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A modern oasis on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, sunny Scottsdale perfectly pairs western-style adventures with rest and relaxation. After a day exploring rustic mountain and desert trails on foot, by bike, or in an ATV, travelers can enjoy a spot of pampering at dozens of day spas. Scottsdale also boasts a world-class dining scene, with more than 800 restaurants to choose from, although hitting the links at high-end golf clubs or exploring Frank Lloyd Wright's legacy at Talieson West—the famed architect’s home and studio—also top the list of things to do in Scottsdale.
Desert-sun seekers flock to Scottsdale from October through May for events such as the Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction, Scottsdale Culinary Festival, and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show. Plus, Major League Baseball teams make an appearance for spring training in late February. Visit in early spring and late fall for weather that’s warm enough for an outdoor pool dip and cool enough so you can get outside and explore.
Many of Scottsdale’s sights, including the Old Town, can be accessed by foot or public transportation. A free daily trolley runs through the downtown area, which is an easy 20-minute drive from the airport. To head further afield, including into the surrounding Sonoran Desert, you’ll need to either join a tour or rent a car. Drivers benefit from plenty of free parking in town.
The Sonoran Desert stretches for 100,000 square miles (260,000 square kilometers) and is the hottest desert in the United States and Mexico. Many locations are vistable by basic vehicles. But to go deep into the wilderness, consider joining a private or group tour in a 4WD vehicle. Other options include utility terrain vehicles and all-terrain vehicles for off-road rides. Some day tours also offer canyoneering excursions.
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Scottsdale is a picturesque Arizona city located in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, known for its old-timey, boutique-filled downtown and 1920s-era buildings. Its surrounding hiking trails take you through canyons and cactus-covered drylands. You’ll find a wealth of high-end infrastructure, from deluxe golf courses to ultra-luxurious resorts and spas....More
Get your camera ready and start the day by roaming through the rustic Old Town, which practically screams “Wild West.” If temperatures permit (i.e. it’s not peak summer), wind down with a sunset 3.5-hour loop hike through the Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail, located within Pinnacle Peak Park....More
Scottsdale is perhaps best known for its golf courses, but that luxury-minded reputation is only part of the story. You’ll find golf and spas, plus a first-rate fine dining scene. But also in the mix is a walkable downtown and cactus-filled hiking trails in the surrounding Sonoran Desert....More
Arizona is most famous for the Grand Canyon, a world-renowned natural attraction. This is no mere hole in the ground, but a mile-deep gorge surrounded on both sides by a kaleidoscope of weather-whipped rock. It’s reachable from Scottsdale by road and takes 3.5 hours each way....More
Scottsdale is a year-round destination, with weather that stays sunny and mild throughout winter. If you’re itching to hit some hiking trails, then you’ll want to avoid the scorching-hot summers, when resorts are kept AC-cool but temperatures outside often climb well above 100°F (38°C)....More
Yes, Scottsdale is visually arresting, from the Wild West vibes of its old town to the fringe of McDowell Mountains surrounding the city. It’s the perfect mix of town and countryside, from melting pot food joints and funky boutiques to a sweep of canyon-filled desert hiking and trekking trails....More