The Delightful Dozen

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

These signature Scottsdale experiences might be a bit off the beaten path, but they’re worth seeking out! Pick one or try them all for a memorable Scottsdale getaway.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Nestled in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, this museum celebrates the history, culture and pioneer spirit of the American West. Western Spirit’s five spacious galleries host semi-permanent and changing exhibitions of fine art, cultural artifacts and Western memorabilia

Magical History Tour at Hotel Valley Ho

Join the experts from Ultimate Art & Cultural Tours for an intimate look into the architecture and Hollywood past of Scottsdale’s Hotel Valley Ho, one of the best-preserved mid-century modern hotels in the country. The cost per person is $19.56 (the year the hotel opened).

Super Chunk Sweets & Treats

If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss this tasty Old Town gem, which specializes in small-batch, handcrafted confections. Some of our favorites include the Mesquite Chocolate Chip Cookies, Junk Food Popcorn and any of the house-made ice creams in rotating flavors like Spiced Cherry Chocolate Chunk and Peixoto Coffee.

Bespoke Inn, Cafe & Bicycles

Treat yourself and your sweetie to a romantic stay at Bespoke Inn, Scottsdale’s only luxury B&B. The inn’s 10 posh rooms feature private patios, pillow-top beds, soft chandelier lighting and deep soaking tubs. Be sure to make a reservation for dinner at the on-property restaurant Virtú Honest Craft, named one of the “Top 20 Restaurants in the Country” by Esquire magazine upon its opening in 2013.

Socialize with Butterflies

As if thousands of free-flying butterflies in a lush rainforest setting couldn't get any more fun, Butterfly Wonderland offers a host of monthly special events to enhance your experience. Past events have included Yoga in the Rainforest, Butterfly Brushstrokes painting classes, Music and Butterflies with classic violinist Jonathan Livingston, and Concerts in the Conservatory featuring live music by Aaron White. Check their online calendar for current offerings.

The Store @ SCPA

This gem of a boutique at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts features artist-made jewelry, imaginative toys, fair-trade global crafts, world music, stylish accessories for home and office, and much more. Plus, all purchases are tax-free and proceeds benefit the non-profit Scottsdale Cultural Council.

Scottish Golf at Kierland Golf Club

Give a nod to the game’s origins with this unique experience that includes kilt rental, Johnnie Walker beverage carts and a bagpiper who “calls in” golfers at the end of the day. After your round, stop by the Scotch Library at the Westin Kierland Resort and savor two-ounce pours of contemporary blends and rare 40-year-old single-malt whiskeys (open 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly).

McDonald’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Show

The longest-running car show in the area, this Saturday-night staple is the perfect destination to see hundreds of classic cars and motorcycles in a free open-air event. The free event takes place every Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. outside at The Pavilions at Talking Stick.

Sphinx Date Co.

As the name implies, juicy Arizona dates take center stage at this 60-year-old Scottsdale landmark. But you’ll also find an enticing variety of other locally sourced gourmet treats, including desert honey, prickly pear jam and syrup, handcrafted pasta, and salsas and sauces. Don’t leave without trying one of their legendary date milkshakes.

Free Dance Lessons at Handlebar J

Does your two-step need a little refining? Pull on your best boots and head over to Handlebar J Restaurant & Saloon for free Country dance lessons most Thursday and Sunday nights at 6:30 p.m. Then stay and put your dance skills to the test when the Herndon Brothers Band takes the stage.


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.

Scottsdale Public Art Walking Tour

This self-guided, 60-minute walking tour through Old Town Scottsdale introduces you to 10 of the most-celebrated Scottsdale public artworks, including striking bronze statues, dramatic fountains and interactive installations.