Scottsdale: the city that provides not only the unbeatable winters, but also provides everything necessary to make living in Arizona easy. From shopping at Fashion Square, located in the heart of Scottsdale, to a spa day at one of the many resorts, hiking the famous Camelback Mountain, or just having Brunch and loading up the car for the clubs in Old Town, Scottsdale has so much to offer.
We Phoenicians never let the summer heat stop us from having a good time. Check out this local guide to Scottsdale.
Fashion Square Mall has a lot to offer when it comes to shopping. You can shop at the finest stores from Louis Vuitton to Tory Burch and still have access to all the other stores Fashion Square has to offer. This high-end mall has not only shopping to offer but has some fine dining located nearby.
Some local favorites include Olive and Ivy, Culinary Dropout (which both are Fox Restaurant owned), and Thirsty Lion. If you’re looking for something more casual, the food court has plenty of options to satisfy your taste buds. This mall also offers Valet, which is a bonus when traffic is heavy, you have a large SUV, or the parking garage is full!
There is plenty of shopping in Scottsdale not only located in Fashion Square mall but throughout Old Town Scottsdale as well. Every corner you turn there is a unique boutique to walk into. Scottsdale is known for new hidden gems, and like the hidden speakeasy bars in the area, you just have to explore to find them!
Scottsdale has a wide selection for resorts. Each one offers different accommodations, from views of the mountains at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at True North to a night out in the Casino at Talking Stick Resort.
If you don’t prefer either of those, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort offers not only the benefits of a traditional resort vacation, but also a gorgeous golf course. The kids can go swimming while mom goes for her full day at the spa (that she absolutely deserves), and dad can hit the greens year-round.
The famous Camelback Mountain, one of the larger mountains located in the heart of the Valley, has a couple of trails to choose from. Whether you’re an intermediate or advance hiker, you and your family should attempt to conquer this mountain.
While it doesn’t look huge as you drive towards it, it is one heck of a hike to the top. Known for the “saddle” section, the hike can be a bit unnerving for beginners. You can either hike Cholla Trail or Echo Canyon Trail, which is considered extremely difficult.
Even in the dead heat of the summer you still find people hiking this gorgeous mountain, that does in fact, look like a camel. If you’re unfamiliar to the heat, or an amateur hiker, take our advice and stay off the mountain during the warm summer months. The heat is dangerous. Dehydration and heat stroke are realistic scenarios for visitors who underestimate the sun’s intensity.
Social Outings & Nightclubs
There couldn’t be a local guide to Scottsdale without including all the ways to socialize. As if the shopping and hiking weren’t enough, Scottsdale also offers things to do for families, couples, and groups of friends. Whether you’re looking for a brunch spot, a place for a nice dinner or a night out on the town, Scottsdale is the place to be.
There are an unlimited number of brunch restaurants to experience like RNR Gastropub, which offers bottomless mimosas that include breakfast. For a more relaxing morning try The Breakfast club, right down the street. Both of these spots can be extremely busy when it comes to Saturday mornings or Sunday Funday. Arrive early and grab a drink!
Once the sun goes down, the nightclubs in Old Town are a popular place to get drinks and hit the dance floor. Bottled Blonde, El Hefe, Hi Fi, and Maya are the most popular in the area. Maya has the “Sunday Funday” vibe that everyone wants. With the ability to jump in the pool when you are feeling overheated, it’s important to bring your swimsuit!
When the weekend approaches, most people start heading for the clubs by 10 p.m., and by 11:30, they’re packed full. These hotspots can get wild and fun, so be prepared to have a great night out with your friends, and don’t forget to drink your water.
Local Tips and Tricks
- Traffic: The highways systems in the Valley are pretty efficient in controlling rush hour traffic. That said, weekday traffic can be slow in some areas around Scottsdale from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. There is a carpooling HOV lane that is open for those with two or more passengers, or those with an alternative fuel car. During rush hour, this can be a great hack. Also note that at all other hours of the day, the HOV lane is open for all vehicles regardless of the number of passengers. To get across town without much traffic, Miller Road is the way to go. It travels from north to south through most of Old Town and has very few stop lights.
- High-season Crowds: From January through March, Scottsdale nearly doubles in population. The beautiful winter weather attracts visitors (a.k.a. snowbirds) from northern areas that are being hit with snow and cold. This makes many popular attractions very busy and congested. To beat the crowds, head to dinner early and avoid waiting for a table for too long. Aside from beating the crowds, many local eateries offer fabulous happy hours as another incentive to come before dinner rush.
Scottsdale, the Hollywood of Arizona, has all of this to offer and more. On top of all this, the sunsets are unreal and magical. So grab a drink and explore like the locals do!
When I was 13, I started working in a nightclub with Ray Charles. That’s the greatest school in the world, the school of the streets. Ray taught me how to read in Braille. He was only two years older than me, but it was like he was 100 years older. – Quincy Jones, American musician and record producer