Scottsdale, Arizona Travel Guide.

May 25, 2021

best things to do in scottsdale, arizona

North America

Arizona, North America, USA

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:

best things to do in scottsdale, arizona
what 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!

Visit Wonderspaces:

Wander through the interactive art exhibits at Wonderspaces ArizonaThis 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:

Scottsdale Fashion Square is a luxury mall with stores from the best designer brands you can think of. It’s one of the largest malls in the country, so it’s a great place to spend some time shopping at all of your favorite stores.
what to do in scottsdale, arizona
best things to do in scottsdale, arizona

OdySea Aquarium:

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!)

Butterfly Wonderland:

Head next door to the aquarium and visit one of the largest butterfly conservatories in the country at Butterfly Wonderland! Butterfly Wonderland is exactly what it says it is – a magical rainforest paradise where thousands of butterflies fly freely around you. If you stand still, they’ll even land on you (but don’t touch them unless they touch you). There are a number of exhibits with bees, reptiles, and other insects, as well as a butterfly emergence gallery that shows the entire process of caterpillars evolving into butterflies that fly straight into the conservatory. It’s truly such a unique experience and a great experience for both kids and adults!

JoyRidesAZ Golf Cart Tour:

Take a tour through Old Town with JoyRidesAZ Tours! We did the gelato tour and it was amazing! Not only did we get to try delicious gelato from various shops in Old Town, but we also got an incredible history lesson about the city of Scottsdale itself! They offer a variety of tours from a Margaritas & Tacos Tour to an Instagram Photo Tour. JoyRidesAZ is run by the nicest husband and wife team, and you can check out all of the options on their website here.
flowers in old town scottsdale
mission in old town scottsdale

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:

brunch from hash kitchen scottsdale arizona
food at the herb box 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!

Hash Kitchen:

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.

diego pops scottsdale
farm and craft breakfast scottsdale
gelato cimmino scottsdale arizona

Diego Pops: 

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:

We loved Farm & Craft so much we went twice in the four days we were there! They have a seasonal wellness menu focused on providing healthy, organic, and sustainable meals. It’s the perfect spot to grab a cold-pressed juice or smoothie on-the-go or to sit down and enjoy a slow morning in Old Town. We loved the açãi bowl and the essential kale juice!

Culinary Dropout:

Culinary Dropout is right by the Waterfront outside of Fashion Square Mall and serves classic American comfort food — think fried chicken, pork ribs, and house made potato chips. When you go, you have to get their famous pretzel bites and provolone fondue! They taste even better than they sound!

Gelato Cimmino:

Cool off from the Arizona heat with a cold, creamy gelato from Gelato Cimmino. Gelato Cimmino is an authentic Italian gelateria in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. It’s the perfect evening or mid-afternoon treat! We loved the peanut butter cup, because it had a layer of chocolate on top!

Where to Stay in Scottsdale:

best resort in scottsdale, arizona
hyatt 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! 


where to stay in scottsdale, arizona
mountain shadows resort scottsdale
mountain shadows resort scottsdale

Mountain Shadows Resort:

We absolutely loved the quiet, laid back vibes of Mountain Shadows Resort! It has a mid-century modern design and desert chic aesthetic. Mountain Shadows has a stunning pool with a view of Camelback Mountain, a fitness center, lounge and bar area, and an 18-hole golf course, so it has everything you could possibly want for a relaxing and enjoyable vacation. It’s the perfect place to stay for a relaxing getaway. Be sure to eat dinner at Hearth ’61 and sit on the patio. It’s the perfect spot to watch the sunset and the colors in the sky change behind Camelback Mountain. We absolutely loved our stay at Mountain Shadows and can’t wait to go back!


Scottsdale, Arizona has incredible deals during the summer with up to 60% off peak season rates, which means you can stay at luxury properties at over half the price during the summer! There are also great deals on spas and activities during the summer too. Head to ItsThatHot.com for all the best deals for visiting Scottsdale during the summer!

Thank you, Experience Scottsdale, for our visit! This post is sponsored, but as always, all opinions are our own.

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