Scottsdale Is Bigger Than You Think

Many people believe that Scottsdale is all about Old Town.  You come to Scottsdale, you go out to Old Town and you hike Camelback Mountain and then you go home.  If you’re in Scottsdale it’s time to do explore  as there’s a lot of ground to cover.

DIG Scottsdale hot air balloons are everywhere
DIG Scottsdale – There are many ways to explore Scottsdale

Scottsdale Geography 101

Scottsdale covers 184 square miles. To put that size in perspective, Manhattan is 22 square miles.  Similar to NYC, Scottsdale mainly runs north to south so it’s 31 miles north to south compared to NYC’s 13 miles.  Scottsdale is a much wider than the City at 11 miles wide at its widest point to New York’s tiny 2.3 miles at its widest point.

DIG Scottsdale City Limits Map
DIG Scottsdale City Limits – Arizona Has Plenty Of Places To Spread Out

Hiking In Scottsdale

A lot of people that come to Scottsdale want to hike.  Scottsdale has some great trails.  Most people that fly in for the weekend want to hike Camelback Mountain (which technically is in Phoenix). In fact, Scottsdale has over 400 miles of hiking trails and was named one of the best places to hike by National Geographic Magazine.  There are five great trails to hike in Scottsdale that you should check out if you’re looking for some amazing views. 

  1. Gateway Loop Trail – McDowell Mountain
  2. Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail – Pinnacle Peak
  3. Lost Dog Wash – Sonoran Reserve
  4. Go John Trail – Cave Creek
  5. Scenic Trail – McDowell Moutain

Where Are The Most Popular Spots in Scottsdale?

Talk to a few people at the hotels and some Uber drivers and you get a pretty clear understanding that most people stay in a very small concentrated area of Scottsdale.  In fact, the majority of people go to only one or two areas.  See the image below.

DIG Scottsdale map areas to go
DIG Scottsdale Most Visited Areas

The Orange Circle

The orange circle denotes what many people refer to as North Scottsdale.  This area contains Kierland Commons, Scottsdale Quarter and the Fairmont Princess. This area has a huge concentration of high-end restaurants that are worth visiting.

The Red Circle

The circle in the middle that’s in red is a tiny area packed with a lot of fun.  This is where you will find Talking Stick Resort Casino, Top Golf, Odysea, Butterfly Museum, indoor skydiving and so much more. 

The Blue Circle

The small area at the very bottom of Scottsdale, near to Tempe where ASU resides, is the area called Old Town.  This part of town is also referred to as the Entertainment District and sometimes as South Scottsdale but usually just Old Town.  There are a few good restaurants but Old Town is more about drinking, partying, clubbing and having a fantastic time like you would in Vegas.

DIG Scottsdale Places to Go
DIG Scottsdale Areas To Go When Visiting Phoenix Metro Area

Where Else Is There To Go In Scottsdale

Depending on what you want to do there are different parts of town to hang out in.  For beautiful sunsets, head north to Troon or Boulders.  That area is probably the nicest in Scottsdale because the saguaro cactus are very tall and when the corals start hitting the sky you will see them silhouette off the mountain.  

Where Foodies Should Go In Scottsdale

If you’re a foodie, there’s a long list of great places to try.  The best restaurants are spread out over Scottsdale but you will find the biggest cluster of them in about a 3 mile radius of the dot that’s in the middle of the above map.  These restaurants include (but are not limited to):

  • Dominick’s Steakhouse
  • Obon Sushi
  • Ocean Club
  • True Food Kitchen
  • La Hacienda
  • Bourbon Steak
  • Capital Grill
  • Zinc Bistro
  • The Mission @ Kierland
  • Toro Rum Bar
  • Hot Noodles & Cold Sake 
  • White Chocolate Grill
  • Local Bistro
  • Eddie V’s Prime Seadfood

Foodies Want To Dance

Old Town is great.  It’s a ton of fun.  You can be a VIP and have the time of your life.  If you want to be a bit more low-key there are other options in Scottsdale. Plus plenty of places with live music.  Additional, right next to North Scottsdale is High Street which has a couple other places worth checking out. 

Where To Go?  Everywhere! See It All

The bottom line is there is a lot to do in Scottsdale and it covers a lot of ground.  Decide what you want to do and see and take it from there.  Regardless of where you pick, you’ll have a great time.