A Perfect Day in Old Town

By local contributor
Marilyn Hawkes

Lace up your sneakers and join me for a fun day exploring Old Town Scottsdale, starting with a hearty breakfast and ending with a relaxing nightcap.


7:30 A.M.

Since we live within walking distance of Old Town, my husband and I hoof it to Morning Squeeze in the Brown & Stetson District for coffee and breakfast on the restaurant’s cozy, dog-friendly patio. After loading up on protein pancakes, breakfast tacos and plenty of caffeine, we need to walk it off.


9 A.M.

If it’s Saturday, we wander through the Old Town Farmers’ Market to buy freshly picked fruits and veggies, locally made almond butter and jars of prickly pear jam for gifts. On other days, we power-walk the 21-acre Civic Center Park to check out Scottsdale’s public art installations and peruse the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts’ well-curated gift shop. Tip: If you find yourself on Civic Center Park in the afternoon, don’t miss the latest exhibits at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which opens at noon.


11 A.M.

Next, we stroll through Historic Old Town and stop at Shades of the West, a modern Southwest trading post stocked with everything from cowboy boots and turquoise jewelry to team T-shirts from professional and college teams nationwide. Go Phoenix Suns!




On our way to Scottsdale Fashion Square for an afternoon of shopping (me) and a movie (my husband), we grab lunch on the spacious patio at Olive & Ivy Restaurant + Marketplace, overlooking the Scottsdale Waterfront. We order the seasonal chef’s board brimming with Italian meats, artisan cheeses, and roasted vegetables. From our canal-bank perch, we watch people walk their dogs, ride bikes, skateboard and run in the sunshine.


1 P.M.

After a short walk to Scottsdale Fashion Square, my husband heads for Harkins Camelview 14, a luxury theater with reclining seats, a full bar, and an over-the-top snack bar. I make a beeline for the shops to peek in Kate Spade and Nordstrom and stop in at as many of the 200 high-end boutiques and stores as I can squeeze in.


4 P.M.

We download the Scottsdale Coffee Trail map and saunter over to Cartel Coffee Lab in the Fifth Avenue Shopping District for a mid-afternoon latte. While sipping our drinks, we browse through Leela Market, a local shop featuring hip, Arizona-inspired gifts, and Buffalo Collection, which offers contemporary Western furniture and home décor.


6 P.M.

For dinner we choose FnB, Chef Charleen Badman’s award-winning restaurant tucked away in Craftsman Court just off Fifth Avenue, where we enjoy locally sourced, vegetable-centric fare and a selection from their Arizona wine list. We linger over tender Alaskan halibut and swoon-worthy pasta with plump oven- roasted tomatoes.


7:30 P.M.

On the streets of the Arts District, the weekly Thursday night ArtWalk is in full swing. We duck into galleries, watch artists painting and listen to live music, pausing to see handmade jewelry, Native American pottery, oil paintings and bronze sculptures. Tip: The Arts District also is home to Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which stays open late during ArtWalk from November through May. Stop in and catch the latest exhibits celebrating the art and culture of the American West.


9 P.M.

To end our Old Town adventure, we call on JoyRidesAZ, who operates street-legal golf carts in Old Town, so they can take us to the Entertainment District for a round of bowling at Skylanes, topped off with a nightcap at the ever-so-chic W Scottsdale.

And that’s a wrap on my perfect day in Old Town Scottsdale!