Things to do in Scottsdale: Scottsdale, AZ Attractions & Activities 

Scottsdale, Arizona, a radiant jewel in the American Southwest, welcomes visitors with an enthralling blend of natural wonders and urban sophistication. Scottsdale, Arizona, with its myriad of attractions, is the place to be for those seeking both leisure and adventure. From the mesmerizing patterns of desert flora in Scottsdale to the town’s pulsating cultural vibes, Scottsdale is an amalgamation of experiences that truly satisfies every traveler’s wanderlust. Dive into some of the top things to do in Scottsdale AZ while soaking up the sun in this vibrant city.

1. Kayak the Lower Salt River

For those seeking an aquatic escape from Scottsdale’s signature dry heat, another part of Scottsdale has the answer. Nothing compares to a rejuvenating kayak ride down the Lower Salt River with Arizona Outback Adventures, one of the leading attractions in Scottsdale. The river, with its serene flow and adorned by striking canyon walls, provides both beginners and experienced kayakers an oasis in the desert. The soothing sounds of the water and the occasional sighting of local wildlife complete this harmonious experience in Scottsdale, making it a must-do for all.

2. Hike the Sonoran Desert

When in Scottsdale, and pondering what to do, hiking is the answer. When it comes to embracing the wilderness, Arizona State Parks and Trails present four stellar hiking spots in and around Scottsdale that promise awe-inspiring views and invigorating challenges.

Lost Dutchman State Park: Situated beneath the enigmatic Superstition Mountains, this park not only has trails for every skill level but also holds legends of hidden gold mines, making it a popular attraction in AZ.

Picacho Peak State Park: A hiker’s paradise near Scottsdale, where, besides the Hunter Trail, there are multiple paths that lead through flower-laden fields during spring.

Catalina State Park: This park, close to Scottsdale, beckons adventurers with a myriad of things to do. Surrounded by panoramic views, one can also enjoy occasional outdoor concerts or simply picnic amidst nature’s splendor.

Oracle State Park: Besides its expansive trail system, the park is renowned for star-gazing nights, thanks to its designation as an International Dark Sky Park.

3. Take a Sonoran Desert Jeep Tour

Being recognized as the top outdoor activity in 2021 by TripAdvisor wasn’t a mere fluke for Scottsdale’s attractions. These Jeep tours, winding through the historic Tonto National Forest in Scottsdale, offer not just scenic beauty but also layers of stories from the past. Journeying through the rugged terrains, these tours often become an open classroom on the ecological and cultural heritage of the Sonoran desert near Scottsdale. It certainly is a fresh take on history class. Don’t worry; you’ll forget you’re learning!

4. Visit the Butterfly Wonderland

This isn’t just another conservatory; it’s a magical realm. At Butterfly Wonderland, you’re not just observing; you’re immersing. Walking amidst vibrant butterflies is just the beginning. With its additional array of rainforest inhabitants, visitors often find themselves lost in nature’s marvels. The detailed exhibits, including the 3D theater, aim to educate while they entertain, making every moment spent here a blend of wonder and enlightenment.

5. Visit Taliesin West

Taliesin West, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, is not just a structure; it’s a narrative of Frank Lloyd Wright’s unparalleled vision. Located amidst the vast expanses of the Arizona desert, every stone, pathway, and design detail of this masterpiece tells a story. Beyond the sheer architectural genius, this Scottsdale location provides a deep dive into Wright’s life and inspirations. As you wander through the property, it’s impossible not to feel the indomitable spirit of creativity that continues to inspire architects globally.

6. Hit Up Old Town Scottsdale

The heart of Scottsdale, Old Town, pulsates with history, art, and the contemporary spirit of the city. It’s not just a place to stroll; it’s an experience. The streets of Scottsdale, echoing tales from the past, seamlessly blend with the present-day art galleries, eateries, and boutiques. This juxtaposition in Scottsdale creates a vibrant tapestry of experiences that ensures Old Town remains not just a tourist spot but the soul of Scottsdale.

7. The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)

Delve into the world of contemporary art, architecture, and design at SMoCA in Scottsdale, Arizona. The museum, with its rotating exhibits, ensures fresh content that captivates the senses and stimulates intellectual curiosity. Special events and educational programs further enhance the museum experience, making it a must-visit attraction in Scottsdale, AZ.

8. Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

Located in nearby Phoenix but often associated with the Scottsdale experience, this garden showcases the beauty and diversity of desert plant life. With themed trails like the Sonoran Desert Nature Loop and Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert, visitors can immerse themselves in the flora that makes this region unique. It’s one of the top things to do in Scottsdale AZ, even if it’s technically just outside of Scottsdale.

9. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Perfect for families, this park offers miniature train rides, a historic carousel, and a model railroad building. The interactive railroad museum educates visitors on the history and evolution of rail travel in the U.S.

10. Western Spirit: Museum of the West in Scottsdale, Arizona

This museum celebrates the history, culture, and art of the American West. With artifacts, storytelling, and rotating exhibitions, visitors can explore the legends and realities of the Old West.

11. Pinnacle Peak Park

For those who enjoy outdoor activities, Pinnacle Peak offers a moderate hike with panoramic views of the valley. The trail is known for its unique granite formations and signature peak.

12. OdySea Aquarium

Located in the Scottsdale area, OdySea is the largest aquarium in the Southwest. With a plethora of marine life, interactive exhibits, and a multi-level design, it provides an underwater adventure for visitors of all ages.

13. Hit the Wine Trail in Scottsdale

For wine enthusiasts, downtown Scottsdale offers tasting rooms from some of Arizona’s most acclaimed vineyards and wineries. Sample local wines and learn about the region’s burgeoning wine industry.

14. Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction

For car aficionados, this annual event showcases a vast array of collectible vehicles up for auction. From classic models to rare finds, it’s a car lover’s paradise.

15. Scottsdale Fashion Square

For those looking to indulge in some retail therapy, this upscale shopping center boasts a range of high-end boutiques, luxury brands, and gourmet dining options.

Seasonal & Holiday Events & Attractions

Scottsdale Waterfront’s Canal Convergence

Each November, the Scottsdale Waterfront transforms into a hub of creativity and inspiration. Canal Convergence combines mesmerizing public art with illuminating light installations. As you stroll along the waterfront, you’ll be greeted by interactive exhibits, making it a celebration of art, light, and community spirit.


Old Town Scottsdale dazzles every December with its month-long holiday festivity, Scottsdazzle. The streets shimmer with glittering decorations, and the event lineup includes captivating tree lighting ceremonies, festive markets, and various themed weekend celebrations that imbue the area with holiday cheer.

Christmas at the Princess

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort dons a festive attire during the holidays, becoming a true winter wonderland. With an enchanting ice-skating rink, millions of sparkling lights, and beloved holiday characters roaming the grounds, the resort offers a magical holiday experience cherished by families year after year.

Holiday Lights at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Experience the magic of the season at McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. With its spectacular display of holiday-themed decorations, visitors are invited to ride the train, journeying through a world illuminated with festive charm. Both children and adults find this annual tradition enchanting.

Sugar Plum Avenue

Nestled in Scottsdale’s vibrant entertainment district, Sugar Plum Avenue presents a holiday spectacle featuring intricate ice sculptures, thematic attractions, and exhilarating live entertainment. This winter wonderland attracts families and revelers, eager to bask in its festive ambiance.

Parada del Sol Parade

Taking place in February, the Parada del Sol Parade is a grand celebration of Western heritage. The streets of Scottsdale come alive with the world’s largest horse-drawn parade, followed by the Trails End Festival – a lively event filled with performances, food, and community activities.

The Polar Express Experience

For those who cherish the tale of the Polar Express, certain local train rides recreate the magical journey. Families are whisked away on a themed adventure, complete with heartwarming carols, delicious hot cocoa, and a special appearance from Santa himself.

Holiday ArtWalk

Scottsdale’s renowned arts district embraces the festive spirit with its Holiday ArtWalk. Galleries throw open their doors, inviting visitors to enjoy eclectic art displays, sip on seasonal refreshments, and immerse themselves in the lively atmosphere often accompanied by live music.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations

Scottsdale greets the New Year with grandeur. Various venues and upscale hotels host lavish New Year’s Eve parties. Revelers can indulge in gourmet dining, groove to live music, and raise a toast with champagne as the clock strikes midnight, welcoming a new beginning.

Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches de las Luminarias

A short drive from Scottsdale, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix offers a tranquil holiday experience with its Las Noches de las Luminarias event. The garden paths are lined with thousands of luminaria bags and sparkling lights, creating a serene and picturesque desert landscape under the starry sky.

Hanukkah Celebrations

The Festival of Lights is celebrated with fervor in Scottsdale. Numerous synagogues and community groups organize public menorah lightings and events, allowing both residents and visitors to partake in the age-old Hanukkah traditions.

Scottsdale’s Native Trails

From December through March, Scottsdale pays tribute to its indigenous roots with Native Trails. This cultural extravaganza showcases the rich heritage of indigenous communities through mesmerizing music, dance, and art performances.

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Scottsdale, Arizona, is not just a destination—it’s an experience waiting to unfold. Whether you’re a couple seeking a romantic desert getaway, a family eager to make lasting memories, or a group—be it friends reuniting or corporate teams bonding—Scottsdale promises a mosaic of unforgettable moments. Dive into the rich tapestry of cultural events, indulge in outdoor adventures, or simply unwind under the vast Arizona sky. With Rebl Rentals, your stay is elevated to a whole new level. Our Scottsdale vacation rentals cater to diverse needs, offering ample space for large gatherings, luxury amenities for a touch of opulence, refreshing swimming pools to beat the desert heat, soothing hot tubs for relaxation, and pet-friendly options to ensure no family member is left behind. So why wait? Transform your dream Arizona escapade into a reality and book your Scottsdale retreat with Rebl Rentals today. Experience Arizona like never before!