Arriving early enough on Friday to check into your hotel and still enjoy the evening is a good idea, as is taking in dinner at one of the city’s stellar restaurants, such as Mastro’s Steakhouse or POSH’s delightful “improvisational cuisine.”
After breakfast Saturday morning, enjoy Scottsdale’s downtown “trolley” while taking in the duality of downtown and specifically the section known as Old Town. Here you will see Western memorabilia and occasional kitsch juxtaposed un-ironically against high-end shopping and the vibrant Scottsdale Arts District. While downtown, make sure to visit Scottsdale Fashion Square, which, along with Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter are among the most chic shopping destinations – and high-end shopping is definitely one of Scottsdale’s major appeals.
Culture is the name of the game for the remainder of the day and there is plenty to occupy your time. Besides the myriad galleries, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and the installations at Scottsdale Civic Center are noteworthy. It is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West that is the cultural crown jewel, however. The famed architect built the National Historic Landmark both as his winter home and school, and today it is both an architectural masterpiece and a famed education center. The unusual state historic site Cosanti is not far away and well worth the trip. The innovative home, gallery and studio of Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri is renowned for its experimental structures and combination of architectural and ecological aspects. Other eclectic but worthy destinations include the CAF Aviation Museum in nearby Mesa, and the fascinating Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix. While in Phoenix, the 125-acre Phoenix Zoo is a good option for kids of all ages. Complete your day with dinner at Crescent Moon for inventive Mexican cuisine, or at the Herb Box in Old Town for outstanding innovation in world cuisine.
Post-Sunday breakfast, it’s time to enjoy the majestic environment around Scottsdale and vicinity. Choose from countless golf and tennis venues. Or the more adventurous might opt for private horseback rides offered by Windwalker Expeditions for the feel of the real old west. Or equip yourself accordingly to hike Pinnacle Peak Park. For a certainly memorable occasion, arrange with Apache Trail Tours for one of their scenic jeep and hike expeditions. The view from an adventure with Hot Air Expeditions is another memory of a lifetime and offers perhaps the most appropriate means to cap off a visit to Scottsdale – peacefully surveying the natural wonders of the desertscape.
But however you choose to spend your last night in town, your Scottsdale excursion is sure to be memorable and to inspire a return visit.
Scottsdale and the greater region have a vast array of accommodations, including these options.
The Phoenician is surrounded by the beauty and serenity of the Sonoran desert and Camelback Mountain and reflects that serenity and beauty within. Elegant guestrooms, suites and lakefront casitas have all the exquisite appeal one expects of an AAA Five Diamond resort, from wool Berber carpet to marble bathrooms and a litany of amenities. An acclaimed spa, world-class tennis and golf and a magnificent cactus garden are just a few of the beautiful resort features. www.thephoenician.com
Four Seasons Resort at Troon North is nestled in the foothills of Pinnacle Peak and its 210 guestrooms (ranging up to two-story adobe casitas) reflect the hues and textures of the scenic setting, in crafting a marvelous setting. A gorgeous free-form bi-level heated pool is a year-round pleasure and interpretive tours of Pinnacle Peak, stargazing through a professional telescope, and resort guests’ special privileges at the championship golf courses of Troon North Golf Club are just a few of the renowned special features here. www.fourseasons.com/scottsdale/
Gainey Suites Hotel was remodeled in 2008 and the stylish setting belies the fact that the all-suite accommodations feature very similar amenities to the region’s large results at very reasonable rates. Location is another bonus, with The Spa and Health Club at Gainey Village, fabulous shops and myriad restaurants nearby and with the best golf courses in the Valley of the Sun just minutes away. www.gaineysuiteshotel.com
Decades ago, Scottsdale might have just been a Phoenix suburb, but today it is a tony destination unto itself, complete with considerable arts and culture, high-end shopping and accommodations, and some unique regional attractions.
Access: Sky Harbor Airport is served by most major carriers and is located about 20 minutes from downtown Scottsdale.
Population: Approx. 217,000
Climate: Arid with mild winters and very hot summer days.
Main Attraction: A bevvy of destination spas are strong draws to Scottsdale, as are golf, tennis and other outdoor activities. Southwestern art exposed in numerous galleries and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West are leading cultural draws.
Early Bird: Unlike the tropics, there is vast difference between day and night temperatures in arid Scottsdale. To enjoy outdoor activities most times of the year, opt for the early morning for comfort and safety.
Stay Dry: In hard rains, many Scottsdale streets are prone to flooding and Arizona has an uncommon “Stupid Motorist Law.” It says that if someone drives around a barricade to enter a flooded road they will be charged for their rescue.
Jump!: For a unique sidetrip, visit Eloy and Skydive Arizona, where one can experience both traditional – and the rare, indoor – skydiving thrill.