SCOTTSDALE FAQ

What’s the best time of year to visit Scottsdale?

Each Scottsdale season offers its own unique activities and adventures! Here are a few highlights to consider when making your plans: 

Spring:

  • Colorful wildflowers are in bloom along hiking trails and roadways
  • Cactus League Spring Training Baseball with the Giants, Rockies and Diamondbacks comes to Scottsdale
  • Daily high temperatures average 85 degrees – perfect weather for Sonoran Desert exploration and sightseeing

Summer:

  • Great seasonal rates at Scottsdale’s award-winning hotels, resorts and golf courses
  • Loads of sun and fun at resort water parks
  • Night-vision Jeep and Hummer tours
  • Live concerts under the stars at area parks, shopping centers and the Desert Botanical Garden

Fall:

  • Farmers’ Markets return
  • The Scottsdale International Film Festival takes place
  • Arizona Fall Baseball comes to Scottsdale Stadium
  • Idyllic weather for outdoor adventures and sightseeing

Winter:

  • Plenty of sunshine and highs in the 70s
  • Big-name events like Waste Management Phoenix Open, Barrett-Jackson Auto Auction and Fiesta Bowl
  • Holiday happenings like Zoo Lights and Las Noches de las Luminarias
  • Resorts decked out in their holiday finest
How do I find a resort or hotel in Scottsdale?

Discover your Scottsdale Resort Style, then find the perfect accommodations on our Places to Stay page.

What should I pack?

Scottsdale’s style is casual and laid-back. For spring and summer, shorts, capris, light shirts and blouses, sundresses, sandals and swimwear are all good choices. Toss in a light sweater since air conditioning can get chilly. For cooler seasons, slacks, jeans, warmer shirts and blouses, dresses, sweaters, boots and a light layer of outerwear are all you need. A handful of restaurants do require jackets and ties for men, so keep your evening plans in mind as you pack. And don’t forget your bathing suit – most of our pools are heated year-round, so swimming is always in season!

Which airport will I fly into?

Most visitors arrive at Sky Harbor International Airport, located 10 miles west of downtown Scottsdale. Sky Harbor is the main airport serving the area and offers non-stop service to and from more than 100 cities worldwide. Private and corporate jets use Scottsdale Airport, which offers award-winning service and a central-city location close to all our resorts and attractions. Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, 30 miles east of Scottsdale, is a regional airport offering service via Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit airlines.

How hot does it get in Scottsdale?

Summers in the Sonoran Desert are definitely warm, with highs that frequently top the century mark. But don’t let that keep you from visiting! Scottsdale also enjoys very low humidity, which makes the air temperature feel cooler than it is. And with an abundance of gorgeous resort pools and water parks, eight nearby lakes and rivers, and air conditioning in all our indoor spaces, it’s easy to stay cool all summer long. Check out our weather page for more details on Scottsdale’s year-round sunny weather.

Can I go swimming in the winter?

Absolutely! Scottsdale’s 330 days of annual sunshine and heated hotel and resort pools make swimming an option whenever you visit.

I’m not planning to rent a car. Where should I stay and what can I see?

Thanks to free downtown Trolley service and easy walkability, Downtown Scottsdale is a great choice for guests choosing not to rent a car. Accommodations range from full-service resorts to family-friendly hotels. Attractions in downtown include the Scottsdale Arts District, Fifth Avenue Shopping District, Old Town, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary ArtScottsdale Fashion SquareScottsdale Historical Museum and nearly 100 restaurants, bars and lounges.

However, if you plan to explore our entire city and visit our renowned attractions and natural wonders, we strongly recommend that you rent a car, as public transportation in Scottsdale is very limited.

How far away are the Grand Canyon and Sedona?

The Grand Canyon‘s popular South Rim is an easy four-hour drive from Scottsdale. Sedona is just two hours north of Scottsdale by car. Air and ground tours from Scottsdale to both the Grand Canyon and Sedona are available year-round.

Where can I experience Native American culture?

The world-renowned Heard Museum in Phoenix provides a fascinating introduction to the Native American cultures of the Southwest. The Heard Museum also offers popular annual events including the World Hoop Dance Championship in February and its Indian Fair and Market in March. Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park is centered on a prehistoric Hohokam Indian ruin and also features fascinating exhibits on Hohokam culture, archaeology and art. Over at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa, the Native American Learning Center showcases art and exhibits about Hopi culture. The resort also offers free Native American dance performances every Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. And at the Cultural Center at Talking Stick Resort, located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, you’ll find art and exhibits reflecting Pima and Maricopa ancestry as well as seasonal dance performances.

Do I need to worry about snakes?

No. Rattlesnake sightings in areas frequented by visitors (hotels and resorts, attractions, downtown and other high-traffic areas) are very rare. If you plan to explore our Sonoran Desert, following a few simple guidelines will minimize your chances of an unexpected encounter with snakes:

  • Stay on marked trails.
  • Watch the trail ahead of you – snakes like to bask in sunny spots, particularly when they come out of hibernation in the spring.
  • If you see a snake on the trail, don’t approach it or try to move it; it will likely move along on its own once it becomes aware of you.
  • Don’t step over rocks, bushes or other obstacles if you can’t see what’s on the other side.
  • Don’t put your hands anywhere you can’t see (i.e. into holes, under rocks, in bushes).

To learn more about Scottsdale’s amazing Sonoran Desert and all the exciting ways you can explore it, check out our Sonoran Desert Discovery Guide.

Are there any RV parks in Scottsdale?

Yes – Scottsdale Trailer Corral, just south of downtown, offers nightly, weekly and monthly spaces as well as mobile home rentals.

What time is it in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale, like all of Arizona, is in the Mountain Standard Time (MST) zone. Please note that with the exception of the Navajo Nation in the northeastern corner of the state, Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

What are the sales tax and hotel/resort check-out tax rates in Scottsdale*?

Sales Tax 7.95%
Hotel/Resort Check-out Tax 13.92%

*Rates are for Scottsdale only; sales and hotel/resort check-out tax rates in neighboring communities will vary.

What can I do in Scottsdale if I am just passing through?

If you have a few hours on an extended layover, head for downtown Scottsdale! It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Sky Harbor and offers a wide variety of shops, art galleries and restaurants. Click here for more ideas for things to do in Scottsdale if you only have a limited amount of time.

What are the basic driving rules in the United States?
  • Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the U.S.
  • The sequence of traffic lights is green, yellow, red and back to green. Green means to proceed through the intersection. Yellow indicates that the light will be changing to red and you are advised to slow down and stop; you may proceed on a yellow light only if stopping might cause an accident. Red means stop at the stop line.
  • Right-hand turns are permitted on red lights if cross traffic is clear and the turn can be made safely. Obey any signs that indicate right turns on red are prohibited.
  • A green filter light may be shown in addition to the main signal, which indicates you may drive in the direction shown by the arrow, irrespective of other lights showing.
  • Low beams are required after dark (usually half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise) in all states.

INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL FAQ
What type of currency is accepted in the U.S., and where can it be exchanged?

The US Dollar is the currency of the United States.

In Phoenix/Scottsdale, currency can be exchanged at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in two locations within Terminal 4 . One location is on Level 3, pre-security, just outside the B checkpoint. The other location in Terminal 4 is located past security next to gate B-15. Rates may differ compared to what you’ll pay at a bank, so be sure to ask about fees and surcharges first.

Most banks in large cities (like Scottsdale or Phoenix) offer currency exchange, but banks in rural areas may not.

Weather in Scottsdale: 

Click here for Scottsdale's average temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius

What documents are required for admission into the United States?

Foreign nationals entering the U.S. are generally required to present a passport and valid visa issued by a U.S. Consular Official, unless they are a citizen of a country eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), or are a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. or a citizen of Canada.

If You Do Not Qualify for the Visa Waiver Program
A visitor visa (B-2, non-immigrant visa) is needed for leisure travel to the United States if you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. For information on how to apply, click here. Find general information on visitor visas here

If You Do Qualify for the Visa Waiver Program
For a list of countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, click here

In order to travel without a visa on the VWP, authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is required prior to boarding a U.S. bound air or sea carrier.

Visit the ESTA webpage on the Customs and Border Patrol website for more detailed information, to apply for ESTA and pay the fee.

Are there any other forms required for entry into the United States?

Whether you are a visitor to the United States or a U.S. citizen, each individual arriving into the United States must complete one or more of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) entry forms.

Every traveler must complete the CBP Declaration Form 6059B. This form provides CBP with basic information about who you are and what you are bringing into the country, such as agriculture products, and whether or not you have visited a farm prior to traveling to the United States. If you are traveling with other immediate family members, you can complete one form for your entire family. CBP recently expanded the definition of family. Please refer to this article for more information.

Some travelers will need to complete a paper CBP Form I-94 (Department of Homeland Security Arrival/Departure Record). Those travelers may include refugees, asylees or individuals with parole documents.

If you have questions about your form, ask a CBP officer for help.

Are travelers required to have a passport on hand at all times while visiting Arizona?

We highly recommend that international travelers carry their passports at all times while visiting Arizona as this is the only form of picture ID that will be accepted. You may be asked to show a photo ID when using a credit card, purchasing alcohol, renting a car or other similar transactions.

What is the procedure for customs inspections?

Everyone arriving at a port of entry to the U.S. is subject to inspection by Customs and Border Protection officers for compliance with immigration, customs and agriculture regulations.

As a routine matter, U.S. Customs and Border Protection may search your belongings even if you don’t declare anything. The full list of customs rules can be found at www.cbp.gov http://www.cbp.gov/, but some frequently asked questions include:

What may I bring in duty-free?
  • No more than 200 cigarettes and 100 cigars per individual 18 and older.
  • Up to one liter of alcoholic beverages per individual 21 and older.
  • Gifts and purchases valued at a maximum of $100 total
What are the rules regarding large amounts of money?
  • Anyone traveling with $10,000 or more in cash – whether it’s in U.S. dollars or any other currency – must declare it.
What are common mistakes travelers make?
  • Some items will be confiscated if you try to import them, such as counterfeit goods, Cuban cigars, most agricultural products (plants and meat), and illegal drugs and drug-related paraphernalia. The presence of any illegal drugs will result in prosecution.
What are the units of measurement used in the United States?

The United States customary system (also called the American system or, sometimes, “English units”) is the most commonly used system of measurement in the United States.

Some common U.S. measurements are as follows:

  • Weight: ounces (oz), pounds (lb), tons
  • Liquid: ounces (oz), pints, quarts, gallons (gal)
  • Distance: feet (ft), yards (yd), miles (mi)

For a list of more common U.S. measurements, click here.

What types of electrical outlets are used in the United States?
  • Standard electrical outlet: Type A and Type B
  • Standard voltage: 120 V
  • Frequency: 60 Hz
  • For plug types used in other countries, click here
What time zone is Arizona in?

Arizona is in the Mountain Standard Time Zone and, with the exception of the Navajo Nation, does not observe daylight savings time.

What are the customary meal times in the United States?
  • Breakfast: Often served from 6am – 11am
  • Lunch: Often served from 11am – 2:30pm
  • Dinner: Often served from 4pm – 10pm
Are mobile phone services available on a weekly/monthly basis?

Many major cell phone carriers offer affordable plans for international travelers visiting the U.S. Most websites offer a country look-up, providing you with calling and messaging rates. Check out these plans from major carriers:

For some helpful tips on how to make international calls, click here.

What can I do in Scottsdale if I am just passing through?

If you have a few hours on an extended layover, head for downtown Scottsdale! It’s an easy 15-minute drive from Sky Harbor and offers a wide variety of shops, art galleries and restaurants. Click here for more ideas for things to do in Scottsdale if you only have a limited amount of time..

Is tax-free shopping available?

Sales tax varies by state and county; taxes vary by city. Duty-free shopping is available for international travelers in Terminal 4 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Please visit the Duty Free Americas website for more information.

When do I tip for services rendered and how much?

Tipping is customary for most services and should only be withheld in cases of extraordinarily bad service.

  • Airport and hotel porters: $2 per bag, $5 minimum per cart
  • Bartenders: 10-15% per round, $1 minimum per drink
  • Hotel maids: $2-4 per night, left under the card provided
  • Restaurant servers: 15-20%, unless a gratuity is already charged on the bill as may be the case for large parties (typically parties of 6 or more)
  • Taxi drivers: 10-15%, rounded up to the next dollar
  • Valet parking attendants: at least $2
  • Tour guides: 15-20% of the tour cost

For more etiquette on tipping, click here

Is it important to carry a credit card in the US?

Yes – it’s highly recommended that you carry at least one credit card, if only for emergencies. Major credit cards are almost universally accepted. In fact, it could be hard to rent a car or make phone reservations without one (though some airlines require your credit card billing address to be in the USA).

Where can I find online travel reviews?

If you’re looking for recommendations and places to visit during your stay, try out these common online review sites:

  • Yelp: Consumers use this site to post reviews about businesses. You can search for the best restaurants and accommodations in the area, and read reviews from both travelers and residents. This can be a great resource for travelers trying to find popular local spots.
  • TripAdvisor: This has been ranked the world’s largest travel site. Here you’ll find advice on accommodations, attractions and restaurants from travelers all over the world. You’ll also have access to planning features and booking tools.
What are the basic driving rules in the United States?
  • Traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road throughout the U.S.
  • The sequence of traffic lights is green, yellow, red and back to green. Green means to proceed through the intersection. Yellow indicates that the light will be changing to red and you are advised to slow down and stop; you may proceed on a yellow light only if stopping might cause an accident. Red means stop at the stop line.
  • Right-hand turns are permitted on red lights if cross traffic is clear and the turn can be made safely. Obey any signs that indicate right turns on red are prohibited.
  • A green filter light may be shown in addition to the main signal, which indicates you may drive in the direction shown by the arrow, irrespective of other lights showing.
  • Low beams are required after dark (usually half an hour after sunset and half an hour before sunrise) in all states.
Arizona contacts:

Foreign Consulates and Honorary Consuls