The Best of Winter in Scottsdale

While other cities are shoveling snow, Scottsdale heads outdoors for sun and fun.

US 188, Payson, AZ 85541, USA
Hit the trails at the Cave Creek hiking area, about 30 miles north of town in the Tonto National Forest, to see the rare crested saguaro cactus in its fantastic fan shapes. Trail number 4 meanders alongside Cave Creek for most of the 10-mile trek, providing many opportunities to dip your toes. The trailhead is located off Forest Road 24, (480) 595-3300. This appeared in the January/February 2013 issue. Illustration by Michael Hoeweler.
Old Town Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Who says nothing grows in the desert? Local flavor is fresh and on display Saturday mornings during cooler weather at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market, where Arizona-grown oranges and peppers are sold alongside homemade tamales and mozzarella. There are food trucks, artisanal ice cream, and cooking demonstrations from local chefs. Head to the Singh Farms stand to view the harvest of organic peaches, tomatoes, figs, peppers, and more, along with fresh-baked bread, herb butter, honey, and eggs. Most weeks, a local chef dishes out breakfast from the outdoor café on-site.
18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255, USA
In 1995, Scottsdale residents voted to set aside a large parcel of undeveloped city land as protected open space. Today, the roughly 30,000-acre McDowell Sonoran Preserve provides an opportunity for adventure. Hike, bike, and rock climb, or take to the trails with local guides from Arizona Outback Adventures and learn all about the desert along the way. Because most of the creatures that live in this desert habitat are more active at night, the best time to view animals is on early morning or evening hikes.
7011 E Indian School Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Tis the season to be jolly! If you’re feeling festive around the holidays or perhaps you want to keep Christmas going all year long, then a visit to the Coach House should be on your holiday wish list. When the holiday season approaches, Scottsdale locals make a trip to their favorite local watering hole to experience a festive spirit unlike anywhere else. Staffers shut down the joint for a few days in order to deck the bar from head to toe with wrapping paper, tinsel, ornaments and twinkle lights that overtake you with Christmas cheer. The bartenders and staff are laid back, friendly and really love what they do. Note: This place can get packed during the holiday season on a late Friday or Saturday night. And, the lights stay up all year!
7343 East Scottsdale Mall
The Native Trails event no longer takes place.

The Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian community neighbors the city of Scottsdale and makes up a unique and active part our Arizona culture. Each year a diverse representation of the tribal nations that make up areas of Arizona and the United States get together to showcase musical performances and storytelling that highlights an important part of their traditions. Native Trails takes place on most Thursdays and Saturdays from 12pm to 1pm from mid-January to early April and have included performances from the Hopi, Navajo, Cree tribes and more since 2003. It’s a free event meant to introduce you to Native American principles in an entertaining and interactive environment. Located in the grounds near the Scottsdale Center of Performing Arts at Civic Center Park be sure to bring a blanket, your camera and a picnic lunch to enjoy an afternoon of hoop dancing and inter-tribal pow wow dancing.
Old Town Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ, USA
Downtown Scottsdale’s historic district has plenty to peruse. Shop for cowboy wares, authentic Native American artifacts, and handcrafted leather goods. People who are into Southwestern décor love Shades of the West, which was once Scottsdale’s original general store. Concha belts and turquoise jewelry are bestsellers at Atkinson’s Indian Trading Post and Gilbert Ortega Gallery of Indian Art. For bold Arizona pottery, stop in at River Trading Post and Pueblo Arts.
7106 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Every Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., downtown Scottsdale’s galleries host Scottsdale ArtWalk. It’s the country’s longest running event of its kind and is more like a casual open house with live artist demonstrations and free drinks and snacks. Throughout the year, the gallery association hosts the following themed events: Summer Spectacular ArtWalk (July), Western ArtWalk (November), Fiesta Bowl ArtWalk (December) and Best of Scottsdale ArtWalk (March).
4420 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251, USA
Long before the West was even wild, between the years 600 and 1450, an ancient group of peoples known as the Hohokam brought life to the Arizona desert with an intricate canal system. Parts of it are still in use today and, in addition to providing water for crops and sustenance, they serve as recreational spots. In downtown Scottsdale, the Arizona Canal runs through two of the area’s most popular districts—Scottsdale Waterfront and SouthBridge. Shop for fashion finds at Amy Inc. or sweet and sassy children’s threads from the Garage. Brunch at the Herb Box is a local favorite (red velvet pancakes!) and, around the corner, Culinary Dropout draws a trendy crowd with its gastro-pub fare and cocktail list. Art lovers should roam the Arizona Canal to take in the city’s free public installations, especially the Soleri Bridge and Plaza. A first from Italian architect Paolo Soleri, the structure marks annual solar events and evokes his fascination for planetary movement.
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