Scottsdale may feel a little different than in year’s past. You’ll see locals and travelers alike donning face masks (be advised that face masks are currently mandatory) and social distancing markers placed on the floor throughout popular attractions. Yet there’s so much about Scottsdale that’s exactly as it always has been.
The Salt River is still flowing, outdoor activities are still very much on the agenda, and you’re still more than welcome to meander down the Roosevelt Row arts district. The beautiful thing about the desert is that it endures—rocks and mountains are rarely moved and cacti need only water (and very little at that) to reach heights of 15 to 16 feet.
There are more things to do in Scottsdale during COVID than you’d think. Start with these 5 adventures.
In Scottsdale, outdoor activities are always fair game. Sunny skies and plenty of trail systems mean you’ll be able to explore the great outdoors while keeping your distance from other groups. Take on Instagrammable Camelback Mountain, or try some lesser known yet equally stunning trail systems like Papago Park and Pinnacle Peak Park.
The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy is also a breathtaking place to get outside. Located just 20 minutes from The Scottsdale Resort, this conservancy offers up more than 30,500 acres of Sonoran Desert. Head here to immerse yourself in the true ecology of the desert.
You’ll always find a tee time in Scottsdale. Over 200 golf courses dot the Phoenix/Scottsdale metro area, so you’ll likely always find a place to practice your drive or play nine holes. Drive far and wide to experience new courses, or simply play a few holes at neighboring McCormick Ranch Golf Club. This club features 36 holes alone, so you’ll be able to experience different styles of play.
Enjoy the beauty of the desert at Desert Botanic Gardens. Meander along the garden trails, taking in flora and fauna native to the Scottsdale area. Garden favorites include saguaro cacti and desert wildflowers.
The Botanic Gardens also host several rotating exhibits. Currently, you can see over 1,000 colorful animal sculptures, each made from recycled plastic.
Roosevelt Row is one of Scottsdale’s most eclectic art districts. Street art abounds, making it easy to take in works from local artists while remaining in the open air. Murals and rehabilitated bungalows are staples of this neighborhood, which is quickly becoming one of the most sought after areas in Phoenix.
Though Roosevelt Row’s First Friday events are temporarily suspended, you can still head down to take a stroll, pop in a shop to find a gift for loved ones at home, or enjoy a meal out on the town.
If you’re up for a drive, ancient ruins and a wildlife park await. Just 1.5 hours outside of Scottsdale lies Montezuma Castle National Monument, a national park which features pueblo ruins. According to the National Park Service, Montezuma Castle “quickly became a destination for America’s first car-bound tourists” after it was uncovered in 1933. Since tourists of today may also feel safer in the car, this is a highly rewarding day trip. Stretch your legs once you arrive with the easy ⅓ mile loop trail that’ll get you closer to the ruins.
While you’re outside of the city, consider also stopping by the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. Immerse yourself in safari-like encounters with wild animals and tours, each of which emphasize education about wildlife and their habitats. Out of Africa also offers special drive through hours for park-goers who prefer to keep to themselves.