Scottsdale, east of downtown Phoenix, is a desert city known for its golf courses and spa resorts. The charming old town is lined with olive trees and quaint 1920s buildings, while the surrounding landscape offers stunning hiking trails and a variety of outdoor activities.
Things to do
This artsy city has dozens of museums and galleries, such as the Cosanti Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Go on the Art Walk, a time when all the galleries stay open late and feature food, music and special themed events. Architecture connoisseurs will enjoy a visit to Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s former winter home, where you can tour the property and view the designer’s personal art collection.
Just north of the city is the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, over 12,000 hectares of unspoilt desert landscapes. Go rock climbing on the cliffs and horse riding along the remote trails or learn about the tortoises, birds and deer that live in the park. Papago Park also has great hiking around its distinctive red sandstone rocks and a botanical garden with more than 100 endangered plant species.
The best of Scottsdale’s many golf courses is TPC Scottsdale, an award-winning course that hosted the PGA’s Phoenix Open and has views of the McDowell Mountains. Alternatively, Mountain Shadows is a fun and relaxed golf course great for a quick 18 holes. Relax afterwards at The Westin’s spa and try their whirlpool, sauna and agave-based beauty treatments.
Scottsdale’s compact downtown area is suitable for pedestrians, but also has a tram that stops at the main attractions. You’ll need a car to get around the rest of the city, with rentals available at Scottsdale Airport and in several places around the centre.