After a summer spent in the air-conditioned indoors, Scottsdale locals make a break for the great outdoors as soon as fall’s cooler weather arrives. Join us in welcoming the new season with these exciting activities that make the most of fall’s temperate sunny days and clear, cool nights. Whether it’s September, October or November, here are the best things to do in Scottsdale in the fall.
Fall and farmers markets are a natural pairing. The lively Old Town Farmers Market (Saturday mornings, October-June) puts the spotlight on local growers and specialty food producers. Enjoy a wide variety of organic produce, local cheeses, artisan breads, salsas, local jams and honey, gift items and seasonal specialties like cider and apples.
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 11 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. North Scottsdale's Pinnacle Peak Park summit trail (above) is another popular hike that offers outstanding scenic views.
Scottsdale is home to more than 100 galleries that are dedicated to exhibiting the finest visual art from local and international artists. The Scottsdale ArtWalk is a long-standing tradition that takes place in the Old Town Scottsdale Art District every Thursday evening year-round from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Exhibition openings, artist receptions and demonstrations and live entertainment are all on tap during this exciting event. Special Gold Palette ArtWalks are offered throughout the year and center on themes such as Native Spirit, Western Week and Summer Spectacular. Find tips on how to make the most of your ArtWalk experience here.
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.
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 (above), watch the sun set at elements, or check out a more urban scene at Old Town Tortilla Factory. And that’s just for starters – you’ll find more outstanding patio dining options here!
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.
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.
Scottsdale’s year-round calendar of events is chock full of fall fun. From the thrill of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships (above) and performing arts presentations to winemaker’s dinners and ArtWalks in Old Town, there’s always something exciting happening during fall in Scottsdale.
Whether you're looking for the perfect pumpkin to carve or simply craving a day out in the cool fall weather, Scottsdale pumpkin patches won’t disappoint. From MacDonald's Ranch Pumpkin Patch to Schnepf Farms and more, we've got you covered on your hunt for the greatest gourd!
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.