Your Guide to Scottsdale Contemporary Month

By local contributor
Jennifer Duffy

This fall, Scottsdale Contemporary Month shines with color and vibrancy that rival even the most vivid spring bloom. From Oct. 21 through Nov. 21, 2018, this unique collection of immersive art experiences, innovative programming and exciting special events turns the city into a veritable hotbed of art, design and architecture.

There’s plenty to see and do, so we’ve collected a few can’t-miss highlights, as well as some recommendations for nearby lodging and dining options to help you make the most of Scottsdale Contemporary Month! 



During Canal Convergence (Nov. 9-18), the Scottsdale Waterfront, which flanks the Arizona Canal in Old Town, comes to life with 10 large-scale public art installations curated from artists around the globe. Featured artist Choi + Shine Architects (most known for their floating, crocheted sea urchins installed in Singapore’s Marina Bay in 2017) will install a 650-foot long hand-crocheted lace ribbon that will weave in and around the canal and will be on display through April 2019.  Canal Convergence also includes community programming like artist talks, public art bike tours and craft making.

Cactus and desert become a living canvas during Electric Desert (Oct. 12, 2018 – May 12, 2019), an immersive light and sound experience at the Desert Botanical Garden. Using projection mapping, storytelling and soundscapes, artist Ricardo Rivera and Klip Collective bring six distinct gardens to life at night with colorful lights and original music.

At the Larsen Art Auction (Oct. 27), celebrity auctioneer Jason Brooks seeks out the highest bidders for outstanding works of modern and contemporary art on consignment at the gallery.

Film buffs won’t want to miss award-winning films from around the world at the Scottsdale International Film Festival (Nov. 2-18). During its 17-year run, the festival has showcased more than 500 films ranging from Academy Award winners and indie gems to comedies and documentaries.



If you love all things retro chic, opt for the iconic midcentury modern Hotel Valley Ho and you’ll be steps from the action in Old Town.

Looking for something new? Book Mountain Shadows, a design hotel with picture-perfect views of Camelback Mountain.

Maximize your budget at the new Hotel Adeline, a boho-chic option just steps from Old Town. 

For a see-and-be-seen ambiance, check into the W Scottsdale in the heart of Old Town’s Entertainment District.



Starlite BBQ is a casual barbeque and craft cocktail spot (with gluten-free and vegan options!) on an unassuming block in Old Town.

Blue Clover Distillery is a family-owned vodka operation with a casual bar menu sure to please a crowd. 

New Wave Market is a sure bet for a gourmet, fast and friendly lunch that won’t break the bank. Make sure to grab a treat—we recommend a canelé or a scoop of their homemade ice cream-- from the adjoining Super Chunk Sweets & Treats.