8 Things to Do in Scottsdale

It’s no surprise that Frank Lloyd Wright made his winter home in Arizona — it’s easy to be inspired by the region’s natural beauty, diverse culture, and perpetual sunshine. His legacy lives on today all around the Scottsdale area, where a multitude of buildings bear his influence, and art and design reign supreme. This design legacy inspires all who visit to live better, more beautiful lives, deeply connected to nature, the arts, and each other. Here’s where to go to find your own inspiration.

1. Explore Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West

Nestled in the desert foothills of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountains, Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved winter retreat is an invitation to experience the Sonoran Desert through Wright’s eyes. Taliesin West is open to the public with safety measures in place and at reduced capacity, offering both guided tours and a new self-guided audio tour. Deeply connected to the desert from which it was forged, Taliesin West was built and maintained almost entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it among the most personal of the architect’s creations.

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2. Wander Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

From Remington bronzes to John Wayne memorabilia, this Smithsonian affiliate is a glimpse into the American West. Along with art celebrating the romantic landscapes that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright are vestiges of Native American culture and pop culture moments even casual visitors will appreciate. Timed visits ensure safety and security for all — but you may consider booking in advanced.

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3. Hike the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Get up close and personal with the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and experience the landscape that so influenced Frank Lloyd Wright. You’ll encounter prickly teddy bear chollas, statuesque saguaros, and soaring hawks along the pristine trails that crisscross this 30,580-acre preserve, a neighbor to Wright’s Taliesin West. There are more than 225 miles of trail to choose from — families will enjoy the Bajada interpretive trail, while experienced hikers will be rewarded with the best view of the valley from the top of the strenuous Tom’s Thumb.

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4. Conquer Camelback Mountain

Considered one of the country’s top hiking destinations, Camelback Mountain attracts outdoor enthusiasts from around the world. There are two routes to the top, the Echo Canyon trail and the Cholla trail, both of which test even the most advanced hikers with rough terrain and steep elevation changes. The payoff is worth it, though — the 2,700-foot-summit offers unparalleled views of the Valley below.

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5. Putt Around a World-class Golf Course

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s sunny 85% of the time, but if there’s one thing Scottsdale’s known for, it’s golf. Whether you’re after a PGA-caliber challenge or just links-side cocktails, you’ll find a course that’ll suit your needs — and wow you with its desert-landscape beauty.

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6. Experience the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA)

Situated on a sprawling park in the heart of downtown, the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) is home to some of the world’s best modern and contemporary art, architecture, and design. With everything from conceptual art to interactive pieces, there’s always something new to see.

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7. Take a Midcentury Driving Tour

Interesting buildings and residences abound in the Valley of the Sun, particularly if you’re a fan of all things midcentury. Architecture buffs will enjoy cruising Scottsdale in search of the work of architects such as Ralph Haver, Bennie Gonzales and Ed Varney along this 15-mile route. After, relax with cocktails back at the starting point: the famed Hotel Valley Ho.

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8. Unwind at a Lush Resort

Sparkling pools, indulgent spas, even more indulgent meals, and stunning mountain views: What more could you ask for? A bevy of beautiful resorts dot the Scottsdale landscape — spa lovers will want to check out The Phoenician, outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the Four Seasons at Troon North, and families will fawn over the Fairmont Princess, to name but a few.

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