Scottsdale is a chic, desert city located just outside of Arizona’s capital city, Phoenix. Scottsdale is well-known for its upscale, trendy spas, resorts, and golf courses, but it’s also a great destination for delicious food, family friendly activities, and incredible art and architecture. Scottsdale is the perfect destination for a romantic couples trip, a weekend getaway as a family, a bachelorette party, or a girls trip! There is so much to do in the city, both indoors and outdoors, so it’s the perfect city to visit year round! Here is our complete guide to the best things to do, places to eat, and places to stay in Scottsdale, Arizona. And be sure to pack sunscreen and a bathing suit, because the desert heat can sneak in at any time of year!
The Best Things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona:
Hike Camelback Mountain:
Camelback Mountain is an iconic Scottsdale landmark. Get there early, because the parking lot fills up and if you go earlier in the day, you’ll have less crowds (and heat!) to deal with. There are two trails that take you to the top — Echo Canyon trail and Cholla Trail. The Echo Canyon Trail is shorter and steeper, and the Cholla Trail is longer and a more gradual incline. We recommend using the All Trails app to find more information about the experience. Once you get to the top, there are absolutely stunning views of the entire city. The view definitely makes the climb worth it. Be sure to bring plenty of water, use sun protection, and wear good hiking shoes!
Wander through the interactive art exhibits at Wonderspaces Arizona! This was by far one of our favorite things we did while we were in Scottsdale! Be sure to go into every exhibit, because they’re truly all incredible and they each give you a different unique experience. From a sewing machine orchestra to robots that can draw you to a VR experience, each of the exhibits is truly unique and unlike any other museum we’ve ever been to before. Our favorite exhibits were Light Leaks and Human Study! They do rotate their exhibits every four to five months, so there’s always something new to see! Wonderspaces is located in the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, so you can get some shopping in after your visit too.
Shop at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall:
Go under the sea at the OdySea Aquarium! They have different sea animals from rivers, lakes, and oceans around the world. There are also interactive tide pools where you can safely touch some marine animals, like sea stars. Be sure to go to the bathroom and wash your hands with a view of sharks! (It was voted as one the best bathrooms in the US!)
JoyRidesAZ Golf Cart Tour:
Visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art:
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is a pretty small museum, which makes it a great place to hop in, take a break from the heat, and enjoy some stunning and thought provoking artwork from various artists, including several Arizona-based artists. Be sure to go to the outdoor patio and visit the Knight Rise exhibit, which was our favorite! Knight Rise is one of only 14 of James Turrell’s skyspaces in the U.S. open to the public
Explore Old Town Scottsdale:
One of our favorite things we did while we were there was just spend some time walking around Old Town Scottsdale. It’s the perfect place to window shop, hop in local art galleries, buy souvenirs from local artisans, or hang out in a Saloon. It’s so walkable and a great way to get a feel for Scottsdale’s history. The entire area is decorated with old town western vibes. Walk in the Old Adobe Mission, shop at The Merchantile of Scottsdale, and grab some food at any of the delicious restaurants in the area. It’s a great area to have a leisurely afternoon!
The Best Places to EAt in Scottsdale:
Postino Wine Cafe:
Postino Wine Cafe is a local favorite! It’s the perfect lunch spot, because they serve delicious sandwiches, soups, and salads. They’re famous for their bruschetta boards, and honestly, for good reason! They’re incredible! Our favorites were the brie, apple, and fig spread and the warm artichoke spread. But you also have to get the chicken & mozzarella panini on focaccia! It was honestly one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had in my life!
If you’re looking for a decadent, over-the-top yet absolutely delicious brunch spot, Hash Kitchen is a must! They serve pancakes, french toast, and their signature “hashes.” We got the Lucky Charms French Toast (that comes with literal gold flakes on it), the s’mores pancakes, and the billion dollar bacon. And it’s home to the original “build your own bloody mary bar,” so it’s the perfect brunch spot for a bachelorette or girls weekend! All of the food is very Instagrammable, so you’ll definitely want to snap a picture before you dive in. They also have a local DJ playing music, so the entire vibe makes you feel like you’re ready to party all weekend!
The Herb Box:
If you’re looking for a fresh, healthy, organic bite, head over to The Herb Box. This was by far one of our favorite meals while we were in Scottsdale! Be sure to get the crisp brussel sprout chips and the smashed fingerling potatoes, because they are AH-MAZING.
You can’t go to Scottsdale without eating Mexican food, and Diego Pops is a fan favorite! They offer a trendy, modern take on authentic-Mexican food. Diego Pops has Happy Hour seven days a week from 3-6 pm. So come for happy hour and stay for dinner and be sure to get their famous brussel sprout nachos!
Farm & Craft:
Where to Stay in Scottsdale:
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa:
The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa is one of the best resorts in Scottsdale! It’s covered with palm trees, wildflowers, and cacti, and has unique artwork and Frank-Lloyd Wright inspired architecture, making it a beautiful resort. It has a 2.5-acre water playground with 10 different pools, a sand beach, waterfalls, water volleyball, and a 30-foot waterslide! The pool is a perfect place to spend the day relaxing and cooling off from the desert sun. The Hyatt Regency Scottsdale is very family friendly, and with the three-story waterslide, it’s the perfect place for kids (and adults!) to play!