Scottsdale's Experiential Gift Guide

By local contributor
Christina La Porte

If you’re like us, you don’t crave new things as much as much as you do new experiences. New toys, books, clothes and gadgets may bring a moment of excitement as they are unwrapped over the holidays, but memories made with family and friends last a lifetime.

This year, give the gift of memories (made in Scottsdale) for the loved ones in your life.
The best part: No gift wrapping required!

Don’t forget to share the photos of your experiences and tag us using @scottsdaleariz on Instagram.



Forget a new kitchen or grill gadget, give the gift of flavor with tickets to a special dinner at the Chef’s Kitchen and Herb Garden at Omni Resort & Spa at Montelucia. Each month, the resort hosts uniquely themed dinner parties where guests can indulge in the best and most flavorful, locally grown ingredients cooked in a live demonstration format by Executive Chef Marcos Seville. Each four-course meal is then artfully paired with the perfect wine or spirit for a fantastic feast. Available monthly at $125-$175 per person for a single event. Snag a season pass for $600 for six tickets or $1,100 for 12 tickets, to have seats to this premier dining experience on reserve each month.



It’s not a coffee table book this year! Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours specializes not only in knowing intriguing details about midcentury modern architecture throughout the Phoenix and Scottsdale area, but also leads tours of artist galleries, public art pieces, studios and art museums. The design geek in your life will thank you.



Make a day of it at OdySea in the Desert. The campus is home to the OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Surprise Your Eyes, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, Laser + Mirror Maze and more to keep the kiddos entertained all day, plus the Polar Play Ice Bar for some fun for mom and dad. The campus also hosts events that include arts and crafts, demonstrations, and other activities. Combo tickets permit you into multiple attractions at a savings, so you and the family can make a day of it!



Hiking boots and outerwear are great, but the outdoorsy folks in your life won’t forget exploring the remote wonders of Arizona on REI Adventures’ backpacking trip to Aravaipa Canyon, led by Arizona Outback Adventures guides. Situated in the southeastern portion of the Arizona desert, Aravaipa Canyon’s wilderness area offers 7,000 acres of protected land to explore, but only 50 people are granted access each day. This four-day adventure allows participants to be one of the lucky ones to enter and discover a lush oasis bursting with natural springs, hanging gardens and striking canyon walls, plus the chance to spot wildlife like bighorn sheep and majestic hawks.   Cost starts from $1,299 for non-members or from $1,199 for REI Members.



Treat mom to a Scottsdale night out at the theater with tickets to a live concert at The Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) Music Theater or an engaging performance at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (SCPA). Acts coming to the MIM in 2020 include The Allman Betts Band for the blues fan, the David Sanborn Quartert for the jazz lover, the Kronos Quarter for the classical enthusiast, and more. Highlights on the 2020 calendar at SCPA include “One of These Nights,” a tribute to the Eagles; Cirque Eloize’s “HOTEL,” combining theatre and circus; The Phoenix Symphony,  and other can’t-miss performances.



Give dads with a need for speed what they really want: a live race! Octane Raceway’s 1/3-mile go-kart track is the perfect way to blow off some steam with family or friends – with a little friendly competition. Adult beverages are available at the Brickyard Grill following dad’s victory lap and there are games and mini bowling to indulge his inner child at the on-site arcade and mini alley. Score a package of three kart races for dad as low as $50 or check out an annual membership for the repeat visitor.


To plan your Scottsdale holiday getaway, click here!