10 Things to Do in Scottsdale That You Shouldn't Miss

December 11, 2017 Toi Mattera

Scottsdale has more spas per capita than any other city in the U.S.—so whether you’re looking for the latest medi-spa technology or a new-agey, bohemian vibe, there’s sure to be something for you. It's a good thing, too—after spending all day touring the beautiful desert, you'll be grateful for some pampering.
Restaurants in Scottsdale

1. Arizona State University

University Drive and Mill Ave, Tempe, AZ 85287-0001 +1 480-965-9011
Excellent
71%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 259 reviews

Arizona State University

With an undergraduate student body of nearly 34,000, ASU is the state's largest institution of higher learning.

Reviewed By California_Wine - Central Coast California

Let me see....Arizona "STATE" University gets its money from Arizona taxpayers, but everywhere I look Tempe is full of foreign students who most likely are paying double or triple tuition. Nothing against foreign students I think they're great, but I thought this was a state funded university? I think I even saw ASU run a wasteful local TV ad during the Superbowl in 2017 and I'm pretty sure enrollment has always been up and that ad was to just wave their flag around at taxpayer expense. Has anyone noticed the expansion of this school? It is not only growing outward, it is going upward too. Where is all this money coming from? Hmmm. Very interesting.

2. Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

27026 N 156th St, Scottsdale, AZ 85262-9524 +1 480-471-3621
Excellent
85%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 152 reviews

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is a non-profit rescue and rehabilitation facility specializing in wild mammals. Over 70% of the animals that come into our center are returned to the wild. For those that cannot be released, we offer a home for life in our sanctuary. We conduct guided tours of our sanctuary by appointment only. Reservations are required and can be made on our website under the Visit Us tab.

Reviewed By grandeb - New Jersey

We did this small group tour with LoriAnn, and she did such a wonderful job. Explaining without making your eyes glaze over, or anyone in our group losing interest. This is not a zoo or a petting zoo. It is a sanctuary in the truest...MoreI am so glad that you enjoyed the tour. And thank you for the positive review. LoriAnn will be happy to hear that you enjoyed her tour! We hope to see you for a return visit!

3. Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center

525 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85203-8740 +1 480-964-7164
Excellent
83%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 181 reviews

Mesa Arizona Temple Visitors' Center

Reviewed By Neal L

If you have time, be sure to take in this very extensive Christmas light display. The visitors center is open for viewing of a short video and display of several different country's crèche. Everyone was very welcoming!

4. Desert Botanical Garden

1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008-3490 +1 480-941-1225
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 7 reviews

Desert Botanical Garden

Located in Papago Park, these gardens offer visitors an opportunity to learn about desert flora.

Reviewed By Aundrea H - Fitchburg, Massachusetts

We decided to spend our last day in Phoenix here 3/18. We were a bit apprehensive with the price at first. I am so glad we spent the money to walk through this place. First off being only March a lot was not in bloom but it still didn't disappoint. The butterfly exhibit was lovely! The many different kind of cacti and the walk through different areas was amazing. Loved the wild Prairie dogs and rabbits everywhere. It was just such a serene peaceful place. I will definitely be back on my next visit!!

5. Taliesin West

12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85259-2537 +1 480-860-2700
Excellent
76%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 3 reviews

Taliesin West

Take a guided tour through world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright's winter retreat and studio, which exemplifies the principles of design he was famous for.

Reviewed By sldbecker - Redmond, Washington

Spent part of our recent Spring Break trip to see local sights around Scottsdale, glad we were able to make same day reservation. Would highly recommend that you bring your own sunshade umbrella with you and bottled water, as the wait time and walking between buildings can be a bit much with the intense heat. Plan to stay close to your guide to hear all the details, and be fully prepared for a small "membership sales pitch" at the end of the tour, which honestly could be better addressed at the time you purchase your tickets as an option.

6. Mesa Arts Center

1 E Main St, Mesa, AZ 85201-7403 +1 480-644-6500
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 448 reviews

Mesa Arts Center

The Mesa Arts Center mission is to inspire people through engaging arts experiences that are diverse, accessible, and relevant. Owned and operated by the City of Mesa, Arizona’s largest arts center is recognized as an international award-winning venue. The unique and architecturally stunning facility is home to four theaters, five art galleries, and 14 art studios and an artist cooperative gallery.

Reviewed By lkph48 - Mesa, Arizona

The Mesa Arts Center is a complex of creativity with classes, concerts, festivals, galleries and shopping. I am bias because I am a volunteer at the 4-theater complex that provides the Valley with a wide variety of entertainment for all ages. What a wonderful complex located right in the middle of downtown Mesa.

Anyone is able to attend the Out To Lunch entertainment on Thursday afternoons...complete with food vendors.

Come visit. It will surprise you at how rapidly you will return again..and again.

7. McDowell Sonoran Preserve

18333 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ +1 617-724-3466
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 964 reviews

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Reviewed By Hilary H

An excellent place for a morning hike. There are a variety of trails of differing distance and nothing seemingly too steep or difficult. This is a popular destination, so be prepared to share the trails with bikers, dogs, and other hikers. Everyone we encountered was friendly and considerate. Bathrooms are clean and parking plentiful. Highly recommend for families.

8. Phoenix Theatre

100 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1648 +1 602-254-2151
Excellent
79%
Good
21%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 113 reviews

Phoenix Theatre

The largest producing regional theatre company in the Valley, Phoenix Theatre offers more programs and experiences than any other. With over 400 performances on multiple stages and thriving education and outreach programs, we inspire more than 100,000 citizens every year.

Reviewed By BJMM - Phoenix AZ

Just attended PT's production of Mama Mia. Having lived near NYC for years with the opportunity to attend Broadway musicals on a regular basis, I can say Phoenix Theatre can hold its own with the big boys. Talented actors with impressive credentials and even more impressive energy, flawless sound and lighting, excellent musicians and a comfortable, intimate setting combine to create a theatrical experience of the highest caliber. Come early to enjoy a glass of wine in the spacious, recently remodeled cocktail lounge/lobby or attractive outdoor patio. Add in the free and easy parking and you have one of our city's best entertainment venues.

9. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

7301 E Indian Bend Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85250-4513 +1 480-312-2312
Excellent
72%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Climb aboard the miniature replica of a Colorado narrow gauge railroad to explore this park that features famous railroad cars and an antique carousel.

Reviewed By etp3 - Baraboo, Wisconsin

Great place to take kids. It's inexpensive ($2/ticket for each attraction like train ride, model train exhibit, and museum). There's a small-scale train ride around the park, an extensive model train exhibit, and an interesting museum with a rail car used by four of our past Presidents. It only takes an hour or two to see everything.

10. Heard Museum

2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85004-1323 +1 602-252-8848
Excellent
72%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2 reviews

Heard Museum

The foremost showcase of Native American art and culture in the U.S., the Heard Museum reveals the cultures of tribes in the region through exhibits, demonstrations and live performances and displays the work of contemporary Native American artists. Artists demonstrate their work during the week and musicians perform on most weekends.

Reviewed By GEDLosAngeles_CA - Los Angeles, CA

Although we intended to visit the museum, our arrival with only one hour remaining caused us to change our plans. Instead of trying to race through the place, we resolved to return another time and, instead, opted for Plan B, which was to spend the remaining hour in the gift shop.

And what a shop! Top of the line collection of American Indian jewelry, pottery, rugs, music CD’s. No tax charged since the museum is non-profit. Plenty of pleasant (not on comision) salespeople around to help you decide what to purchase from among the hundreds of choices. When you visit the Heard, leave some time for this place, too.

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