Scottsdale, Arizona is a fantastic spot right outside of Phoenix that’s perfect for a weekend trip. This desert city is known for luxurious spa resorts and golf courses, but it has so much more to offer than just that.
Spending the weekend in Scottsdale will leave you wanting more!
In this post, you’ll learn what makes this city special and what you should definitely add to your itinerary including some of the most unique Scottsdale tours available.
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Scottsdale, Arizona At A Glance
Location: East of Phoenix, West of Tonto National Forest in the state of Arizona
Scottsdale Weather: Scottsdale has a dry, desert climate that can get very hot in the summer. During June, July, and August, temperatures average over 100° F. The coldest months are December and January where the average high is 68° and the average low is 36°F.
Distance from Phoenix (PHX) Airport: 20 minutes
Approximate Driving Time to Scottsdale from Nearby Cities
- Tucson, Arizona: 1 hour 50 minutes
- Flagstaff, Arizona: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Sedona, Arizona: 2 hours
- Las Vegas, Nevada: 5 hours
9 Fun Activities for a Weekend in Scottsdale
Old Town is a great little downtown area with a western flair and will probably be the focus of your weekend in Scottsdale. In this district, you’ll find bars, restaurants, shops, art galleries, theaters, and hotels. This is a very walkable part of town but you can also hop on the free trolley that runs every 10 minutes or catch a ride on one of the area’s golf cart taxis.
1. Visit Taliesin West
If you research Scottsdale tours, chances are Taliesin West will be at the top of the list.
Taliesin West was Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and is now open to the public for tours (the original Taliesin is located in Wisconsin). This location is also the main campus of The School of Architecture at Taliesin.
When you take a guided tour, you’ll learn all about how Frank Lloyd Wright designed this home to reflect its surroundings. It’s a beautiful structure and an entertaining tour even if you aren’t an architecture buff. Click here for tickets and tour information.
Location: 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, Arizona 85259
2. Take A Segway Tour
One of the best ways to explore Scottsdale is on a segway! During this 2-hour tour, you’ll experience Scottsdale in style. The tour starts with a 30-minute training session before you head out to explore. Your guide will take you through town showing you the best public art, restaurants, shops, and historic landmarks.
Read More: My Experience on a Scottsdale Segway Tour
3. Take a Food Tour
Sometimes the best way to experience a city is to taste its food. If you’re spending the weekend in Scottsdale, it’s a great idea to take a food tour. The Scottdale Trolley Food Tour is a 3-hour walking and riding tour through Old Town Scottsdale that includes food tastings, beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), and a local guide.
If you happen to be in town after the weekend, try out the Scottsdale Taco Tuesday Tour, Arizona’s only all-taco tour! In addition to tacos, you’ll also get to sample chips and salsa, guacamole, margaritas, and of course, dessert. But unfortunately, this tour is only offered on Tuesdays!
4. Go Hiking
Hiking in Scottsdale is amazing! Even if you aren’t an avid hiker, you can find some nice, easy trails to enjoy. Do yourself a favor and take time out of your weekend to do some hiking.
You can find a trail and set out on your own or you can take a guided hike which is great if you’d like to learn a little more about the area you’re hiking in. If you just want some pretty scenery, you’ll probably be fine on your own.
Try Papago Park or Tom’s Thumb Marcus Landslide Trail for some easy to moderate hikes that will be suitable for most people.
5. Desert Botanical Garden
Ok, so technically the Desert Botanical Garden is in Phoenix proper, but it’s soo close I had to include it. Located in Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden is a spectacle of desert beauty! Tour and ticket information can be found here.
Location: 1201 Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, Arizona 85008
6. Sonoran Desert Jeep Tour
If hiking isn’t your thing, taking a Jeep Tour is a great way to experience the beautiful Sonoran Desert. This bumpy 3-hour tour will take you through the scenic Sonoran Desert and Tonto National Forest.
Currently, only private tours are being offered due to the Coronavirus pandemic, so this is a great way to explore while keeping up social distancing.
7. Old Town Scottsdale Farmer’s Market
Old Town Scottsdale hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday morning from October through June. This fun market features specialty foods and local produce.
Location: 3806 N. Brown Avenue, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251
8. Sonoran Desert Night Tour
Experience the desert at night during this 4-hour tour. You’ll ride in a Hummer 4WD vehicle while you explore the nighttime desert and look for animals that come out after dark.
9. E-Bike Tour
If you want to experience something new, try an e-bike tour through the desert! This guided 2-hour tour starts at the Sundial town center and takes you through the gorgeous Arizona desert.
2-Day Scottsdale Itinerary
Here’s a sample itinerary for your weekend in Scottdale, Arizona.
Saturday in Scottsdale
Start off early with a morning stroll through the Old Town Farmer’s Market and enjoy breakfast around the corner at JOJO Coffeehouse.
Hop on the Scottdale Trolley Food Tour for an afternoon exploring the tasty side of Scottsdale.
After your foot tour, take a 20-minute drive up to Taliesin West to explore the modern architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.
After your Taliesin West tour, head back to Old Town Scottsdale for dinner at Los Olives Mexican Patio. Then head to Bootleggers for some after-dinner drinks.
Sunday in Scottsdale
Grab some breakfast at Farm & Craft then head to Papago Park for some hiking. Afterward, check out the Desert Botanical Garden that’s located within the park.
Spend your afternoon exploring Scottsdale on a segway. Or if you’re looking for something a little more active, try out an E-Bike tour through the Sonoran Desert.
Enjoy an early dinner with a view of the riverfront at Tapas Papa Frita then set out on a sunset Jeep tour of the Sonoran Desert.
Where to Stay in Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is a great place to base yourself from if you want to be within walking distance to activities and restaurants.
Old Town Scottsdale Hotels
- Hyatt House Scottsdale/Old Town (a great budget option – read my review here)
- Courtyard by Marriott Scottsdale Old Town
- Hilton Garden Inn Scottsdale Old Town
- Scottdale Marriott Old Town
Luxury Scottsdale Resorts
Scottsdale is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a luxury resort with top-notch amenities like golf and a spa.
- Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
- Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows
- The Phoenician, A Luxury Collection Resort
- Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch
Of all the amazing places to visit in the USA, Arizona is definitely one of my favorites — I loved my time in Scottsdale, and I am really looking forward to checking out some other cities in the state. One of the things I most want to see is Horseshoe Bend (check out this post about things to do in Page, Arizona for more info about this area.)
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This Post Has 3 Comments
Great post. It is nice to read your adventures in Scottsdale and look at those lovely pictures. I love looking at your picture with the blue skies and cactus. Hope i can visit Scottsdale soon and take a shoot on my own. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.
Arizona is so picturesque, Kattie! This was an exceptional post and the pictures are stunning!
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