The Arizona Boardwalk & The Talking Stick Entertainment District
The Talking Stick Entertainment District and the Arizona Boardwalk combine to form Scottsdales biggest family entertainment center so if you are traveling with children, there is a pretty strong chance that you will be spending at least a few hours here. The Boardwalk is home to the OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland, Ripleys Believe It or Not, a Laser & Mirror Maze, Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs, Surprise Your Eyes, VR Extreme, and Polar Play Ice Bar. You can also try your hand at medieval jousting, pretend to soar through the air at Indoor Skydiving, or cruise around the racetrack in Go-Karts at the . There are also free events held in the outdoor courtyard which combined with or two of the attractions can create a very exciting day out!
The Talking Stick Entertainment District provides hours of family-friendly fun and has an incredible range of activities located under one roof. Make sure to allow yourself plenty of time to see everything there, especially if you want to do more than one of the attractions.
The Butterfly Wonderland is the largest butterfly pavilion in the United States and is located in its own rainforest environment. Thousands of butterflies from around the world swirl around you like a mini-United Nations as you walk through the glass atrium. When you are done, you can check out real ant and bee colonies, watch a show at the 3D theater, or buy a cute souvenir at the gift shop.
Pangaea Land of the Dinosaurs
Hot Air Balloon Ride In Phoenix
After being bit by the hot air balloon bug at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta last year, I was excited to learn that you can do hot air balloon rides in Phoenix. Rainbow Ryders offers group and private hot air balloon rides in their signature rainbow-colored balloons. Its an early morning start time, but totally worth it to see sunrise over the desert while gently floating in a hot air balloon.
Tips For Visiting Scottsdale With Kids
No matter when you visit Scottsdale, your family is sure to have plenty to explore and enjoy. Keep in mind that winters are likely chillier than you think, and summers are even toastier than you might imagine. Temperatures swing up to 30 degrees Fahrenheit from night to day, so unless visiting in summer, layers are a must. The best weather of the year can be found in spring, March through May, when average temps are in the dreamy 70s. Winter is when prices are at their highest, with many visitors escaping cold weather locations. Meanwhile, in summers with temperatures as high as 120 degrees F, bring great deals on high-end resorts.
It doesnt rain much in Scottsdale, but when it does, gushing buckets of water pour from the sky. Arizonas monsoon season typically reaches its peak in late summer. Thats when we get most of our rain for the whole year. After the rain stops, the sun will soon be shining again. Lightning storms are common in summer and are beautiful to behold.
As you can see from reading this list of things to do in Scottsdale, AZ with kids, many popular destinations are in neighboring cities and towns. Plus, Scottsdale is very spread out. Therefore, you will likely need a rental car unless you plan to spend most of your time at your resort.
Scottsdale is one of the safest places to visit in all of Arizona, with most crimes being related to property theft. As when visiting any city, exercise reasonable caution when out exploring.
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Dine Under The Desert Sky
Inspired settings, fabulous food and community connection combine at the incredible long table dinners organized by Cloth & Flame, making their events one of the top Phoenix activities and the hottest ticket in town.
The dining series takes place in various locations throughout the area, like lunches served up with a backdrop of vineyards or orchards, and multi-course meals enjoyed under twinkling lights and moonlit sky in the Superstition Mountains. Menus are prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, expertly paired with feature cocktails and free-flowing wine, making this elevated dining experience something thats not to be missed.
A long table dinner with Cloth & Flame in the Sonoran Desert
Thanksgiving Traditional Buffet At The Scottsdale Resort At Mccormick Ranch
Count your blessings with loved ones while enjoying a decadent buffet with a variety of starters including mushroom bisque, deviled eggs, smoked Scottish salmon, seafood ice display, and an assortment of fresh baked pastries & short breads. Move on to classic main dishes such as aged Angus prime rib, butter basted turkey with cranberries and shallot gravy, baked Virginia ham, and pan seared Alaskan salmon. End on a sweet note with traditional desserts like pumpkin, apple, pecan and cherry pies.
Price: Adults $76 | Children 5 to 12 years $30 | 4 and under complimentary
The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
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Day : Museum Hopping Dining & Departure
Sunday mornings are perfect for laid-back brunches and strolling through museums, dont you think? Hulas Modern Tiki offers tons of delicious Caribbean and Pacific Island-inspired dishes and opens at 10:30am The Mission makes a mean guacamole and aguacate and opens at 11am.
The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art or Museum of the West are both great museum options to make the most of your last few hours in Scottsdale. Both are located in Old Town. If youre up for a drive and traveling with young humans, the Museum of Musical Instruments is perfect for families.
Then its time to head to the airport or home, depending on your schedule!
Ling And Louie’s Scottsdale Arizona
Modern Asian influences meet American comfort in Ling and Louies Asian Bar and Grill. Owned by partners Ling and Louie, the celebrated restaurant boasts six locations across the country, offering a comprehensive menu of traditional Asian-American fare for lunch and dinner. From Hand-wrapped Pot Stickers and Loaded Nachos for starters to New Wave Pad Thai and Lings Meatloaf for entrées, Ling and Louies has it all, whether you feel like East or West.
Sip signature cocktails and handcrafted mules or choose from a range of spirits, wine, and beer to go with your meal or enjoy a special menu and drinks specials during Happy Hour.
9397 E Shea Boulevard, Suite 125, Scottsdale, AZ, Phone: 480-767-5464
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Show Off Your Downward Dog At Goat Yoga In Gilbert
Did you know you can try goat yoga in Arizona? I kid you not . This unusual workout is like a mix between yoga and a petting zoo, and has been all anyones talking about since classes started at a farmhouse in Gilbert late 2016.
Participants lay their mats in a circle and are led through a practice, while the brood of adorable goats jump on peoples backs while theyre trying to hold poses like downward dog and planks. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues, making this activity one of the most fun things to do near Phoenix.
Horseback Riding And More At Macdonalds Ranch
Saddle up for fun at MacDonalds Ranch. This horse stable offers guided trail rides and stagecoach tours through the desert. If traveling with a group of eight or more, book a desert cookout along with a hayride, stagecoach tour, or horseback adventure for a truly memorable experience.
If visiting Scottsdale in October, then plan to visit the annual MacDonalds Ranch pumpkin patch. Expect a petting zoo, pony rides, olde tyme games, and a barbecue food truck. The highlight is boarding a horse-pulled hayride or tractor-pulled train to a pumpkin patch surrounded by saguaro cactuses and sagebrush.
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Tovrea Castle In Phoenix
Tour Tovrea Castle, the structure that resembles a wedding cake, seen from the Loop 202 freeway. Built in 1929, it was later sold to cattle baron E.A. Tovrea and wife Della. The kitchen has a bullet hole from when Della was robbed and beaten in 1968. She died two months later.
Go On Socially Distanced Urban Hiking Adventure Or Scenic Bike Ride
Multiple locationsTravel might look different these days, but adventure is a lot closer than you might think. Lace up your hiking boots and point your GPS towards local urban hiking hotspots like Camelback Mountain, Piestewa Peak, McDowell Mountain Regional Park, or South Mountain Park & Preserve. Rather explore your city on two wheels? Spanning 11-miles, The Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt features an oasis of explorable paths, parks, and lakes, which lands it on a list of the top urban green spaces in the state. The greenbelt begins at Tempe Beach Park and stretches all the way to Shea Boulevard in Scottsdale. Explore the scenic route on a group bike tour or opt for a self-guided ride and pedal at your own pace. As always, use caution when visiting trails, wear your mask around others, and bring plenty of water. But you know that already.
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Stay In Phoenix Or Scottsdale
We fly in for a 2 night getaway in March and trying to decide where to stay….Phoenix ? Or is it worth it to stay in Scottsdale ? And what is there to see or do in Scottsdale if its worth it to just stay there since its a short drive ? Basically we just want to relax and maybe do a little sight seeing . Thanks !
7 replies to this topic
We like Scottsdale more as there are nice resorts, great places to dine. Old Town Scottsdale with the museum and art gallery is fun to go to. There is also nice places to hike. Its also close enough so one day you could go on a boat ride on the Desert Belle. Very pretty boat ride.
It is kind of difficult to tell where the border is between Phoenix and Scottsdale anymore. The Phoenician resort is in Scottsdale, but not right near Old Town. Heck even the Westin Kierland is a distance from Old Town.
For such a short trip, I’d think of what you want to do outside of the hotel/resort, and pick something close to that.
#2 response it good advice. Do you want a resort experience or a hotel for the weekend? Hiking? Museums? Phoenix is a huge metropolitan area and Scottsdale is thirty miles long north to south. Lots of nice areas in both, but Scottsdale is definitely more tourist oriented. March is our high season so you’ll want to consider your budget and see what’s available in that range. Let us know what/where you are considering and we can better advise.
Desert Botanical Garden In Phoenix
Behold the desert in a different light during the Desert Botanical Garden’s Las Noches de Las Luminarias. More than 8,000 hand-lit luminaria bags, inspired by the Mexican holiday tradition, line the trails of the garden from November’s end through December. The Phoenix event features music, carolers, food and holiday-themed cocktails and spiked hot drinks.
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Drive The Apache Trail Or Hike
Switch things up by taking an exciting scenic drive on the Apache Trail. This well-traveled road affords visitors an incredible view of canyons, geologic formations, and desert and lake views. Alternatively, you can go for a hike or visit a local riparian area. South Mountain is also a popular place for hiking, and you’ll find many people climbing Camelback Mountain on the morning before the big meal.
‘bat Cave’ In Phoenix
Brave the depths of your fears and dare to witness as many as 20,000 bats journey out to their nighttime feeding. The “bat cave” is on the north bank of the Arizona Canal, several hundred yards west of 40th Street, north of Camelback Road. Position yourself at a specially built deck at that location at dusk.
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Western Spirit: Scottsdales Museum Of The West
This unique museum celebrates the culture, heritage, and history of the American West. Part art museum, part history museum, the Museum of the West showcases works by artists such as Georgia OKeeffe, Allen Houser, and Fritz Scholder as well as personal items of John Wayne and Kit Carson. You can also learn about Lewis & Clarks monumental expedition. Outside, you can explore the cacti garden and the outdoor sculpture gallery. This is one of the best places in Scottsdale to learn more about the regions distinct character and jump headfirst into the spirit of the Old West.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum Of The West
Western Spirit: Scottsdales Museum of the West celebrates and showcases the history of the West and everything related to it, including its heritage, cultures, and varying environments. The museum was established to explore the challenges of the modern world through looking back at history and learning from past achievements.
It accomplishes this goal by providing a range of interpretive artworks, interactive experiences, and exciting events. Located in Downtown Scottsdale, the Museum of the West features galleries housing permanent and traveling exhibitions a one-of-a-kind, multi-sensory, and multimedia theater/auditorium that showcases the work of Western artists through a variety of performances and shows and an intimate Sculpture Courtyard where visitors can relax, refresh, and reflect on an ever-changing array of sculptural exhibits amongst exotic desert surroundings.
3830 N. Marshall Way, Scottsdale, Arizona, Phone: 480-686-9539
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Day : Adventure Relax & Savor
Start your only full day in Scottsdale bright and early you might need to get up as early as 4am for your hot air balloon ride. The actual wakeup/pickup time will depend on the time of year you visit and how early the sun rises.
After a peaceful ride over the desert landscape, you should be done and dropped back at your accommodation by around 9am. That gives you plenty of time for a round of golf or a short hike before the heat of the day totally kicks in.
Once it gets too hot to breathe, head indoors for a spa treatment. You can opt for one at your hotel or resort or book one at a nearby property if youre staying in an Airbnb. I highly recommend any of the tequila treatments at Agave, the Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland.
For dinner, keep it light and fun with Brussel sprout nachos, tacos, or a Sonoran hot dog at Diego Pops. Snag a margarita or boozy sno-cone since its Saturday night!
Frequently Asked Questions About Things To Do In Scottsdale
What is a unique way to explore Scottsdale, Arizona?
A scavenger hunt is a really unique and fun-filled way to explore a new city. The Lets Roam Scottsdale Scavenger Hunt will have you racing through the city to find your next clue and claim the ultimate prize bragging rights and pride!
What is there to do in Scottsdale, Arizona?
Scottsdale is a great place for cultural and outdoor activities. Here, you will find some of Arizonas best restaurants, cultural attractions, kids activities, and parks where you can hike and bike. Find out more of the Best Things to Do in Scottsdale.
Are there any kid-friendly activities in Scottsdale?
Absolutely! Scottsdale is home to the Arizona Boardwalk which has eight different attractions designed for kids. It is a great place to spend a day. Find out more of the Best Kid-Friendly Things to Do in Scottsdale.
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Hall Of Flame Fire Fighter Museum
The Hall of Flame Firefighting Museum in Phoenix boasts the worlds largest collection of vintage fire trucks. Vehicles range from a 1725 English hand pumper to more modern engine-powered models. Make a game of your visit by having everyone select his or her very favorite from the museums more than 90 fire trucks. There is one climb-aboard fire engine for make-believe rescue missions. Also look for a touching memorial to fallen fire rescue heroes, with a special display for those who died in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Towers in New York. Most of the trucks are strictly hands-off, which can make a visit with toddlers and preschoolers somewhat nerve-wracking but grade-schoolers who dig fire engines will like to spend an hour or so here.