Watching beautiful Arizona sunsets is the most unique thing to do in Scottsdale Az.

33 Unique Things To Do In Scottsdale AZ 2022

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Looking for the most unique things to do in Scottsdale Az? We’ve lived in the Scottsdale area three separate times totaling around 14 years, so we’ve had plenty of time to experience everything this area has to offer.

With so many active and unique things to do in Scottsdale Az, it is a really fantastic place for healthy travel. Whether you’re interested in sports, hiking or just being outside, this desert destination is the perfect place to visit and you’ll have no problem filling up your itinerary.

Unique Things To Do In Scottsdale, AZ

There’s so much to do and so many great outdoor activities that you should have no trouble filling up a multiple day trip to the desert. We recommend traveling in the Winter or Spring and having at least 4 or 5 days to explore some of these fun options below.

1. Hiking

One of the most popular and best things to do in Arizona is to go on a hike. Although most of the city is a valley with lots of desert landscape, there are some awesome mountains in and around the surrounding area with miles of trails and fantastic views.

If you plan on visiting during the summer months, make sure you go out very early in the morning (4:00 to 5:00am) and make sure to bring lots and lots of water.

Just after sunrise view of the famous Camelback Mountain hike.

In addition to the very high temperatures, the dry climate can really dehydrate you quickly and a lot of the hikes have a fairly moderate to hard difficulty.

During the fall, winter or spring months, you should still go early because it gets busy fast and parking will be harder to find at some locations. The climate stays pretty dry so bringing enough water is still very important even in these cooler months.

Some of the most popular spots for hiking in Scottsdale and Phoenix include:

🥾 Camelback Mountain ~ Echo Canyon Trail, Hard Difficulty, 2.5 miles, estimated 2 hours.

🥾 Pinnacle Peak Park Trail ~ Moderate Difficulty, 4 miles, estimated 2 hours.

🥾 Piestewa Peak Summit Trail ~ Hard Difficulty, 2.1 miles, estimated 1 hour and 30 minutes.

🥾 Quartz Trail ~ Moderate Difficulty, 8.4 miles, estimated 3 hours and 30 minutes.

🥾 Hole In The Rock ~ Easy Difficulty, 0.3 of a mile, only takes about 10 minutes.

🥾 Black Mountain Trail ~ Hard Difficulty, 2.2 miles, estimated 1 hour and 30 minutes.

🥾 Papago Park Butte Loop ~ Easy Difficulty, 2.2 miles, estimated 1 hour.

Check AllTrails for a list and map of many more hiking trails in the Scottsdale and Phoenix area. If you only have time for one hike, the most popular is probably Camelback Mountain located close to the Scottsdale center, in between E Camelback Road and E McDonald Drive.

Bouldering up Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale Az is one of the most unique things to do in the desert.

➡️ If you’d rather go in a group or with a guide, you can find plenty of Guided Hiking Tours in Arizona here.

2. Cave Creek

One of the most unique things to do in Scottsdale Az, or pretty close by, is to visit the western town of Cave Creek. You can head straight north on Scottsdale Road for about 20 or 30 minutes and you’ll run right into the town.

One of the most unique things to do in scottsdale Az is to visit the old Wild West town of Cave Creek and watch some bull riding.

Similar to the rest of the valley, there are lots of golf courses, hiking trails and Sonoran Desert landscapes, but Cave Creek is unique because it kept that old Wild West style. The main attraction is to watch Bull Riding for $10 on Wednesday or Friday nights at the Buffalo Chip Saloon and Steakhouse.

3. Golf

With more than 200 courses in the area, golf is definitely the most popular activity in Arizona.

With so many courses to choose from it may be hard to decide where to play so these are a few of our favorite courses:

⛳️ McCormick Ranch Golf Club ~ 2 courses located in the McCormick Ranch area.

⛳️ Desert Forest Golf Club ~ desert style links course located north in Carefree.

⛳️ Gainey Ranch Golf Club ~ 27 hole course located in the McCormick Ranch area.

⛳️ Rancho Mañana Golf Club ~ high desert course located north in Cave Creek.

⛳️ The Mirabel Club ~ Tom Fazio designed course located east of Carefree.

⛳️ Grayhawk Golf Club ~ 36 holes located in North Scottsdale.

⛳️ Whisper Rock Golf Club ~ 36 holes located just south of Carefree.

⛳️ Silverleaf Country Club ~ par 72 championship course located in North Scottsdale.

⛳️ The Phoenician Golf Club ~ located at a luxury hotel at the base of Camelback Mountain.

⛳️ TPC & TPC Champions Course ~ 2 courses in North Scottsdale and the location of the WM Phoenix Open PGA tournament.

⛳️ Talking Stick Golf Club ~ 2 courses located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Reservation with a luxury hotel and casino.

⛳️ Starfire Golf Club ~ 27 holes and relatively cheaper prices located just north of the McCormick Ranch area.

Summer will have the cheapest rates but it’s not the most pleasant time of year to be outside. Winter and Spring are going to be much more expensive and much busier at the courses but you’ll have a much more enjoyable day out.

Depending on the time of year, check Groupon or Golfnow to see if there are any discounts available.

4. Lake Pleasant and Betty’s Trail Rides

A little northwest of the city on the Maricopa County border, you can find one of the closest natural areas with a body of water at the Lake Pleasant Regional Park.

There are tons of outdoor activity options like boating, fishing, hiking, biking, camping and horseback riding.

You can also stay at the beautiful Castle Hot Springs Resort, get out on the water with Lake Pleasant Cruises, or venture out to some of the areas historic landmarks (Tollhouse Wash, Salvation Peak, Old China Dam, Fort Tule Homestead Riparian Area, Tip Top Mine, Anderson Mill).

Horseback riding in the desert with Betty's Trail Rides is one of the best unique things to do in Scottsdale Az.

We went out on a horseback ride with Betty’s Trail Rides and enjoyed our time and the great discount price we got from their Groupon.

5. Epic Adventures AZ

Since Arizona is a great outdoor destination, going on an adventurous guided tour is a great activity to add to your itinerary. Epic Adventures AZ offers some awesome active and unique things to do in Scottsdale Az even for those with no experience.

These are some of the various tour options they offer:

  • Mountain Biking ~ in Fall, Winter or Spring, lasting 3 to 4 hours and a cost of $155 per person.
  • Canyoneering ~ offered in the fall or spring, full 8 hour day and $310 per person.
  • Rock Climbing ~ Fall, Winter or Spring, 4 hours and $135 per person.
  • Rappelling ~ Fall, Winter or Spring, 4 hours and $155 per person.
  • Off Roading ~ Any time of year, 3 to 4 hours and $150 per person.

Hiking Camelback Mountain at sunrise.

➡️ For an 8 Hour Canyoneering Adventure, we recommend booking your tour here with Epic Adventures AZ.

➡️ For an 4 Hour Rappelling Adventure, we recommend booking your tour here with Epic Adventures AZ.

6. Rock Climbing 

With all of the surrounding mountains, another great outdoor or indoor activity in central Arizona is Rock Climbing. You can choose from Rock Gyms, Tours or just free climbing around town.

🧗‍♂️ Tour options include Rappelling with Epic Adventures AZ or taking a 2, 4, 6 or 8 hour tour with Stoneman Climbing Company.

🧗‍♂️ If you are an experienced climber and want to go out on your own, AllTrails lists some options in or around town: Black Mountain Trail, Pinnacle Peak Trail, Beardsley Boulders Area Climbing, Marcus Landslide Trail, Piestewa Peak and Freedom Loop Trail, Big Butte Loop, Scarlett Canyon and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Loop.

🧗‍♂️ If you prefer indoor climbing or bouldering, check out AZ on the Rocks in North Scottsdale or Black Rock Bouldering Gym near the Paradise Valley mall.

Big boulders in north Scottsdale that are perfect for a unique rock climbing experience.

7. Class Axe Throwing

One of the most unique and fun things to do a little bit south of Scottsdale Az in Tempe, is Class Axe Throwing. An hour here will give you the chance to learn from trained experts, practice throwing and finish with a group tournament.

Depending on the number of people in your group, the cost can range from $24 to $100.

If you’re going to be around for awhile, they now have an Axe Throwing League and they also have a mobile Axe Throwing range for private events.

8. Sedona

Sedona is just over 2 hours north of Scottsdale and is known for its beautifully colored red rock formations. It is probably the most popular destination to visit on a day trip from Scottsdale but you may want to spend a little more time here.

One of the best day trips from Scottsdale is a trip up to Sedona.

Jeep tours are a popular activity but you can also find tons of hiking and biking trails all around Sedona (check AllTrails to see some options). The city of Flagstaff is also nearby and the Grand Canyon is about 2 hours further north, so Sedona could be a great place to stop on your way up.

➡️ For a Full Day Tour to Sedona from Scottsdale/Phoenix, we recommend booking your tour here with Detours of Arizona.

➡️ For a Day Tour to both Sedona and The Grand Canyon from Scottsdale/Phoenix, we recommend booking your tour here with Wandering Heart Adventures.

➡️ For a Day Tour to just The Grand Canyon from Scottsdale/Phoenix, we recommend booking your tour here with Detours of Arizona.

9. PGA Waste Management Phoenix Open

The Waste Management Phoenix Open is one of the most unique things to do in the golfing world with one of the most famous holes in professional golf, and it’s held right in Scottsdale Az.

The tournament takes place every year at the TPC Scottsdale course in North Scottsdale in early February with hundreds of thousands attending, particularly for the 16th Hole.

The 16th Hole is unlike any other in golf because it is customary to cheer (or more likely boo) the players as loudly as possible. If you get the chance to be there during a hole in one, be prepared for extreme noise, flying beer and a lot of excitement.

There are lots of Suites and Clubs throughout the course but General Admission prices are usually as follows:

  • Monday and Tuesday are free to attend.
  • With an adult, 15 and under are free every day of the event.
  • Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday are $50.
  • Friday and Saturday are $75.
  • A Week package is $750 (4 badges for the whole week and a parking pass).

10. Meetup Soccer (Or Other Sports)

If you want to get some exercise in while on vacation, you can join one of the many free pickup soccer games around town. The most friendly and inviting group no matter your skill level was always the North Scottsdale Soccer Meetup.

Typically soccer and other Meetup sports will play very early in the morning or later in the evening/night to avoid the heat of the day. The same as any other outdoor activity in Arizona, it’s important to stay very hydrated so be sure to bring lots of water.

There are a few other soccer groups that play in the area that you can join for free or you can search for other sports groups on the Meetup site.

11. Tempe Town Lake

Being a desert, there aren’t a ton of water activities around the city of Scottsdale and although you can’t get in the water here, Tempe Town Lake is a popular place to get out near or on top of the water. The Lake is part of the Salt River and is located south of Scottsdale just across the highway from Papago Park and on the north portion of the ASU campus.

Some activities you can enjoy here include going on a walk, bike riding, kayaking or rowing, stand up paddleboarding, fishing, or boating.

➡️ For Guided E-Bike Tour around Tempe, we recommend booking your tour here with Greenbelt Bike Tours of Scottsdale.

12. REI Co-op Adventure Center Arizona

Mountain biking is one of our favorite outdoor activities and whether you want to go out on your own or on a tour, REI Co-op Adventure Center Arizona is a great place to check out for many active and unique things to do in Scottsdale Az.

They have mountain bike rentals that you can rent by the hour, for the day or for multiple days. And in addition to mountain biking tours, they also have hiking, kayaking, rafting, paddleboarding, and even a Grand Canyon flight and hike tour.

➡️ For a Guided Mountain Biking Adventure with REI Co-op, we recommend booking your tour here.

➡️ For a Guided Hiking Adventure with REI Co-op, we recommend booking your tour here.

13. Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show

 Every year starting on the Thursday of President’s Day weekend, beautiful horses are brought from all over the world to participate in various competitions at the 11 day Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

This is one of the most unique and special events to attend in Scottsdale especially if you are a horse or animal lover.

Tickets range from $15 to $250 depending on the number of people and the location of the seats (for more info you can visit, or you can also volunteer at the show and see some events while you’re there. They do have one day with free admission for military and their families, as well as one evening with free admission for Family Fun Night.

14. MacDonald’s Ranch


If watching the Arabian horses makes you want to get a closer look and experience but you don’t want to drive as far out as Lake Pleasant, you can find a much closer riding experience with MacDonald’s Ranch. It is still about a 25 minute drive from downtown Scottsdale but it is one of the closest options for horseback riding.

My Great Grandfather riding in Arizona in 1941. Horseback riding is definitely one of the best and most unique things to do in Scottsdale Az.

In addition to day and moonlight rides, they also have the option for Cowboy Cookouts with a horseback or hayride.

Prices start around $65 per person for a 1 hour ride and go up to around $160 per person for a 2 hour ride. They do have $5 off for military, veterans or first responders, and they offer a 1 hour free ride on the exact day of your birth.

If you are going to be out anywhere near Fountain Hills or Mesa, they have a sister stable out by the lake called Saguaro Lake Ranch Stables. Prices are similar to MacDonald’s.

15. Papago Park

Papago Park is a large outdoor area with lots to do just a little south of Old Town Scottsdale and north of Tempe. In addition to hiking trails and the popular Hole In The Rock, there are a number of paid attractions within the park as well.

You can visit the Phoenix Zoo, the Desert Botanical Garden, the Hall of Flame Museum and the AZ Heritage Center, or play some golf at Rolling Hills Golf Course or Papago Golf Club.

➡️ For Guided E-Bike Tour around Tempe and Papago Park, we recommend booking your tour here with Greenbelt Bike Tours of Scottsdale.

16. Watch The Sunset

One of the best free and most unique things you can do in Scottsdale Az is simply enjoy one of the many beautiful sunsets. We’ve lived and traveled to a lot of places but no where has sunsets quite like Arizona.

Find a restaurant with a patio where you can wait and watch or go for a little walk and make sure to take your phone for some great camera shots.

Watching beautiful Arizona sunsets is the most unique thing to do in Scottsdale Az.

17. Ben Avery Shooting Facility & Archery

A little north of town off Interstate 17, you can get some target or archery practice at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility. This was where I had my first ever shooting experience and I loved it.

They have Archery, Clay Targets, or Rifle & Pistols, and they also offer safety and beginner firearm classes for men, women and children.

18. Barrett-Jackson Car Show

Every year towards the end of January, the huge Barrett-Jackson Car Show comes to town. Even if you’re not super into cars, it is pretty cool to see thousands of different styles both old and new.

The event is huge and you could easily spend hours admiring everything they have. My father took me back when I was in high school and we were there for a few hours but I don’t think we came close to seeing everything.

You can get advance online tickets ranging from $22 to $65 depending on the day, which is cheaper than day of tickets between $25-80. Week passes are also available and they do have discounts for children, seniors, students and military.

19. Japanese Friendship Garden

Minutes north of Downtown Phoenix you can find a little tranquil piece of nature at the Japanese Friendship Garden. The garden is 3.5 acres with a Koi Pond, a Tea House and a Tea Garden.

Admission prices are $10 with discounts for seniors, students, military and youth. They also participate in voluntary donation admissions on the first Friday of every month.

20. Desert Botanical Garden

We love visiting Botanical Gardens wherever we go to get a little break from the city, but in Scottsdale Az you can visit one of the most unique gardens. The 140 acre Desert Botanical Garden is one of the many attractions available inside of Papago Park.

Hiking in the desert is the most popular and unique thing to do in Scottsdale Az.

Check their site before you go to see current available tours, activities, exhibits or events on the day of your visit. Prices range from $15 to $40 depending on the exhibit, time of day and youth or adult ticket.

21. MLB Spring Training

 The most popular and most unique event to attend all over the Scottsdale Az area during the spring season is Spring Training for 15 Major League Baseball teams. Prices and locations range depending on the team.

Games you can catch include:

The Diamondbacks, the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, LA Angels, LA Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland A’s, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers

22. MLB Arizona Diamondbacks

Besides Spring Training, you can also catch some regular season MLB Diamondback games in Downtown Phoenix. Average ticket prices are around $50 but you can often find tickets as low as $20.

If you want a VIP seat for one of the most unique experiences in Scottsdale Az, you can get tickets to the Pool Suite. Yes, there is a swimming pool right in the middle of the stands and yes, it is quite expensive. The suite always sells out and tickets start at nearly $5,000.

23. NFL Arizona Cardinals

Although they haven’t been the best team in recent years, you can head way out west of Scottsdale to Glendale for an Arizona Cardinals NFL game. Ticket averages are around $80 but you should be able to find cheaper seats.

24. NBA Phoenix Suns

Across the street from Chase Field (where the AZ Diamonbacks play) you can catch a Phoenix Suns NBA basketball game at the Footprint Center. Average ticket prices are around $70 but you can find tickets as low at $10.

25. Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park

The Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park is located on the far west side of the greater Phoenix area in Litchfield Park. They have the largest amount of exotic and endangered animals in the state, a safari park, Adventureland and DragonWorld.

The Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park in Phoenix is a fantastic zoo with lots of close up views of the animals.

It’s a great zoo with a more intimate and closeup experience with the animals like in the Kangaroo Walkabout where the Kangaroos roam around and are only separated from you by a rope. Admission costs are $47 with discounts for children, seniors, groups of 10 or more and AAA members.

26. The Phoenix Zoo

Also a part of Papago Park, the Phoenix Zoo is just a few minutes from Old Town Scottsdale and Tempe. Daytime admissions are $30 for adults and $20 for children. The Roars and Pours event from 5:30 to 8:30pm is $10.

27. OdySea Aquarium

The OdySea Aquarium is located just off the 101, a little northeast of Old Town. On top of regular aquarium exhibits, they have a Penguin Encounter ($60), a SeaTrek Diving Tour (currently $65) and a Shark Behind The Scenes Tour ($10).

 Regular admission tickets are $42 for adults and $32 for children. You can also get combo tickets or admissions plus encounters tickets, and after 4:30pm regular admission tickets are $27.

28. Butterfly Wonderland


Right next to OdySea Aquarium, you can visit the country’s largest butterfly conservatory at Butterfly Wonderland.

In addition to the large rainforest style butterfly area, they also have a Butterfly Emergence Gallery, a 3D Theater with “Flight of the Butterflies”, a Rainforest Reptile Exhibit, a Spineless Giants Exhibit, Tropical Waters of the World and a Honey Bee Extravaganza.

Ticket prices for just the Butterfly Wonderland are $26 for adults and $19 for kids. You can also get combo tickets with OdySea Aquarium, Laser & Mirror Maze, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not or Pangea Land Of The Dinosaurs.

29. Ice Den

Visiting the Ice Den was always one of the most popular and more unique things to do as a kid in Scottsdale Az because of the outrageous heat during the summer months.

The Ice Den is an indoor ice skating rink in North Scottsdale and although they have lots of hockey and skating leagues and competitions, they also have “Public Skate” times which is great for the whole family to get out on the ice.

30. Cracker Jax & K1 Speed

 If you’re traveling with kids and are looking for something close by and fun, you can check out Cracker Jax. It’s a mini amusement park with laser tag, go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, batting cages, volleyball courts, an arcade and a golf range.

K1 Speed, another kid friendly attraction, is an indoor go-kart race track. They do have junior karts for younger kids but the minimum height to drive is 48″. For adult karts the minimum is 58″.

31. Malls + Shopping

 Technically shopping is not the most active thing to do, but if you need a break from the outdoors there are lots of malls and shopping spots around town.

Walking around Old Town you’ll see lots of unique shops and restaurants. There are also some indoor and outdoor malls around like Desert Ridge, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Paradise Valley and Kierland.

The most unique shop in the Scottsdale Az area that is sort of secret (at least for those outside of the state) is called Last Chance. It’s where designer products go to die, or get bought at relatively low prices. If you like garage sale style scavenger hunts for good deals (and high quality products) then you shouldn’t miss Last Chance.

Last Chance is the most unique shop in the Scottsdale Az area where you can find lots of great deals for cheap prices.

32. Unique Museums in Scottsdale Az

Especially if you’re visiting during the summer, it’s a good idea to add in some indoor activities to your itinerary. These are just some of Scottsdale’s museums and a few of them are even free.

➡️ Arizona Military Museum ~ Free

➡️ Hall of Flame Fire Museum ~ $15, with children, student and senior discounts

➡️ AZ Heritage Center ~ $12, with children, military and seniors discounts

➡️ ASU Art Museum ~ Free

➡️ Children’s Museum of Phoenix ~ $16

➡️ Heard Museum ~ $20, with children, student and senior discounts

➡️ Arizona Museum of Natural History ~ $13, with children, students and senior discounts

➡️ Scottsdale Historical Museum ~ Free

➡️ i.d.e.a. Museum ~ $9

➡️ Taliesin West by Frank Lloyd Wright ~ $35 to $49, with students and children discounts

➡️ Musical Instrument Museum ~ $20, with children discounts

➡️ Western Spirit ~ $20, with senior, military, children and student discounts

➡️ Fiesta Bowl Museum ~ Free

➡️ Penske Racing Museum ~ Free

33. Hot Air Balloon Ride

And one of the most popular and unique things to do in Scottsdale Az at either sunrise or sunset is to take a hot air balloon ride over the Sonoran Desert. There are multiple tours available that range anywhere from $169 to $219 per person and most include some food and drinks.

Beautiful Arizona sunsets are a must see during your visit to Scottsdale.

➡️ For a Morning Hot Air Balloon Ride, we recommend booking your tour here with Hot Air Expeditions Inc.

➡️ For a Sunset Hot Air Balloon Ride, we recommend booking your tour here with Rainbow Ryders.

Complete List Of Unique Things To Do In Scottsdale Az

  • Phoenix Open (huge golf tournament at the beginning of February, $0-750)
  • Golf (McCormick Ranch ~ The Phoenician ~ Starfire ~ Camelback ~ McDowell Mountain ~ Silverado ~ DC Ranch ~ Grayhawk ~ Wildfire ~ TPC ~ Kierland ~ Troon North ~ Rancho Mañana ~ Whisper Rock ~ Desert Mountain ~ Talking Stick ~ Gainey Ranch ~ and so many more) 
  • Barrett-Jackson Car Show (at the end of January, $22-80)
  • Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show (starts the Thursday of President’s Day weekend, $15-250)
  • Spring Training (spring… 15 Major League Baseball teams practice in the area) 
  • Cave Creek (old western style town with bull riding, hiking, horseback riding, golf, and more)  
  • Hiking (Camelback ~ Pinnacle Peak ~ Piestewa Peak/Dreamy Draw ~ Thompson Peak ~ Hole in the Rock ~ Fat Man’s Pass ~ South Mt Park and preserve ~ Papago Park)
  • Watch a Beautiful Arizona Sunset
  • Macdonalds Ranch ($55-145)
  • Malls + Shopping (Desert Ridge, Fashion Square, Paradise Valley, Last Chance, Kierland)
  • Ben Avery Shooting Facility & Archery
  • Epic Adventures AZ ($192-388)
  • Lake Pleasant
  • Bettys Trail Rides
  • Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center
  • Rock Climbing (outdoors or at a gym) 
  • OdySea Aquarium ($25-40)
  • Butterfly Wonderland ($25)
  • Desert Botanical Garden ($25-40)
  • The Phoenix Zoo ($20-30)
  • Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park ($47, discounts available)
  • Day Trip to Sedona
  • ASU campus 
  • Tempe Town Lake (boats, SUP, biking, fishing)
  • Class Axe Throwing ($23-100)
  • Papago Park 
  • NBA Suns, NFL Cardinals, or AZ Diamondbacks games
  • Museums (Scottsdale Historical Museum ~ Fiesta Bowl Museum ~ Western Spirit ~ Scottsdale Arts ~ Arizona Military Museum ~ Hall of Flame Fire Museum ~ AZ Heritage Center ~ ASU Art Museum ~ Children’s Museum of Phoenix ~ Heard Museum ~ Arizona Museum of Natural History ~ i.d.e.a. Museum ~ Taliesin West ~ Musical Instrument Museum)
  • Japanese Friendship Garden ($7-10)
  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park ($3-20)
  • Meetup Soccer (or other sports)
  • Cracker Jax (golf range, putt putt, bumper boats, batting cages, etc)
  • K1 Speed (Indoor Go Karts, $25-60)
  • REI Co-op Adventure Center Arizona ($60- 800)
  • Ice Den Scottsdale
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride

Is Scottsdale Worth Visiting?

If you pick the right time of year, YES it is worth a visit! As long as you avoid summer, there are loads of events and great activities that are definitely worth your time in Arizona.

You’ll want to spend plenty of time outdoors so going during the right time of the year will let you take advantage of the wonderful weather and nature here.

What Is Scottsdale Known For?

Scottsdale is known for Golf, the Desert, Beautiful Sunsets and did I mention Golf? With more than 200 courses in the area, golf is definitely the most popular activity, especially during the winter and spring seasons.

The TPC Scottsdale Golf Course in Scottsdale, Az.
TPC Scottsdale

Best Time To Visit Scottsdale, AZ

Depending on your desired activities and events, there are a few different options for the best times to visit. Winter and Spring are the perfect seasons to spend time outdoors but Summer and Fall are much cheaper and less crowded.

What Is The Hottest Month In Scottsdale And The Worst Time Of Year To Visit Arizona?

Summer may be the cheapest time to visit, but there is a reason why. For a minimum of three months, Arizona experiences 100+ degree weather and August is usually the hottest month. Imagine oven temperatures or a hair dryer blowing on your face nonstop… it’s not great.

Golfing in the Arizona summer heat.

People do still go outside and play sports, go hiking or play a round of golf, but if you’re not used to these conditions it can be pretty dangerous to your health. For example, I used to play soccer every Sunday at 6:00am but it would still reach triple digits within an hour or so.

Hiking during summer also requires early mornings (starting at 4:00 or 5:00am) in order to avoid the hottest temperatures of the day (usually around 3:00pm). Golfing is the same, go early and get a cart, but fortunately this is the cheapest season to play.

How To Visit Arizona In The Summer

⏰ Start early in the day if you plan on spending time outside.

💧 Whether you’re going outside or not, drink lots and lots of water, like way more than you think (and especially if you are going on a hike or doing any other strenuous activity).

🏬 Make sure to plan enough indoor activities to give yourself a break from the heat. Check out some of the malls, museums, the aquarium, or the ice den to get out of the hot sun.

🥵 Heat stroke and dehydration are serious, if you start feeling bad make sure to stop what you’re doing, get out of the sun, drink water and try putting a cold rag or towel on your forehead and neck to cool you down.

🐍 When going outside, watch out for Arizona wildlife like rattlesnakes, scorpions, mountain lions, coyotes and javelinas.

☀️ Make sure to bring and apply plenty of sunscreen while you’re there but be sure to choose a healthy brand so you aren’t lathering yourself with toxic chemicals.

🤧 Bring plenty of lotion and tissues with you to Arizona. Your skin will most likely dry out and crack from the extremely dry weather and you may get some nose bleeds.

🤑 Take advantage of the cheaper hotel and activity prices and enjoy this time with the least amount of crowds.

The Best Season to Visit for Weather & Events

Winter and Spring are the most popular and best months to visit for weather, events and outside activities, but this also makes it the busiest and most expensive time to visit.

From January to April there are some great events to attend like the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Barrett-Jackson Car Show, the Arabian Horse Show, and MLB Spring Training.

An unusual snow day in Arizona. Cave Creek was the only area where it stuck on the ground.
Cave Creek Snow Day

Temperatures are generally very nice (around 60-70 degrees) and it very rarely gets super cold and snows. The Spring (and Fall) produce a lot of pollen and you may experience seasonal allergies so you might want to prepare for that.

Is There A Good Time To Visit For Weather And Prices?

If you’re not planning on attending any events and are just interested in exploring the area, late Fall is the best option for lower prices and possibly cooler weather.

It does generally start to cool down in late Fall (with temperatures in the high 80s and 70s) but it is not always guaranteed. Besides visiting during Thanksgiving, September to November should also have cheaper rates.

Where To Stay In Scottsdale, AZ

Wondering if it is safe in Scottsdale or what part of town you should stay in? The answer is yes it is generally very safe, and there are multiple great areas to choose from.

📍 Our favorite area is North Scottsdale because we used to live there, but it is also a great area to stay because it is close to good hiking, great food and events like the Waste Management Open, the Barrett-Jackson Car Show and the Arabian Horse Show.

📍 One of the most popular areas to stay is Old Town Scottsdale. It is a cute and quaint main street, a little closer to Phoenix and close to some great hiking spots, golf courses, malls and restaurants.

📍 Downtown Phoenix is good if you want to stay close to the airport, where the Suns and DiamondBacks play, the Zoo, Papago Park and the Desert Botanical Garden.

📍 Other nice areas include Kierland, Scottsdale & 101, Desert Ridge, Grayhawk, Camelback, Paradise Valley, McCormick Ranch, Scottsdale & Shea, Biltmore, Uptown and Tempe.

A map of the best areas to stay for your trip to Arizona.

Hotel Rates

You can expect to pay on average as much as $400 a night in summer and all the way up to $4,000 in winter at fancier hotels like The Princess and The Phoenician.

Mid Range hotels like the Hilton Garden Inn and Courtyard Marriott will cost on average $100 a night in summer and $250 in winter. 

You might also be able to find Airbnb’s or VRBO’s around $75 a night in the summer and somewhere in the range of $150-350* (plus fees) in the winter. 

*For renting houses or homes during the Winter or Spring, we suggest planning and reserving as early as possible. Places tend to fill up fast and we’ve heard of rentals going all the way up to $6000 a week.

The Best Places To Eat In Scottsdale

There are plenty of healthy and allergy friendly restaurants in the city, making Scottsdale one of the best healthy destinations. We still always bring some healthy and allergy friendly snacks with us when we travel, but in Scottsdale you can easily find plenty of good food to eat.

Visit our other post on 19 Fun and Healthy Restaurants In Scottsdale for the full list of restaurants, but below are a few of our favorites:

➡️ Tocaya Modern Mexican ~ healthy and fresh Mexican, even gluten free burritos!

➡️ Barrio Queen ~ beautiful Dia de los Muertos decorated Hip Mexican Restaurant with multiple locations.

➡️ Flo’s ~ popular Chinese food and really good soy free fried rice.

➡️ Pita Jungle ~ tasty and fresh mediterranean food, and really good hummus.

➡️ Picazzo’s Healthy Italian Kitchen ~ healthy, organic and allergy friendly Italian, they even have a location in Sedona.

You can also check our post Where to find an Allergy Friendly Restaurant Around the World to find more healthy and allergy friendly options.

Chips and Guac from the best healthy and allergy friendly restaurant, Tocaya Modern Mexican.

Wrap Up: Unique Things To Do In Scottsdale Az

This beautiful desert city has so many great activities and lots of healthy places to eat, giving you more than enough options for a long visit. If you don’t have that much time and have to choose between some of these unique things to do in Scottsdale Az, we recommend not missing Camelback Mountain, Horseback Riding, Cave Creek or playing one of the many wonderful Golf Courses around town.