When you’re in a setting as visually stunning as the Sonoran Desert, every moment seems ripe for a photoshoot. To help you create Insta-worthy works of art, here are eight of the city's most beautiful places to take pictures.
Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Towering saguaro cacti, colossal boulders, rolling desert foothills and lush riparian washes are just a few of the photo ops that await you along more than 225 miles of hiking trails in Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. To capture a Technicolor desert sunset, make sure you’re close to the trailhead as the sun starts to dip below the horizon, then pause and wait for the show. You’ll be rewarded with the vibrant glow of backlit cholla, dramatic shadows cast by large saguaro cacti and flushes of rich desert color. If nature photography is your jam, the Preserve is a must-see on your itinerary!
Elements at Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain
Perched on the side of Camelback Mountain overlooking Paradise Valley, elements restaurant is sleek and stylish with floor-to-ceiling windows framing spectacular views, perfect for a romantic photo opp. Be sure to step out on the patio for an equally stunning backdrop.
Another one of the best photoshoot locations in Arizona is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. Stunning architecture, whimsical art and expansive desert views delight both novice and experienced photographers alike. Visit in the late afternoon or book the 2-hour Night Lights tour and watch as Wright’s buildings and the surrounding desert take on a luminous, jewel-like quality at sunset. A variety of guided and self-guided public tours are offered daily year-round.
Scottsdale Civic Center Park
From public art and lush landscaping to unique architecture, Civic Center Park is a photographer’s paradise. Don’t miss Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture near the Civic Center Library and James Turrell's "Knight Rise" skyspace at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. **NOTE: As of fall 2021, Civic Center Park is temporarily closed for an expansive renovation project. When the project is completed in early 2023, Civic Center Park will offer shaded pedestrian promenades, lush botanical gardens, a Water + Fog Plaza, three spacious event lawns, the Marshall Gardens wedding area and numerous other upgrades and enhancements. Find out more here!
Canopy by Hilton Scottsdale Old Town
Scottsdale’s newest hotel has a surprise in store for you. Located on the top floor, Outrider Rooftop Lounge overlooks Old Town Scottsdale and its landmark mountains. Gather with friends in any number of relaxing outdoor alcoves to enjoy spirited craft cocktails, small bites and take advantage of snapping those elevated sights!
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is home to thousands of lush arid-land plants, making it one of the most beautiful places to take pictures in Arizona. Located at the base of the rust-colored Papago Buttes just a few minutes west of Scottsdale, the Garden gives you easy access to spindly ocotillos, colorful wildflowers, paddle-shaped prickly pear cacti and more along its five thematic trails.
Pinnacle Peak Park
When it comes to nice places to take pictures in Scottsdale, Pinnacle Peak is one of our favorites. The wide, clear summit trail rewards hearty hikers with expansive views of Scottsdale and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. Even if you stay close to the trailhead, you’ll find plenty of nature-inspired photo ops, from seasonal wildflowers and massive saguaro cacti to craggy boulder formations.
This chic lounge on the 14th floor of Talking Stick Resort boasts unparalleled views of Scottsdale’s signature McDowell Mountains, iconic Camelback Mountain and the surrounding Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community – all of which are particularly dramatic at sunset. In addition to its jaw-dropping views, Degree 270 also is known for live entertainment, a dance floor and daily drink specials.