There are so many fun things to do in Scottsdale! I recently got to spend a long weekend with my sister in Scottsdale, Arizona, and just loved all of the gorgeous desert vibes (definitely a great change of scenery from San Francisco)!
After experiencing it myself, I see why it’s such a popular destination for girls’ weekends and bachelorette parties. There are a lot of fun things to do in Scottsdale, whether you’re looking to relax, get in some adventure, or spend time outdoors, and I wanted to round up my top ten activities and fun things to do in Scottsdale for you!
And if you’re planning a trip to Scottsdale, don’t miss my other helpful Scottsdale guides, like my Top 10 Restaurants in Scottsdale list or my in-depth Scottsdale Travel Guide.
Things to do in Scottsdale: Travel Guide
The Best Hotels in Scottsdale
Top 10 Best Scottsdale Restaurants
Palm Springs vs Scottsdale
Top 10 Fun Things to Do in Scottsdale
1. Hot Air Balloon Ride
What’s better than watching the sunrise over the desert from 5,000 feet in the air? Actually, I would say watching the sunset over the desert, since I’m not a morning person. 😂
Hot Air Expedition’s sunset rides start in November and go through mid-March, but if you’re visiting a different time of the year a sunrise ride is worth the early wake-up call.
2. Horseback Riding
I love horseback riding, and Fort McDowell Adventures offers really fun rides through the desert (a nice way to escape the city).
We saw wild horses (they were gorgeous!) and cattle then crossed through a river. I felt like such a cowgirl. The cacti and mountains around us made for such stunning scenery!
3. ATV Tour
If you’re up for a rough ride and a bit of adventure, book an ATV tour through the desert. I call the driver’s seat!
4. Spa day
Time for some R&R! We had a spa day at The Phoenician and it was incredible. After our massages my sister said she felt like she was reborn. 😂
The spa at The Phoenician is gorgeous and there’s a rooftop pool that’s only for spa guests, where you can order drinks and just relax after your treatments. We spent a leisurely afternoon here and it was lovely.
There are so many awesome places to hike in Scottsdale! A few popular spots are Camelback Mountain, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Brown’s Ranch Trailhead, Piestewa Peak, and Pinnacle Peak Park.
If you want to learn more about the outdoors be sure to check out the wildlife conservation center.
6. Taliesin West
If Omied had been on this trip with me instead of my sister, we definitely would have gone out to Taliesin West. He’s an architect, after all!
Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s home that you can now tour, and it is known for its stunning, organic architecture.
7. Helicopter Ride to the Grand Canyon
Who wants to drive to the Grand Canyon when you can fly in a chopper? Experience the Grand Canyon’s majestic views from a unique vantage point above, and make it back in time for brunch!
8. Shopping in Old Town
Check out Old Town Scottsdale and do a bit of shopping. Grab a sweet treat from Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop, and snap a fun pic for Instagram with Hotel Adeline’s WTF (Where’s The Fun? ?) sign. Don’t forget to grab some ice cream!
9. Pool day
We had a relaxing cabana day at our beautiful hotel, Mountain Valley Shadows. Because sometimes you just need to sip rosé by the pool underneath a gorgeous mountain.
10. Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is beautiful any time of year, and you’ll be able to check out beautiful cacti and garden trails. In the later months, they have special events like Electric Desert and Luminarias, and throughout the year there are fun happenings like culinary events and live music.
Be sure to check out the event calendar to see what’s going on when you’re visiting.
Those are my top ten fun things to do in Scottsdale! I loved visiting and will definitely be back soon! When I do visit again, here are a few activities that I haven’t had a chance to explore yet, but will hit up next time:
Salt River Fields at Talking Stick Stadium (have some fun at a good old baseball game!) Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale Civic Center, the Musical Instrument Museum, the Stillman Railroad Park, the Rusty Spur Saloon (some good old western spirit), and downtown Scottsdale to try all the yummy restaurants on Scottsdale Road.
Planning a trip to Scottsdale? Don’t miss all of my other Scottsdale guides:
Scottsdale Travel Guide
Top 10 Restaurants in Scottsdale
Mountain Shadows Resort
Luxury Hotels in Scottsdale
Hotels in Oldtown Scottsdale
Palm Springs vs. Scottsdale
Best Hotels in Scottsdale
What to do in Scottsdale Post-Panny
Best Bars in Old Town Scottsdale
Best Scottsdale Brunch Spots
Epic Scottsdale Girls’ Trip
– Stillman Railroad Park
– Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
– Butterfly Wonderland
– Odysea Aquarium
– Desert Botanical Garden
Scottsdale is 12 miles away from Phoenix, making it a short, 20-minute drive.
Scottsdale is famous for its beautiful resorts, spas, expensive restaurants, shopping, art galleries, golf courses, night clubs, and country clubs.
Scottsdale is a very safe place to travel to with lots of tourism and safe residential areas.