Scottsdale is a desert city located directly east of Phoenix with a population of just over 240,000 people. The city has experienced substantial growth over the decades and has become a popular destination for travelers year-round, due to its natural beauty, endless events and activities, vibrant culture, and warm climate.
Of course, depending on why you’re traveling to Scottsdale, some times are better than others. The following guide will explore the best times to go, depending on your goals, interests, and budget.
Because Scottsdale is located in the Southwest United States, its winters are generally mild and sunny. This makes Scottsdale an ideal escape destination for travelers looking to avoid harsher winter climates. For this reason, December through February tends to be the peak tourist season in Scottsdale.
During this time of the year, temperatures generally range between the mid-60s and low 70s Fahrenheit. This makes it the perfect season for outdoor activities such as golf, hiking, and sightseeing, while avoiding scorching summer temperatures.
However, the nights do get colder during this time of the year – and because it’s peak tourist season, accommodations and flights tend to be more expensive.
The off-peak season in Scottsdale generally occurs during the summer months, from June to August. During this time of the year, temperatures are often hot and dry, with average highs that reach over 100°F (38°C).
It’s important to note that many outdoor activities may be difficult or even dangerous to undertake during this time, due to extreme heat. Outdoor enthusiasts drawn to Scottsdale for its natural beauty should plan their trips during the cooler months.
However, while it is not always ideal for outdoor activities, summer brings a few advantages. Hotel rates and airfare prices are typically lower during these months, making it a more budget-friendly option for travelers. Additionally, this tends to be one of the best times of year to take advantage of the city’s vibrant cultural scene.
The Scottsdale Arts District, which is home to numerous galleries and museums, hosts a wide variety of exhibitions and events throughout the summer months. The city has lots to offer visitors, even if they want to stay out of the sun.
Shoulder seasons are the transitional periods between peak and off-peak seasons. In Scottsdale, these are typically experienced during the months of March to May and September to November.
During these times, temperatures tend to be milder than in the winter but still warm enough for outdoor activities. Furthermore, there is less risk of summer storms or extreme heat, making it much more pleasant to explore.
Shoulder seasons offer a good balance of favorable weather and fewer crowds than during the city’s peak season. Accommodation prices will generally be lower during these times, so travelers can enjoy their stay without breaking the bank.
Additionally, those looking for outdoor activities such as golf or hiking may find them more pleasant during this period due to milder temperatures and lower chances of rainfall. Although not hot, the days are still warm enough to fully enjoy the outdoors.
One of the big draws for Scottsdale is its breathtaking natural landscape. Depending on the time of year you visit, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in nature. The following are examples of outdoor attractions in Scottsdale worth exploring during each season:
The fall season is a great time to explore Scottsdale’s desert landscape. Although certainly cooler than the summer months, the fall season in Scottsdale is still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors.
In fact, the beginning of September can be quite warm, with average temperatures ranging from 100°F (38°C) to a low of 74°F (23°C). Things cool down after September, with the average temperatures in October ranging from 62-90°F (17-32°C) and temperatures in November becoming much cooler at 51-77°F (11-25°C).
During this season, the desert landscape begins to transform with vibrant colors. Hikers can explore local trails and cactus gardens to witness the beauty of nature’s seasonal palette. The following are two activities particularly worth exploring during the fall months in Scottsdale:
McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a vast, 30,000-acre protected area with plenty of hiking opportunities. In the fall months, hikers can explore various trails with unique views and experience the park’s changing colors during this season without fear of extreme temperatures.
In addition to hiking the 225 miles worth of trails, visitors can also enjoy biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and guided tours of the park.
It’s no secret that hot air balloon rides are one of the most popular activities in Scottsdale. While they can be enjoyed year-round, there is something special about taking a hot air balloon ride during the fall months when the colorful scenery is at its peak.
Hot air balloons offer peaceful rides with spectacular views of Scottsdale’s desert landscape and mountains – especially if you book sunrise or sunset rides. There are many companies that offer hot air balloon rides, some of which include a champagne toast or breakfast afterward.
Winter can be a great time to explore Scottsdale. Although temperatures tend to be lower, they generally remain mild enough for outdoor activities such as golfing and hiking.
Furthermore, the winter months bring an abundance of vibrant flowers in bloom, making it one of the most picturesque times of year to visit. It’s no surprise that winter is Scottsdale’s peak season. The following are some activities that visitors can enjoy during the winter season:
Although it may be a little cooler outside, the winter season can be a great time to explore Scottsdale’s rugged terrain via a jeep tour. Sonoran Desert Jeep Tours offers guided tours of the area that last anywhere from two hours up to an entire day.
Visitors get to experience beautiful views and learn about the flora, fauna, and history of the area. It’s a great way to experience the desert during the winter season in a relaxing and comfortable manner.
The Desert Botanical Garden in Scottsdale is a must-see for those looking to explore nature during the winter months. This 140-acre oasis features thousands of desert plants and offers plenty of walking trails for visitors to explore independently or take guided tours. Winter is an especially great time to visit, as many flowers are in bloom at this time of year.
Additionally, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts several events throughout the winter season, such as art installations and dance performances.
The spring season is a great time to explore Scottsdale and its surrounding areas. With temperatures ranging from 55-87°F (13-30°C) in April, spring in Scottsdale is pleasantly warm and perfect for outdoor activities, such as golfing, hiking, and biking.
In addition, visitors can take advantage of lower accommodation prices during this period before peak summer rates kick in. The following are some activities to enjoy during the spring months in Scottsdale:
McDowell Sonoran Preserve is a great place to explore in the springtime. During this season, visitors can take advantage of guided wildflower educational hikes and learn more about the area’s natural environment firsthand. The tours are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about all aspects of Arizona’s desert ecosystem and flora.
Hikers can also take advantage of the cooler temperatures and explore the preserve on their own. With more than 225 miles of trails, there is something for everyone. In addition to its natural beauty, there are plenty of historical sites within McDowell Sonoran Preserve, such as Native American ruins and mining towns dating back hundreds of years.
If you have an adventurous side, then Salt River Tubing is an activity worth trying. This popular spot offers visitors the chance to float down a five-mile stretch of river between two dams in inner tubes. Visitors can rent inner tubes and life jackets from numerous companies near the river or bring their own.
The spring months are great for tubing, as temperatures tend to be cooler than during summer but still warm enough to enjoy the outdoors. Plus, the riverbanks are lined with desert flora and fauna in full bloom during this season.
Furthermore, the river’s wild horses are often spotted at this time of year, making for a truly unique adventure that visitors won’t soon forget. It’s an activity that most visitors can enjoy and a great way to experience the beauty of the surrounding scenery.
Scottsdale’s summer months can be quite hot, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. From swimming and tubing in the nearby lakes to hiking and biking trails, Scottsdale is full of adventure in the summertime. Here are some activities that visitors can try:
Despite being hot during the day, the summer nights cool down quite a bit. This makes it the perfect time for night photography in the desert. Deserts are known for their dramatic skies, and at night they can be especially beautiful, with the stars and Milky Way taking center stage.
Photographers of all levels can capture stunning pictures of Scottsdale’s night sky and landscapes with a camera, tripod, and any other equipment they may have.
The desert canyons of Scottsdale are a great way to experience the area’s beauty in the summer months. Although you may want to avoid the desert canyons in the middle of the day – especially during the hotter days of summer – there’s no reason you can’t explore them in the mornings.
There are also some beautiful waterfalls in the area to discover, such as Fossil Creek Falls, which is a great spot for taking pictures and going for a swim.
The shoulder seasons in Scottsdale, occurring in the months of September – November and March – May, are perhaps the most underrated times to explore this beautiful area. Temperatures are mild, making them perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking or mountain biking.
Additionally, accommodation prices are lower during these times, making them an excellent opportunity for visitors looking to save money and experience the great outdoors. The following are a couple of unforgettable activities that are perfect for the shoulder season in Scottsdale:
Head to the McDowell Mountains for a memorable horseback riding experience. The rolling foothills and scenic views offer the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of exploration. Plus, visitors can take advantage of experienced guides who will show them around the area and teach them about Arizona’s desert ecosystem.
The dark night skies of Scottsdale are perfect for stargazing and astronomy tours. Tours typically take visitors to a nearby observatory or dark sky site to learn about the stars, planets, and other celestial bodies visible in the night sky. There, knowledgeable guides will offer insight into the wonders of space that can be seen with just the naked eye.Unforgettable Experiences For Every Season.
Whether spring, summer, fall or winter, visitors to Scottsdale will always find something to do and explore. From outdoor activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and stargazing to cultural experiences like visiting art galleries and local live music venues – there is an adventure for everyone in Scottsdale. Here are a few unforgettable experiences for each season:
The fall months in Scottsdale offer visitors a chance to witness the vibrant autumn colors of Arizona’s desert landscape. This is an ideal time for outdoor activities such as hiking and biking, as temperatures are still warm but not too hot. Fall also happens to be when you can attend the following events:
The Scottsdale International Film Festival is a weeklong event in October every year. Visitors can watch independent films from around the globe and attend panels with filmmakers, actor Q&As, and award ceremonies. The festival is always an excellent opportunity to see new movies while also exploring the local art scene.
The Dia de los Muertos celebration is a yearly event held in Scottsdale. This traditional Mexican celebration honors the dead with colorful altars, costumes, and music. Visitors can participate in this festive event by attending an “ofrenda” workshop to learn how to make their own altar, listen to live mariachi bands, and enjoy traditional Mexican food.
It’s a unique way to get in touch with cultural traditions and explore the heritage of Scottsdale.
The winter months in Scottsdale can be quite chilly, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still plenty of events to enjoy. Because winter is the peak season in Arizona, the area is full of exciting activities and attractions. Here are some wintertime experiences worth checking out during the winter months:
The Native Trails Festival is an annual event held at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts, which celebrates the culture and heritage of Arizona’s Native American tribes. This festival is a great way to learn about the history of this area and experience performances such as traditional music, art, dancing, storytelling, and more.
The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show is a world-renowned event that brings together the best of Arabian horses. Held in February, this show offers visitors the opportunity to admire beautiful Arabian horses from all over the world and enjoy entertainment such as concerts, demonstrations, and equestrian competitions.
The spring months in Scottsdale are a great time to explore the area and take part in some of its most exciting events. From art festivals and music performances to cultural celebrations, there is something for everyone during this special season. Here are a few unforgettable events to consider during springtime:
The Scottsdale Culinary Festival is a must-attend event for foodies and people who love trying new foods. Held in April, this festival features delicious eats from some of the area’s top restaurants as well as cooking demonstrations, interactive workshops, and live music.
Despite being considered the “down” season due to the heat, summer is still a great time to visit Scottsdale and enjoy the city. There are plenty of events taking place throughout summer that are worth experiencing, including the following:
The Scottsdale ArtWalk is a monthly event that invites visitors to explore the local arts scene. This event features exhibitions from some of the area’s best galleries as well as live music, interactive activities, and food vendors. It’s a great way to learn more about the city’s art while enjoying its vibrant nightlife.
The annual Independence Day Celebration is a one-day event in July every year. Visitors can look forward to a dazzling fireworks show, live music and entertainment, food trucks, and more. It’s the perfect opportunity to spend time with family while enjoying some of Scottsdale’s best summer attractions.
The shoulder seasons of spring and fall in Scottsdale offer visitors the opportunity to explore the area without the crowds. During these months, temperatures are mild and there are many unique events that take place. Here are some experiences to consider when visiting during the shoulder season:
Held in March, this festival showcases works from over 350 artists. It’s an ideal opportunity to explore the city’s art scene and find some unique pieces for purchase.
This annual event is held in October and features performances from some of the best Cowboy Poets in the country. It’s a great way to experience the culture of Arizona’s western heritage and explore local music, cuisine, and art.
Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation, knowing where to stay in Scottsdale is important. There are many wonderful hotels and resorts scattered throughout Scottsdale that offer comfortable accommodations to suit the budgets of all travelers.
From luxurious spa resorts to chic downtown hotels, there is something for everyone. Here are a few suggestions on where to stay, depending on when you decide to visit:
The fall is a great time to visit Scottsdale if you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking to explore the surrounding area. If this is the case, look for vacation rentals in the North Scottsdale area so that you’ll have easy access to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and other outdoor activities.
The following are a few great vacation rentals to choose from, so you can book for your fall trip today:
If you’re planning a trip to Scottsdale during the peak season to escape the harsh winter weather, then look for vacation rentals in the Old Town Scottsdale area. This central location will give you easy access to popular attractions such as the OdySea Aquarium and Butterfly Wonderland, as well as some of the best restaurants and shopping options in town.
If you stay in this area, you’ll also find that you’ll be close to many nearby winter activities and events. Here are a few great places to consider when booking your winter stay:
If you want to skip peak season but don’t want to visit during the hot summer months, consider visiting Scottsdale in the spring. Look for vacation rentals or boutique hotels near Camelback Mountain or the McDowell Sonoran Preserve if you’re looking to take advantage of all that nature has to offer during this time of year. The following are a few great options in this area:
If you’re visiting Scottsdale during the summer, consider vacation rentals with private pools or stay at resorts with water features. This way, you’ll be able to make the most of those hot days while staying cool and comfortable when you’re not exploring the city. Here are a few options to check out:
Scottsdale is a vibrant city with plenty of attractions and activities for visitors to explore throughout the year. Whether you’re looking to visit during peak season or want to plan a budget-friendly trip during the off-season, there’s something for everyone in this stunning desert oasis. So, pack your bags and prepare for an unforgettable adventure – Scottsdale awaits!
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