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Scottsdale (Arizona)

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Scottsdale is a city in the state of Arizona. It is east of Phoenix and is considered to be part of the Phoenix Metro Area.

Understand

Scottsdale is home to many galleries, high quality resorts, and golf courses. It is also one of the wealthier parts of the Phoenix Metro Area.

High end shopping destinations are one of the primary attractions of the city. For example, the Fashion Square Mall is near downtown Scottsdale and is one of the biggest malls in the United States. The extensive galleries to the west of the downtown also offer upscale shopping and strolling. The galleries in this area display works both from local artists and from around the world.

The view from Camelback Mountain
Saloons and plastic cacti for tourists in the Old Town

The Old Town section of Scottsdale is to the east of the gallery district [1]. It showcases the ironic attempt of Scottsdale to both embody swank upscale style as well as a caricature of the gruff American West. This part of town is undeniably kitschy. Well over half the shops are gift shops. However, it is fun enough for a browse in a Disneyland sort of way.

Both "Old Town" and "Downtown" Scottsdale possess an dazing array of bars, nightclubs, pool clubs and chic eateries. Nicknamed "Beverly Hills in the Desert" the dedicated party animal with cash to spend will not be disappointed.

The Canals

The valley of the sun has over 130 miles of canals [2]. Most of them were built in the last 100 years to provide water for the irrigation of farm land. However, now that the valley is much less agrarian the canals are primarily used to carry away storm water. Some are also used to generate hydroelectric power.[3]

These often overlooked gems are open to the public. One can take in the beautiful desert scenery and fresh air while strolling along them. They provide walkers, joggers, and bikers with a nice refuge from traffic. But don't try swimming in the canals, aside from being an obvious bad idea because the sides are so steep it is also illegal, along with motorized vehicles [4]

Get in

By plane

The Phoenix metro area has several airports. The biggest and most used is the Sky Harbor Airport which is about a 20 minutes drive away from downtown Scottsdale.

There is also a smaller airport in Northern Scottsdale for smaller planes and private jets. It is also about 20 minutes from downtown Scottsdale.

Alternative Airports

  • Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IATA: AZA) +1 480 988-7600 [5] is located east of Phoenix, in neighboring Mesa. It is served mainly by Allegiant Air [6], although Vision Airlines [7] also offers service. Currently, this is a smaller-sized airport, but is in the process of being redeveloped into a major regional airport.

Get around

Scottsdale is undoubtedly a car-centric place. Most of the city is too spread out to reasonably walk, far more people use their own cars than ride the bus, and the light rail does not come to Scottsdale.

By car

Outside of its central core, Scottsdale is laid out for cars.

To keep the speed limits and traffic signals well enforced, the city of Scottsdale extensively uses photo radar. Residents often learn where the cameras are and slow down near them. However, sometimes they slow down a bit abruptly. Drivers are often well served by expecting this from time to time.

There are 3 types of cameras.
  1. Intersection cameras These cameras monitor for both speeding and the running of red lights.
  2. Stationary freeway Cameras These monitor for speeding and are intended to keep the speed reasonable. They generally are triggered 11 mph over the speed limit.
  3. Mobile Van cameras These cameras monitor for speeding from the back of white vans on the side of the road. These are harder to spot because they move locations regularly and park inconspicuously.

Generally it is easiest and safest to simply drive the speed limit and not run red lights. :)

By Bus

From points south:

Valley metro route 72 is one of the most heavily traveled bus routs in the Phoenix metro area. It provides convenient service to the Tempe transit center (where you can connect to the light rail) in central Tempe and parts of Chandler.

From central Phoenix

Several bus routes run along Camelback road from the heart of Scottsdale to uptown Phoenix and the light rail. Weekend travel along this corridor can be spotty and weekend travelers may find it more convenient to drive or take a cab.


By foot

Getting around by walking can take a bit of planning. Not all roads have sidewalks and distances that seem reasonable can become quite uncomfortable in the warmer months. If you have time, messing around with something like Google's street view can be well worth it.

By trolley

Downtown Scottsdale, and the neighborhood south of downtown, are each served by a trolley. Both are free and usually come by every 15-20 minutes while running.

The downtown trolley can be a nice way to get from the waterfront to old town or the gallery district with minimal effort. Here is route and hour information for the downtown trolley.

See

  • Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West, 12621 North Frank LLoyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259, 490-627-5398, [8]. 9am - 4pm. Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home $32-$60 per person.
  • Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMOCA), 7374 East Second Street Scottsdale, AZ 85251, 480-994-ARTS, [9]. 10-5 Tu, We, Fri, & Saturday; Closed on Mondays; Free and open until 8 on Thursdays. A museum of contemporary art, architecture, and design. $7 adults, $5 students, free for SMOCA members and children under 15.
  • LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, 3839 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ (Outside the Center for Performing Arts). This sculpture, and other versions of it, by Robert Indiana have become iconic symbols of Love. The design was originally made for a Christmas card. It has since been used in a myriad of mediums from stamps to sculpture. Other versions of this statue are in Philadelphia's Love Park, Sixth Av. in New York, and outside the incredibly tall Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Scottsdale Art Walk, The Gallery District of downtown Scottsdale, [10]. 7-9pm. The art galleries in downtown Scottsdale have organized a walk on Thursday nights. The galleries stay open into the evening and there can be "music, munchies and more on the streets." free.
  • Cosanti (The gallery and house of the architect Paolo Soleri), 6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, [11]. Mon-Sat 9AM-5PM & Sun 11AM-5PM. free.
  • Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, 7380 E 2nd St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, 480-994-ARTS, [12]. A theater in downtown Scottsdale that hosts concerts, dances, and other performances.

Do

  • A Taste of Old Town Scottsdale. is a walking food and historical tour full of stories of the old west, demonstrations and delectable food and wine sampling from some of Scottsdale's unique and exciting restaurants. It is rated as the number one attraction in Scottsdale on TripAdvisor.com. We take our guests on a three hour adventure through location and time starting with the wild west and how Scottsdale was established, all the ways it has changed over the years, and of course all of the great things that it has to offer today. To get more information, check reviews and view a video of the tour please visit our site at www.arizonafoodtours.com. or call 1-800-979-3370.
  • McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, 7301 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale, Arizona 85250, 480-312-2312, [13]. Hours depend on time of year (9 or 10am to 5:30 or 7pm). A children's park with playgrounds and a small train that children and parents can ride around the park. admittance is free; Train rides cost $2 per adult.
  • Wander the Rock and Roll Car and Bike show, 9175 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250 (In the pavilions shopping center to the west of the 101 freeway), [14]. Every Saturday night at 4pm. A large classic car show. free.
  • Stroll or Bike Along the Canals, [15]. The banks of the canals provide nice views and an escape from cars. They are open to the public, but motorized vehicles and swimming are prohibited.
  • Take a hike in the Piestewa Peak area, (Lincoln & 32nd; Shea & 40th;), [16]. 5am to 11pm. A large undeveloped mountainous area close to downtown phoenix and Scottsdale where one can picnic or take a hike. Mountain biking is also allowed. free.
  • People Watch at Fashion Square Mall, (Camelback Rd & Scottsdale Rd). One of the biggest malls in the US, the Fashion Square Mall is an upscale place to fill your wardrobe. It can also be fun just to wander around and see what other people are wearing. free.
  • Spa at Camelback Inn
  • MacDonald's Ranch
  • Arizona Desert Mountain Jeep Tours
  • Out of Africa Wildlife Park approx. 1 hour north in Camp Verde
  • Desert Storm Hummer Tours, (866) 374-8637, [17]. Since 1995, Desert Storm Hummer has specialized in Sonoran Desert adventures. If you are truly adventurous, experience the dark side of the desert. Night vision tours let you witness desert life after dark!
  • Go to a Cactus League Game (Baseball Spring Training), [18].
  • Barrett Jackson Car Auction, [19].

Buy

  • Scottsdale Waterfront, 7135 East Camelback Road, (480) 247-8071, [20]. Discover a stylish collection of stores, boutiques, restaurants and cafes in Downtown Scottsdale. You'll find the hottest new trends in fashion and dining, plus fabulous gifts and impeccable services in one charming location.


Eat

  • Asia de Cuba, 7353 East Indian School Road, [21]. Asia de Cuba, overseen by renowned international restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow, combines elements of Asian and Cuban cuisine.
  • Eddie V's Edgewater Grill, 20875 N. Pima Rd., 480 538 8468. The food is great, and Eddie's has something for everyone, in comparison to the meat-centrism of common steakhouses. Try the Parmesan encrusted sol. Call ahead for a reservation.
  • Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, [22]. Fleming's is known for its prime steak and elegant, cherry wood atmosphere. Its wine list features over 100 wines available by the glass. This steakhouse also offers bar menu specials until 7:00 PM.
  • 20753 North Pima Rd., +1 480 538-8000.
  • 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd., +1 480 596-8265.


  • Mastro's Steak House, 8852 E. Pinnacle Peak Rd., 480 585 9500. Mastro's also has a restaurant in Beverly Hills, with a plethora of well-known visitors that frequent it. Call ahead, as you'll most likely need a reservation.
  • Voce' Ristorante and Lounge, 9719 N Hayden Rd (SE Corner of Hayden and Shea), 480.609.0429, [23]. Arizona's Finest Italian Ristorante' & Live Music Lounge

Drink

  • Kazimierz, 7137 East Stetson Drive, +1 480-WINE-004 (fax: +1 480-WINE-055), [24]. nightly, 2:30 PM - 2:00 AM full menu served until 1:45 AM. A great nook of a place to drink wine, eat flatbread, and decompress on kooshy couches in their dimly lit main room. The massive (over 2000) wine list is well experienced in their nicely-selected and presented three-wine flights. Add a flatbread (a fancy word for a fancy pizza) and a few friends and it's easy to lose the whole evening in a place like this. It's also easy to run up a big bill ($40-$60 per person) if you don't restrain yourself with the wine menu. $20-$30.
  • Red Bar, 7353 East Indian School Road, [25]. Located in the Mondrian Scottsdale Hotel.
  • SkyBar, 7353 East Indian School Road, [26]. Located in the gardens of Mondrian Scottsdale Hotel.

Sleep

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  • The Boulders Resort & Golden Door Spa, 34631 N Tom Darlington Dr, PO Box 2090 (Carefree, Arizona 85377), 866-397-6520, [27].
  • Comfort Inn, 7350 E. Gold Dust Ave (Scottsdale Road & Shea Blvd.), 480-596-6559, [28]. checkin: 3pm; checkout: 12pm. Offers guests a fitness center, an outdoor pool and a deluxe continental breakfast. $70-$200.
  • Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas, 6333 N. Scottsdale Rd, +1 480-948-7750 (fax: +1 480-948-2232), [29]. checkin: 4 PM; checkout: 12 PM. A fairly typical Hilton hotel, though prettier than most. Quite comfortable, but housekeeping services are erratic. Good business services with $10/day wireless. $99-$120.
  • Hotel Indigo, 4415 north civic center plaza, 480-941-9411, [30].
  • Mondrian Hotel Scottsdale, 7353 East Indian School Road, [31]. Similar to its sister hotels in West Hollywood and Miami. It overlooks the Scottsdale Mall gardens in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. On-site restaurant and lounge. The snooty level is off the charts at this property. Be prepared for twenty year-old staff to look down their nose at you. You may or may not have access to the common areas of the hotel depending on the mood of staff.
  • Orange Tree Golf Resort, 10601 North 56th St +1 480-948-6100, [32]. Suites with patio or terrace.
  • Scottsdale Plaza Resort 7200 N Scottsdale Rd, Paradise Valley, [33]. Large resort with swimming pools, tennis courts, fitness center, racquetball.
  • Scottsdale Resort 7700 E. McCormick Parkway, [34]. The resort is surrounded by a 36 hole golf course, a spa and fitness center, salon services, tennis, and two pools. Resort features 326 spacious guest rooms, casitas and suites.
  • Smoke Tree Resorts & Bungalows, 7101 East Lincoln Drive Paradise Valley, AZ 85253 (Near the intersection of Scottsdale Rd. and Lincoln Dr.), 480-948-7660 (, fax: 480-948-7661), [35]. "Restaurant REM" is at the resort itself. Families will also be pleased to know it is just a two minute drive away from the Railroad Park (a park with a small train children can ride).
  • Westin Kierland Resort and Spa, 6902 E. Greenway Parkway (480) 624-1000 [36]. Beautiful property, with a great kids pool area, including a lazy river. They also have an adults-only pool area. Great service. Attached to a golf course and shopping mall.
  • Radisson Fort McDowell Resort and Casino, 10438 North Fort McDowell Road, (480) 789-5300, [37]. checkin: 4:00 p.m.; checkout: 12:00 p.m.. Offers amenities including free wireless Internet, fitness center, swimming pool, We-Ko-Pa Golf Club, Fort McDowell Casino, Fountain Hills Spa and Salon, and Ahnala Restaurant and Lounge.
  • Scottsdale Marriott Suites Old Town, 7325 East 3rd Avenue Scottsdale, Arizona 85251, 1-480-945-1550, [38]. checkin: 4:00PM; checkout: 12:00PM. An all-suite hotel, located in the heart of Historic Old Town.


  • Hilton Garden Inn Scottsdale North/Perimeter Center, 8550 East Princess Drive, +1 480 515 4944 [39]. Located on Scottsdale north side close to Scottsdale airport and several businesses. Enjoy breakfast and dinner at the Great American Grill, free hi-speed Internet access, business center, meeting/banquest facilities, outdoor pool & whirlpool, fitness center and an Unconditional 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.</sleep>
  • Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251, (480) 248-2000. This modern hotel exceeds expectations for accommodations and food/beverage (don't skip breakfast). Service may vary, especially during high season. This property welcomes pets and goes the extra mile to welcome man's best friend. Green grass and fountains provide a rare desert oasis for you and fido. $175.00.
  • The Hermosa Inn, 5532 North Palo Cristi Road, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253, 800 241-1210, [40]. The Hermosa Inn is a boutique hotel featuring 34 hacienda-style, single-story casitas.

Splurge

  • Scottsdale Cottonwoods, 6160 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ 85253 (The Scottsdale Cottonwoods Resort & Suites is situated at 6160 N. Scottsdale Road, just 12 miles from Sky Harbor International Airport. The tools below will help you find us more easily.), 480-991-1414 (, fax: 480-951-3350), [41]. Moderate.
  • Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Dr., +1 602-585-4848. Hotel/spa with multiple pools, fishing, golf, tennis, The area that surrounds it is also very nice, in close proximity to Mastro's and Eddie V's restaurants. $200-400.
  • The Phoenician, 6000 East Camelback Rd, 1-866-716-8136, [42]. Upscale resort with a 27-hole championship course. Nine pools, tennis courts, spa.
  • Resort Suites[43], 7677 E. Princess Blvd., +1 888-222-1059. Suites with full living and dining areas, private patios, kitchen and free wifi. Four swimming pools, three whirlpools, a fitness center, and a business center.
  • Scottsdale Resort & Athletic Club, 8235 East Indian Bend Road, [44]. Upscale resort with a Eurasian day spa with a long list of custom treatments and wellness therapies.
  • Talking Stick Resort, 9800 East Indian Bend Road, phone="+1-866-877-9897 [45] Upscale resort with a casino, day spa, with a multiple restaurants.

Stay safe

Flooding

It doesn't rain very frequently in Scottsdale. However, when the rain does come many lakes swell, bike paths are submerged, and roads become impassable.

If there is a notable amount of water on the road, don't drive through it. Drivers frequently become stranded in the middle of flooded washes. Cars can be swept away in a deceptively small amount of water. As you might guess, attempting to drive across such flooded roads is dangerous.

Arizona also has what they like to call a "Stupid Motorist Law." It says that if someone drives around a barricade to enter a flooded road they will be charged for their rescue.

Heat

In the summer it can get quite hot. Dehydration, heat stroke, and sun stroke become notable risks.

Drink plenty of water and stay indoors in the afternoon, during the hottest parts of the day.

Outdoor activities are usually far more pleasant in the early morning when it is still cool. Because the temperatures in the desert swing so much between night and day, morning temperatures can be quite pleasant even during the height of the summer.


Get out

Be sure to try one of the 200 golf courses in the Scottsdale area. Although most of the green fees are relatively high during the high season (Nov - Apr)there are a few good courses that can be played year round at a reasonable rate. Green fees are very cheap during the summer ($10 - $50 per round with cart) and if you tee-off early in the morning the heat doesn't become too bad before you finish your round.

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