Scottsdale’s Fall Top 10

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

After a summer spent in the air-conditioning, Scottsdale locals are itching to head outside once fall’s cooler weather arrives in mid-September and continues through November. These exciting activities make the most of the season’s temperate sunny days and cool nights. It’s no wonder we look forward to them every year!


Shop for Treasures at the Farmers Market

Fall and farmers’ markets go hand-in-hand!  The lively Old Town Farmers Market (Saturday mornings, Oct.-May) features local growers and specialty food producers. Enjoy a wide variety of organic produce, local cheeses, artisan breads, local jams and honey, and seasonal specialties such as cider and apples.


Take a Hike

Hiking is the best way to explore the Sonoran Desert up-close! Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve offers more than 225 miles of scenic shared-use trails for hikers and mountain bikers of all skill levels. The Gateway, one of seven Preserve trailheads located throughout the city, offers access to numerous paths, ranging from the ADA accessible Bajada Nature Trail to the steep and challenging Windgate Pass Trail.


Enjoy the Contemporary Focus ArtWalk

One of the featured events during Scottsdale Contemporary Month, this special ArtWalk focuses on art that intrigues, inspires and fuels lively conversations. Modern art installations, live entertainment and artist receptions are all part of the fun.


Fly High in a Hot Air Balloon

In a landscape as panoramic as the Sonoran Desert, there’s no better way to soak it all in than on a hot air balloon flight. You’ll drift along with the breeze as your pilot guides the balloon high into the air for expansive scenic views or dips close to the ground for a glimpse of wildlife and native vegetation. Every ride ends with a champagne toast to commemorate your flight.


Dine Outside

Scottsdale’s mild fall temperatures are ideal for al fresco dining, and Scottsdale’s most popular restaurants are happy to oblige with spacious, sun-dappled patios. Enjoy Camelback Mountain views at El Chorro, watch the sun set over Pinnacle Peak at Talavera, or check out a more urban scene at Old Town Tortilla Factory. And that’s just for starters!


Tour Old Town’s Wine & Ale Trails

Old Town Scottsdale is a hub for tasting rooms from some of the state’s most acclaimed vineyards and craft breweries. Download the Scottsdale Wine Trail or Ale Trail maps, then spend an afternoon or evening sampling the fruits of their labor.


Saddle-up for Cowboy-Style Fun

Get in touch with your inner cowboy or cowgirl on a guided horseback riding trek! Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, you’ll enjoy stunning Sonoran Desert views and the companionship of a gentle horse as you ride through rolling mountain foothills and lush desert washes.


Explore Saguaro Lake by Paddleboat

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Sonoran Desert with a Saguaro Lake cruise on the Desert Belle. Guided tours on this double-decker paddleboat run 90-minutes and explore the lake’s history, geology and wildlife.


Celebrate Howl-O-Ween

Scary things happen at the Phoenix Zoo in the days leading up to Halloween! Howl-O-Ween features fun events for all ages, as well as some spookier activities for children 8 and older. Boogie at the Spooktacular Dance Party, visit the Pirates of the “Scare”ibbean or collect candy at the Trick or Treat Doors – it’s all part of the fun!


Go Leaf Peeping in Sedona

Fall’s vibrant colors are on full display an easy two-hour drive north of Scottsdale in Sedona. The majority of trees in and around Sedona change color in fall – a gorgeous complement to the red rock landscape. But Sedona’s real fall foliage gold mine is West Fork Trail, located 9.5 miles north of town on route 89A. This easy and popular hiking trail gives you plenty of fall-color photo ops during peak season (typically late-September through mid-October).

Check out our Weather page for current conditions, average monthly temperatures and top 10 lists for all the seasons!