Known for its year-round sunshine and upscale resort environment, Scottsdale is a picture-perfect oasis in the middle of the desert. Scottsdale is a place I’ve always wanted to visit, so when a business conference took me to Phoenix, I realized that I finally had the chance to explore Scottsdale. As soon as the conference ended, I made an impromptu decision to drive my rental car out to Scottsdale. To make my last-minute mini-vacation possible, I used HotelTonight to book a Scottsdale hotel room for that very night.
Thanks to HotelTonight, booking great last-minute hotels has never been easier. This means that traveling has never been more flexible, which is great for people like me who love to take advantage of last-minute travel opportunities. So as soon as I booked my Scottsdale hotel, I hopped in the car and headed to this popular Arizona town, where I hoped to see why both locals and tourists love this desert destination so much.
My hotel was located in Old Town Scottsdale, so as soon as I checked into my room and dropped off my bags I decided to explore my charming new neighborhood. With its wooden sidewalks and rustic buildings, Old Town embodies the spirit of the old-west. Simply walking through this neighborhood will make you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. Old Town’s Main Street looks like something out of an old Western film, and I had great fun popping in and out of all of the stores in the area. Since Old Town is very walkable, it’s a great neighborhood to stay in if you’re visiting Scottsdale for a short period of time.
During my brief stay in Scottsdale, I learned that the city has a vibrant arts scene. There are galleries located all over the city, but one of the city’s best spots for art is the Main Streets Arts District. Located in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, the Arts District is a beautiful street lined with galleries, shops, and restaurants. After grabbing a bite to eat at a local café, I spent the afternoon ducking into one art gallery after another. For art lovers, popping in and out of these art galleries is a dreamy way to spend an afternoon in this desert oasis.
Since it was such a warm, pleasant afternoon in the desert, I decided to visit the Desert Botanical Garden, where stunning local flora was on display all around me. At this unique botanical garden, you can see an impressive range of cacti, some of which were sporting colorful blooms when I visited. To be honest, before I visited the Desert Botanical Garden, I didn’t realize just how many different types of cactus there were. I’d definitely recommend the Desert Botanical Garden for any nature lover visiting Scottsdale.
The next morning, I headed out to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to start my day amidst the beautiful desert landscape. This conservancy is dedicated to protecting the Sonoran desert, and the Preserve offers a great selection of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. There are even plenty of spots for rock-climbing, making this one of the best locations in Scottsdale for outdoor activities. In total, there are over 100 miles of trails winding through the beautiful McDowell Sonoran Preserve. While I only conquered about 10 miles during my trek, I still felt that I really got to see a great deal of the desert’s unique beauty. If I return to Scottsdale in the future, I will definitely make it back to the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to explore more of this breathtaking landscape.
I know it’s not the most off-the-beaten-path thing to do, but golf is practically part of Scottsdale’s culture. Since I happen to be a golf lover myself, I figured it would be a shame if I traveled all the way to Scottsdale and didn’t swing a club or two. I was able to make a reservation with some colleagues at the TPC Scottsdale courses, which just so happens to host the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open. After a luxurious, sun-soaked afternoon on the golf course, it was sadly time for me to bid adieu to Scottsdale.
While Scottsdale is frequently considered just another neighborhood in Phoenix, this Arizona city definitely has its own distinct flavor. Scottsdale is often associated with luxury resorts, upscale shopping and great golf courses, but this desert community has so much more to offer. To discover the true heart of a city, I strongly believe you need to experience the city like a local, and that’s exactly what I tried to do during my stay in Scottsdale. I wouldn’t have been able to explore Scottsdale like I did if it weren’t for HotelTonight, which made it easy for me to book my last-minute hotel in Scottsdale.