Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned veteran to the ins and outs of Scottsdale, there are some quintessential experiences that you should not miss. If you are visiting this amazing Arizona city, here are the top five tourist attractions and coolest things to do in Scottsdale to help plan your next vacation.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
On the northern edge of the city lies a vast urban preserve that encompasses more than 30,500 acres of land with more than 225 miles of trails in the foothills of the Phoenix Metro area. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the largest of its kind in the nation and offers amazing activities like hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding through the beautiful landscape.
Old Town Scottsdale
More popularly known as just Old Town, this area of Scottsdale plays host to much of the area’s vibrant nightlife and restaurants. During the day, the area is the backdrop to quaint boutiques, art galleries in the Arts District, and a wonderful walking area with historic buildings and rich history. At night, this area hosts plenty of fun places in Scottsale with bars and nightclubs galore. We suggest checking this area out both at night and during the day for very different experiences.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Known as SMoCA, this premier museum is actually an ingenious renovation of an old movie theater to celebrate modern art, architecture, and design of our time through ever-changing and evolving exhibitions. The museum is home to Knight Rose, a public sky space by acclaimed artist James Turrell and one of only a handful of these installations in the world.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Scottsdale has a rich history of cowboys, horseback riding, and the traditional west. If you are visiting this modern city, you will want to know more about its historic past. Western Spirit is a gem in Old Town that celebrates the pioneer spirit of the American West through changing exhibitions of fine art, rare historic artifacts, and cultural treasures. Don’t miss the Abe Hays Family Spirit of the West Collection, which features the coolest things to do in Scottsdale with Western-town ambiance and themes like Wild West shows, saloons, working cowboys, and outlaws and lawmen.
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is a beautiful collection of thousands of arid-land plants from around the world and changing exhibits of large-scale art. Must-see events at the Garden include Las Noches de las Luminarias, the Music in the Garden concert series, and summer Flashlight Nights. Be sure to browse the unique gifts at the Garden Shop and check out the seasonally inspired lunch and dinner options at Gertrude’s.