While Phoenix is the only state capital in the United States with a population of more than one million residents, friendly Scottsdale is about one-eighth the size of its neighbor. Its lively hotel-centric social scene has been compared to Miami’s South Beach, without the beaches. It is considered part of the metropolitan Phoenix area.
Old Town Scottsdale offers a cornucopia of restaurants, nightclubs, art galleries and stores, including the luxurious Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, one of the largest malls in the country.
While Phoenix is more down home, boasting food trucks over fashion, Scottsdale is its ritzier cousin to the east. One of America’s most renowned architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, lived and worked amid saguaro cactus and desert skies at Taliesin West in Scottsdale.
Phoenix also has plenty to brag about, such as the renowned Phoenix Art Museum, the largest art museum in the Southwest. Here, even fashion is elevated to high art with its own gallery, beside noteworthy paintings of Diego Rivera and southwest darling, Georgia O'Keeffe.
What To Do
Hike or ride a hot air balloon across the grand Sonoran desert. Visit the largest art museum in the Southwest, the Phoenix Art Museum, home to major photography and design exhibits plus the Arizona Costume Institute, which holds more than 7,000 fashion-related items dating from the 18th century to the present.
Walk on the wild side at the Phoenix Zoo or the Children’s Museum of Phoenix. Mingle with the creatures of the deep at Scottsdale’s kid-friendly Odysea Aquarium.
Get wet tubing or kayaking east of Scottsdale along the lower Salt River. Walk through the towering cactus and colorful desert flowers of the 50-acre Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Explore the culture and crafts of 22 regional American Indian tribes at the city’s Heard Museum.
When to Go
The best time to visit Phoenix and Scottsdale is during the spring, when desert flowers blooms and the daytime temperature usually remains under 79 F. Mild days and cool nights make winter another great time to escape the summer heat.