Monday, August 12th, 2013

Top Five Tours in Scottsdale

When people think of Scottsdale they usually think of top-notch resorts and the wide-open spaces of the breathtaking Sonoran Desert. But that’s not all Scottsdale offers.  Check out our top tour picks, which will give you insight into the city’s history, arts and cultural influences.

1. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

Taliesin-West

One of the most compelling attractions that Scottsdale offers is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, featuring various tours to suit anyone’s fancy. The winter home, studio and still-functioning architectural campus was built by Wright and his apprentices in 1937. Wright put his organic architecture philosophy to work, creating a multi-faceted building from the desert by using rocks from the surrounding mountains and sand from the washes to keep the design in balance with the stunning Sonoran Desert. The 90-minute Insights Tour takes you through each room in the house and is connected by dramatic terraces, gardens and walkways overlooking the Valley below.  For architectural enthusiasts, the three-hour Behind the Scenes Tour highlights the deeper understanding of Wright’s ideas and creative speak. This tour features mid-morning tea in the Taliesin Fellowship Dining Room where special hosts speak on Wright’s philosophies and dedication to building the house and architectural school.

2. Scottsdale Segway Tours

See Scottsdale in a whole new way, on wheels! With 330 days of sunshine each year, taking a tour with Scottsdale Segway Tours is the perfect option for those looking to explore outside the car, but who don’t want to trek on foot. Choose from various tour options like a VIP Sunset Tour, where guests glide along a quiet path filled with greenery while witnessing one of the Sonoran Desert’s greatest treasures, the sunset.  Or explore downtown Scottsdale on wheels with the Old Town Scottsdale Tour, which will take you on a ride though Scottsdale Waterfront and Civic Center Mall and the city’s arts and shopping districts. Lastly, Scottsdale Segway Tours offers the best of both worlds with its Old Town Evening Art Tour, which takes place on Thursday nights during Scottsdale ArtWalk. Participants get to experience the full 90-minute Old Town Tour and have 30 minutes to browse galleries on foot.

3. Old Town Dinner Tour by Arizona Food Tours

Old-Town-Cowboy

Appease your inner foodie during the Old Town Dinner Tour by Arizona Food Tours, featuring five of the best restaurants downtown.  Start at The House Brasserie for champagne toast, before moving onto Vino Winery for wine and cheese, then stop into Malee’s on Main featuring exceptional Thai food in a 1920s building in the heart of the art district. Next make your way to Distrito, a modern Mexican restaurant featuring Iron Chef Jose Garces’ playful interpretation of Mexican street food. Enjoy an assortment of mouth-watering tacos accompanied by their famous margaritas. Finally, stroll over to AZ88 to end your progressive dinner in style with a sampling of AZ88′s famous desserts, including the Golden Gate Cake, Key Lime Pie and more. During this three-hour adventure, travel through time and learn about the area’s Wild West roots and how the area has developed into the trendy nightlife, dining, arts and shopping hub it is today.

4. Jeep & Hummer Tours

Experience the thrill of the desert in the back of a jeep or hummer in one of Scottsdale’s numerous outback tours. The desert is your playground with Desert Dog Hummer Adventures. Experience the rugged beauty and thrills of the Sonoran Desert in one of Desert Dog’s H1 Hummers while catching glimpses of desert critters and flora and fauna as the awe-inspiring Four Peaks towers overhead during the half-day Moderate Tour in Tonto National Forest. For a more intense off-roading experience, try a half-day Extreme Adventure Tour where you’ll plow over rocks the size of small cars, dips and ravines. For a different experience, drive your own cutting-edge Tomcar with Green Zebra Adventures or Desert Wolf Tours. Unlike most off-roading endeavors, these military vehicles allow you to take the wheel. Or, wind your way through breathtaking Yavapai lands on an exhilarating Jeep Tour with Fort McDowell Adventures. Explore the majestic mountain vistas and cactus-dotted desert trails that make Scottsdale so memorable.

5. Downtown Scottsdale Art & Cultural Trolley Tour

Walk down memory lane with the Downtown Scottsdale Art & Cultural Trolley tour, free on the second Saturday of every month.  The tour kicks off at the Old Town Adobe Mission, where you’ll be treated to a talk on the mission’s history, which dates back to 1933, before boarding the trolley. From there, you will be guided through the Arts district, home to 100 galleries featuring art that spans many genres and styles; Hotel Valley Ho, a luxury boutique hotel in downtown Scottsdale showcasing classic, mid-century modern designs with lighthearted ambiance; and finally SouthBridge which overlooks the Scottsdale Waterfront. Savor all of Scottsdale’s fascinating history, culture, arts and receive tips on where to dine and shop.

Each tour requires reservations; be sure to book yours today!