27 Places to Visit and Things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona

Typically known for its warm, pleasant weather and championship golf courses, the city of Scottsdale in Arizona is also home to breathtaking parks, fascinating museums, acclaimed art galleries, and of course, an assortment of delightful restaurants.  

Once described by The New York Times as “a desert version of Miami’s South Beach”, this 31-mile-long and 11-mile-wide city packs plenty of tourist attractions between its perimeters. It is one of those high-end vacations one dreams of. So, book your tickets, pack your bags, and set off for Scottsdale at your earliest convenience.   

Worried you won’t know enough about things to do in Scottsdale? Well, just bookmark this article, and ensure that you make it to every single destination listed over here. Irrespective of whether you are planning this trip with your buddies or your family members, Scottsdale is sure to leave you thoroughly enthralled. Read on to find out more! 

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park 

Do you love mini-train rides? (Well, who doesn’t?) Then you’ll absolutely fall in love with McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. If mini-train rides aren’t your thing, then maybe the 10,000-square-feet-wide model railway building will be reason enough for you to give this place a visit. 

Besides its train rides being among the most thrilling things to do in Scottsdale, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park also has multiple playgrounds to engage the kids and nice grassy areas that can double up as neat spots for a family picnic.  

Another thing to watch out for is the railroad park’s colorful carousel that was built in the 1950s by Allan Herschell. Oh, and don’t forget to grab yourself a souvenir from the gift shop for your friends and family – weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, you’re sure to find something for all occasions! 

Scottsdale-Stillman Railroad Park-Children's Western Town Playground-1978.jpg
By Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EDr3S5shgcnX5rgA6 | Phone Number: +14803122312

McDowell Sonoran Preserve 

Sprawled over 30,500 acres of land, McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a permanently protected and sustainable desert habitat. Acting as the gateway to the Sonoran desert, it is home to one of the most diverse environments on the planet.  

If you’re looking for a spot to go hiking with the whole family, this is it. The Mcdowell Sonoran Preserve is also conducive for biking, walking, and equestrian adventures, though Covid-19 may affect some of the activities offered. Featuring among the premier Scottsdale spots, this preserve has as many as six trailheads, notable among which is the Gateway Trail.  

Apart from hiking boots and poles, make sure to carry along your camera as well. This is because, atop certain hikes such as Tom’s Thumb, the views are absolutely jaw-dropping.  

Visit to McDowell Sonoran Preserve (Scottsdale, Arizona) - July 12, 2018

Address: 18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, United States | Timing: Sunrise to sunset | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/nG31eHfHA8NjtmXq6 | Phone Number: +14803127013 

Downtown Scottsdale 

A perfect delight for the history buffs in your family, Downtown Scottsdale is the historic corner of the city that is replete with a wide assortment of award-winning restaurants, exotic bars, souvenir shops, and fashion boutiques. 

Art lovers, there’s something for you too in the form of some magnificent art galleries and fun-filled and informative art walks that are organized every Thursday. If all this while you’ve been wondering what to do in Scottsdale, plan a trip to this area without any further ado. 

things to do in Scottsdale: Downtown Scottsdale

Address: 7135 E Camelback Rd Suite 290, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 12:00 am | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/MUEMYhaH8pUEpEoEA | Phone Number: +14803500900 

Butterfly Wonderland 

Located in north Scottsdale, Butterfly Wonderland is among the best Scottsdale attractions and also a perfect spot for a family outing. If you and your family members want to escape the torment of a hot summer day or make the most of a cool winter morning, Butterfly Wonderland is the place to be. It flit about a breathtaking assortment of vibrant butterflies inside its premises, a treat for sore eyes.  

While the visual aesthetics work to put adults’ minds to peace, it leaves the kids and young ones bursting with unbridled joy. Besides butterflies, you can also spot rainforest reptiles, honey bees, and arthropods over here.  

Cydno Longwing

Address: 9500 East Vía de Ventura F100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Gx3642sZfoo6Dw9L8 | Phone Number: +14808003000 

Golfing at TPC Scottsdale 

Itching to let your inner golfer loose? All you have to do is visit TPC Scottsdale. A world-class golf course, it gives you the opportunity to flex your golf clubs on a turf that has been graced by some of the most acclaimed players of our time. 

While you’re busy driving and putting, make sure you get a picture or two of yourself clicked as well. After all, it’s not everyday that you’ll get the honour of golfing at TPC Scottsdale. 

TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, Arizona

Address: 8243 E Bell Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 6:30 am to 7pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/qwq9CFTNmvQGbk4q9 | Phone Number: +14805854334

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of The West 

No other place justifies Scottsdale’s official motto of “The West’s Most Western Town” as Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. 

Situated in Old Town, this place not only fans your cowboy fantasies but also takes you deep into the pioneer spirit of the American West with the help of a range of cultural treasures, fine art exhibitions, and rare historic artifacts. Your family will love it, too. 

Make sure to visit the Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection to get an authentic taste of the ambiance that defines a Western town.  

Scottsdale's Museum of the West front view.JPG
By PamMcP, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link

Address: 3830 N Marshall Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday: 11:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/scottsdalemuseumwest?share | Phone Number: +14806869539 

Scottsdale Center For The Performing Arts 

Looking to submerge yourself in an evening of artistic brilliance? Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is just where you need to be. 

Playing host to an array of performances on a daily basis, the center stimulates and nurtures your creative senses like none other.  

An evening spent over here is undoubtedly enriching. Moreover, the center also organizes a host of educational and outreach programs that involve kids and adults alike — an ideal place for family outings. 

Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Address: 7380 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Saturday: 11: 00 am to 6: 00 pm, Sunday: Noon to 5:pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/ScottsdaleCenterforPerformingArt?share | Phone Number: +14804998587 

Penske Racing Museum 

Penske Racing Museum in Scottsdale is home to a collection of marvelous racing memorabilia and breathtaking cars, many of which were instrumental in registering signature wins for Penske Racing over the years. 

The perfect spot for car geeks and enthusiasts, a trip to this museum located within the Penske Automotive Group is hands down among the most interesting things to do in Scottsdale. 

The best part? Entry to the museum is open to all and is free of charge! If you’ve been looking for a sign to brush up on your car history, this is it. Undoubtedly, a fun place to be with family. 

By MrMiscellanious, CC BY 2.5, Link

Address: 7125 E Chauncey Ln, Phoenix, AZ 85054, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Sunday: 12:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/PenskeRacingMuseum?share | Phone Number: +14805384444 

MacDonald’s Ranch 

Hailed by many as a leading horseback riding stable, MacDonald’s Ranch packs a bunch of fun activities, making it one of the foremost Scottsdale attractions and an excellent spot for a family outing. 

To name a few, there are cowboy cookouts, guided horseback rides as well as hayrides. The remarkable Sonoran desert acting as the backdrop makes a trip here further memorable. 

Expert guides present at the ranch ensure that the safety of the riders is taken care of at all times, irrespective of what their past riding experience might be. 

Source: MacDonald’s Ranch

Address: 26540 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday: Closed | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/mmawcE95AG83QDMb8 | Phone Number: +14805850239 

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center 

Those of you who grew up watching multiple instances of the late Steve Irwin rescuing countless wild animals on their television sets will be delighted beyond measure at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Neither an animal park nor a zoo, the center is a sanctuary that is solely dedicated to carrying out the rescues of injured, orphaned, or abandoned wild animals.  

If you want to give your kids a definitive primer on wildlife animal rescue, then you won’t find any better teachers than the staff operating at the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.  

Address: 27026 N 156th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, United States | Timing: Please visit https://www.southwestwildlife.org/ for more information | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NrbuakS9ZtFv9He37 | Phone Number: +14804719109 

Scottsdale Fashion Square 

Irrespective of whether you’re a shopaholic or not, you’ll find it impossible to resist the charm of Scottsdale Fashion Square. 

From Gucci and Neiman Marcus to Louis Vitton to Nordstrom, this luxury shopping center plays host to the who’s who of the fashion industry.  

Occupying approximately 2 million square feet of lavish retail space, the Scottsdale Fashion Square is, in fact, the largest mall in Arizona and features among the top 30 largest malls in the US. 

Fashion Square - East Addition Entrance South - 2010-01-24.JPG
By Cygnusloop99, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 7014 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 10:00 am to 9: 00 pm, Sunday: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/vCyuoNLho5LvzRNWA | Phone Number: +14809412140 

Arizona Cowboy College 

Have you ever fancied experiencing life as an American cowboy? At the Arizona Cowboy College, you get an opportunity to convert those dreams into reality. 

Over here, you get the opportunity to learn ranching techniques as well as English and Western horsemanship skills from the best in the business, with none other than the legendary Rocco Wachman presiding as the senior instructor of the facility.  

Operating since 1969, Arizona Cowboy College is an intimate component of Scottsdale’s cultural heritage. Countless students of the college vouch that the courses are capable of imparting a “life-changing experience”. Well, guess there’s only one way to find out, isn’t it? 

Jumbotron behind Lori Bridwell - Presentation of the Colors - Parada del Sol Rodeo

Address: 30208 N 152nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, United States | Timing: Tuesday to Sunday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/QTpQpWrBfusZiHyd8 | Phone Number: +14804713151 

Eat a Sweet Republic Ice Cream 

Talking about other activities in Scottsdale, no trip to this desert city in Arizona is complete without grabbing an ice cream from Sweet Republic. If you struggle with decision-making, make sure to drag along a friend or family member while visiting the store because Sweet Republic’s wide assortment of flavors is bound to leave you spoiled for choice. 

Besides packing the crowd-favorite flavors of chocolate and vanilla, the store is known for its rather experimental flavors such as sweet corn, chocolate orange with Sichuan peppercorn, and honey blue cheese. The best part? Every single flavor is made using totally natural ingredients! 

Source: Sweet Republic

Address: 9160 E Shea Blvd #105, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, United States | Timing: Sunday to Thursday: 12:00 pm to 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday: 12:00 pm to 11:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NeDyygESRusQNtz29 | Phone Number: +14802486979 

Rent an ATV from Arizona Outdoor Fun

This one is also for the adrenaline junkie within you. The guided ATV tours offered by Arizona Outdoor Fun give you an opportunity to experience the bewitching Sonoran Desert from extremely close quarters. 

Besides the Sonoran desert, these off-road trips also take you through the splendid Bradshaw Mountains, the Agua Fria River, and the erstwhile silver mining town of Tip Top. 

What’s more, the guides also teach you how to survive in the desert by consuming cacti meat. An exciting place to be with friends and adventure-loving family members. Now, that sounds really compelling, doesn’t it? 

Address: 61112 N, Black Canyon Fwy, New River, AZ 85087, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 8:00 am to 3:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NwkiantjhhBRs2B8A | Phone Number: +16024002445 

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) 

SMoCA in Downtown Scottsdale is guaranteed to leave art enthusiasts thrilled to their very core. Existing as an inventive renovation of an old movie theatre that was built by architect Will Bruder, SMoCA raises a toast to some of the most thought-provoking and awe-inspiring art, design and architecture of modern times.  

That’s not all; the museum also harbors “Knight Rise”, a public “skyspace” and an outdoor installation created by internationally acclaimed artist James Turrell.  

Sculpture outside Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.jpg
By Dru Bloomfield, CC BY 2.0, Link

Address: 7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Wednesday to Sunday (except Thursday): 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thursday: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/ScottsdaleMoCA?share | Phone Number: +14808744666 

Desert Splash Adventures 

Looking for an adrenaline rush? Sign up with Desert Splash Adventures and experience stunning flights over Roosevelt Lake, Grand Canyon, and Lake Powell. Desert Splash Adventures make sure that you absorb every little detail of Scottsdale’s astonishing landscape while seated comfortably in the cockpit of a Cessna Caravan. 

Make sure to carry your camera (or at least your phone) along; you wouldn’t want to regret not capturing the many mesmerizing views that this tour has to offer. 

Address: 15115 N Airport Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85260, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 7:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/NHktSPLSbSkcee3R6 | Phone Number: +18775888819 

Desert Botanical Garden 

The Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale, Arizona, places you right in the middle of rows and rows of arid-land plants from all across the globe. What makes this garden a must-visit, especially with family, is the extremely tasteful manner in which many unique artworks have been blended with the surroundings. 

Let’s just suffice to say that if you haven’t uploaded much on your Instagram feed of late, this place is going to provide you with plenty of fodder and a chance to compensate for all that absence.  

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix (8226714954).jpg
By InSapphoWeTrust, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Address: 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 8:00 am to 8:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/dbgphx?share | Phone Number: +14809411225 

Go Karting At Octane Raceway 

Privately owned and operated by its founder and CEO, Scott Sanders, Octane Raceway is undoubtedly among Scottsdale’s primary tourist attractions.  

This full-time indoor/outdoor racing venue provides both casual and competitive kart racing experiences to all ages. So, it’s a great spot for parents to spend some quality time with their kids. 

All you need to do to sign up for a race is simply walk in, and register. If only signing up for all the fun things in the world were as convenient as this one! 

Address: 9119 E Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, United States | Timing: Monday to Thursday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, Friday: 11:00 am to 12:00 am, Saturday: 10:00 am to 12:00 am, Sunday: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/octaneracewaykarting?share | Phone Number: +16023027223 

Pinnacle Peak Park 

If you love hiking, you simply can’t miss making a trip to the conical and rocky Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale. Covering the 1.75-mile one-way trail will take you to the top of Pinnacle Peak, a spot that is at an elevation of nearly 1300 feet.  

From here, you are free to devour absolutely jaw-dropping views of northern Scottsdale as well as the green fairways belonging to the Troon North Golf Club. Shutterbugs, you know what to do!

Haze in the valley

Address: 26802 N 102nd Way, Scottsdale, AZ 85262, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 6:00 am to 6:15 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/PinnaclePeakPark?share | Phone Number: +14803120990 

Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden  

This National Wildlife Federation-certified habitat located in Chaparral Park houses more than 7,000 plants ranging across 200 species. Sprawling across 5.5 acres, this garden is fed by an expansive underwater reservoir. Besides preserving and protecting regional plant species, the Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden also exists as a great educational resource for anyone who’s willing to enlighten themselves about sustainable landscaping and local plant species. 

Punctuated with fascinating trails and cool, shady pathways, the garden presents itself as a great hangout spot for adults and a fun play area for kids. 

Scottsdale Public Art - Terraced Desert Garden

Address: 8111 E McDonald Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85250, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/Wc6xZt7bPPcJYRyeA | Phone Number: +14803123111

Civic Center Mall 

Located in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, Civic Center Mall is characterized by three acres of open public space, which is complemented by sitting areas, rose gardens and water bodies. 

The area also plays host to some of the town’s most important cultural institutions, such as the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, to name a few. 

Oh, and while you’re here, don’t forget to take a snap of the famous “LOVE” sculpture that was crafted by the late artist Robert Indiana. 

Civic Center Mall, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA - panoramio.jpg
By Marthlu ParkerV, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

Address: 3939 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Contact the center directly for timings | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/H73yweaoLcrMh8T99| Phone Number: +14803123111 

Red Mountain Park 

Spread across 1146.3 acres, Red Mountain Park presents itself as an excellent spot for spending a relaxed afternoon or evening with your friends and family.  

Here, you’ll never run out of things to do, courtesy its multiple amenities such as a lighted basketball court, walking trails, a lighted cement volleyball court, and an urban fishing lake to name a few.  

If you want a break from the hubbub of the town and are seeking solitude, you won’t find many places that are as peaceful as this in all of Arizona.  

Address: 7745 E Brown Rd, Mesa, AZ 85207, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/giLiX18utNea5ZoN9 | Phone Number: +14806447529 

Dine at Dominick’s Steakhouse 

Looking for an excuse to treat yourself to a scrumptious meal? We’ll give you a solid one – Dominick’s Steakhouse. 

Situated in Scottsdale Quarter, its wide range of seafood, Italian dishes, and of course steaks, is bound to leave your taste buds mesmerized for months together.  

If you’re taking suggestions, then we’d definitely recommend the USDA Prime Grade Beef that comes with sides of asparagus fries, double-baked truffle potato, and roasted Brussels sprouts. You can thank us later. 

Address: 15169 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, United States | Timing: Sunday to Thursday: 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday: 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/DominicksSteakhouse?share | Phone Number: +14802727271 

CrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Park 

Wondering about the things to do in Scottsdale this weekend? Well, here’s an amazing place to spend time with your loved ones — CrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Park. The 28-acre thrill park is one of the main Scottsdale highlights, with features like go-karts, bumper boats, and a driving range, among others.  

Address: 16001 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85254, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 10:00 am to 9 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/CrackerJaxFunPark?share | Phone Number: +14809982800 

Hula’s Modern Tiki 

Here’s some mouthwatering stuff to do in Scottsdale, Arizona: Plan a visit to Hula’s Modern Tiki, one of the most popular food joints in the area. The restaurant promises to give you a taste of the classic tiki bars and eateries of the 50’s and 60’s, at the same time giving it a modern and urban touch.  

Apart from its amazing array of food and drinks, which you can feast on, Hula’s is also known for its indoor-outdoor ambiance and a palm-tree-topped Tiki Room. 

Address: 7213 E 1st Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, United States | Timing: Monday to Thursday: 11:00 am to 10:00 pm, Friday: 11:00 am to 12:00 am, Saturday: 10:30 am to 12: 00 am, Sunday: 10:30 am to 10: 00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/y3EWeZZXBiZzakPDA | Phone Number: +14809704852 

Taliesin West 

A UNESCO heritage site, Taliesin West was constructed in the late 1930s by the legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. While formerly it used to be Wright’s winter home, at present it serves as the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin West. 

The site hosts daily tours (which have to be booked in advance) during which visitors get a chance to admire Wright’s ingenious design and his architectural prowess in general. Ensure that you hang on to every detail the guides share during these tours; that will enhance your experience by leaps and bounds.  

To end your tour on a perfect note, visit Taliesin West’s gift shop and grab a souvenir for friends and family. Got an anniversary or birthday approaching soon? Not to worry, you will surely find something suitable over here.  

TaliesinWest03 gobeirne.jpg
By I, Gobeirne, CC BY 2.5, Link

Address: 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, United States | Timing: Monday to Sunday: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm | Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/yUACtGh24eT2nDUJA | Phone Number: +14808602700

Jalapeno Inferno 

Situated in the Northern part of the town, Jalapeno Inferno is where one would go to satiate their Mexican food cravings. 

This family-owned and operated restaurant has been delighting its customers for over 15 years now through its wide assortment of lip-smacking delicacies, including cast iron skillet chicken, tacos al carbon, spinach enchiladas, and many others. 

True to their name, Jalapeno Inferno serves its customers a variety of hot dishes that contain hatch chiles. But don’t worry, you can always wash that sensation down with their innovative margaritas, cold beers, and magnificent tequilas. 

Source: Jalapeno Inferno

Address: 23587 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, United States | Timing: Monday to Saturday: 11:00 am t0 9:00 pm, Sunday: 11:00 am to 8:30 pm | Google Map Location: https://g.page/jalpscottsdale?share | Phone Number: +14805856442 

Scottsdale is home to many more tourist attractions. The holiday season will soon be here and if you are still confused about where to head for that much-needed rest and rejuvenation, this Arizona city is your answer.