City Spotlight: Scottsdale

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Why visit Scottsdale, Arizona?

  • Some of the top golf courses in the world
  • Beautiful desert mountain scenery
  • Wild West-themed downtown area that is also an artistic hub
  • Family-friendly experiences, especially for animal-loving kids
  • Rich nightlife scene, from casual bars to upscale casinos
Scottsdale Arizona View

Frontdesk welcomes you to Scottsdale, AZ! Scottsdale is nicknamed “The Most Liveable City” and “The West’s Most Western Town.” It is home to premier golf courses, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home, and lots of western charm. Located in the Salt River Valley, in the Greater Phoenix Area of Arizona, Scottsdale has something for everyone. The city offers a vibrant downtown art scene, bustling nightlife, top restaurants, plus family-friendly fun.

Scottsdale is famous for its luxury resorts – but for an option that is still trendy and accommodating, while being easier on your budget, consider staying in a Frontdesk suite.

Scottsdale Vacations

If you’re visiting Arizona on vacation, there are plenty of things to do in Scottsdale. Scottsdale offers a nice blend of relaxation and activities, so whether you want to go out on the town or take it easy, there will be something for you.

Scottsdale Business Trips

Millions of people travel through the Greater Phoenix area each year, many of them for business. Be sure to break away from the conference room when you can, because you would be remiss to visit Scottsdale without taking advantage of the beautiful weather, scenery, and variety of activities.

Scottsdale Neighborhoods 

Old Town Scottsdale (Downtown)

Scottsdale’s downtown, or “Old Town Scottsdale,” will transport you back in time, with saloons and old-fashioned shops. Don’t let the Wild West vibe fool you – Old Town also boasts top restaurants, nightclubs, high-end fashion, and art galleries. In downtown, you’ll find the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, the iconic Robert Indiana “LOVE” sculpture (perfect for an Insta selfie), and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

South Scottsdale

Just outside of Old Town, is the more working class region of the city. It once had one of the most profitable auto-miles in the United States, with 31 dealerships along the strip. Today, it is home to SkySong, a research center for Arizona State University.

Central Scottsdale (Shea)

Central Scottsdale, also called “Shea,” has a mix of boutiques, spas, restaurants and several shopping plazas. A large portion of Scottsdale Road has been dubbed the “Resort Corridor” for the large number of resorts located along the street. Central Scottsdale also includes several highly desired residential communities like Gainey Ranch and McCormick Ranch.

North Scottsdale

North Scottsdale is located farther north, away from downtown, and stretches up toward the mountains. The area is largely residential, with many top golf courses, a few resorts, and high-end restaurants. North Scottsdale is also home to Scottsdale Airpark, which is the second largest employment center in the Phoenix area.

What is there to do in Scottsdale?

Whether spending time outside or indoors, with family or out on the town, Scottsdale has no shortage of things to do. Art connoisseurs, foodies, and nature lovers alike will enjoy their time spent in the city. Here are a few of the activities and hotspots we recommend checking out while in Scottsdale, AZ.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Spend Time Outdoors

If there is anything Scottsdale is known for, it’s being a premier golf destination. Scottsdale has more than 200 courses – try out Troon North Golf Club for classic desert golf, or if you prefer green grass, play at TPC Scottsdale. Besides golfing, you can soak up the sun and mountain views by hiking the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a large, sustainable desert habitat with five major trail heads.

Grown Up Fun

Scottsdale is probably more well known for its “grown up” fun, such as casinos, which are popular throughout Arizona. Scottsdale has two casinos: Casino Arizona to the south and Talking Stick Casino to the north. Downtown also has a bustling nightlife plus a four-stop Wine Trail – keep reading for a few of our other bar recommendations.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art Scottsdale Arizona

Appreciate the Art

Old Town Scottsdale is an artistic hub. It boasts several galleries as well as the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which features modern art, design, and architecture, and Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, which features historic artwork and artifacts from the Wild West era. A downtown artwalk is held weekly, every Thursday evening from 7-9 pm. While in Scottsdale, you should also be sure to check out Taliesin West, the winter home of famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Southwest Wildlife Sanctuary Scottsdale Arizona

Enjoy Family Fun

If the whole family is along for your trip, don’t worry; there are plenty of kid-friendly attractions in Scottsdale that are fun for the whole family. Visit the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, which is not quite a zoo nor an animal park. The animals (such as black bears, leopards, tortoises, and foxes) are rehabilitated and released back into the wild whenever possible. Animal-loving kids will also enjoy OdySea in the Desert, which encompasses an aquarium, butterfly wonderland, and dinosaur exhibit. You can also go for a horseback ride or hayride at MacDonald’s Ranch in northern Scottsdale.

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Restaurants & Bars

Scottsdale has a bevy of great restaurants and bars. Grab brunch at Arcadia Farms Cafe, a family-owned restaurant that will start your morning off right with a breakfast quesadilla or fresh berry crepes. Craving a burger for lunch? Head to Rehab Burger Therapy and chow down on the city’s most unique burger creations, such as the infamous PBJ & Bacon Burger. Enjoy dinner at Grassroots Kitchen and Tap, another family-owned restaurant with a focus on fresh, local ingredients and an extensive draft list. Relax after a long day with a drink at Wasted Grain, a laid-back bar and lounge with specialty cocktails. Or keep the party going at Maya Day + Nightclub, a flashy, Vegas-style nightclub, with a pool, patio, and top name DJs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Scottsdale

The city was named Scottsdale in 1894 and incorporated in 1951.
Scottsdale was originally going to be named Orangedale for its citrus-growing climate, but was instead named after U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott, who founded the city.
“Old Town Scottsdale” refers both to the western-themed, historic section and to the downtown area as a whole. The name used to be reserved just for the historic area, but the city made the decision to officially call all of downtown “Old Town” in 2018, since most residents used that name instead of “Downtown Scottsdale” anyway.
Frank Lloyd Wright was a famed American architect whose work spanned decades and locations all over the U.S. Taliesin West in Scottsdale was the winter home of Wright and his family. He also designed many of the other buildings and homes in Scottsdale, and there is even a street named after him.
Scottsdale is a desert town, which means it is generally dry and warm but may get cooler at nightfall. We suggest bringing a light jacket or sweater for the evenings and with an average of 299 days of sunshine a year, you’ll definitely want sunscreen!