11 Old Town Scottsdale Favorites

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

Old Town Scottsdale encompasses nine walkable districts that offer treasures at every turn. From the chic boutiques along famed Fifth Avenue and the galleries of the Arts District to the eclectic shops in the Historic District and beyond, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to browse, dine and explore. Here are 11 things you won’t want to miss on a day in Old Town Scottsdale!


Old Town Farmers Market

farmers

Saturday mornings buzz with lively energy at the Old Town Farmers Market. Organic fruits and veggies, locally made salsas, artisan breads and pastries, regional honey, handmade gifts and more are yours for the asking at this fun, festive market. Pro Tip: Grab a cup of coffee and go early for the best selections. Open Saturday mornings from October – May.

 


Brown Avenue Historic Sites (Brown Ave. Between First & Second Streets)

mission

Scottsdale history is on full display along this stretch of Brown Avenue. The Old Adobe Mission was built in 1933 from 14,000 adobe blocks weighing 50 pounds each. Today, the mission hosts events like the annual Dia de los Muertos celebration. A short walk south brings you Cavalliere’s Blacksmith Shop, which was built in 1910 from tin, then remade in 1920 from adobe. The shop is still owned and operated by the Cavalliere family. Across Brown Ave. from the blacksmith shop, in what used to be the old livery, the Scottsdale Rodeo Museum displays Parada del Sol rodeo memorabilia dating back to 1953.

 


Rusty Spur Saloon

The Rusty Spur Saloon

A registered historic landmark, the Rusty Spur is Scottsdale’s oldest cowboy saloon. Housed in a former bank building where the vault now holds liquor instead of money, the Spur features live music seven days and nights a week. Walk through the swinging doors and enjoy a taste of the Old West.

 


Scottsdale Civic Center Park

LOVE

This lush pedestrian park is home to several installations from Scottsdale’s renowned public art collection, including Robert Indiana’s iconic “LOVE” sculpture. Civic Center Park also is home to the iconic Little Red Schoolhouse, where the Scottsdale Historical Society Museum displays photos and artifacts from the city’s early days.

 


SMoCA & SCPA

smoca

These artsy sister establishments sit side-by-side on the south end of Civic Center Park. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) boasts rotating exhibitions of contemporary art, architecture and design. Next door, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts features a year-round calendar of theatrical productions, dance performances, concerts, special events and more. Pro Tip: Both SMoCA and SCPA house imaginative gift shops that are worth a visit if you’re on the hunt for a special gift!

 


Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor

sugar bowl

Since 1958 the Sugar Bowl has been serving up classic American comfort food and cool ice cream treats from its bubblegum-pink storefront on Scottsdale Road. Stop by for a burger or double-decker sandwich and finish off your meal with one of Sugar Bowl’s decadent desserts like the classic Tin Roof Sundae.

 


Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West

Western Spirit, Scottsdale’s only Smithsonian Affiliate museum, celebrates the rich history, cultural heritage and indomitable spirit of the American West. The museum showcases historic cowboy gear, Western fine art, Hopi pottery masterworks, and historic posters starring cowboys of the silver screen. Pro Tip: Don’t miss a great photo op at the 3-D painting by artist Douglas Rouse that puts your right in the middle of a cowboy camp!

 


Fifth Avenue Shops

Online Shopping

Scottsdale’s storied Fifth Avenue has been a must-see since the early days when fashion shows paraded down the center of the street. Today, a stroll down Fifth Avenue will take you past kitschy souvenir shops, elegant boutiques, Native American jewelry stores and a handful of the city’s best restaurants. Pro Tip: Snap a picture with the famous Bob Parks Horse Fountain in the center of the Fifth Avenue/Marshall Way roundabout.

 

 

Scottsdale Fashion Square

fashion square

The Southwest’s largest shopping destination, Scottsdale Fashion Square boasts more than 250 distinctive retailers including Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus. To keep you from dropping while you shop, the center houses an outstanding selection of eateries with offerings ranging from grab-and-go snacks to fine dining and cocktails.

 


Scottsdale Wine Trail

Wine

Old Town Scottsdale is a hotbed for wine tasting rooms, showcasing the offerings of several award-winning Arizona vintners. Download your free copy of the wine trail map here, then spend a sunny Scottsdale afternoon enjoying tasting flights and small bites at LDV Winery, Merkin Vineyards, Aridus Wine Company, Carlson Creek Vineyards and Salvatore Vineyards.

 


Scottsdale ArtWalk

Art Walk

The galleries of the Scottsdale Arts District stay open late every Thursday evening from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. for ArtWalk, a Scottsdale tradition for more than 45 years. Special exhibits, artist receptions and live entertainment create a festive atmosphere for exploring art in a variety of genres by national and international artists.

 

For more information on what to see on a day in Old Town Scottsdale, including an illustrated map and a snapshot of all the individual districts, download your free guide here.