Things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona
There’s never a shortage of exciting things to do in and around Scottsdale, Arizona! Here are some of our favorite attractions and activities to get your Scottsdale itinerary off to a great start.
Scottsdale’s lively city center is comprised of walkable neighborhoods, each of which has its own unique personality. From the quaint streets of Old Town to the global galleries of the Arts District, downtown Scottsdale is a must-see on any itinerary. For a fun and easy way to get around, hop aboard the free Downtown Trolley!
With more than 100 miles of pristine trails, Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a hiker’s paradise. Trails range from easy walks to calorie-melting workouts. The Preserve also is a popular spot for mountain biking and rock climbing.
In the 1930s, legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright chose Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains as the location of his winter home, studio and architectural school. Today, a variety of daily tours showcase the legendary architect’s ability to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces.
Nestled in the heart of downtown, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West celebrates the pioneer spirit of the American West through changing exhibitions of fine art, rare historic artifacts and cultural treasures.
SMoCA explores the modern art, architecture and design of our time through a variety of changing exhibitions. The museum, an ingenious renovation of an old movie theater by architect Will Bruder, also houses “Knight Rise,” a James Turrell skyspace that allows you to track the sun’s path across the desert sky.
Butterfly Wonderland is home to the largest butterfly pavilion in the U.S. and features species from around the world! Activities include a 3-D feature film on the migration of Monarch butterflies, a Butterfly Emergence Gallery and other interactive exhibits.
The Heard Museum is world renowned for its outstanding collection of Native American art and cultural artifacts from the tribes of the Southwest. The museum also hosts the annual World Hoop Dance Championships (February) and Heard Museum Guild Indian Fair & Market (March).
Discover arid-land plants from deserts around the world along the Garden’s five thematic trails. The paved trails illustrate topics such as conservation, desert living, plants and people of the Sonoran Desert, and desert wildflowers.
The Musical Instrument Museum allows you to see, hear and play instruments from around the world! More than 5,000 instruments and cultural artifacts are on display. Stay for lunch and enjoy global cuisine at MIM’s Allegro Café.
Explore one of the Scottsdale area’s most scenic and popular lakes aboard the Desert Belle! Daily 90-minute cruises on Saguaro Lake introduce guests to the history, geology, and flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert.