Top 10 Things to See & Do in Scottsdale

By local contributor
JoAnne Zeterberg

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or seasoned regular, here are 10 unique things to see and do in Scottsdale


Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Scottsdale McDowell Sonoran Preserve

This expansive urban preserve, the largest of its kind in the nation, boasts more than 225 miles of scenic shared-use trails in the McDowell Mountain foothills for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The Gateway, one of the Preserve’s seven trailheads, offers access to numerous paths, ranging from the ADA accessible Bajada Nature Trail to the challenging Windgate Pass Trail.


Old Town Scottsdale

Scottsdale Downtown Old Town Waterfront

Old Town's nine walkable neighborhoods offer you a variety of experiences by day and night. Discover Scottsdale’s beginnings in Historic Old Town, browse the galleries of the Arts District, shop along Fifth Avenue or discover the energy of Scottsdale after dark in the Entertainment District. You can easily explore the area on foot or call on JoyRidesAZ, who offers tours of Old Town on street-legal golf carts.  


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

Best Places to Catch a Sunset Taliesin

Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright was so captivated by the Sonoran Desert’s natural beauty and sunny climate that he chose Scottsdale as the location for his winter home and architectural school, Taliesin West. Daily tours offer guests an insider’s look into Wright’s ingenious designs and his ability to seamlessly blend indoor and outdoor spaces.

Closed until further notice.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art


SMoCA celebrates the modern art, architecture and design of our time through thought-provoking, changing exhibitions. The museum, an ingenious renovation of an old movie theater by architect Will Bruder, also is home to “Knight Rise,” a James Turrell skyspace that allows you to track the sun’s colorful path across the desert sky.

Closed until further notice.



Wonderspaces AZ is a fascinating exploration of the idea that art is for everyone. Interactive displays allow you to experience art through sight, touch, sound, movement and even virtual reality. Exhibitions change frequently, so there’s always something new to explore!


Scottsdale Golf

TPC Scottsdale

Scottsdale is known as "The World's Finest Golf Destination," and it's easy to see why when you consider the city's roster of luxury resorts, 330 days of annual sunshine and high-caliber courses like TPC Scottsdale (pictured), Troon North and Grayhawk. Top it all off with stellar dining and nightlife scenes, exciting desert adventures and a boatload of top-notch attractions, and you'd be hard pressed to find a more welcoming place to enjoy the round of a lifetime.    


Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Museum of the West

This Old Town gem celebrates the pioneer spirit of the American West through changing exhibitions of fine art, rare historic artifacts and cultural treasures. Be sure to check out the museum’s event calendar for exhibit openings and other special events.

Closed until further notice.

Scottsdale Wine Trail

LDV Winery

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.


Musical Instrument Museum

MIM Sunset Scottsdale

Discover unique instruments and music from around the world at MIM, the world's only global musical instrument museum. High-tech headphones and multi-media displays immerse you in global musical traditions, while the hands-on Experience Gallery lets aspiring musicians of all ages try their hand at instruments like guitars, gongs and gamelans.

Closed until further notice.

Desert Botanical Garden

Desert Botanical Garden

The Garden’s five paved thematic trails introduce you to thousands of arid-land plants from around the world. Must-see events at the Garden include Las Noches de las Luminarias, the Music in the Garden concert series, and summer Flashlight Tours. Be sure to browse the unique gifts at the Garden Shop and check out the seasonally inspired lunch and dinner options at Gertrude's