Patricia says, Don't leave Phoenix without taking a scenic drive through South Mountain Park, a desert mountain preserve with panoramic views of the city. Scottsdale is a sightseer's delight. The unique beauty of the Sonoran Desert serves as a backdrop for exploring the city, which manages to be at once both highly cosmopolitan and ruggedly Western.
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Even better, you don't have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the city. Take a stroll around Old TownScottsdale's historic city center, which gives visitors a sense of the city's cowboy heritage while showcasing its modern eclectic array of restaurants, bars, art galleries, and shops. While you're in Old Town, stop in at the Scottsdale Historical Museumlocated inside the city's first school house. The museum is small but provides insight into the lives of the city's founder and early settlers. For families, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is an excellent free attraction that will entertain kids of all ages.
Older visitors too will enjoy the park's model train displays as well as the retired locomotives now parked on the grounds of the railroad park. Scottsdale has a thriving, internationally ranked art scene. If you're in town on a Thursday night, set aside some time for the city's popular art walk, which traverses downtown's Marshall Way Arts District.
For a great photo opportunity, don't forget to take a stroll along Scottsdale's Civic Center Mallhome to downtown's most popular outdoor art, including the famous "Love" sculpture. The museum documents many of the greatest moments in Fiesta Bowl history. You can check out an array of exhibits featuring memorabilia from Fiesta Bowl events and bowl games, including all FBS team helmets.
Also on display are some of the most prestigious award trophies in college football history, including the Fiesta Bowl, Heisman, Eddie Robinson, and The National Championship Coaches' Trophy. The museum is free and open to the public every Monday through Friday from a. Even better, the museum offers free admission. Patricia's expert tip : The museum is only open on Mondays through Fridays, so plan your visit accordingly. Scottsdale Civic Center Mall features almost three acres of pristine open public space. The park is located in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, running eastward from Brown Avenue to 75th Street, and then southward from 1st Avenue to 2nd Street.
Locals and Scottsdale visitors stroll through this area to enjoy the gardens and easy access to a host of downtown amenities, including shops, restaurants, clubs, and museums.
This popular downtown mall features an outdoor public amphitheater and small lagoon with swans. Patricia's expert tip : Don't forget to snap your picture beside the popular and iconic LOVE sculpture, created by artist Robert Indiana. This desert park, dotted with red rock and weather-sculpted buttes, is located near the zoo and the botanical gardens. A network of trails runs through the grounds, and fishing lagoons punctuate the landscape.
Ramadas covered picnic shelters provide a perfect place to take in the views and can be reserved with a call. The area is ranger-patrolled for safety. Enjoy a picnic and don't forget to bring your camera to capture the buttes for posterity. Patricia's expert tip : If you have time, check out the Desert Botanical Gardens across the road. Scottsdale has achieved international recognition as a haven for art collectors, with more than galleries and a thriving local population of nationally-recognized artists.
The Marshall Way Arts District is the place to explore Scottsdale art and mingle with local artists and professional art dealers. The wide array of artistic styles represented here range from traditional Western cowboy art to cutting edge contemporary. Marshall Way is also the place to be on Thursday nights, when the Scottsdale ArtWalk brings a steady stream of art aficionados to downtown Scottsdale.
The Thursday night art walk is one of the oldest art walks in the country, and happens every week from 7 p. Patricia's expert tip : Check out the weekly Thursday Night Artwalk downtown, every Thursday from 7 p. Cosanti, located off busy Doubletree Road, is the working studio of world-renowned architectural innovator Paolo Soleri. Look for the rustic along the road that says "Soleri, Visitors Welcome.
You'll also catch sight of hundreds of Cosanti's famous bronze and ceramic wind-bells clinking in the desert wind. The Cosanti bells are available for sale in the gift shop. Well worth a stop when you are in Scottsdale. Although small, the Cosanti studio provides an interesting glimpse into the full process of one of the world's most innovative living architects and artists. Recommended for Free Things to Do because : Cosanti in Scottsdale offers insight into the work of a modern architecture master.
Five galleries and a sculpture garden make Scottsdale the free of this facility.
Additional exhibits of interest include displays of international art, architecture and de, with a predominant focus on hometown attributes. The focus of the SMoCA is not on art from the past, but rather cutting edge contemporary art that deals in Scottsdale thoughts and concerns of today. The museum is also home to the new SMoCA Lounge--deed as an accessible community space for creativity, imagination and full.
The Lounge features a film series, Lit Lounge events that bring together local writers and musicians, and a popular Brown Bag lecture series. Recommended for Free Things to Do because : Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art presents cutting edge modern art in an always unique and accessible fashion. Patricia's expert tip : Free museum admission every Thursday and second Saturday of month but must be reserved free advance.
When you want an up-close experience with the majestic beauty of the desert, head to Pinnacle Peak Park in Scottsdale. Pinnacle Peak is one of the Valley's most iconic natural landmarks and a popular destination for local hikers and visitors.
The acre park is rated as a moderate hike by The Sierra Club, with an approximate elevation gain of 1, feet. Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts of all activity levels can enjoy the 1. If you can make it to the trail summit, you will be rewarded by stunning views of the Valley.
Experienced rock climbers with the appropriate gear can enjoy climbing in three deated ares of the park. Other park amenities include four picnic tables, restrooms, and drinking fountains. A must for even casual outdoor enthusiasts.
Patricia's expert tip : Stay safe!
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Rattlesnakes, bobcats, and gila monsters have all been spotted here. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve protects more than 30, acres of pristine desert in north Scottsdale. This is a hiker's paradise, with more than miles of trails, including more than 60 miles of shared-use trails. Trailhead gates are open from sunrise to sunset. There's no charge for parking or access. Start your desert adventure at The Gateway, the central trailhead that offers access to most of the preserve's popular trails. Patricia's expert tip : Trails are dog-friendly, so bring along your favorite four-legged friend.
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Dogs must be a on a leash. The park offers train and carousel rides for all ages, open green space for family picnics, historic Arizona railroad artifacts, model railroad displays in a new 10, square foot building, a train museum, and popular events throughout the year. Hartley's General Store offers hand dipped ice cream, food and drinks, and Thomas the Tank toys, while Snackstop offers a variety of snack food and drinks.
Whether you're looking for a perfect picnic destination or simply take the kids on a one-mile train ride around the park, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a great family-friendly attraction located just north of the city center. Recommended for Free Things to Do because : McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a free, family-friendly attraction that will entertain family members of all ages.
Old Town Scottsdale is the heart full the city, boasting sparkling fountains, green lawns, and outdoor sculptures celebrating the city's Old West heritage. Art galleries, museums, boutiques, and cafes line the streets of Old Town, offering both visitors and locals with some Scottsdale the free window-shopping and people-watching in the city. Even if you are not coming here to shop, Old Town's eclectic array of specialty shops make for fun window shopping. While you're in Old Town, make a stop at the Scottsdale Historical Museum, where you can see how the city's founders and earliest settlers experienced life in Scottsdale.
Recommended for Free Things to Do because : Old Town Scottsdale is one of the city's liveliest and most tourist-friendly quarters. Patricia's expert tip : Use the Scottsdale Downtown Trolley to get around Old Town and explore other nearby attractions. Simply park your car at any Old Town parking garage or street, and look for the trolley stops along Main Street and Brown Avenue.
Follow 10Best Like 10Best. Patricia Escarcega: Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson Local Expert Patricia says, Don't leave Phoenix without taking a scenic drive through South Mountain Park, a desert mountain preserve with panoramic views of the city. More About Patricia. Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum. Photo courtesy of Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum.
Civic Center Mall. Photo courtesy of City of Scottsdale. Papago Park. Marshall Way Arts District. Cosanti Originals. Paradise Valley.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Photo courtesy of SMoCA.