A Weekend Guide to Scottsdale, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona is laid back albeit up and coming city adjacent to Phoenix that is known for its stretches of desert landscape, chic hotels with quality spas, and a new and noteworthy restaurant scene. Scottsdale is an excellent spot for a relaxing vacation underneath the palms but has plenty of activities for the adventurous folk. You’ll find that this city has a nice blend of hip spots and cowboy charm and there is plenty of activities to indulge in!
Scottsdale is known for its dry heat and extremely hot summers with temperatures ranging upwards of 100 degrees. Avoid the months of June-August to truly enjoy all the outdoor activities Scottsdale has to offer. For the best time to visit, choose the months of September-November or March-May.
Where to Stay in Scottsdale, AZ
While all opinions and recommendations are always my own, my content on this blog post may contain affiliate links for hotels I’ve traveled to, tours I’ve completed, and products I recommend. This means I get a small commission if you book a stay or purchase a product after clicking one of these links. As always, I am so thankful for your support and will continue to share the best properties, things to do, and items I love!
There are plenty of resorts and boutique hotels to choose from in Scottsdale. Below I’ve rounded up the top hotels to stay in:
Formerly known as the FireSky resort, The Scott underwent a huge makeover in 2018. This resort is part of the Classic Hotels group and does not skimp on any detail. From the beautiful lobby adorned with boho modern decor to the huge pool with cascading palm trees surrounding it, there’s a little something for everyone at the Scott Resort. We really enjoyed the film noir movies that they play outside nightly. Finally, the best part? It’s very affordable!
Hotel Adeline ($$)
Another affordable option is the Hotel Adeline which is located just north of downtown Scottsdale. The pool is the main attraction of this boutique hotel which sits in the center of the hotel. There are plenty of Instagram friendly places at this boutique hotel. Finally, the rooms are very stylish and comfortable!
This resort has a beautiful contemporary design and is one of the newer places in town. Each room is adorned with beautiful contemporary designs and the resort has three pools to relax in. Finally, it’s near Camelback mountain so it’s set back from the hustle and bustle of downtown Scottsdale so you can truly relax.
This resort sits at the bottom of Camelback Mountain (a popular hiking spot in Scottsdale) and has over 35 acres of lush desert and mountainscapes and plenty of high-class amenities (including one of the best spas in town). This resort airs on the expensive side of the hotels in Scottsdale, but if you’re looking to splurge on your trip, this spot is the one for you!
Things to do in Scottsdale, AZ
Old Town Scottsdale
Notably, the main attraction in town is Old Town Scottsdale. A small cowboy-inspired part of town with art galleries, shops, and restaurants. You can spend an entire afternoon discovering all that Old Town has to offer.
Located outside of Scottsdale is The Desert Botanical Garden. A 140 acre botanical garden that houses over 4000 species of cacti. It costs $25 a person to enter but there is no time limit on how long you can visit. This was one of our favorite parts of Scottsdale so I highly recommend a visit here.
Hike Camelback Mountain
Hiking Camelback Mountain is no easy feat. There are two trailheads to choose from and both are on the difficulty scale when to comes to hiking ability. Furthermore, the elevation gain on both of the trails are extremely steep (2700 feet) so make sure to bring loads of water and wear the proper shoes. All in all, if you choose to do this hike you’ll be rewarded with beautiful sweeping views of the city and a sweaty workout.
Located near the Desert Botanical Garden (you can visit both in one trip) is Papago Park. A hiking spot with beautiful red butte rocks as far as the eye can see. The most famous spot in this park is called Hole in the Rock (only a 0.3-mile hike). It’s a cool rock formation that overlooks nearby lagoons and you can even spot the cities skyline in the distance.
Located a little outside of Scottsdale is this trailhead which features the Saguaro Cactus (native to Scottsdale and Phoenix area) that can grow over 12 feet. It’s a locals spot but is great for a nice hike in the desert. Aim to get there in the morning or else it will be sweltering hot mid-afternoon.
What to Pack for Scottsdale
- Bathing suits! If you overpack anything in your suitcase let it be this. Being that Scottsdale is warm year-round you’ll always want to have bathing suits handy! I always find great suits at Aerie, Cupshe, and Revolve.
- A light jacket for the evenings.
- These Madewell Sandals are my favorite since they’re timeless and comfortable. The perfect combo for desert escape. Also, you could use a sturdy pair of flip-flops that are great for the pool or walking around town (they’re so comfy). These Olukai Sandals are my go-to and have lasted me years.
- Sunscreen: This GOOP FACE SUNSCREEN BRUSH is perfect for traveling because it adds SPF to your face all while not messing up your makeup. It’s my new holy grail product and you need to add this one to your packing list! Also, my daily moisturizer with SPF is incredible for traveling + every day!
- Flowy Dresses: These really come in handy when the temperatures are high in the spring/summer. My favorite white dress for photos is linked here, here + here.
- Hiking shoes: if you plan on doing Gateway Trailhead or Papago Park hike you’ll need good hiking shoes.
- Shorts: Abercrombie has the best shorts for all sizes and shapes. Check my favorite pairs that have lasted multiple seasons here and here. I also love my Levi cut-offs they’re so classic and never go out of style.
- Basics: I always find the best basics at either Free People & Abercrombie. It’s nice to have some neutral tees and tanks handy during your stay.
- A large sun hat. Nothing screams vacation more than a large sun hat. Shop my favorite affordable straw hat here!
Best Restaurants in Scottsdale
The Canal Club ($$$)
A Havana inspired restaurant located inside the Scott Hotel. It’s known for its exquisite cuisine and delicious craft cocktails. Finally, it has an extremely Instagram worthy interior with an old school Cuban car in front, so make sure to bring your camera!
Diego Pops ($$)
Located in downtown Scottsdale, this Mexican restaurant is a fan favorite from the locals! They are known for their modern twists on classic Mexican favorites. Make sure to get the Mexican corn appetizer and thank me later!
The Montauk ($$)
Located in downtown Scottsdale, The Montauk is known for its eclectic and New England inspired dishes. Transport yourself to the Hamptons with this restaurant and make sure to check out their notable brunch menu!
Farm + Craft ($$)
This popular bistro is best known for its organic and vegan breakfast and lunch. Their focus is on healthy and sustainable food with a modern and farm to table twist. Finally, make sure to check out the cool mural located across the street!
Sugar Bowl ($$)
This 1950’s establishment is known for its retro pink exterior, delicious ice cream, and malt shakes. They serve diner food as well and it’s a fun place to visit with kids!
Thank you for reading my “Weekend Guide to Scottsdale”! Please feel free to comment if you have any other questions or needs when visiting Scottsdale, Arizona. For more of my travel guides click here! Enjoy your trip to the desert!
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