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Things to do in
Scottsdale

This city has a vibrant downtown, shopping, and nightlife scene within arm's reach of the Grand Canyon.

Our most recommended things to do in Scottsdale

Phoenix: Guided Self-Drive ATV/UTV Tour

1. Phoenix: Guided Self-Drive ATV/UTV Tour

Embark on a guided day tour of the famous Sonoran desert, off-roading in your single-passenger or 4-person ATV on some of the best trails in the stunning Bradshaw Mountains, located just north of Phoenix. Travel through giant Saguaro cacti, deep canyons carved by flash flooding rains, and cross the Aqua Fria River to experience the wild and vast desert terrain. Spot desert wildlife such as coyotes, bobcats, deer, rabbits, quail, and even rattlesnakes. Start your tour 45 minutes north of Phoenix in the Sonoran desert near the Agua Fria River Valley. Ride along creek crossings and soak up the gorgeous views of the Arizona landscape.  Accompanied by a certified guide, learn about the plant life, wildlife, history, and climate of the area. Hear stories about the Native Americans who once farmed, hunted, survived, and evolved in this unforgiving desert.

Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket

2. Phoenix Zoo: One Day General Admission Ticket

Pick up a ticket to the Phoenix Zoo, one of the largest non-profit zoos in the U.S. nestled on 125 acres within the beautiful Papago Park. Explore the home of over 3,000 animals with nearly 400 species represented, including many threatened and endangered species. Discover over 2.5 miles of walking paths, divided into Arizona, Africa, Tropics, and Children’s trails, each taking about 1 hour to complete. Admire a variety of inhabitants, including Bornean Orangutans, Asian Elephants, Sumatran Tigers, Komodo Dragons, Masai Giraffes, African Lions, and more. Learn about the threats that endanger many of the species and wildlife you encounter and discover interesting facts about Jurassic ecosystems with animatronic dinosaurs and installations. The hours of operation of the zoo vary depending on the season: from June 1 to August 31, 7 AM-1 PM; from September 1 to October 31, 9 AM-5 PM. from November 1 to January 15, 9 AM-4.30 PM; from January 16 to May 31, 9 AM-5 PM

Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne

3. Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne

Glide over the Arizona desert on a hot air balloon ride and admire the desert landscape and mountains from above. Toast to your experience with a glass of champagne once you land. The experience begins even before you rise into the sky. Help the crew inflate the balloon for a real "hands-on" adventure, or just relax and take a few pictures as the gentle giant comes alive. Once you gain altitude, enjoy vistas you have to see to believe as you float over the Arizona landscape. Phoenix lies beneath you while desert stretches to the distant mountains. The pilots are FAA-licensed and experienced in navigating with your safety and enjoyment in mind. Your pilot will also answer questions and identify points of interest during your flight. A chase crew will follow on the ground and meet you at the landing site. From there a van takes you back to the launch site. Upon your return, enjoy a celebratory toast of Champagne to cap your unique airborne adventure. You'll also be presented with a flight certificate.

From Phoenix: Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Oak Creek Day Trip

4. From Phoenix: Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Oak Creek Day Trip

Take a trip to one of the 7 wonders of the natural world on this day tour of the Grand Canyon National Park. You will be collected from selected hotels or apartments in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe, or Mesa Arizona. The journey north takes you through amazing views of the Saguaro Cactus in the Sonoran Desert. You will travel through the Ponderosa Pine Forests of Flagstaff where the Lowell Observatory is located. Stop among the Red Rocks of Sedona for time to take in the breathtaking scenery and lots of pictures. Travel through Oak Creek Canyon famous the world over for its spectacular scenery. In the afternoon be taken to the Grand Canyon National Park. Stop for pictures of the Red Rocks of Sedona. Make several stops along the South Rim for picture taking and enjoying the incredible views. See the El Tovar Lodge, a former Harvey hotel. Have the afternoon to explore the sublime park and see many of its ecological wonders and natural beauty. Your professional guide will be able to inform you of the history and stories behind this ancient wonder.

From Phoenix: Grand Canyon with Sedona Day Tour

5. From Phoenix: Grand Canyon with Sedona Day Tour

Experience the Grand Canyon National Park during this guided tour, entry tickets in. Explore the canyon rim with its panoramic views and visit Sedona along the way. Experience the stunning red rocks of Sedona. Photograph the famous location and take the opportunity to gaze upon the stunning sights of Arizona. Spend approximately 3 hours within the National Park marveling at the beauty that is the Grand Canyon. Discover historic El Tovar Lodge and Hopi House in Grand Canyon Village. Visit the South Rim and take in the dramatic views, ideal for photographers. Enjoy some shopping, walk the rim, or relax at one of the many viewpoints. For the public tour, travel in a 13-seater custom tour van with High Ceilings allowing for full standing, as well as leather captain's chairs. For the private tour, travel in a luxury Suv.

Scottsdale: Museum of Illusions Ticket at Arizona Boardwalk

6. Scottsdale: Museum of Illusions Ticket at Arizona Boardwalk

Experience the impossible with an entry ticket to the Museum of Illusions Scottsdale. Immerse yourself in a world where your eyes will be in a constant battle with your brain. Located just North of Downtown Scottsdale, explore a one-of-a-kind destination for optical illusions.  Challenge yourself in more than 60 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Defy gravity, grow and shrink, walk on the ceiling, experience infinite space, and much more. Spend some time at the Puzzle Bar with games that will stimulate and challenge your mind. Enjoy some good-natured competition with friends and loved ones while simultaneously improving your cognition, problem-solving skills, and memory.  Have fun while learning the mechanics behind each and every illusion you experience. And don't forget your camera or smartphone when you visit, as there are eye-fooling photo-ops around every corner.

Phoenix and Mesa: Self-Guided Trip on Saguaro Lake

7. Phoenix and Mesa: Self-Guided Trip on Saguaro Lake

Experience the spectacular landscapes of the Tonto National Forest on a self-guided kayaking tour around Saguaro Lake. Paddle through canyons, see beautiful desert scenery, and discover the local flora and native wildlife from a unique perspective. Escape the heat and feel refreshed by one of the most stunning lakes of Arizona. Travel at your own pace, giving you the opportunity to truly take in the picturesque views. Start with an orientation of basic safety and paddling instructions. The “sit-on-top”-style kayaks are very stable and easy to maneuver. Before you know it you’ll be paddling below thousand-foot cliffs. Explore the lake's glimmering waters and discover coves and craggy shorelines. Keep your eyes open for the native wildlife native to the Tonto National Forest.

From Phoenix: Sedona and Grand Canyon Day Tour

8. From Phoenix: Sedona and Grand Canyon Day Tour

Witness the stunning scenery of Arizona and see both Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Join this Sedona and Grand Canyon day tour from Phoenix and soak up the breathtaking views along the way. Start your tour in Sedona at Bell Rock Vista and head to the Chapel of the Holy Cross for truly spectacular views. After, have free time in the rustic, old-west district of Uptown to shop, enjoy local cuisine, or visit some of its numerous art galleries. After departing Sedona, relax and take in the scenery on one of Arizona's most scenic drives as you pass through Oak Creek Canyon. Arrive at the majestic Grand Canyon South Rim National Park and stand at two of the most rewarding viewpoints of the Canyon. Enjoy a guided tour at one of the overlooks and free time on your own at the other.

From Phoenix: Apache Trail & Dolly Steamboat Day Trip

9. From Phoenix: Apache Trail & Dolly Steamboat Day Trip

Come join us on an adventurous tour along the Apache Trail and into the Sonora desert, then take a cruise on Dolly Steamboat through Canyon Lake. Driving into the Superstition Mountains, you will visit Tortilla Flat, a quaint Arizona town with a population of 6! Next, relax on a 90-minute cruise over picturesque Canyon Lake, with its magnificent desert surroundings. Don't forget your camera, as this is the ideal platform from which to snap postcard-perfect landscape photos. Your guide will then lead you into the desert for an explanation of the local flora, including the majestic Saguaro cactus and Arizona's state tree, the Palo Verde.

From Scottsdale: Sonoran Desert & Tonto National Forest Trip

10. From Scottsdale: Sonoran Desert & Tonto National Forest Trip

Take a break from the streets of Scottsdale and get out of the city to discover the Sonoran Desert. Drive by jeep to the Pinnacle Peak neighborhood and see an old stagecoach station. Meet wild horses by the Verde River after walking through Tonto National Forest. Make your way to the Village at Pinnacle Peak to meet your friendly guide and group for the day. Jump in the jeep and admire the picturesque Arizonan landscape as you head towards the desert. Learn about local wildlife as your guide points out the different species you come across. Enter the Sonoran Desert and pass by a stagecoach station as you stroll around in the arid landscape with growing cacti and distant mountain peaks. Continue to the Tonto National Forest and begin walking along the winding tree-lined path. Find your way to the roaring Verde River to have the chance of watching wild horses playing on the riverbanks, before returning to Scottsdale.

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Frequently asked questions about Scottsdale

What top attractions are a must-see in Scottsdale?

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What are the best day trips and excursions from Scottsdale?

The best day trips and excursions from Scottsdale are:

Sedona

Other Sightseeing Options in Scottsdale

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What people are saying about Scottsdale

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,191 reviews

This tour was really good. Our guide Eric was very informative about local sites, history, and culture. We had several stops with great views and visited local historical towns. The boat trip was very relaxing, informative, with beautiful scenery. The travel van had visuals from all seats. The weather was good and the day turned out a great choice to see the local area. Highly recommend this all-day tour.

Amazing to be able to see the Grand Canyon in all it’s glory! Prepare yourself for a long day but absolutely worth it. Hans was brilliant as a guide and happy to help with anything throughout the day. I’d highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting.

This ride was so much fun! Well worth the money. Our guides Austin and Eric were awesome! This is a must do when visiting Arizona.

It is an experience worth living, 100% recommended, and the team of guides were excellent too!

This was so fun, and our puzzle master was great! Highly recommend