I love Scottsdale because everything about it is so extra. If Vegas is where the high rollers go on vacation, Scottsdale is where those high rollers live. You can’t stroll half a block without seeing a rare supercar speed by, and even trips to the supermarket call for red soles. It’s a magical, lux land, and I adore spending time there.
Best Times to Visit:
- Late autumn, preferably around Halloween. Scottsdale goes all out for holidays, and Halloween is a particularly fun time to visit. Not to mention the weather is absolutely perfect in late October. Warm and sunny so you can be outside running and hiking and swimming and sunbathing, but not so hot that you feel like your lungs are on fire.
- Any time it’s cold where you live. Like anywhere, Scottsdale can get chilly. But chilly in Scottsdale is still a heck of a lot warmer than other places. When temperatures drop the Scottsdale locals bundle up in heavy winter gear, while the rest of us might toss on a light jacket. It’s a really nice escape, and, of course, the city has some stunning Christmas lights.
- The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. For the ultimate upper class experience, I can’t recommend the Princess enough. It’s the longest running AAA 5 Diamond resort in Arizona, and it’s like being in a miniature city. Even the smallest rooms are massive, there are six amazing pools (including a rooftop pool), a really luxurious spa, a half dozen restaurants, and really impressive seasonal events. This place cannot be beat.
- On a much more economical note, the Hilton Scottsdale Resort and Villas is a pretty nice place to stay. It doesn’t compare at all to the Princess, but it’s actually an extremely nice resort for such a low price. The guest rooms are large and clean, the pool and hot tub are wonderful, and they have a couple good dining options. Plus, it’s a pretty central location and they offer a free two mile shuttle.
- Dominick’s Steakhouse. My boss treated the team to an all expense paid dinner here, and it was beyond delicious. They have so many incredible meat options, and unlike other steakhouses, their sides are actually really good too. Plus the desserts are beyond decadent. They have a few options to rent spaces for private parties, and the wine room is a really cool spot for a fancy business dinner.
- Culinary Dropout. CD is one of my favorite restaurants in Scottsdale. I love that their waterfront location has patio dining so you can enjoy the beautiful Arizona weather. Plus they have a build your own charcuterie board which is an instant winner in my book. And of course their butternut squash lasagna is fantastic.
- In-N-Out. So, this isn’t one of the BEST restaurants by far. But, as a solid East Coaster, In-N-Out is very novel to me so of course I have to recommend it for my other Easties. It’s really just a decent burger for a stupid low price — and yes, it’s really the price that wows me because a hamburger with fries for under $5 is just…such a thing of the past. I think the quality is good for the price, but price aside I prefer 5 Guys. But In-N-Out is still really cool, so it remains on my list. But I definitely recommend skipping the Animal Fries. Ew.
- Scottsdale Old Town. Old Town is really cool, and there is so much to do there. Tons of galleries, restaurants, boutiques, and random little storefronts to check out. Plus there’s plenty historic spots to check out, and there are seasonal events like farmers markets and art displays. It’s one of the places I like to go back to again and again because there is always something new and interesting to get involved with.
- Test driving luxury cars. So this one might be more of an “inside” thing, since my boss is the one that got me the hookup. But it was really cool getting to get behind the wheel and drive around Scottsdale in a Rolls Royce Wraith, and feel out a Lamborghini Huracan, plus other ridiculous cars. I have never considered myself a car person, but getting to drive supercars like that definitely brought me over to the dark side.
- Desert Botanical Garden. This spot is actually in Phoenix, but it’s a super short drive so I still count it. I’m a total sucker for cacti, and being surrounded by essentially forests of all different cactus varieties is pretty darn awesome. Plus there’s some cool wildlife to be seen, and it’s an easy way to get steps in.
- I really don’t dislike much (anything) about Scottsdale. I guess if I had to pick something I’d say the golf scene seems a little overrated, but that’s probably more because I don’t care for gold rather than there being anything wrong with it. For all I know golf lovers might rejoice at getting the chance to golf in Scottsdale.