Scottsdale is associated with golfing and warm weather, but there are many other things you can do in the city. Scottsdale is known for its natural beauty and vibrant arts scene.
Taliesin West, the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, was Taliesin West. Today it is the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation as well as the School of Architecture at Taliesin West. Students move between Taliesin West and Taliesin West, Wisconsin, where they spend summers in Scottsdale and winters there. This is the same transition that has been happening for many decades.
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The campus offers fascinating insights into the genius of this famous architect. These buildings have undergone many changes over the years and have been restored to what they were before.
You must take a tour to see the property. However, guides are passionate about sharing the story of the site with you and will not overwhelm you with information. The tour will allow you to learn more about the architecture and give you a better idea of the sights.
Taliesin West, an architecture school in operation, is open to visitors during winter. You may be able to see students at work on their drafting tables. Both indoor and outdoor tours are available. Students are required to build their own desert dwelling, where they can live while on the course.
Official site: http://franklloydwright.org/taliesin-west/
Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is lively and fun, and is great for an afternoon or evening. The front of western-themed buildings is lined with covered sidewalks. There are many shops selling everything from trinkets and Mexican blankets to Native American art, jewelry, and crafts. High-end galleries showcase the work of internationally-respected artists.
Old Town Scottsdale offers great dining options for those who enjoy strolling and gaining an appetite. There are many restaurants with cozy outdoor patios.
At the intersection of East Main Street, North Scottsdale Road is Old Town Scottsdale’s center. Nearby are the Civic Center Mall, public square with artwork including the famous Love sculpture, as well as surrounding restaurants and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Thursday night, the Old Town hosts Scottsdale Artwalk. This is when galleries open their doors to the public. There are many other events taking place in the area. Check out the Experience Scottsdale events calendar to see what’s happening.
Scottsdale and golf are synonymous. Scottsdale is a popular destination for golfers, especially in winter. Scottsdale has many great courses that will suit any skill level or budget.
Troon and TPC Scottsdale are two of the most prestigious courses. Troon North features two courses designed by Tom Weiskopf. They are set in the desert landscape with unusual granite boulders, ravines and rolling hills. Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale in Troon North offers complimentary shuttles and special rates to the Troon North Golf Club to guests who stay at their property.
TPC Scottsdale is the only PGA Tour property within the city. It offers players an opportunity to play where the pros have played. TPA offers two courses: one called The Stadium designed by Jay Morrish and Tom Weiskopf, and another called The Champions designed by Randy Heckenkemper.
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is a stunning look at desert life and can be found just a short distance from Old Town Scottsdale. The gardens are excellent at combining artistic elements with original artworks that are scattered around the grounds.
You can expect to see other species of birds, such as butterflies flying around, hummingbirds buzzing by, woodpeckers landing on the Saguaros and a variety of other birds flying and running about.
These gardens are representative of the different deserts in the Southwestern USA, including the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Deserts, Mojave Deserts, and the Great Basin Desert. Each area is divided into themes. There are informative plaques that help you to identify key elements and what to look out for.
Official site: https://www.dbg.org/
Pinnacle Peak Park
Pinnacle Peak, a cone-shaped mountain with boulders, is a popular spot for hiking in Scottsdale. You can hike up Pinnacle Peak via a moderate 1.75 mile one-way trail at 1,300 feet elevation. From there, you will be able to enjoy stunning views of northern Scottsdale and the green fairways of Troon North Golf Club.
The views are only about a third of the way up for those who don’t want to hike the entire distance. You can also turn around if you get bored. You’ll find a wonderful visitors center at the trail’s base with displays, tables, picnic tables, ramadas and washrooms.
Informational plaques are placed throughout the park and along trails to provide background information about the Sonoran Desert’s fauna and flora. Street parking is available, although the 90-space lot fills quickly.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
Scottsdale is proud of its natural areas. McDowell Sonoran Preserve, one of the best, is one example. It covers over 30,000 acres, and offers trails that can be used for walking, biking, hiking, or riding.
Some of the most popular hikes include Tom’s Thumb which offers stunning views over the surrounding area. There are also trails that leave from the Lost Dog Wash Trailhead where you can find shorter hikes with views to the south.
You will find detailed maps and washrooms at most trailheads. Volunteers are also available to answer any questions.
The McDowell Sonoran Preserve, located on the northeastern corner of Scottsdale, is open daily from sunrise to dusk.
Scottsdale Civic Center Mall
The Scottsdale Civic Center is located in the heart of downtown, and connects to Old Town Scottsdale. You’ll find amazing open-air green spaces, water features with ducks and sitting areas as well as stunning rose gardens.
The iconic LOVE sculpture of Robert Indiana is also on display, as well as other interesting pieces of public art. Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts are two other important cultural institutions that can be found in the area.
Performances are held throughout the year in Scottsdale Mall Amphitheater. This area is located just north of the main square.
McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park
McCormick-Stillman Railroad park is a great place to take the family, especially if you have young children.
Open-air mini trains are the main attraction. They run on a track that runs around the park on a schedule. But there is so much more. The colorful 1950s carousel, built by Allan Herschell and featuring music from that time period, is another highlight.
Nearby, a massive 10,000-square-foot model railway building showcases several different gauge miniature railways. You can push buttons to make the trains run along the tracks.
The Railway Museum is also located in the park. It has displays and old rail cars you can see.
There are many playgrounds, large trees that provide shade, as well as grassy areas and picnic tables. The park’s admission is free. However, there is an entry fee for the Railway Museum, the carousel and the train.
Official site: http://www.therailroadpark.com/
Butterfly Wonderland is a great place to have fun with the family in Scottsdale. This is a great place to go on cool winter days, or to escape the summer heat.
There are a variety of butterflies flying about inside, along with displays on honeybees at work, edible insects and rainforest reptiles. 3D Theater shows a film about insects that almost seems to leap off the screen.
Official site: https://butterflywonderland.com/
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is located just a few steps from Old Town, in the Civic Center Mall. Four galleries are available for art lovers. The acronym SMoCA is the local name for the museum.
A constant stream of local and traveling exhibits is available in addition to the permanent galleries. There are many interesting events at the museum, and you can even bring your dog.
Official site: https://smoca.org/