Scottsdale has a lively-meets-laidback character all its own, and there are seemingly endless ways to get to know the destination. With a lush desert landscape, 330 days of sunshine a year, and thriving culinary and cultural scenes, Scottsdale offers up something for every type of traveler. Here are my top recommendations for maximizing your visit.
Hot Air Balloon Ride. There’s nothing quite like the magic of floating 5,000 feet up in the air as the sun rises. And Scottsdale, with its 330 days of sunshine, has near-perfect conditions for taking to the sky. From the hot air balloon, I soaked up views of Scottsdale and the surrounding area, rock formations including Camelback Mountain, and the tantalizing blue of Lake Pleasant.
Hike with a View. The majestic saguaro cacti. The “compass cacti” that always leans south. The healing creosote plant with its distinctive aroma. These are just a few of the memorable sights from my scenic hike through Scottsdale’s McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It’s amazing to see Scottsdale rise from the desert, and I felt inspired—and informed—thanks to my guide from Arizona Outback Adventures.
Insider’s Art Perspective. Ace Bailey was born and raised in Scottsdale, and she’s passionate about maintaining its creative heritage while also moving it into the future. When she’s not working as a concierge at Hotel Valley Ho, a mid-century landmark, she gives art and cultural tours. I loved getting her take on Scottsdale’s public art—even its City Hall has a gorgeous stained glass ceiling.