Located in Arizona’s sun-soaked Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is a lively city best known for its glitzy resorts, championship golf courses, and thriving nightlife. If you’re looking for the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure, this is the place to be. From striking rock formations to lush vegetation, Scottsdale’s desert landscape boasts stunning natural beauty everywhere you turn. You can peruse through the upscale shops of Kierland Commons, go hiking in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, eat your way through Scottsdale’s booming food and wine scene, or browse the art galleries of the Old Town Arts District. With roughly 299 sunny days each year, Scottsdale makes for an unforgettable vacation in any season.
Best times to book a trip to Scottsdale
While it’s never a bad time to book a vacation in Scottsdale, it’s important to keep in mind that it is a desert and therefore reaches extraordinarily high temperatures in the summer. That being said, the lack of humidity makes the heat far more bearable than you might think, so don’t let the fear of triple-digit temperatures hold you back. If you’re looking to save money on a Scottsdale resort, the summer months typically hold the lowest prices. For the most appealing weather, the best time to visit Scottsdale is in late fall or early spring. During these months, you can expect the temperature to range from the high 60s to low 80s, with cool evenings that require a light jacket.
How to get around Scottsdale
The easiest way to get to Scottsdale is to fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), located just 20 minutes from downtown Scottsdale. While there is a small airport in Scottsdale, it is reserved for private jet travel only. Once you arrive, the most convenient way to get around in Scottsdale is by car rental. This affords you the freedom of exploring the region without added wait times. If this is not an option, you may take advantage of Scottsdale’s bus system and array of rideshare services. For a fun way to travel between popular tourist destinations in Scottsdale, hop on the free Scottsdale Trolley.
Top Things to do in Scottsdale
With an abundance of natural wonders, museums, restaurants, shops, and outdoor activities, there is certainly no shortage of things to do in Scottsdale. This beautiful desert city has something for all types of travelers, regardless of age or interests.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
With over 30,500 acres of lush and pristine scenery, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest urban preserve in the United States. Visitors can explore the park through outdoor activities like hiking, biking, horseback riding, or rock climbing. Lush cacti forests, vibrant wildflower fields, and diverse desert wildlife cover the protected desert habitat, allowing for endless opportunities for postcard-worthy photos.
Old Town Scottsdale
Made up of nine walkable neighborhoods, Old Town Scottsdale is a bustling area filled with museums, art galleries, shops, and restaurants that range from laid-back to upscale. Hit the shops along Fifth Avenue, grab a sweet treat at the iconic Sugar Bowl, and learn more about the town at the Scottsdale Historical Museum. How do you get around Old Town Scottsdale, you ask? Easy, you hop on the Old Town Trolley—free of charge. With so much to do and see, Old Town is a guaranteed hit with the whole family.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Since its grand opening in 1975, this 30-acre railroad park has maintained a spot as one of the top family-friendly attractions in Scottsdale. The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park features museums, model railroads, train rides, playgrounds, and even a carousel.