The ultimate travel guide for your next visit to Arizona, I’m sharing the 10 best things to do in Scottsdale including where to stay, what to do and where to eat!
As some of you may know, I was born in Tucson, Arizona, and have gone back to visit at least 20 times throughout my life. And for good reason: Arizona’s dry heat, beautiful landscapes, and authentic tacos are hard to beat!
Over the years, I’ve heard more and more great things about Scottsdale, Arizona which is why I decided to see for myself what all the buzz is about!
My first time ever visiting the Phoenix/Scottsdale area, I couldn’t wait to spend several days exploring the best hotels, places to eat and things to do.
So grab your gal pals or book a flight for your honey because here is my list of the ten BEST things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona!
First up: check in to Mountain Shadows which will be home base during your visit to Scottsdale.
Originally built below Camelback Mountain in 1959, Mountain Shadows was completely rebuilt in 2017, reemerging as a luxurious, modern resort.
While you’re there, be sure to check out their exercise classes. I highly recommend the pilates class which takes place on reformers!
Next, head to dinner at Hearth ’61 located right on site at Mountain Shadows. Featuring a stunning exhibition kitchen, this was one of the best meals of my time in Scottsdale.
Our waiter graciously paired each course with their extensive wine list but the craft cocktails were incredible as well. While the menu changes with the seasons, I am confident you’ll enjoy your meal at Hearth ’61.
My third recommendation while visiting Scottsdale is to head to Scapegoat Bar for beer and wine in a fun, casual and relaxed setting. If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, they even offer live music.
Of course, any visit to Scottsdale isn’t complete without exploring the local hiking trails.
Since my body was on Eastern time, I decided to take advantage and hike a sunrise hike on Gateway Loop Trail.
Located in the Sonoran Preserve, this 4.2 mile loop trail is mostly flat but can be a bit more difficult if you’re visiting during warmer months.
Pro Tip: Arizona Outback Adventures offers incredible guided hikes plus endless other recreational activities including backpacking, biking and more.
My fifth recommendation is to grab breakfast, juice or a smoothie at Original Chop Shop.
Featuring protein bowls, savory dishes, açaí bowls and more, it’s the ideal spot to refuel after your hike.
Another great option for breakfast or lunch is Farm & Craft.
Their menu features healthy and sustainable options ranging from protein pancakes to salmon salad to grass-fed burgers and more.
If you’re looking for more of a stick-to-your ribs meal, head to The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale. Sophisticated yet casual, this modern Latin restaurant has everything you crave (think: table side guacamole) plus everything you didn’t realize you were craving like short rib tacos.
While you’re in Old Town, head to the infamous Sugar Bowl just a 5 minute walk from The Mission restaurant. If it feels like you’re stepping back in time when you enter it’s because you are: it’s been around since 1958! I kid you not – I had the BEST malt of my life there.
Another Scottsdale mainstay: head to Diego Pops and split an order of the Brussels sprouts nachos.
Smoky, charred brussels and homemade queso cheese sauce are what sets these nachos over the top. A MUST during your next visit to Scottsdale!
Last but not least, grab a table and dine at Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen located inside the beautiful Andaz Scottsdale.
The design brand of Hyatt, every inch of this hotel is modern and whimsical.
Pro Tip: Head to dinner early and grab a cocktail at the bar then sit outside by the fire pits.
Offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, Weft & Warp features a rotating menu of delicious bites including shishito peppers, sweet corn tortilla soup, desert spiced smoked brisket and more.
There you have it, friends! The ten BEST things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona! How did I do? Where do I need to go when I return?
What future travel guides would you like to see? Leave a comment below and let me know! Your passport is waiting.
Disclosure: Experience Scottsdale coordinated my travel, meals and accommodations.
Want more travel tips and ideas? Check out my Pinterest board!
13 thoughts on “10 Best Things to Do in Scottsdale, Arizona”
“I wish I could do what you can do. I have no talent of my own, so I live vicariously through you and your words.
I would be in Scottsdale, AZ this coming week, and when I got to read this article, you really made me excited to do the things that you have written here. But one thing that really made me interested on doing is to have a dinner at Hearth ’61.
What is their best selling dish there? Can’t wait to go there on a date with my husband!
What is the best compliment you’ve received for your writing?”
This has to be one of the worst Scottsdale guides I have ever seen. Obviously you didn’t check in with a local for things to do or places to eat. To top it off, your “home base” hotel and favorite restaurant were in Paradise Valley which is part of Phoenix, not Scottsdale. And for the record, Hearth 61 is abysmal. Do not eat there unless you want to pay high end prices to eat in a mediocre fare while sitting in a hotel lobby.
Hey Tim – What are some of your favorite spots? I’d love to know for next time.
Best of the best would be Binkleys. After that, try Cafe Monarch, Citizens public house, Sel, Tapas Papas Frita (Spanish), Fat Ox (Italian), Atlas bistro, Hush, and Sumo Maya (Asian/Latin American fusion).
One other thing… no one should ever go to Sugar Bowl. They serve dryers ice cream. Sweet republic, sweet provisions, or shakes and cones would be some good local places.
I liked Sugar Bowl!! But that’s good to know too!
Thank you so much! Can’t wait to return. I was born in Tucson and my dad lives there now. :)
If you are getting any benefits from the places you recommend, it would be more ethical to reveal them. From a 40-yr. resident of AZ.
Hi Leslie – There are no benefits I picked these places to enjoy because I liked them. I wouldn’t recommend a place I didn’t like. :) Also the disclaimer is in the blog post very clearly written as it is in all my sponsored posts. To be clear, I was hosted for a free meal but not compensated for my time.
This is just one big ad for restaurants, hotels and bars. When you click on any of the links, Liz gets money. She missed SO much of the really great things to do in Scottsdale like OdySea Aquarium, the railroad museum, and on and on
Don’t click any links in this article!!!
Hi Ryan – I don’t get paid for link clicks. :) That’s a myth. :)
I’ve lived in Phoenix/Scottsdale my entire life and wouldn’t have included any of these places except for the Sugar Bowl. There’s a lot of hidden gems—this reads like an ad. You might reach out to locals and not just a travel company next time.
Hi Katie – I actually did a ton of research on my own (which is how I found out about the Sugar Bowl.) What spots should I hit up next time??