Scottsdale Travel Guide

Scottsdale once made a name for itself as "the West's most Western town," but today the city is better known for its manicured streets, fashionable restaurants, shops, and nightlife, as well as its scenic location in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. Scottsdale draws thousands of visitors every year who come to soak up the sunshine, relax at local resorts, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of the desert. But Scottsdale is more than a resort town. The city has a strong arts and culture scene, architectural wonders by Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri, and frequently ranks high on lists as one of the country's "most livable" cities. 

Scottsdale, one of the most affluent areas in Arizona and the country, is bordered to the west by Phoenix and Paradise Valley, to the north by the small town of Carefree, to the south by Tempe, and to the east by Fountain Hills and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. The McDowell Mountains loom over central Scottsdale, separating the city from the neighboring town of Fountain Hills. The city of roughly half a million people can be divided into four distinct areas.

Old Town Scottsdale

The city touts its Western heritage in the pedestrian-friendly downtown area, featuring Southwestern-themed statuary, tourist shops, art galleries, nightclubs and restaurants. A free neighborhood trolley traverses downtown, stopping at designated points of interests every fifteen minutes. The high-end Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the country's most profitable malls, is also located in Old Town. Also in downtown is the Scottsdale Waterfront, a 1.1 million square foot project that includes high-rise retail and office buildings and two 13-story residential buildings facing the Arizona Canal. Still in development, it's projected that about five miles of the area will become open public space that will include recreation paths, an outdoor amphitheater, and public art.

South Scottsdale

Just south of the downtown area, South Scottsdale is considered the most working class part of the city and represents the least expensive place to live within city limits. South Scottsdale abuts the city of Tempe, and much of this part of the city resembles its college town neighbor to the south. Here you'll find an ample supply of small bars and restaurants that cater to the large student population that drifts into Scottsdale on a regular basis.

North Scottsdale

Home to multimillion dollar homes set against the scenic backdrop of the Sonoran Desert, North Scottsdale represents one of the most expensive zip codes in the United States. Once the least developed, more rural part of Scottsdale, the area has seen significant development in recent years, with the residential boom attributed partly to the growth of the Scottsdale Airpark, one of the largest employers in the Phoenix Metro area. The Airpark is  home to the company headquarters of major companies such as  Fidelity Investments, GE Capital, Discount Tire Company, The Vanguard Group,  and others.

The Shea Corridor

The east-west corridor along Shea Boulevard encompasses most of central Scottsdale. Many of the housing developments in this area were built in the 1970s and have increased in value over the years, including highly desirable communities such as McCormick Ranch and Gainey Ranch. The area is also home to the so-called Resort Corridor, for the abundance of resort hotels located along Scottsdale Road, including the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas, FireSky Resort and Spa, and the projected Ritz Carlton to be located in the area.


Where to Go in Scottsdale


Courtyard by Marriott Scottsdale Old Town

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3311 N Scottsdale Rd

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Westin Kierland Resort & Spa

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6902 East Greenway Parkway
(AZ-51 Exit Greenway Parkway)

Golf & Spa Resort
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FnB Restaurant

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7133 East Stetson Drive

Eclectic, ingredient-centric contemporary American cuisine
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14344 North Scottsdale Road

Tepanyaki and More
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