Top Things to Do and See in Scottsdale, Arizona

A hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is one of the top things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona
A hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is one of the top things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona | © TMI / Alamy Stock Photo
Although it might not seem like it at first glance, Scottsdale is, in fact, one of Arizona’s most thriving cities. With its western flair and modern culture, plus a dynamic combination of history and art, there’s plenty to see and do here. Check out our top recommendations.

Old Town Scottsdale

Historical Landmark
Shops in Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
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Old Town Scottsdale takes visitors back in time. Located in the heart of Scottsdale, it celebrates the western history that shaped Scottsdale while incorporating modern elements with a wide array of shops, art galleries and food. Take a ride on the trolley or grab some ice cream at the Sugar Bowl. Learn some history and relax with any number of leisurely activities.
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Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art is a space for all forms of art. It has five galleries and a sculpture garden dedicated to fine art, all of which emphasize modern art. However, other areas of the museum are dedicated to honoring other art forms. These include a film theater and events focused on literature, music and a lecture series. SMoCA also provides a space to encourage creativity.
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Amusement Park
Rawhide, Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
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About a 30-minute drive from Scottsdale, Rawhide is one of the area’s biggest attractions. Built to replicate an old western town, Rawhide delivers in every way. With some of the best food around – from a steakhouse to an ice cream parlor and a saloon – it also offers the chance to experience games, shopping and even live stunt shows.
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Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West compound in the desert of northern Arizona
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The tours at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West are focused on the legendary architect himself. The area served as a home and architectural studio for Wright, and his time there has been well preserved. Taliesin West is also one of Wright’s most groundbreaking works and proves how well Wright was able to combine the outdoors with the indoors to create beautiful architecture.
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Marshall Way Arts District

Art Gallery
Marshall Way Arts District is the area where Scottsdale separates from its western roots and focuses on contemporary art. Many forms of art, by both local and nationally renowned artists, can be found on display here. The biggest night for the district is every Thursday from 7pm to 9pm, when there is an art walk that brings the streets to life with art, music and food.
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McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Museum, Park, Store
Painet jm7230 arizona scottsdale mccormick stillman railroad park narrowgauge train rides children kids families carriage
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Though essentially a park for all activities, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park has a distinct train theme. There is a train museum on the premises as well as models of old trains dispersed around the area. You’ll also find a general store, a restaurant and a train you can ride. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is ideal for a family picnic or just a stroll around. Handily enough, it is also in very close proximity to the city center.
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These recommendations were updated on August 21, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.