28 fun things to do in Scottsdale for every budget

Are you looking for fun things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona? Keep reading for my top 28 suggestions!

Known for being “The West’s Most Western Town”, Scottsdale has a reputation for being an amazing resort- town. Famous for its incredible desert scenery, excellent spas, museums and more, it’s little wonder that over 7 million people visit this little pocket of Arizonian goodness every year. If you’re planning a trip to Scottsdale, you might be looking for things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona!

Despite Scottsdale’s reputation for luxury, there’s more to this place than spas and golf courses. With so much to do here, I thought it’d be a great idea to create a list of 28 things to do in Scottsdale. Packed with nature trails and endless attractions, you’re sure to find activities that the whole family will love. So, without further ado, let’s dive in! 

scottsdale things to do

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

First on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s the McDowell Sonoran Preserve! Seen as the gateway to the Sonoran Desert, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve absolutely deserves a place on this list of 28 things to do in Scottsdale.

Spanning over 30,000 acres, this preserve is packed with over 100 miles of trails. A permanently protected desert habitat that truly takes the cake for nature walks in the area, it’s a must-visit.

things to do in Scottsdale

Butterfly Wonderland

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s the Butterfly Wonderland. If you’re looking for another great family day out, then look no further than Scottsdale’s Butterfly Wonderland. Hosting thousands of butterflies that hail from all over the world, you’ll be entertained here for hours.

With interactive insect exhibits, a great café, and a tempting gift shop, this is the perfect place to indulge your inner butterfly enthusiast.

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McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

If your family love mini-train rides, then make sure you stop off at the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park. Located right in the heart of Scottsdale, it’s extremely easy to access.

Whether you want to look at the various railroad-inspired exhibits or simply want to let the kids run wild in the playground facilities, this place has all the makings of a fantastic day out. Undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Scottsdale, you’d be silly to miss this one.


McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale it’s a Saguaro Lake Kayaking Tour. Kayaking is a great way to spend time outdoors in Scottsdale, it’s a great way to soak in the sights, and also get out in the fresh air.

Kayak on Saguaro Lake, nestled between the Superstition Mountains and towering Four Peaks. Marvel at bald eagles, bighorn sheep and more as your guide takes you on a desert journey.


Scottsdale Old Town

One of the top 28 things to do in Scottsdale has to be a stroll through the historic Old Town. Conveniently located downtown, the Old Town neighbourhood is filled with amazing restaurants, art galleries, boutique stores, and more!

Offering a variety of experiences, you can peruse the art galleries or shops here to your heart’s content, so this is definitely one of the top things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona.

top things to do in Scottsdale

Saguaro Lake Stand Up Paddleboard Tour

If you’ve never tried paddle boarding before, you definitely need to give it a go! Paddle boarding is relaxing, fun and the perfect way to spend time outdoors on a sunny day! The Saguaro Lake is the ideal place to try paddle boarding too, and this paddle boarding tour (below) will make sure you’ve hired all the best equipment and soak in all the best sights!


Wonderspaces

With interactive art that appeals to everyone, Wonderspaces has got to be one of the top things to do in Scottsdale. With interactive displays that allow you to experience art through almost all the senses (think touch, sight, sound, and movement), there’s always something new to explore here. 

best things to do in Scottsdale

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona, it’s this brilliant museum! This awesome museum (which is situated in the Old Town) covers information on all 19 Western states. If you’re looking for captivating paintings and artifacts that inform visitors about Western American heritage, then you’ll be well served here.

One of the most popular things to do in Scottsdale, it’s well worth a visit. Don’t forget to pay their gift shop a visit before you leave!


House of Broadcasting

If you’re interested in Arizona broadcast history, then a visit to the House of Broadcasting should be on your list. A truly unique museum that houses original TV cameras and movie history memorabilia, this is a great place to visit for any movie buff.

Admission here is free but be sure to bring a little something for a donation, as we can assure that you won’t leave disappointed! Definitely one of the top things to do in Scottsdale to add to your list!


Off-road segway tour in Scottsdale

The off-road segway tour (linked below) is the most unique adventure in Scottsdale. You’ll zoom through the scenery and amazing sights Scottsdale has to offer. You’ll see, touch and smell the Sonoran Desert and learn about Native American Yavapai Culture too.

You’ll get to experience a thrilling and exhilarating off-road Segway ride! It’s such a fun way to spend the day, and an even better opportunity to see the city and the scenery!


Penske Racing Museum

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s the Penske Racing Museum. A great place to visit for the car lovers in the family, the Penske Racing Museum is a two-story museum that showcases an amazing selection of cars and trophies.

Due to the sheer volume of racing memorabilia that’s on display here, we felt that it earned a place on our list of 28 things to do in Scottsdale. A major upside to this museum is that entry is free of charge!

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Sonoran Desert: Double ATV Adventure

This double ATV adventure in the Sonoran Desert is a perfect option for things to do in Scottsdale for those who LOVE adventure and adrenaline! If you can something thrilling and exciting, and a bit different, then this is the perfect option on this list of things to do in Scottsdale.


Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Hosting more than 1,000 performances every year, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is seen as one of the best performing arts halls in the Western United States.

If you’re not convinced enough by its artistic offerings alone, then it’s worth a visit to support its outreach programs. Involving more than 20,000 adults and children each year, these guys know how to give back. If you’re a fan of the arts, then this should absolutely make it onto your list of things to do in Scottsdale. A fantastic choice for things to do in Scottsdale.


Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s something for the animal lovers. A visit to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is a great way to get stuck into the ins and outs of wild animal rescue. Neither a zoo nor an animal park, the SWCC is the permanent home to black bears, bobcats, coyotes, jaguars and more.

One of the reasons that this place made it onto our list of 28 things to do in Scottsdale is its Walk with Wildlife tours. Deemed by visitors as excellent ways to learn about these amazing animals, you’re sure to leave this place inspired.

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Macdonald’s Ranch

MacDonald’s Ranch is a great place to hitch a ride from one of the animal kingdom’s finest creatures. With guided horseback rides that cater to riders of all experience levels, you’re sure to leave MacDonald’s Ranch with a newfound love for horses.

With visitors noting the amazing wildlife that surrounds the area, MacDonald’s Ranch provides a two-in-one treat that lets you view Scottsdale’s finest flora and fauna. A great choice for things to do in Scottsdale.

top things to do in scottsdale list

Arizona Cowboy College

The Arizona Cowboy College is next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale. If you fancy yourself a cowboy or cowgirl, then a visit to the Arizona Cowboy College is in order.

One of the best things to do in Scottsdale, you’ll find courses here that teach horsemanship, ranching techniques and more. Great for those of all ages, you’re sure to leave here with a whole new appreciation for the Wild West. 


Scottsdale Fashion Square

If you’re after some retail therapy, head down to Scottsdale Fashion Square. One of the best luxury shopping centers around, you’ll want to freeze your credit cards after visiting this shopping paradise.  With helpful staff that are sure to cater to your every whim, you’ll leave this place on cloud nine.

scottsdale fashion square

Arizona Outdoor Fun

One of the best things to do in Scottsdale has to be a guided desert tour. ATV and UTV tours offer great desert tours to the Bradshaw Mountains that take you right into the heart of Arizona’s canyons.

With so much to learn about the area that you may not be aware of, this is a great thing to do in Scottsdale for history buffs. This is such a great thing to add to your list of things to do in Scottsdale.

scottsdale desert tour

Star gazing

Sonoran Desert is a great place to try out stargazing, and this particular stargazing tour (linked below) is a great way to try stargazing for the first time (or for the experts too!). Stargazing is romantic, interesting, unique – it basically ticks all the boxes for things to do in Scottsdale.


Chocolate tour of Scottsdale

If you’re a chocolate lover, then you absolutely must head on one of Scottsdale’s Chocolate Tours and it certainly needs to be on your list of things to do in Scottsdale.

Covering some of Scottsdale’s best chocolatiers, you’ll find yourself stuffed to the gills with delicious truffles, cupcakes and other yummy bites before the tour is through. If you can’t fit in every morsel on the tour, never fear. These guys will offer a takeaway bag that will allow you to snack away to your heart’s content!


Desert Splash Adventures

A seaplane experience with Desert Splash Adventures must be one of the top 28 things to do in Scottsdale if you’ve got a sense of adventure. The only seaplane experience available in Arizona, Desert Splash Adventures is sure to make your trip to Scottsdale one to remember. 

sea plane scottsdale

Octane Raceway

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s the Octane Raceway. If you want to get your adrenaline going, then head on down to Octane Raceway. The only full time indoor and outdoor racing track in North America, it’s a great choice to get your karting fix. With karts that reach 45 mph, the whole family’s competitive streak is about to be witnessed!

best things to do in scottsdale

Tombstone and Old Tucson Sightseeing Tour

If you want to soak in a little culture and history during your time in Scottsdale, try out this tour of Tombstone and Old Tucson. You’ll get to see Tombstone (a fascinating town in the Old West) and where the 1990s western film of the same name took place.

Then, on the tour below, you’ll also get to explore the movie sets of many of your favorite western classics at Old Tucson Studios.


Glow Putt

Mini Golf is never a bad idea, but if you’re tired of the usual layout, why not try Glow Putt Mini Golf’s safari jungle themed course. If you fancy a fun afternoon, then this is definitely a great idea for things to do in Scottsdale.

Not only is the theming amazing, but this mini golf course glows in the dark! Using special UV lights and golf balls that glow each time they pass special charges, the course’s layout alone makes it one of the top 28 things to do in Scottsdale. 


Xeriscape Garden

If you’re looking to move away from Scottsdale’s hustle and bustle, be sure to head to Xeiscape Garden. A hidden oasis that’s packed with desert trees, succulents, and plenty of shade, it’s a great place to chill out and take in Scottsdale’s beauty. A great idea for things to do in Scottsdale!

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Cosanti Foundation

Next on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s the Cosanti Foundation. If you’re into art and sculpture, then you’ll have to pay a visit to the Cosanti Foundation. Owned by artist Paolo Soleri, you’ll see some great anti-materialist sculpture work here that’s definitely worth seeing.


CrackerJax Family Fun and Sports Park

And last on my list of things to do in Scottsdale, it’s CrackerJax! CrackerJax Family Fun and Sports Park is one of the best things to do in Scottsdale as it’s just packed with attractions for the whole family.

From Bumper Boats to volleyball courts, there’s truly something here for everyone. If you’re looking for a more relaxed day out, why not head to the video game or mini-golf section? There’s truly no limit to what you can do here, so go wild!


I hope this list of things to do in Scottsdale has been helpful!

There are so many things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona, you definitely won’t be stuck for ideas in this amazing city! Whether you’re looking for family fun, or culture – there are so many things to do in Scottsdale to choose from!

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