Tourist Attractions- Places To Visit In Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale Arizona is one of the best places to live, visit and do business in America. It is surrounded by the Tonto National Forest, McDowell Mountains and the Salt River. It is also known as The West’s Most Western Town.
Old Town Scottsdale is a bustling hub of galleries, restaurants, souvenir stores and other unusual locations to shop. Easily walkable, the area features such historic attractions as the Little Red Schoolhouse, Rusty Spur Saloon and Cavalliere’s Blacksmith Shop.
Visiting the Museum of the West is a great way to immerse yourself in the history of the Wild West. It has several permanent and traveling exhibits that change frequently to keep things fresh for visitors.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a popular family spot where you can enjoy an open-air miniature train ride around the track. It’s free to ride, and it makes for a fun day out for the entire family.
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Scottsdale’s Museum of the West #1
Located in Scottsdale’s historic art district, Scottsdale’s Museum of the West opened in 2015 and is home to regularly changing exhibits of Western art and artifacts. Named the “Best Western Museum” in the nation (True West magazine) and a Smithsonian Affiliate, the architecturally stunning 43,000-square-foot museum offers entertaining events and informative programs that bring the American West to life.
The Museum of the West is also one of the best places to learn about Scottsdale’s history. In addition to permanent exhibits, it offers tours that focus on local landmarks and sculptures.
This museum is also great for families, with an interactive railroad museum, an antique carousel, and a park that features picnic areas and playgrounds. The park is also host to a variety of exciting events throughout the year.
For something a little different, Wonderspaces AZ is an interactive museum that explores the ways in which art can connect with the viewer. You can take in exhibits that examine sight, sound, and movement, or try your hand at an immersive, mind-bending mirror maze.
Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center #2
The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is a sanctuary that is dedicated to helping native wild animals. Its mission is to rescue and rehabilitate injured, abandoned or orphaned wildlife and then release them back into the wild when they are ready.
It also offers educational opportunities to teach people about the importance of these majestic creatures in our ecosystems. This nonprofit organization is run by a few staff members and dozens of volunteers, and it is funded solely through private donations, fundraising and grants.
This sanctuary is a great place to learn about nature and wildlife in Arizona. It has a number of tours and activities that can be done by the whole family. If you are interested in taking a tour, be sure to check out the calendar of events and make reservations!
The Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park #3
The Xeriscape Garden at Chaparral Park is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat and is home to over 7,000 plants spanning 200 species that are designed to thrive in the Sonoran Desert with minimal water use. Fed by a vast underwater reservoir, this 5.5 acre xeriscape garden is the perfect place to get inspiration for your own landscape or to see how different plants work in harmony to provide an interesting splash of color and diversity.
Developed by EPCOR Water and Maricopa County Master Gardeners, this Xeriscape Demonstration Garden showcases beautiful, low-water-use plants that are adapted for the Sonoran Desert. The garden also educates visitors about water-saving landscape principles and how to save money on their water bill.
During a walking tour, Scottsdale residents can see the garden in action and learn from an expert about desert plant selection and xeriscape principles. The walk is free for Scottsdale Water customers and takes about two miles.
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts #4
Since 1975, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts has provided a stage for a wide range of voices and perspectives, creating shared, inspiring experiences for the community. Today, one of the premier performing-arts halls in the western United States, it showcases a diverse season of dance, music, theater and film from around the world.
The Center’s 853-seat Virginia G. Piper Theater is recognized for its intimacy and acoustics. Additional venues include the 137-seat Stage 2 and neighboring 1,800-capacity Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater.
Throughout the year, the Center presents hundreds of events that entertain and inspire, including music, dance, comedy and film from a variety of cultures. In addition, the Center has a rental program that provides opportunities for businesses, organizations and individuals to host events such as concerts, theatrical productions, trade shows, festivals, wedding ceremonies and receptions.
The Center is located on Scottsdale Civic Center Park, a 21-acre urban oasis that is a short walk from the city’s Old Town and gallery districts. Construction is underway on the east side of the park, which will reopen in early 2023 following extensive renovations.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve #5
There’s no better way to get in touch with the desert than to visit Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Located within the city, this natural wonder boasts a massive 30,000 acres of desert land. This area is known for its open desert vistas, meandering trailways, and blooming flora. It’s a great place for nature-loving couples to get up close and personal with the desert.
Hikers will find plenty of scenic trails that can be enjoyed at all skill levels. There’s the wheelchair- and stroller-friendly Bajada Nature Trail or the more adventurous Sunrise Peak summit trail.
Mountain bikers will also find a wealth of fun trails to ride on at McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The mountain biking options range from whoopty doos to steep climbs and are perfect for the seasoned rider or the beginner looking to try their hand at a new sport.
Rock climbing is also a popular activity in the preserve with fixed bolt attachments for absolute safety. This is a fun and challenging activity that’s sure to bring out the best in you and your family.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art #6
Designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder, SMoCA’s minimalist building (an ingenious transformation of a former movie theater) showcases modern art from all over the world. The museum presents a wide variety of changing exhibitions, educational programs and docent-led tours for adults and families.
Featuring highly eclectic and ambitious changing exhibitions, SMoCA is constantly surprising with its unique displays of contemporary art and architecture. Highlights include Scrim Wall, a 50-foot-long installation of translucent glass panels that twist around a steel structure separated by colorful blades and Knight Rise, an elliptical opening in the ceiling that shifts perspective.
It also hosts a traveling UMoCA Art Truck that brings contemporary art to schools and community spaces. Its calendar of activities includes Sense/Ability tours for visitors with special needs and art workshops.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is a great destination for modern art lovers, and its location in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale makes it a prime place to visit. Its four galleries are filled with innovative and changing art works from local, national and international artists.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park #7
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is one of the most popular parks in Scottsdale, attracting over 1 million visitors every year. It features a Paradise & Pacific Railroad, an antique carousel and a handful of other attractions.
Train enthusiasts will love the park’s collection of real (retired) rail cars, a 10,000-square-foot model train exhibit and more. And children will love the rides, playgrounds, historical buildings and museums.
The park also hosts free Museum Encounters, thirty-minute musical demonstrations that bring the park’s trains to life with live music from musician-teaching artists.
A few of the more unique attractions at McCormick-Stillman include a Swiss Railway Clock, an old machine shop and two Navajo hogans. The machinist’s shop was built in 1930 by Gabe Brooks, Scottsdale’s first machinist.
FAQs: Scottsdale, Arizona
What is the best month to visit Scottsdale AZ?
The best time to visit Scottsdale is spring when the weather is perfect for outside adventures and blooming plants. It also attracts a variety of popular annual events.
Spring is a peak travel season, with high hotel rates because of baseball spring training and an abundance of festivals. For a less busy trip with milder temperatures, book your stay in fall or winter.
Why to vacation in Scottsdale?
Scottsdale is known for its world-class spas and resorts, 200+ golf courses and endless shopping opportunities. It also has an old western theme that makes it perfect for all types of travelers.
Those who are into architecture will love visiting Taliesin West, where the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright spent his winters. It’s now the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.