6 Best Places to Explore, Stay, and Eat in Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona has been given a variety of nicknames such as “a desert version of South Beach in Miami” and “The West’s Most Western Town.” The range of names Scottsdale holds reflects the town’s unique charm. Just 31 miles long and 11 miles wide, it manages to be everything from a quaint stop to appreciate Arizona’s vast desert to a place with amazing attractions in the form of parks, museums, shopping areas, and more.

Desert GetawayDesert Getaway

Scottsdale offers something for everyone and is definitely worth adding to your travel list.

1. McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the picturesque Arizona desert that we all hope to explore someday. The vast, permanently protected, sustainable desert habitat offers some amazing hikes at varying levels of difficulty - there is truly a hike for everyone.

2. Gateway Loop

For example, the Gateway Loop is one of the most popular hikes as it offers compelling views that make for great photo ops, however, the terrain is very rocky. It is still frequented by inexperienced hikers but it is advised to go slow and bring your hiking boots and poles!

3. Brown’s Ranch

Alternatively, Brown’s Ranch is a much easier trail and still offers a chance to enjoy the desert scenery. Other popular trails that are known for great views include: the Bell Pass, the Sunrise, and the Wingate.

4. Butterfly Wonderland

If you still want a lazier day but are looking to explore, head over to Scottsdale's Butterfly Wonderland. Butterfly Wonderland is a great art facility that houses an incredible glass atrium, which provides the perfect tropical rainforest habitat for thousands of butterflies from all over the world that fly around freely.

It is the perfect place to explore, especially for a nice family day out. There is even an educational “Flight of the Butterflies” 3D movie that is shown regularly. For kids, there is also an interactive insect exhibit. And don’t forget to stop by the café and gift shop on your way out!

5. House of Broadcasting

The House of Broadcasting started as a niche site to see for budding show business stars but has become one of Scottsdale's top sites to see. The House of Broadcasting highlights Arizona's broadcast history. This is truly a gem of a museum, housing original TV cameras, radio equipment, and movie history memorabilia also donated from other states.

It also includes a fabulous collection of historic wardrobes. As you walk through the museum, you will be able to enjoy lots of pictures taken through these early broadcasting years. It is clear the museum was built from a true love of TV and music and educating those who are interested as it is a nonprofit with free admission but donations are welcomed.

6. Fountain Hills

As you may have guessed from the name, Fountain Hills is known for its fountains. It actually has the fourth tallest fountain in the world. It’s a beautiful site to see, and definitely worth visiting. That’s not all Fountain Hills has, the town also holds art fairs, and is home to a theater. So, for a chilled out, cultured trip, Fountain Hills could be perfect for you.

Where to Stay:

The Four Seasons in Scottsdale appreciates Arizona's dramatic landscapes and truly encapsulates the experience of a desert getaway with its adobe casitas. These casitas look out onto a backyard full of saguaro cacti as well as dramatic valleys and the iconic Pinnacle Peak. The hotel’s surrounding area features vibrant Native American art and history as well as landscape that is ripe for adventure, which includes two world-class golf courses.

As far as amenities, The Four Seasons offers free WiFi, 24-hour room service, a pool, a spa that offers locally inspired treatments, and more. The hotel is very family-friendly but is also great for a romantic weekend getaway as it truly has it all.

In fact, avid traveler, Ryan Gibbs said this about his stay at the hotel, “My family enjoyed a five-night respite at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale. Its location in the beauty of North Scottsdale and convenience to the world-class Troon North golf course makes this a prime luxury location for golfers as well.”

If you are looking for a hotel that is closer to the city center, the Embassy Suites by Hilton Scottsdale Resort is the place for you. The resort is less than a mile from Old Town Scottsdale, home to the Arts District, Entertainment District, the waterfront, and Fashion Square.

All of these areas loved to be explored by locals and tourists alike as they are the cultural and historical hub of Scottsdale. Additionally, the resort is only 12 miles away from Phoenix, allowing for further exploration of Arizona’s major cities.The resort is five minutes from Scottsdale Stadium and downtown Phoenix is 12 miles away.

The Embassy Suites features a restaurant, two heated outdoor pools, fitness center, and free made-to-order breakfast.

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa is another hotel that clearly loves and appreciates the Arizona landscape as it sits amidst flowering cactus and is framed against the majestic McDowell Mountains. Moreover, the resort is surrounded by adventures and extraordinary nature that is eager to be explored.

You can splash into the Hyatt's 2.5-acre water playground (complete with a sand beach and 3-story, high-speed water slide), golf, or hike on a local trail. For those looking to relax, enjoy the unique Himalayan Salt Room in the spa.

Where to Eat:

The Singh Farms offers delicious, fresh produce that is tough to match. Don’t miss their Saturday morning farmer’s market (9 am to 1 pm) and indulge in their organic fruits and vegetables, freshly baked whole-grain bread, muffins, cinnamon buns, preserves, soups, and more. The Singh Farms lovingly grow and tend all produce and products they sell and it really comes through in the food.

In fact, the farm is very popular with locals, who have been known to refer to it as “an oasis in the desert”. Singh Farms sits just east of the 101 freeway in Scottsdale and is easy to find and worth the trip.

For those with a sweet tooth, the Scottsdale Chocolate Tour is a must. The tour consists of six bakeries and chocolatiers. You will visit some of Scottsdale's best chocolatiers and have the opportunity to try and purchase a wide range of chocolates and delicious treats. The tour is a chocolate-lovers dream as you can sample truffles, cupcakes, and more while you stroll through Scottsdale’s adorable Old Town.

And, if you find you’re not able to eat all your goodies at once, you will be provided with a doggie bag in which to take home all your delicious treasures.

At Rancho Pinot, head chef Chrysa Robertson is known for always allowing seasonal flavors to shine through. As many restaurants no longer change their menu to highlight what is in season. The Rancho Pinot cooks simple yet eye-widening dishes that you can enjoy amongst Arizona’s desert landscape. Grilled quail with polenta at Rancho Pinot is a compelling plate of finesse and power.

Another local favorite is the ricotta-stuffed zucchini flowers that have a heavy fry and colorful crowning of a light tomato salad. The Rancho Pinot is definitely worth a visit if you are someone who loves to experience local flavors in order to get to know your vacation spot.

Kalyan Panja