There is more to Scottsdale, Arizona than the affluent population & luxury real estate, an abundance of country clubs, golf courses, the “south beach” style old town night life, or its retail crown jewel, the Scottsdale Fashion Square. So, whether you have a day off during a business trip or conference, are passing through Scottsdale as part of a larger Arizona adventure or simply have a free day to fill on your Scottsdale vacation, deciding between the many local sites, tastes, activities and attractions can be a challenge. After all: there’s something new to discover each time you make a trip to the valley of the sun, and you could spend an entire day just people watching and day drinking alone!
With careful planning and a well-mapped itinerary, you can fit an impressive amount into even the shortest of trips. Plan to visit these don’t-miss spots during one perfect day in Scottsdale, to sample the absolute best the city has to offer—and get some inspiration for your return getaway.
1. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
Who doesn’t love a vintage train? They say, “Growing Old is Mandatory, but Growing up is Optional!” This park will bring out the kid in all of us and the kids will enjoy.
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 our one-of-a-kind playgrounds or play areas, or just relax in the grass under a tree in Scottsdale’s most beautiful park… see website
2. Old Town Scottsdale
You’ll find plenty of things to do in Old Town Scottsdale – by day or night! Spend the day browsing the Fifth Avenue shops, trying on Native American jewelry in Historic Old Town or splurging at Scottsdale Fashion Square, the Southwest’s largest retail destination. After dark, dine at one of Old Town’s renowned restaurants, check out the weekly Scottsdale ArtWalk, or hit the clubs in the Entertainment District. Best of all, you can park once and explore all of the city’s downtown hub with pedicabs or on foot. Never hesitate to take a picture and throw up some peace signs. ✌🏽. Makes a great day drinking memory for the gram … See website
3. Taliesin West
This is for those interested in architecture, fans of Frank Lloyd Wright himself, or just as an engaging and relevant experience for the family. Taliesin West was architect Frank Lloyd Wright‘s winter home and school in the desert from 1937 until his death in 1959 at the age of 91. Today it is the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Tours are offered daily, or you can stroll through on your own. Some say every time you visit you notice something new… For more info https://franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west/
4. Hike/Walk/See/Think… Papago Park, Camelback Mountain, or Piestewa Peak.
Looking for great outdoor recreation. Look no further. For the avid hiker, my recommendation is hike Camelback Mountain. Bring plenty of water, a camera, and phone (Yeah, my age is showing here). At the top enjoy some of the most beautiful views of the Valley of the Sun and don’t forget the selfie. If there is no photo it did not happen! For a nice stroll then head to Papago Park and enjoy the wildlife. If you are in the North Scottsdale area then Pinnacle Peak Park or Tom’s Thumb is a must.
Here in December: Camelback Mountain Christmas tree is back:
5. WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN ⛳
⛳ Dubbed the greatest show on grass! Annually sporting the largest crowds on the PGA Tour🏌️, the Waste Management Phoenix Open has gained legendary status for being unlike any other golf tournament. If you are visiting for the first time, hole 16 is must-see. With stadium seating and lively crowds, the fan experience at this hole more comparable to a Football or basketball game than a traditional PGA Tournament. For those who don’t know 🐯 woods created the 16th hole
My 1st time here, the 16th hold did not have stadium seating. Those were the days!
6. Sprinkles ATM
Indulge your sweet tooth 24/7 at Sprinkles after cruising through Old Town or to fuel up for a shopping spree at Fashion Square Mall. Located among the most vibrant resorts and nightlife in Phoenix, Sprinkles Scottsdale dishes up your favorite desert dessert… cacti not included! https://sprinkles.com/locations/az/scottsdale
7. TALKING STICK RESORT
Try your luck at the tables, slots, or at the bar. A little Vegas vibe in the Valley of the Sun. Play in Style at Scottsdale’s premier Talking Stick Resort™. Offering distinct comfort and contemporary design, Talking Stick Resort™ guest rooms and hotel suites exude the flavor of Scottsdale, Arizona with a luxurious touch. Experience exciting casino gaming, rejuvenating spa treatments, championship golf, outstanding dining and world-class entertainment-all at Arizona’s hottest Four Diamond destination. In fact, you might never leave this place. I have been known to spend days here. And I hear the pool parties are insane.
8. Catch a spring training game ⚾
According to AZ Central You haven’t lived until you’ve sprawled out under the Arizona sun with a cold beer in hand at a midweek afternoon baseball game. Bonus points if you snapped a photo and sent it to some poor schmuck freezing away under 3 feet of snow while you did it. For five weeks every spring, we get to rub our beautiful weather in everyone’s faces all while holding a cold beer, catching some rays, and enjoying Americas past time. The hometown Arizona diamond backs, Colorado Rockies, and San Francisco Giants all Scottsdale home during spring training.
9. Tour some beautiful real estate
No! not talking to you looky loos or window shoppers. This is for the serious buyers, the ones who are ready, willing, and able. Buyers looking to relocate, buy a vacation or 2nd home, or investment property holla at your boy right away and set up some home showings during your visit. If not then gather a list of Scottsdale open houses. Or find out what areas are hosting luxury home tours, RSVP, and enjoy! Then finish off with my #10. It’s my favorite!
1. EAT. EAT. And EAT Again!
Scottsdale is world famous for food and some of the top restaurants in Scottsdale have put the Valley’s dining scene on the national map. My favorite spots are much different than most but here they are. If you are in old town I would recommend you stop by Los Olivo’s Mexican Patio. Its Family owned and operated, and they treat you life family. I recommend starting out with a michelada or margarita. This used to be my spot when I lived in Old Town. You can’t come to Scottsdale or the Valley of the Sun and not stop at In N out. Come on its fast, delicious, simple, and cheap. Just be careful with anything animal style because it could get messy. Want to feel like you’re in a bunker or below deck? then head to the Salt Cellar. They have excellent sea food. Get there early or make a reservation because they only have a few tables. Forget the mob museum if you like Italian food then stop by Uncle Sal’s. It’s been a neighborhood favorite for nearly three decades. The wife of notorious mob hitman, Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano, opened it up in 1988. So, you could imagine the shit the took place. If the walls can talk! Who knows who got wacked in this joint?