There are a lot of things to do in Scottsdale for people from all walks of life. From fine dining to boutique shopping, the experiences are first-class. Our list is not comprehensive of all the things to do in Scottsdale, but it will give you a good headstart.
1. Visit Taliesin West
Taliesin West was the home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright but 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 by 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 Carousel, built-in 1950, children’s playgrounds, as well as 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 also been minimally redesigned by Arizonian architect Will Bruder. They have permanent collections, traveling collections, as well as 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 also 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. Also, you won’t be disappointed by notable retailers like Michael Kors, Coach, and Anthropologie.
5. Pinnacle Peak Park
150-acre Pinnacle 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. Though still 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 also have 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. Also, membership gains you entry into the exclusive Titanium Lounge.
7. Scottsdale Fashion Square
Housing about 2 million square feet of retail space, Scottsdale Fashion Square is known for its upscale luxury shopping environment as well as its unique design. It’s among the top 30 largest malls in the country! They’ve undergone a number of expansions over the years, but 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. The museum is owned by the city of Scottsdale and operated by a nonprofit organization. There are 8 exhibit spaces that rotate periodically. The exhibits focus on things like the story of Lewis and Clark, the fine art of the American West, as well as bronze artistry. Also, be sure to catch a presentation in the 135 seats, multi-sensory and multimedia theater!
9. Scottsdale Civic Center
Within close proximity to Old Town, there is a beautiful park that connects all the Scottsdale Civic Center attractions. When you come to Scottsdale for the first time, it is a must to visit this gorgeous area. Just remember to bring your camera.
Below are a few of the attractions within the Scottsdale Civic Center.
- The LOVE sculpture (more information below).
- An outdoor amphitheater for festivals and live performances.
- Multiple gorgeous fountains with statues and crystal clear water.
- A lagoon with many ducks, geese, and even swans.
- An impressive library with a history museum inside.
- The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which attracts top national and international talent.
- The Scottsdale Historical Museum, which showcases early Scottsdale artifacts.
The LOVE Sculpture
The love sculpture is a popular pop art piece that can also be found in locations all around the country. It was designed by the artist Robert Indiana. The first love sculpture was made in 1970 and is displayed in Indiana at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In 2003, it was Scottsdale’s turn to have its own sculpture. Today, it is a popular photo-op and selfie-taking location.
Scottsdale is a popular travel destination for a myriad of reasons. If you haven’t been here, then you should seriously consider putting it on your list. Scottsdale has more to offer than just the options on this list, but we hope that it at least gives you a good starting point when you’re looking for things to do in Scottsdale.
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