Explore the best of Scottsdale, Arizona. Float over the Sonoran Desert in a hot air balloon, enjoy luxurious stays at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, and savor world-class dining at over 800 restaurants, including Piccolo Virtu. Beat the heat with tips for enjoying Scottsdale year-round, from refreshing waterslides to vibrant art exhibits like Wonderspaces Arizona. Discover family-friendly attractions at Arizona Boardwalk and unwind at award-winning resort spas. Scottsdale is the perfect getaway with epic adventures and relaxation awaiting you.

Now, check out our recommendations featured in this episode and more!

What to do

Hot Air Balloon Ride with Rainbow Ryders

Experience the magic of floating over the Sonoran Desert with a bird’s eye view of Scottsdale. A must-do to check off your travel wishlist!

  • Address: 715 E Covey Ln, Suite 100, Phoenix, AZ 85024
  • Hours: Daily sunrise flights (Exact times vary seasonally)
  • Cost: Starting at $199 per person

Hiking and Mountain Biking

  • Popular Trails:
    • McDowell Sonoran Preserve: 18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
    • Camelback Mountain: 4925 E McDonald Dr, Phoenix, AZ 85018
  • Hours: Sunrise to sunset
  • Cost: Free – to guided tours

Art and Culture

Wonderspaces Arizona

    • Address: Scottsdale Fashion Square, 7014 E Camelback Rd, Suite 584, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    • Hours: Wed-Sun 10 AM – 10 PM
    • Cost: $24 for adults, $20 for seniors/military, $15 for children (3-12)
    • Website: Wonderspaces Arizona

Erin Hanson Gallery

    • Address: 7165 E Main St, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
    • Hours: Mon-Sat 10 AM – 5 PM, Sun 11 AM – 4 PM
    • Cost: Free
    • Website: Erin Hanson Gallery

Family-Friendly Attractions

OdySea Aquarium (at Arizona Boardwalk)

    • Address: 9500 E Via de Ventura, Suite A-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
    • Hours: Daily 9 AM – 6 PM
    • Cost: $40 for adults, $30 for children (2-12), free for children under 2

Butterfly Wonderland

  • Address: 9500 E Via de Ventura, Suite F-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85256
  • Hours: Daily 9 AM – 5 PM
  • Cost: $25 for adults, $20 for children (3-12), free for children under 3

Where to stay

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

  • Address: 7575 E Princess Dr, Scottsdale, AZ 85255
  • Highlights: Beautiful property, elegant lobby with pet-friendly options, luxurious rooms, Sunset Beach, and Sonoran Splash pool area.
  • Cost: Rates vary seasonally, starting around $250 per night in summer.
  • Website: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

And there’s tons of other fabulous places to stay during your trip.

Check out the best accommodation deals below.

What to eat

Piccolo Virtu

  • Address: 3720 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
  • Hours: Tue-Sat 5 PM – 10 PM
  • Cost: $$
  • Website: Piccolo Virtu

FnB Restaurant

  • Address: 7125 E 5th Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
  • Hours: Tue-Sun 5 PM – 10 PM
  • Cost: $$
  • Overview: FnB is known for its farm-to-table dining experience, offering seasonal menus that highlight locally sourced ingredients. It’s a favorite for those who appreciate creative dishes and a cozy atmosphere.
  • Website: FnB Restaurant

The Mission Old Town

  • Address: 3815 N Brown Ave, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 11 AM – 10 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM – 11 PM, Sun 11 AM – 9 PM
  • Cost: $$
  • Overview: The Mission offers a modern Latin cuisine experience in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale. Known for its delicious tacos, enchiladas, and a wide selection of tequila, it’s a great spot for both lunch and dinner.
  • Website: The Mission Old Town

Olive & Ivy

  • Address: 7135 E Camelback Rd, Suite 195, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
  • Hours: Sun-Thu 11 AM – 9 PM, Fri-Sat 11 AM – 10 PM
  • Cost: $$
  • Overview: Olive & Ivy provides a Mediterranean-inspired dining experience with a relaxing ambiance along the Scottsdale Waterfront. It’s perfect for a leisurely meal with a view.
  • Website: Olive & Ivy

Travel Tips

  • Best Time to Visit

    The best time to visit Scottsdale is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) months. During these periods, the weather is mild and pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-80s (°F), perfect for outdoor activities and exploring the city.

    Winter (December to February) is also a great time to visit if you prefer cooler temperatures, but it can get crowded as many people escape colder climates for Scottsdale's warmth.

    Summer (June to August) sees triple-digit temperatures, but it’s also the off-season, meaning you can find great deals on accommodations and enjoy fewer crowds.

  • Getting Around

    Scottsdale offers various transportation options to help you get around the city:

    Public Transit: Valley Metro provides bus services throughout Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area. The trolley service in Old Town Scottsdale is free and convenient for short trips.

    Car Rentals: Renting a car is a popular option for visitors, providing flexibility to explore the surrounding areas and attractions at your own pace. Major rental companies operate at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and throughout Scottsdale.

    Ride-Sharing Services: Uber and Lyft are widely available and a convenient option for getting around the city without the hassle of parking. Biking and Walking: Scottsdale is bike-friendly, with numerous bike paths and lanes. Many areas, especially Old Town, are pedestrian-friendly.

  • Safety Tips

    Stay Hydrated: Scottsdale's desert climate can be very dry and hot, especially in the summer. Always carry water and drink frequently.

    Sun Protection: Use sunscreen, wear a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the strong sun.

    Wildlife Caution: When hiking or exploring natural areas, be aware of local wildlife such as snakes and scorpions. Stay on designated trails and avoid tall grass or rocky areas.

    Heat Precautions: Avoid outdoor activities during peak heat hours (midday). Plan strenuous activities for early morning or late afternoon.

    Emergency Contacts: Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and the location of the nearest hospital or urgent care facility.

  • Helpful Notes

    Time Zone: Scottsdale is in the Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST) and does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

    Weather: Always check the weather forecast before heading out, especially if planning outdoor activities, to ensure safety and preparedness.

    Plug/Adapter: The standard voltage is 120V, and the plug type is A/B. International travelers may need an adapter.

Packing list

Here’s our suggested items to pack for this destination. Please always consider the weather and activities you will be doing.


  • Lightweight, breathable clothing: Perfect for the hot desert climate.
  • Comfortable hiking shoes: Essential for exploring trails and outdoor activities.
  • Swimwear: For pools, water parks, and spa experiences.
  • Wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses: To protect from the strong sun.
  • Casual and semi-formal outfits: For dining out at restaurants.
  • Light jacket or sweater: Evenings can be cooler, especially in the spring and fall.


  • Sunscreen (SPF 30+): Protect your skin from the strong Arizona sun.
  • Reusable water bottle: Stay hydrated in the dry climate.
  • Daypack or backpack: Useful for hiking and carrying essentials during day trips.
  • Camera or smartphone: Capture the stunning desert landscapes and memorable moments.

Personal Items:

  • Toiletries: Bring your preferred toiletries, including moisturizer to combat dryness.
  • First aid kit: Basic first aid supplies for minor injuries.
  • Medications: Any prescription medications and over-the-counter remedies you might need.


  • Phone and charger: Keep your devices charged for navigation and communication.
  • Portable power bank: Useful for long days out exploring.
  • Plug adapter: If traveling from outside the US, bring a plug adapter for Type A and B outlets.

Other Essentials:

  • Guidebook or map: Handy for navigating and discovering new places.
  • Snacks: Pack some energy bars or snacks for hikes and excursions.
  • Swim shoes: For water parks and rocky areas.
  • Binoculars: Great for wildlife viewing and enjoying scenic vistas.

Optional Items:

  • Lightweight umbrella: Useful for unexpected rain showers.
  • Notebook and pen: For jotting down travel notes and experiences.
  • Books or e-reader: For relaxing moments by the pool or during downtime.

Get a full packing list and free downloadable template at Pack Better

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Find the perfect customizable packing list for all of your travel situations on our sister website Pack Better.

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