Discover the Arizonian desert like never before in this Western city
Scottsdale is Arizona’s best-kept secret, where the old wild west meets the modern world, packed with exciting places to eat, things to do and not to mention miles of glorious desert to be explored. Fully immerse yourself in the wonderful culture that will have you coming back for more.
Boasting more than 330 days of sunshine every year, there’s no better place than Scottsdale to spend time in the great outdoors, and trust us, there’s plenty of it. Just make sure to pack sunscreen, as temperatures reach average highs of 30°C.
For a truly tranquil outdoor experience, float your way over the Sonoran Desert during an early morning hot air balloon ride (Hotairexpeditions.com), and watch the sun rise over the gorgeous mountains, offering once in a lifetime views of the city and desert. If you’re a bit more of a thrillseeker, get among the cacti and hold onto your helmet as you whizz through the desert with Stellar Adventures on a guided ATV adventure, exploring the Sonoran Desert for yourself. It’s utterly brilliant.
To witness unspoilt views of the town, lace up your hiking boots and walk along the trails up to the magnificent heights of Scottsdale’s mountains. You’ll pass welcoming locals and the famous saguaro cacti, which only grow in Arizona. Experienced hikers can join the very rewarding Echo Canyon trail at Camelback Mountain, which reaches an elevation higher than the Empire State Building. The Gateway Loop Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is less strenuous and provides wonderful views of the town that you’ll need your camera for.
For a chance to spot wild horses in the desert, paddle and float your way down the Lower Salt River during a guided kayak tour. The river is surrounded by four different mountain ranges, and the water flows in from northern Arizona. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a hot day and enjoy the impressive sights.
What to eat
Luckily, Scottsdale is brimming with delicious places to stop and refuel during your explorations. There are so many places to choose from, you’ll need a second visit to really enjoy them all. If you’re a fan of tacos and tequila, stylish Diego Pops is a great location for a spot of lunch, serving up tasty Mexican food with a twist. We recommend the brussels sprout nachos, washed down with a bright pink prickly pear margarita.
To sample modern Latin cuisine in luxury, The Mission in Scottsdale’s Old Town is the place to be. And better yet, there are 11 different margaritas to choose from. Make sure you order the restaurant’s famous tableside guacamole alongside their heavenly menu – you won’t leave feeling unsatisfied.
The wild west
For the ultimate authentic wild west experience, grab your cowboy boots and Stetson, and head on down to Handlebar J, where you can mingle with locals and try your luck at line dancing to live country music.
If you can’t get enough of the infectious songs, Rusty Spur Saloon is a must-visit while on a night out in Old Town – it’s Scottsdale’s oldest cowboy saloon and is bursting with energy. Should you like what you hear, tip the band or pop a beer behind the bar for them – it goes down a treat.
Where to stay
For a family vacation, stay at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa. There’s a two-and-a-half-acre water playground for kids, 27 holes for golf-lovers, and a serene Spa Avania for relaxing, complete with indoor and outdoor treatment rooms and garden pools.
Step back in time to the ’50s and ’60s during a stay at Hotel Valley Ho. A true icon in Scottsdale’s town, it originally opened in 1956 and has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Mountain Shadows is perfectly placed below Camelback Mountain and Mummy Mountains, offering wonderful views when you’re basking in the glorious sunshine of this boutique resort. Located in Paradise Valley, this hotel has 183 beautifully slick and stylish rooms alongside two pools and a high-tech fitness facility. What’s not to love?
Stop off for food at the hotel’s restaurant ZuZu, which should be on your to-do list, and don’t leave without tasting their signature sharing milkshake. With its monthly changing themes, you don’t want to miss out.
Need to know
· For more information on what to do in Scottsdale, visit Experiencescottsdale.com
· Rates at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa start from £109 per night. Book at Hyatt.com
· Rates at Hotel Valley Ho start from £109 per night for a signature double room only. To book, visit Hotelvalleyho.com
· Rates at Mountain Shadows start from £118 per night for a double room only. To book, go to Mountainshadows.com