive exhibits also provide educational entertainment for all ages. Butterfly Wonderland is not just a visit, it’s an experience – a vivid exploration of nature’s artistry that promises to leave you captivated. It’s a unique opportunity to step into a world of stunning biodiversity and learn about the importance of conservation.

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  • 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (1691 total reviews)

Taliesin West, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, is an architectural marvel that should be on every traveler’s itinerary. It was the winter home and architectural school of the world-renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. This UNESCO World Heritage site is nestled in the desert foothills of the McDowell Mountains and offers a unique blend of modern architecture and natural beauty. Visiting Taliesin West is not just about admiring an architectural masterpiece, but it’s also a journey into the mind of Wright, as the structure reflects his philosophy of organic architecture, where buildings are in harmony with their environment. It’s an educational, inspiring, and aesthetically pleasing experience that appeals to architecture enthusiasts, history buffs, and nature lovers alike. The guided tours provide deep insights into Wright’s life, his work, and his profound impact on architecture. So, for an enriching and unforgettable experience, make sure to visit Taliesin West when you’re in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Most asked questions about

What are some must-visit attractions in Scottsdale, Arizona?

In Scottsdale, Arizona, must-visit attractions include the Scottsdale Arts District, known for its galleries and vibrant art scene, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, which offers extensive trails for hiking and biking amidst beautiful desert landscapes.

Can visitors experience any unique outdoor activities in Scottsdale?

Yes, Scottsdale offers unique outdoor activities such as hot air balloon rides that provide stunning aerial views of the desert and guided horseback riding tours through the scenic trails of the Sonoran Desert.

Are there any family-friendly activities in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale is home to several family-friendly activities, including the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, which features train rides and playgrounds, and the Butterfly Wonderland, a tropical rainforest environment housing thousands of butterflies.

What cultural experiences can tourists enjoy in Scottsdale?

Tourists can immerse themselves in the rich cultural heritage of Scottsdale by visiting the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and exploring the historic Old Town Scottsdale, which offers insights into the city’s Western and Native American heritage.

Is Scottsdale a good destination for food enthusiasts?

Scottsdale is a paradise for food enthusiasts, offering a diverse culinary scene that ranges from upscale dining experiences to authentic Southwestern cuisine. The city hosts numerous food festivals and culinary events throughout the year.

What shopping opportunities are available in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale boasts a variety of shopping opportunities, from luxury boutiques and designer stores at Scottsdale Fashion Square to unique souvenirs and artisan crafts found in the shops of Old Town Scottsdale.

Are there any notable events or festivals in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale hosts several notable events and festivals, including the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, the Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and the Barrett-Jackson car auction, attracting visitors from all over the world.

What outdoor natural attractions can be explored in Scottsdale?

Apart from the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, outdoor enthusiasts can explore Camelback Mountain for challenging hikes and panoramic views, and Pinnacle Peak Park for a more family-friendly hiking experience.

How can visitors best experience the nightlife in Scottsdale?

Visitors can experience Scottsdale’s vibrant nightlife by exploring the city’s many bars, nightclubs, and live music venues, particularly in the entertainment districts of Old Town Scottsdale and along Scottsdale Road.

What wellness and spa options are available in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale is renowned for its luxury spa and wellness resorts, offering a wide range of services from traditional massages and facials to holistic health treatments, making it an ideal destination for those looking to relax and rejuvenate.

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