Scottsdale, Arizona is the perfect winter destination. With sunny skies and temperatures around 72 degrees from December through mid-February, winter is the perfect season to visit Scottsdale. Winter in Scottsdale is full of many amazing winter activities to help fill your trip with memories for years. Here is our list of top winter activities to do in and around Scottsdale.
Off-Roading in the Sonoran Desert
Experience the rugged beauty of the Sonoran Desert on an off-road tour by Jeep, Hummer, or Tomcar. The desert is your playground as you bounce along rough-and-tumble trails and sandy desert washes. Keep your eyes open and you might spot desert wildlife like javelina, Gambel’s quail, wild horses, and birds of prey. Whether you are an adventure junkie or seeking a little southwestern history and culture, Desert Dog Offroad has your adventure. Whether it be a guided two-person ATV U-Drive Sand Buggy Tour or a Private U-Drive Jeep Driving Adventure, let us help you create adrenaline-filled memories. A variety of tours are available for couples, families, corporate, bachelor, and bachelorette parties.
The holidays come to life Scottsdale-style during this annual, month-long celebration. Scottdazzle events take place from Thanksgiving weekend through New Year’s Day and include the official Tree Lighting, Canal Concerts, Sugar Plum Avenue, Scottsdazzle ArtWalk, Santa Wine-Around and the Sweet Treat Trail. If you want to experience the best things to do in Scottsdale in winter, festive lights, and an overall amazing atmosphere you need to experience Scottsdazzle.
Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is operated by the city of Scottsdale’s Parks & Recreation Department. The 30-acre park, located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, is the most unique park of its kind in the country. Take a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and the 1950-vintage Allan Herschell carousel. Visit a variety of shops and museums, play on their playgrounds or play areas, or just relax in the grass under a tree in Scottsdale’s most beautiful park. During the winter season, the park sets up thousands of lights that line the park’s railroad tracks to provide a mobile light show. This is a great family-friendly activity and a must-visit while you are in town.
Las Noches de las Luminarias
Every winter in Scottsdale, the trails of the Desert Botanical Garden glow with the light of more than 8,000 hand-lit luminarias and thousands of twinkling white lights. Live entertainment, hot cocoa, and mulled cider add to the ambiance. The Botanical Garden is a beautiful sight to see on its own, but when it’s lined with thousands of handmade luminarias it elevates the experience to must-see status.
ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo
When it comes to holiday lights, more is always better and ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo shines with a three-story Christmas tree, millions of lights in whimsical animal-shaped displays and the new Wildlife Lantern Safari, featuring more than 60 creatures all aglow! The zoo is expertly decorated every year with an amazing display of lights, statues, and animals that take your traditional zoo visit to a festive level. The lights are viewable throughout the day, but at night the zoo really evolves into an amazing sight to see. We love to grab a warm cup of coffee and just explore the festive wonder presented in this amazing winter wonderland.
It’s no secret that Arizona has some of the best golf courses in the country. Combine that with wintertime in Scottsdale, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for great things to do in Scottsdale in the winter. Troon North is a “must play” – a fun and challenging course surrounded by beautiful mountains. Camelback Golf Club, Grayhawk Golf Club, and McCormick Ranch Golf Club are also notable courses. Whether you’re considered a rookie or a pro, a game of golf should definitely be on your list of things to do this winter in Scottsdale. Not only can you get out on the course yourself, but there is also the presentation of the greatest event on grass. If you’re more interested in watching golf than playing it, the Waste Management Phoenix Open happens every year in late January. This stop on the PGA tour is the largest attended tournament in the world, a giant outdoor party, and a fan favorite.
Old Town Scottsdale
Historic Old Town Scottsdale is the center of shopping, dining, and entertainment in the city. Walkable streets lined with boutiques, western jewelry stores, and souvenir shops lure shopaholics, while galleries, local wine tasting rooms, and restaurants offer visitors a way to spend their free time and refuel. There’s also a free trolley system that makes it easy to get there from other parts of town. Old Town’s vibrant nightlife is definitely a plus for party hounds with many of the hotels just a short walk from all the bars and restaurants.