Scottsdale is a desert city in Arizona east of the state capital Phoenix. In 2021, Scottsdale’s population is estimated to be 243,953. Scottsdale is known for its spa resorts and golf courses, including TPC Scottsdale. Farther north trails wind through McDowell Sonoran Preserve, a desert-scape of hills, rock formations, and cacti. Nearby is Taliesin West, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s former home and studio. Downtown’s Old Town Scottsdale has 1920s buildings and 19th-century olive trees. Named Scottsdale in 1894 after its founder Winfield Scott, a retired U.S. Army chaplain, the city was incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2,000. The 2019 population was estimated at 258,069. Its slogan is “The West’s Most Western Town.” The city has an abundance of safe suburban areas, low crime, and some of the best schools in the state. It’s also ideal for young adults just starting out. There are plenty of job opportunities, an abundance of nightlife, great dining, and plenty of shopping opportunities.
The city is loosely divided into four areas: South Scottsdale (McKellips Road north to Thomas Road), Old Town (Downtown) Scottsdale, Central Scottsdale (also known as the “Shea Corridor,” extending from Camelback Road north to Shea Boulevard), and North Scottsdale.
The city is in the Salt River Valley, or the “Valley of the Sun,” in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert. Scottsdale, 31 mi (50 km) long and 11.4 mi (18.3 km) wide at its widest point, shares boundaries with many other municipalities and entities. On the west, Scottsdale is bordered by Phoenix, Paradise Valley, and unincorporated Maricopa County land. Carefree is along the eastern boundary, as well as sharing Scottsdale’s northern boundary with the Tonto National Forest. To the south Scottsdale is bordered by Tempe. The southern boundary is also occupied by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, which extends along the eastern boundary, which also borders Fountain Hills, the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, and more unincorporated Maricopa County land. The highest point is Butte Peak at an elevation of 4,890 ft. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 183.92 square miles (476.4 km2), of which 184.2 square miles (477 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (0.12%) is water.
Arts and Culture
The city has an annual Scottsdale Arts Festival. The highest concentrations of galleries, studios and museums that are open to the public are in Downtown Scottsdale. Its Scottsdale Arts District can be segmented into three distinct districts. The largest is the Scottsdale Main Street Arts District, home to the largest and most diverse collection of styles and genres, the more contemporary Marshall Way Arts District, and the more touristy and western-themed Old Town district, which has the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The popular Scottsdale Artwalk is held weekly, every Thursday evening.
Popular Attractions in Scottsdale
Taliesin West is a working architecture school, and you may see students hard at work on their drafting tables if you visit during the winter and the tours take place inside and outside.
Taliesin West was the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright and is today the headquarters of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the School of Architecture at Taliesin West. Students transition between Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Scottsdale, spending summers in the north and winters in the south, the same as they have been doing for decades. This campus is a fascinating insight into the genius of this famous architect. The buildings have seen ongoing changes and have been restored to their former look and feel. Tours are mandatory if you want to see the property, but guides are passionate about telling the story of the site and provide interesting insights without overwhelming you with details. You can learn about the concepts the architect employed in the buildings and gain a better understanding of what you are seeing on the tour.
Old Town Scottsdale
Old Town Scottsdale is a lively and fun area, perfect for spending an afternoon or evening. Covered sidewalks line the front of western-themed buildings and interesting shops selling all manner of items, from Mexican blankets, clothing, and trinkets to Native American art, crafts, and jewelry. In addition to this, high-end galleries feature the works of world-famous artists.
If you work up an appetite while strolling around, Old Town Scottsdale has great dining options, with restaurants featuring cozy outdoor patios.
The center of Old Town Scottsdale is located at the intersection of East Main Street and North Scottsdale Road. Nearby is the Civic Center Mall and a public square with artwork, including the famous LOVE sculpture, surrounding restaurants, and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.
Scottsdale Golf Courses
Golf and Scottsdale are synonymous. Many golfers plan vacations to Scottsdale, particularly in the winter months, specifically to enjoy the great courses. The city has a multitude of spectacular courses to suit all levels of skill and budget.
Two of the best courses are Troon North and TPC Scottsdale. Troon North has two golf courses, designed by Tom Weiskopf, beautifully set within the desert landscape and featuring unusual granite boulders, ravines, and rolling hills. Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North provides free shuttles and special rates at the Troon North Golf Club for guests staying at their property.
TPC Scottsdale is the only PGA Tour property in the city and offers average players the chance to play where golf’s masters have once competed. TPA has two courses, one named The Stadium, designed by Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish, and another named The Champions, designed by Randy Heckenkemper.
Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West
Scottsdale’s Museum of the West celebrates the history and culture of 19 western states along with the bordering Canadian provinces and several Mexican states. The museum is housed in a very modern and beautiful building right in downtown Scottsdale not far from Old Town. Inside, you’ll find two floors of art, memorabilia, cultural items, and interesting themed displays all focused on the history of the West. The museum is especially noted for its collection of Hopi pottery and cowboy movie posters. Don’t miss the outdoor central courtyard and its unusual assortment of sculptures.