Like nearby Phoenix, Arizona’s capital city, Scottsdale is known for its spas, golf courses and seemingly endless deserts and sunshine. The city’s 330 annual days of sunshine gives vacationers and locals plenty of time to hike, mountain bike, go off-roading tour or horseback riding.
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Scottsdale’s charming downtown area also offers plenty of opportunities to escape the midday sun, from galleries to ice cream shops, restaurants and more.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art’s unique Knight Rise exhibit allows visitors to watch the sun as it travels through the ever-changing colors of the desert sky.
One of the America’s most renowned architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, lived and worked amid saguaro cactus and desert scenery from 1938 through 1940 at Taliesin West. The building provides a great example of organic, sustainable architecture, utilizing the natural elements of the Sonoran desert region.
Adventure seekers and watersports lovers will discover an oasis of fun, as well as wild horses and other desert wildlife, along the lower Salt River east of Scottsdale. And there’s nothing like riding across the desert in a hot air balloon to get a lay of the land.
What To Do
Yes, grapes do grow in the desert. Taste some of the best southwestern vintages in Scottsale’s downtown tasting rooms. Cool off tubing or kayaking east of Scottsdale along the lower Salt River.
Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home and workshop at Taliesin West, now a school for architecture open to the public for guided tours. Browse for desert fashions and souvenirs in the Southwest’s largest shopping destination at Scottsdale Fashion Square.
Relive the brief 1890s gold rush in nearby Goldfield Ghost Town. Get to know the friendly otters, penguins, sea turtles and rainbow-colored fish at Scottsdale’s kid-friendly Odysea Aquarium. There’s even a submerged escalator that takes guests through a deep-ocean tank.
Turn your eyes to the sky to observe thousands of colorful winged creatures at Butterfly Wonderland, the largest of its kind in North America. Go on a cool guided night hike or dine al fresco under a blanket of stars.