Arizona is home to the jaw-dropping Grand Canyon, crazy desert wildlife, and very hot summers.
#1 Visit Taliesin West
Taliesin West was the home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and now houses the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. Wright closely oversaw the building of the home that overlooks Paradise Valley and the McDowell Range. His hope was to preserve a connection with the desert through using available materials. Many rooms were created using primarily nearby desert rocks. One of these rooms is a six-sided, nearly acoustically perfect cabaret theater. A tour of the home will have you in awe of the way the building fits in perfectly with the natural beauty of the desert.
#2 McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has 40 acres jam packed with railroad related attractions. Originally the park was donated to the City of Scottsdale by Fowler McCormick and has been expanded several times. You can still see the Paradise & Pacific Railroad — it was the first miniature train to operate in the park! Other attractions include the Charro Carrousel, built in 1950, children’s playgrounds, and a variety of exhibits. Whether you’re a railroad enthusiast or not, you’re sure to find something interesting here!
#3 Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Founded in 1999, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is the only museum in Arizona that focuses on only modern art, design, and architecture. SMoCA is housed in a movie theater building that has been minimalistically redesigned by Arizonian architect Will Bruder. They have permanent collections, travelling collections, and a ton of special and educational events. You could easily enjoy a day checking out the five main galleries and outdoor sculpture garden.
#4 Kierland Commons
Kierland Commons is a lifestyle center on the border of Scottsdale that strives to deliver a “Main Street” vibe. Completed in 2000, it is the first lifestyle center in Arizona, and has received various awards for excellence. Here, you can find over 75 stores, restaurants, and services. You won’t be disappointed by notable retailers like Michael Kors, Coach, and Anthropologie.
#5 Pinnacle Peak Park
150 acre Pinncacle Peak Park is part of the Sonoran Desert. The picturesque granite summit rises 3,169 feet into the air. You’ll need climbing credentials to make it to the peak, but anyone is welcome to use nearly 2 miles of trails to explore the park. Along the trails you’ll see plenty of desert flora and fauna! Feast your eyes on Saguaro cacti, creosote plants, grey foxes, and desert cottontails. Keep a wary eye out for bobcats and rattlesnakes as you enjoy the scenic “Grandview” lookout.
#6 Scottsdale Gun Club
The Scottsdale Gun Club has 32 lanes, which makes them the largest indoor public shooting range in the country! They’ve got a “Five Star Facility” rating from the National Association of Shooting Ranges. If you’re an enthusiast, you’ll definitely be in paradise in the 30,000 square foot facility that has three eight lane public shooting bays, a tactical bay, and a tactical shoot house. A membership gains you entry into the exclusive Titanium Lounge as well.
#7 Scottsdale Fashion Square
Housing about 2 million square feet of retail space, Scottsdale Fashion Square is known for its upscale luxury shopping environment. It’s among the top 30 largest malls in the country! They’ve undergone a number of expansions over the years, and they’re continually growing. Anchor stores like Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Arizona’s first ever Nordstrom provide the foundation for all of the other shops. You could easily spend a day wandering their stores!
#8 Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Of this museum, director Mike Fox says “We are not a museum of objects, but a museum of ideas.” Regardless, they’ve got a 2 story, 43,000 square foot museum filled with the art, culture, and history of 19 western states, including Arizona, of course. Owned by the city of Scottsdale and operated by a non profit organization, there are 8 exhibit spaces that rotate periodically and focus on things like the story of Lewis and Clark, fine art of the American West, and bronze artistry. Be sure to catch a presentation in the 135 seat, multi-sensory and multimedia theater!