Eclectic Array of Offerings in Downtown Scottsdale
Take one look at downtown Scottsdale and it’s easy to see what makes it so original. Composed of a unique collection of shops, restaurants, galleries and nightclubs, downtown is rich with history and filled with the spirit of both the new and Old West. In addition to being pedestrian friendly, the area is home to a free trolley service that makes getting around even easier. Constantly evolving, downtown is perfect for those who desire an authentic taste of Arizona’s history and culture or for travelers who seek a chic, urban escape with the finest in dining and entertainment.
Fashion Square District
In addition to entertainment and dining, Scottsdale Fashion Square, the largest shopping destination in the Southwest, offers a collection of more than 250 high-end retailers including favorite luxury shops like Barneys New York, Prada, lululemon and kate spade. Recognized as one of the top visitor destinations in Arizona, Scottsdale Fashion Square is a retail powerhouse, unrivaled in its ability to deliver premier brands to exclusive shoppers.
The Waterfront district makes its home along the north side of the historic Arizona Canal. The $250 million Scottsdale Waterfront development sprawls 1.1 million square feet. The area features two luxury residences, Broadstrone Waterfront Residences and Scottsdale Waterfront Residences, several restaurants like Olive & Ivy Restaurant + Marketplace and Culinary Dropout, and local and national retail shops. Scottsdale Waterfront also features ample public open space, an outdoor amphitheater, recreation paths along the canal, and eye-catching public art. The district’s must-see art pieces are The Doors, a three-story, walk-in kaleidoscope structure, and Soleri Bridge and Plaza, which connects Scottsdale Waterfront to the rest of downtown and evokes the late designer Paolo Soleri’s fascination with solar movement.
Along the south side of the canal is SouthBridge District, a three-acre retail, dining and cultural center that defies strip mall culture with its no-chains-allowed mentality. The $41 million development boasts more than 30,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants such as Marcellino Ristorante, the herb box and Barrio Queen, along with boutiques like J. Gilbert Footwear and Amy, Inc. Every spot at SouthBridge is unique in design and concept. Both the SouthBridge and Waterfront districts host events throughout the year as well.
Fifth Avenue District
The Fifth Avenue District combines the ambiance of old Scottsdale with some of Arizona’s best restaurants, unique shops, salons, contemporary art and Native American galleries, upscale jewelers and nightlife. Nearly 30 eateries and more than 80 specialty shops are within a five-minute walk of Bob Parks’ Horse Fountain, one of Arizona’s most photographed spots. Visit Fifth Avenue for a daytime shopping and dining experience, an afternoon of being pampered in a salon, or an exciting evening at several nightspots along the storybook street.
This area of Scottsdale is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a day of shopping and sightseeing. Whether you’re looking for a quiet evening of chatter and drinks over a great meal or a night on the dance floor, Scottsdale’s entertainment district is sure to satisfy. The pedestrian-friendly area is filled with packed dance floors at Maya Day + Nightclub and INTL Scottsdale, along with chic lounges like The Mint Ultra Lounge. Also check out Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, a 1920s-style saloon with a new country vibe, and Bottled Blonde Pizzeria & Beer Garden, a retro-inspired spot with an expansive beer selection. Then there’s the granddaddy of them all – W Scottsdale – and its three see-and-be-seen bars, including the lobby lounge, Living Room, and two open-air rooftop bars, Shade and Sunset Lawn.
Brown & Stetson Business Corridor
This corridor is home to an enclave of established companies, but that doesn’t mean the area is all work and no play. Wasted Grain is the newest addition to the corridor. Stop by for happy hour, where prices mirror the stock exchange and vary based on demand. Spend an evening in the comfy, intimate taproom of local beer-maker Badwater Brewing to sample its IPA, Saison or Western Lager while munching on a cheese and charcuterie board.
Scottsdale Arts District
The Scottsdale Arts District holds the majority of downtown’s more than 70 art galleries and comes to life every Thursday night from 7 to 9 p.m. with the country’s original event of its kind, Scottsdale ArtWalk, along Main Street and Marshall Way. Featuring one of the largest concentrations of galleries in the United States, the district showcases artwork that ranges from the traditional to the most cutting-edge of contemporary. The Arts District is not only a great draw for well-versed collectors, but also for travelers looking for the perfect addition to their home. Enjoy super-sized ArtWalks throughout the year, including the Summer Spectacular ArtWalk (July), Anniversary ArtWalk (October), Fall for the Arts ArtWalk (November) and Holiday ArtWalk (December).
Just down the street is Bespoke Inn, Café & Bicycles, Scottsdale’s first and only bed and breakfast. With its four customized guestrooms, onsite restaurant Virtù Honest Craft, infinity-edge pool and a bicycle shop, Bespoke Inn is full of charm. While perusing the galleries, stop by Scottsdale’s newest world-class attraction, Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. The 43,000-square-foot museum showcases the history of the entire American West through innovative, rotating exhibits.
Old Town Scottsdale
Want to experience a taste of the Old West? A stroll through Old Town takes you back to the original Scottsdale, the heart of the “West’s Most Western Town” that began more than 100 years ago. Amidst eight designated historic buildings lie treasures that range from Western wear and Southwest jewelry to home décor and dining. For a taste of Scottsdale history, stop by Cavalliere Blacksmith Shop, which although established in the early 1900s continues to serve as a working blacksmith shop, or Rusty Spur Saloon, a cowboy bar hangout that housed the Farmer’s State Bank of Scottsdale from 1921 to 1933. Enjoy live music on the weekends, including Scottsdale's own singing cowboy, Gary Sprague, on top of trusty steed Dusty. Stop by the Old Adobe Mission, one of three remaining adobe structures in downtown Scottsdale. It was originally built by Mexican immigrant families in the 1930s. Today, the church hosts special events and weddings, and it is undergoing renovations to add a historical gallery. The district also is home to the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers’ Market, which runs every Saturday and features the best local growers and restaurants in the area.
Civic Center Park
The pedestrian-friendly Civic Center Park houses the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Stadium, which plays host to the San Francisco Giants each year for spring training. The Civic Center Park is sprinkled with several public art installations, including Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE sculpture, and it hosts Native Trails, a series of free festivals that showcase the culture and traditions of Arizona’s American Indians, January through April each year. The Saguaro is a cool boutique hotel situated on the edge of the park and boasts the colorful, vibrant spirit of the Southwest in design and decor.