Things To Do In Scottsdale, Arizona:
If you’ve been looking for a place in The Southwest that has just about everything, Scottsdale has a seemingly endless variety of things to do and places to see.
Explore the town’s many historical buildings and museums, visit the nature and wildlife conservancies, enjoy downtown’s many shops and restaurants, or check out the exciting indoor activities; including go-kart racing, arcades, and mini golf!
From horseback riding through the desert to enjoying the Arizona landscape from a seaplane, you are sure to find something fun and exciting (or relaxing and interesting) for the entire family.
Things To Do In Scottsdale: Historical & Educational Museums
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art:
This one of a kind museum dedicated solely to modern contemporary art, architecture, and design provides ever-changing exhibits for something new to be discovered each time you visit.
Enjoy a quiet and calming walk through some of Arizona’s most intriguing modern conceptual art, stop in for a visit at the gift shop for some unique items, or take a seat and listen in on an artist discussion.
This quaint and cozy environment is the perfect place to keep cool out of the Arizona sun.
The Center of Performing Arts:
Every year, the Center of Performing Arts offers hundreds of entertaining and inspiring events based around music, dance, theater, films, comedy, educational programs, and festivals.
If you’ve been looking to kick back and enjoy a show, the theater is sure to have something everyone will enjoy. But it’s performances aren’t the only interesting things about the establishment.
The building itself is full of history and beautiful architecture to explore.
In their store, artsy knick-knacks and souvenirs can be found, along with music, books, cards, jewelry, and creative toys for children. The center also bears many different exhibitions, classes, and workshops for those interested in the art of performance.
The Penske Racing Museum:
For every car and racing lover, the Penske Racing Museum is a dream.
Enjoy taking a peep at their vast collection of cars and racing memoribilia (there are even several winning cars from the Indie 500s and NASCAR races on display!). Enjoy breakfast or lunch in their cafe, whilst admiring their displays of countless winning trophies dating back nearly 60 years.
Don’t forget to pop in to their boutique, and check out their awesome apparel, racing merch, die cast cars, and historical and technical books on the subject.
The Scottsdale Historical Museum:
Take a glimpse into the past of Scottsdale’s educational system while exploring their “Little Red Schoolhouse”. Built in 1896, the schoolhouse is currently home to multiple exhibits on schooling and home life in the 1910s, artifacts from Helen and Winfield Scott, and a quaint little gift shop full of historical trinkets and souvenirs.
Learn all about how Scottsdale preserved this once nearly-demolished piece of history, and about the cultural heritage of the town’s schooling systems.
The House of Broadcasting:
Interested in the history behind Arizona’s TV and radio broadcasting? Look no further. The House of Broadcasting is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public and preserving it’s history.
This museum is just one of only five in the country dedicated to the broadcasting industry. Take a look around at their collection of vintage cameras and radio equipment, TV and radio memorabilia, and rare artifacts.
It’s a great stop for those interested in taking a glimpse into the past of classic media.
Things To Do In Scottsdale: Outdoor Recreational Activities & Exhibits:
The Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden in Chapparal Park:
The Xeriscape Garden is a certified wildlife habitat, home to over 7,000 low water-use plants and trees! There are over 5 acres of desert landscape to explore via trails winding through over 200 species of flora and fauna.
Learn about the beauty of saving water, and how desert plant species survive in their climate. The garden is located just beyond the Chapparal Park’s dog park and sports fields. Upon exploring the greenery, you may come across some ideas for what you’d like to add to your garden!
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy:
The conservancy is a preserve/institute for the Sonoran Desert flora and wildlife, which provides an informational experience regarding preserving the environment. It offers dozens of hiking trails all throughout the preserve, varying from moderate one mile walks to challenging hikes up to 50 miles long!
Most of the trails are hiking, biking, and horseback riding accessible, as well as being dog friendly!
You’ll never be at a loss for things to do in this 30 acre park, packed full of history and activities of all kinds for all ages.
This is one of Scottsdale’s most unique and exciting experiences for the whole family. Take a stroll through the park, enjoying the dozens of train and train car exhibits. Take a ride on the vintage carousel, explore the many shops and museums, take a railroad ride down the tracks, and check out the many playgrounds and model railroad exhibits.
Learn about the historical backgrounds of the railroad system, trains, and Scottsdale’s train station, all while basking in the sun and enjoying the fresh air.
The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center:
This center specializes specifically in rehabilitating injured, displaced, and/or orphaned animals. Their goal is to keep the Southwest wildlife safe and secure, while helping these animals out of harm.
In some severe cases, the center cannot release the injured animals back into the wild due to a handicap, so they provide them with a permanent shelter being cared for in the center’s habitat.
Book a tour of the sanctuary to learn about and visit with the southwest wildlife upclose in their environment, and be educated on how the center assists them and offers them shelter.
Things To Do In Scottsdale: Old West Themed Activities:
The Arizona Cowboy College:
Nestled in the desert just outside of Downtown Scottsdale, Arizona Cowboy College has much to offer for families and adults alike. If you’ve been looking to get an authentic cowboy experience, this is the perfect stop for you.
Providing horseback riding lessons and tours, the ranch offers one and three day sessions to get a feel for the experience, and even has an offer for food and lodging at the ranch itself. A trip to Scottsdale isn’t complete without a trail ride through the desert!
Enjoy their gift shop and supply store for souvenirs and riding equipment and clothing. For horse lovers and those who appreciate the old west, this is a must-visit location.
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West:
This Smithsonian associated museum specializes in exhibitions displaying western art and historical and educational artifacts. Explore their vast courtyard housing beautiful sculptures, statues, and intricate architecture.
Stop in for an entertaining and educational program or event held in their theater/auditorium. Before you go, take a gander through their gift shop for souvenirs, artwork, jewelry, children’s toys, books, accessories, and more!
The MacDonald’s Ranch is a family owned family oriented western experience, with a wide variety of activities for all ages. Enjoy a ride in a classic stagecoach, explore the pumpkin patch, check out the pony rides and petting zoo with the kids, have a cookout with the family, or (of course) take a horseback ride into the sunset.
Open for private events and birthday parties, you and the family will have a wonderful time as feel as if you’ve been sent back to the old west while perusing the old western ranch.
Things To Do In Scottsdale: Adventurous & Unique Activities:
Located along the Arizona Boardwalk (along with many other attractions such as: Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum, The Odysea Aquarium, the Laser and Mirror Mazes, and Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs), Butterfly Wonderland is an absolutely magical place for children and adults alike.
The conservancy is home to thousands of butterflies of varying species. Enjoy watching butterflies emerge from cocoons upclose, or visit them flying about inside the rainforest habitat.
Butterflies aren’t the only interesting creatures residing in the establishment; check out the many other exhibits focused around reptiles, honeybees, and other insects! Remember to explore the colorful gift shop, and stop or a bite to eat in the rainforest themed cafe.
Desert Splash Adventures:
Ever wonder what the gorgeous Arizona landscapes would look like from the clouds? Maybe you’ve already seen that, but at the end of your trip, has your transportation cascaded into the water?
The Desert Splash Adventure Seaplanes are an absolutely astonishing experience for those looking for a thrilling viewing of Arizona’s scenery. It’s many flight destinations include Roosevelt Lake, Lake Powell, Sedona, Flagstaff, and of course The Grand Canyon.
If the views don’t take your breath away, the exciting water-landing will! You won’t want to miss out on this incredibly unique and adventurous experience!
The Mirror Maze and Laser Maze:
Looking for an exciting activity for the family while staying out of the hot Arizona sun? The Mirror and Laser Mazes are the perfect places to get your heart pumping and enjoy a fun little getaway in the shade.
Explore the trippy and fun jungle themed mirror maze that will scramble your brain with confusion and whimsy. If you’re interested in something a little more active and exciting, the laser mazes are perfect for you!
Feel like a super spy as you crawl and dodge your way through webs of laser beams in this intense “beat-the-clock” style game. This unique and action packed adventure is a must-stop spot during your stroll along the Arizona Boardwalk.
Mini Golf by Blacklight
If you’ve been yearning to play a few holes of mini golf, but you’re sick of the same old simple outdoor courses, “Imagine 3D Mini Golf” and “Glow Putt” are just the places for you! Enjoy a round of mini golf surrounded by the fantastical 3D paintings and glow-in-the-dark scenery by black light!
The whimsical designs of the interior provide an other-worldly ambiance as you play. Both establishments also accomadate parties and events, making it a great place for birthdays and groups!
Octane Raceway Go-Kart Track
This isn’t your average go-kart track. For experienced drivers, this action packed race track consists of karts that can reach up to 45mph! Make your way through the winding indoor/outdoor track, going for the win in it’s 14 lap races!
A separate and slower junior track is in place for the youngsters so they don’t miss out on the fun. A vast arcade is also a part of the excitement, as well as VR games, mini-bowling, and outdoor games on the patio!
Things To Do In Scottsdale: Food and Dining Experiences:
F n B Restaurant:
Enjoy fine dining in one of the most loved and famously suave restaurants in The Southwest. F n B provides an artsy and interesting atmosphere while you indulge in their creative and exotic dishes that you won’t find anywhere else.
Most of their meals include farm-to-table ingredients local to the Scottsdale area. This is the perfect spot for a romantic dinner amongst the starlight of their outdoor seating.
If you’re looking for a classy night on the town, F n B is the place to be.
The Chocolate Tour Of Scottsdale:
If you’ve got a sweet tooth and a craving for chocolate, this tour is just for you! After meeting up at Gloria’s Cafe, take a stroll through Old Town Scottsdale, visiting seven of the best sweet shops in town for shopping and samples of all kinds.
Find baked goods, pastries, ice cream, and candies (basically anything and everything chocolate!) in these adorable little shops. Sample something you’ve been dying to try, get recipe ideas, or fill your basket with some comfort sweets to take home.
If you’re a fan of chocolate, you won’t want to miss this tour!
The Scottsdale Old Town Farmer’s Market:
Whether you’re looking for something cool and refreshing or something hot and fresh off the grill, this farmer’s market will have you covered! Their excellent variety of some of the finest local vendors has produce of all kinds to offer, from farm fresh fruits and vegetables to delectable meats and cheeses.
You can also find a great selection of deserts, jams and honeys, and even flowers. Bring the whole family, and even your furry companion in this quaint dog-friendly market!
Singh Farms is a 20 acre family owned farmstead located just outside of downtown Scottsdale. It’s soft soil is home to dozens of herbs, exotic plants, and vegetables. Every Saturday from 8AM to 1PM, it opens it’s doors to a farmer’s market, where you can find a wide selection of local, farm fresh produce, including dips, oils, honey, and jams!
Take a stroll through the beautiful scenery of the farmlands while enjoying a bite to eat from their fresh produce.
Whether you’re looking for a fun night on the town hitting the clubs in the entertainment district, a romantic dinner for two, or you’d like to explore some fun shops and boutiques, Scottsdale’s Downtown area has you covered.
Apart from it’s interesting historical backgrounds and tourist spots, Scottsdale is always booming. Fifth Ave is full of artsy and kitschy stores, including southwestern shops where you can find beautiful and unique Native American jewelry, artwork, clothing, etc.
The Fashion Square speaks for itself, offering a wide variety of apparel boutiques. Be sure to take a stroll through the weekly Saturday Artwalk, where you can take in the lovely displays of local artwork, and maybe find something to take home with you!
Scottsdale is also known for it’s classy fine dining (Like F n B Restaurant), which always makes an excellent ending to a day of exploring.
With it’s variety of recreational activities spanning from indoor museums, shops, and arcades to outdoor farmer’s markets, parks, and ranches, you are bound to have fun exploring everything that the Scottsdale area has to offer.
No matter your age, or the number of people you’re traveling with, Scottsdale makes an awesome getaway for everyone.
Enjoy your visit!