Spring in Scottsdale is the best time of year to visit. From sensational shops and world-class restaurants to the stylish city’s natural playground (the Sonoran Desert, which blooms in spring), you’ll discover the West at its best. Iconic sunsets, kooky saguro cacti and starry, starry nights…priceless!
Desert delish is the best nickname for Scottsdale. Thirty craft breweries, fine dining, marvelous Mexican, farm fresh cuisine and extraordinary wines are everywhere, from downtown to the resorts. There’s ramen at Hot Noodles Cold Sake, dessert heaven at Super Chunks Sweets & Treats, gastropubs Culinary Dropout, AZ88, Citizen Public House, romantic Arcadia Farms’ organic wine country cuisine served in an historic cottage in the downtown arts district to name a few.
Chef Matt Carter’s Fat Ox is a modern Italian eatery just as good as his French-themed café Zinc Bistro, the Latin-infused Mission (known for its blood orange margarita) and The House Brasserie. Here, pasta is the beginning and the end of the story, freshly made daily and served with unconventional sauces.
For mouth-watering cuisine and breathtaking views, nothing beats The Elements at the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort and Spa in Paradise Valley.
For Mexican fare, one of the most acclaimed is La Hacienda at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess. You can dine on the patio and savor South America specialties such as ceviche, carnitas or spicy-sweet Pollo en Mole de Abuelita. The Cien Agaves’ tacos (grilled ono, pork in adobo sauce, crispy shrimp, or marinated skirt steak) pares well with any of the 100 premium tequilas or a cactus mai tai. Go local at Barrio Queen downtown’s street fare from the award-winning slow-roasted pork seasoned with sour orange and achiote to the grilled corn. For new wave Mexican, check out Blanco Tequila +Tacos.
You can spend a night exploring local vintages and international wines at sleek and stylish Sorso Wine Room, Terroir Wine Pub (charcuterie!), kitschy Scapegoat Beer & Wine or Kazmierz World Wine Bar, whose small plates and wine cave wow sophisticated enophiles.
Start off at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, an ode to American fare and live acoustic music. The Valley of the Sun doesn’t go dark after hours, with live music lounges showcasing jazz, blues, folk, bluegrass, rock and more. The Omni Scottsdale’s candlelit Mbar lounge hosts popular jazz, rock and indie bands. Hang out in the elegant lounges of downtown’s City Hall Steakhouse Oceans Club in north Scottsdale and catch a piano crooner, cover band or a jazz trio. Eclectic Kazimierz mixes it up with jazz, Latin, R&B, and world beats. Cowboy dancing can be found at the Rusty Spur Saloon or Handlebar J Restaurant & Saloon.
Scottsdale is known for its swanky shopping and designer duds; find them at Scottsdale Fashion Square, The Promenade, Kierland Commons, Biltmore Fashion Park and Scottsdale Quarter. For a local taste, take home juicy Arizona dates and cactus jelly. Find unique souvenirs at The Store at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Cosanti, the working studio of late architect Paolo Soleri known for his famed bronze and ceramic wind-bells.
ARTS & CULTURE
Scottsdale boasts world-class performing arts, but the big news is the Western museum in downtown Scottsdale filled with paintings, sculptures, cultural artifacts and interactive exhibits celebrating the pioneer spirit of the American West. Downtown’s historic pedestrian-friendly Art District is home to 70 galleries and museums; on Thursday’s ArtWalk, you can explore from 7-9 p.m.
SPORTS & RECREATION
Are you a baseball lover? Fifteen major league teams now play in Arizona’s spring showcase, and Scottsdale is home to three of them: The San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Put some greens in your diet with Scottsdale’s outstanding golf courses. You can play 18 or 36 holes, desert style or traditional links and travel the course by Segway or golf cart.
Explore the great outdoors with Arizona Outback Adventures (firstname.lastname@example.org) who can take you paddleboarding on the lower Salt River just 30 minutes from Scottsdale’s finest resorts as well as mountain biking, rafting and kayaking guided tours.
SPAS & RESORTS
Getting pampered is a Scottsdale tradition, and there’s a resort for every taste. The rejuvenated Phoenician Spa is a three-story luxury oasis with its rooftop pool reopening this spring. Agave, the Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland offers a courtyard garden, lap pool and private areas for spa therapy; it’s also pet-friendly.
Among boutique properties, check out the mid-century historic gem Hotel Valley Ho, The Hermosa Inn’s artistic casitas, Mediterranean-style Royal Palms Resort & Spa or the Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain.
For ultra-posh, full-service resorts, many with golf and spas, The Phoenician is where the rich and famous park when in town. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess offers six pools, lagoon fishing and a family favorite, as is the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch. For the ultimate hideaway, book the intimate, romantic Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia with its rooftop pool or the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North and book a desert vibe luxury casita.