Imagine a place where mountains rise above it, and desert unfolds around it. A place that feels as much in the desert as it is of the desert, with homes and buildings and city centers splashed with terracotta tiles and earth tones. A place where palm trees line the streets and cacti punctuate nearby hills, creating an atmosphere unlike any other vacation destination--desert or otherwise. That place is Scottsdale.
Scottsdale seems to rise up out of the desert, which is why the desert influences appear in everything from Scottsdale’s architecture to its arts and culture to some of its best attractions. And yet there’s more to Scottsdale than its distinctive landscape. Artists of all kinds call Scottsdale home, as do professional athletes and world-renowned chefs, elevating Scottsdale to the top of the list for those planning desert vacations. Still not convinced Scottsdale is for you? Discover even more reasons why Scottsdale is the only desert destination you need.
True southwest getaways should celebrate their desert roots, which is why we’d be remiss if we didn’t at least mention the region’s weather. Scottsdale’s desert setting is to thank for its warm weather year-round. Highs can climb upwards of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, while lows rarely dip below 43. That means even when it’s cold wherever you’re from, Scottsdale is guaranteed to have better weather on the horizon.
These generally pleasant temps are also to thank for the diverse desert landscapes. Though parks like the Grand Canyon often dominate the conversation, Scottsdale is actually home to many more diverse outdoor destinations that will get you closer to the desert. Learn about area flora and fauna or attend special events at the Desert Botanical Gardens. Put your stamina to the test at Camelback Mountain, one of the country’s best urban hiking trails. Or even take a day trip to Sedona, where red rocks and desert brush dominate the horizons.
Arts and culture abound in Scottsdale, especially those that draw inspiration from the desert itself. From casual galleries to upstanding museums, Scottsdale has it all. Though much of the art here maintains its sense of place, this city is also surprisingly global. Museums invite creations from around the globe, so you can experience the world over without needing to travel quite so far.
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West: Western Spirit pays tribute to the 19 states that make up the American West through mediums like photography and painting. More local exhibitions are balanced by international works at venues like the Phoenix Art Museum, whose collections span from the Renaissance to the present. Because Scottsdale is the kind place where you’ll want to hang outside, more casual arts and culture opportunities are common. Don’t miss Old Town Scottsdale, where you’ll find over 100 galleries with art of all kinds. Weekly art walks make this an accessible and community-focused way to get a feel for Scottsdale’s community of creators. And if you’d rather take in the desert landscape and brush up on some culture at the same time? Visit Taliesin West, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s “desert laboratory” turned architecture academy. This historic site blends the best of both worlds: Wright’s ahead of his time designs with authentic desert elements.
Scottsdale’s urban centers are a shoppers dream. Whatever it is you want or need, Scottsdale is sure to have it. Interested in quaint boutiques? Head to Old Town Scottsdale. After international brands? Try Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall. Shopping in Scottsdale is also about more than what’s on the shelves. Rather, it’s about the experience of shopping at and, by virtue, exploring a new locale.
If you’re perusing the stores at Old Town Scottsdale, you’ll also encounter arts and culture aplenty. If you’re strolling through Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall, you’ll also come across decadent chocolate shops, musical theater, and celebrations surrounding events like the Lunar New Year. An added bonus is that thanks to Scottsdale’s ideal weather, many shopping centers are open-air, so you won’t have to sacrifice sunny skies for air-conditioned malls.
Because Scottsdale is a place where many come to retire, it’s become a destination that caters to the finer things in life. From your arrival at the airport to the time you depart, you’ll encounter undisturbed desert interwoven with pools, golf courses, spas, and more. Not only can you replenish the Vitamin D you’ve been missing, but you can also invest in more of the activities you love, whether they’re relaxing, invigorating, or both.
If Scottsdale isn’t already considered the golf capital of the world, we’re going to label it as such right now. Sure, there’s championship golf here, but there are also breathtaking courses enjoyable for people of all ability levels--even those who may be in it for the views. There’s also ample opportunity to do nothing at all, in the form of lounging beside the pool or at the hands of a desert resort’s spa specialist. Scottsdale as a destination encapsulates the best of both worlds, so you can enjoy both peace and quiet and recreation, each in perfect measure.
Beyond the near-perfect weather and ever-present attractions, what truly sets Scottsdale apart from other desert destinations is that Scottsdale doesn’t make you choose. Your vacation can be as relaxing or as adventure-filled as you want it to be. Whether you plan a visit for three days or three weeks, you can spend that time entirely on the go, or you can sit back and take it slow. Scottsdale encourages it all.