The Essential Guide to Spring Break in Scottsdale

By local contributor
Lauren Topor Reichert

A family spring break getaway in Scottsdale provides the opportunity to explore nature and native wildlife, discover the local arts scene and even see your favorite baseball stars in action. From Cactus League Spring Training to the Scottsdale Arts Festival, there’s simply no shortage of family-friendly activities to enjoy in Scottsdale for spring break 2020. 


Outdoor Activities

The Essential Guide to Spring Break in Scottsdale

Rafting & Kayaking: Scottsdale is a destination for watersports of all kinds. Whether you want to take the entire family on a guided river rafting trip or test your balance while stand-up paddleboarding, you can do exactly that – and more. There are eight scenic lakes and rivers in the area that are just waiting to be explored. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for local wildlife while you’re exploring these waterways. Catching a glimpse of wild horses and even spotting majestic bald eagles is not out of the ordinary. 

Wildflower Hikes & Drives: Each spring a variety of wild blooms paint the dessert in vibrant reds, purples and yellows. Beginning in mid-February and peaking through March and April, the spring wildflowers around Scottsdale are a must-see. Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve provides exceptional flower views across its more than 225-miles of hiking trails. And road trippers, you can spot the seasonal blooms along Bush Highway on the way to Saguaro Lake, too. 


Activities in the City

The Essential Guide to Spring Break in Scottsdale

Phoenix Zoo: The Phoenix Zoo is one of the largest non-profit zoos in the county, caring for more than 3,000 animals including nearly 400 unique species. Zoo-goers can get up close to the animals through a series of educational programs, which includes giraffe encounters and interactive stingray experiences. 

Cactus League Spring Training: Baseball fans flock to Arizona to catch their favorite MLB teams take part in Cactus League Spring Training every March. Scottsdale hosts the San Francisco Giants at Old Town’s Scottsdale Stadium, as well as the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks who share home-field advantage at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. There are plenty of opportunities to get autographs from players, and each Sunday kids can take part in a Salt River Fields tradition and run the bases like the pros after the game. Cactus League Spring Training runs from Feb. 22 to March 24, 2020. 

OdySea Aquarium: This Scottsdale aquarium, the only one in the Southwest, provides an interactive, educational and entertaining experience for guests of all ages. There are more than 65 exhibits to explore. Plus, there are a series of encounters and tours available, including educational sloth experiences and opportunities to meet African black-footed penguins.


Arts & Festivals

The Essential Guide to Spring Break in Scottsdale

Wonderspaces Arizona: Capturing the imaginations of visitors, Wonderspaces Arizona aims to challenge perceptions of reality and the world around us. There are 13 unique installations from around the world at the Scottsdale location, including a small garden of musical plants and a sewing machine orchestra that uses sound and light to put on an incredible show.

Wild Rising” at Desert Botanical Garden: The latest art installation on view at the Desert Botanical Garden has made its way to Arizona by way of Milan. Wild Rising by Cracking Art features more than 1,000 unique and colorful animal sculptures constructed from recycled plastics. The installation is designed to encourage worldwide conservation efforts and promote the importance of recycling. See the critters and creatures of Wild Rising through May 10, 2020.

Scottsdale Arts Festival: Happening at Scottsdale Civic Center Park on March 13-15, 2020, the Scottsdale Arts Festival is a three-day celebration of all things creative, complete with more than 175 local and national artists, live music, delicious food from local gourmet food trucks, and lots of family-friendly fun. The festival features a series of different hands-on activities for kids that promote creativity while exploring different mediums.



The Essential Guide to Spring Break in Scottsdale

Brat Haus (shown above): This buzzy Old Town beer garden has gone to the dogs — hot dogs! Inspired by European food craftsmen, Brat Haus offers a variety of Bavarian-style brats, burgers, salads, and more, including Instagrammable eats like giant pretzels. 

Sugar Bowl: The folks at Sugar Bowl know a thing or two about ice cream. After all, the family-owned Scottsdale ice cream parlor has been in business for more than 60 years. Here you can find a tasty selection of ice cream, sherberts, old-fashioned sodas, malts and shakes, sundaes, super-sized banana splits, and floats to satiate your sweet tooth. 

Oregano’s: This swinging bistro has no shortage of nostalgic flair to accompany its lineup of pizzas, larger-than-life salads and famous desserts. Stick a spoon into their Original Pizza Cookie, a decadent half-baked cookie dough dessert topped with three scoops of vanilla ice cream and served up in a six-inch pizza pan. 


Where to Stay & Play

The Essential Guide to Spring Break in Scottsdale

The Phoenician (shown above): This award-winning luxury hideaway is located at the base of iconic Camelback Mountain and offers plenty of family-friendly things to do, from the picturesque pools to games and activities. Explore the multi-level tree house and suspension bridge or take the entire family to the game room where you can play arcade and classic games.  

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Offering family-friendly luxury accommodations, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is an ideal place to stay and play when in Scottsdale. The resort offers kid-friendly activities to keep little ones busy while mom and dad unwind at the spa or enjoy a round of golf. Ride the waterslides at Sonoran Splash or take a dip in one of the resort’s six sparkling pools, including Sunset Beach, Arizona’s only white-sand beach.

Westin Kierland: A lazy river, surf simulation experience and 110-foot-long water slide are just some of the cool attractions you can find at Westin Kierland. In addition to the pools and water park, this North Scottsdale resort provides luxe accommodations, an elevated golf experience, spa and salon retreats, and is just steps from abundant shopping and dining options at Kierland Commons.