Whenever I used to think of Scottsdale, I thought of two things—golf and the desert. Of course, it’s so much more than that. On a recent trip, I was surprised at the diversity of activities, especially the many “walkable” neighborhoods of Downtown Scottsdale. Here’s a small sampling:

Old Town — For “Old West” ambiance, check out the Little Red Schoolhouse built in 1909, now the home of the Scottsdale Historical Museum.

Old Town Scottsdale

Arts District — Scottsdale’s Arts District is one of the top five art markets in the country. Don’t miss the weekly Thursday night ArtWalk, when the galleries stay open from 7PM-9PM and often feature artist receptions, exhibit openings, and live entertainment.

Arts District Scottsdale

Art Walk Scottsdale

Fifth Avenue Shopping District — For shopping, there are charming local options such as Super Chunk Sweets & Treats, where you can find odd yet tempting flavor combinations: duck fat toffee candy and ancho chocolate caramels. This area also features the Bob Parks Horse Fountain, which is definitely photo-worthy.

Bob Parks Horse Fountain

Scottsdale Fashion Square (SFS) — For big-name stores, personal attention, and entertainment, SFS is the largest shopping destination in the Southwest United States. It has a roving concierge staff, popular restaurants, a cinema multiplex, and an intimate community theater.

Waterfront and Southbridge Districts — The “Waterfront” refers to the Arizona Canal where you can stroll along the walkways and appreciate the lush landscaping on both the north and south banks. Be sure to explore the art either on foot or on the Downtown Scottsdale Art & Cultural Trolley Tour.

Scottsdale Waterfront

Scottsdale Trolley

Entertainment District — Finally, night owls can party at any number of Scottsdale’s upscale clubs. You may spot a celebrity DJ, live tunes from a local band, or a concert by a national act. You can experience pool decks, plunge pools, music of every kind, craft beers, swank ambiance, and extensive cocktail lists to satisfy any tastes.

Scottsdale Entertainment

Restaurants:

 The Mission — Best guacamole and most amazing pumpkin bread pudding in town. This is Alex’s favorite. Make reservations; it is always popular. The Mission has two Scottsdale locations—one in Old Town and another in Kierland Commons. They’re both good but I like the Old Town location better.

Best Guacamole in Town

Hotels:

There are many excellent hotel choices in or on the edges of Scottsdale:

The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa – Voted the #1 Resort in the Southwest several years ago, this newly remodeled property offers mountain or spa casitas that feature dramatic and inspiring views of the mountains and rock formations that surround the resort.

Hotel Valley Ho – In the heart of Downtown Scottsdale, this stylish hotel combines retro charm with contemporary luxury and is the hip and trendy alternative to chain hotels. Fun and convenient.

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa – The Andaz is a unique Sonoran Desert experience. While staying in bungalow-style guestrooms and enjoying the views of Camelback Mountain and all the other amenities, the hotel offers several desert-driven activities such as artist studio tours and Pinnacle Peak hiking.

The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North – World-class accommodations include casitas and multi-bedroom suites tucked into the surrounding desert. Great venue for any occasion–intimate getaways, destination weddings, larger groups, and families. Look no further if you’re a golfer; the Troon North Golf Club is one of the top golf clubs in the U.S.

Call the All Aboard Travel office for lots more ideas to fit any budget.