9+ Unusual Things to Do in Scottsdale Now

Sneak through velvet curtains to Scottsdale's hidden speakeasies; uncover exclusive libations if you dare... what's the secret password? Continue to unravel...
Date Published
March 8, 2024

Table of Contents

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Here, my friend, you’ll mingle with the very essence of what makes this place pulse with energy: the thrills of its nightlife, the brushstrokes on its canvas, the trails carved into its Sonoran backdrop, and flavors curated by its top chefs. Every recommendation is a tile in the mosaic of experiential treasures that Scottsdale has masterfully hidden in plain sight. I’m handing you the treasure map to feast, explore, and luxuriate in, so pull on those comfortable shoes and get ready to delve into the heart of Scottsdale's most captivating adventures.


Uncover Scottsdale’s Hidden Speakeasies

Picture this: You're strolling down Scottsdale’s streets when a whisper of jazz hits your ears. Is it coming from... a barber shop? You've just stumbled upon one of Scottsdale's hidden gems—a speakeasy! These secret lounges are tucked away behind unassuming fronts, but they're the heart and soul of Scottsdale's nightlife. Bring on the clandestine charm and the taste of Prohibition-era frivolity!

Speakeasies in Scottsdale are not about neon signs and grand entrances. Nah, you're looking for the hush-hush vibe—a door concealed within a wall, or maybe a back alley entrance.

Once inside, you'll feel like you're in a different era. The dim lighting, the clinking of cocktail glasses, old-school jazz, and an air of exclusivity transform your night into an authentic 1920s experience.

Scottsdale's speakeasies combine the thrill of discovery with the pleasure of finely crafted cocktails. Feeling a little fancy tonight? How about a drink with exotic bitters or a rare whiskey that tickles your fancy? Whether you prefer your drinks straight up or mixed into a masterpiece, you're in for a classy treat.

So, what kind of crowd fits the bill for a night in a speakeasy? If you're up for a bit of adventure, appreciate a well-made drink, and don't mind whispering the secret password, then you're ready. It's perfect for a romantic date, a small group of friends, or even solo night owls looking to soak up some ambiance.

And let's talk duration—no need to watch the clock, let the night take you where it will. A couple of hours should do it, but who's counting when you're having a roaring good time?

Nearby, you'll find delightful Scottsdale dining options perfect for pre or post speakeasy bites. So, grab your friends or that special someone, lean in close, and let the allure of secret codes and hidden doors lead you to a night that's anything but ordinary. Your prohibition-style nightcap awaits!

Pro tip: Discover more about the nightlife in Scottsdale, which promises an evening like no other. Cheers to that!


Picture this: you're wandering through the honey-glow of downtown Scottsdale as the sun dips below the boutique-lined streets. You take a turn and voilĂ , you're in the midst of an art gallery opening. And not just any gallery, but one nestled right in the heart of this cultural hotspot. There's something magical about being here, right as the art scene comes alive with fresh, vibrant works.

Art galleries in Scottsdale are not just rooms with walls adorned by art—they're intimate affairs where every brush stroke tells a story, and the wine flows as elegantly as the conversations around you. Whether you're an art aficionado or a curious onlooker, these gatherings are the cultural events in Scottsdale where the city’s creative pulse truly beats the loudest.

Spend an hour or two, or maybe glide from piece to piece until the stars claim the sky—it's all up to you. This is a scene that draws in all sorts of crowds, from singles looking for a touch of sophistication to families wanting to immerse their little ones in the world of art. And if you're hungering for more after feasting your eyes, don't fret. Local eateries typically flank these galleries, inviting you to extend your cultural evening with some Scottsdale dining delights.

So go ahead, circle the date for an upcoming gallery opening, whether you come for the art, the atmosphere, or the sheer novelty of witnessing a slice of Scottsdale few get to savor. ReferentialAction


Traverse the Sunrise Trail for Majestic Views

Imagine greeting the sun as it spills golden light over the desert landscape. That's the magic of trekking the Sunrise Trail in Scottsdale. It's not just a hike; it's where you truly witness the grandeur of the Southwest up close. And what type of crowd is this perfect for? Whether you're a solo adventurer, a couple seeking a romantic escape, or a family ready for an active outing, the Sunrise Trail has something for everybody.

This trail is your opportunity to indulge in some serious sightseeing in Scottsdale. And yes, the views are as majestic as the name promises—think panoramic vistas that make you feel on top of the world, both literally and metaphorically. If you're searching for hiking trails near Scottsdale that offer a blend of challenge and beauty, you've hit the jackpot.

Now, let's talk specifics:


  • Duration: Set aside a few hours to fully enjoy the trail—it's worth every minute.
  • Nearby: After your hike, you're just a short drive from delicious local eateries to refuel.
  • Best Time to Visit: Crack of dawn. Why? You can't miss the chance to see the sunrise, of course!


And don't fret about level of experience—there are paths fit for those just lacing up their hiking boots for the first time and trails that will give the seasoned hikers their fix of adrenaline.

So, lace up those boots, pack plenty of water, and get ready to witness the Arizona sky painting its masterpiece just for you. But it's more than a pretty view—as you traverse the winding paths and breathe in that clean desert air, you're bound to feel a connection with nature that's profound and personal. It's the kind of thing you'll carry with you, long after the hike is over. Ready for the adventure?


Engage with Local Artists at a Scottsdale ArtWalk

Ever wandered around marveling at art so vibrant it feels like the brush strokes could jump off the canvas? Scottsdale's got that vibe on lock every Thursday night. Yup, you heard right! Scottsdale ArtWalks are a big deal around here, and you're definitely gonna want in on this cultural stroll.

It's like a block party for your artsy side. Winding down Main Street and Marshall Way, you'll brush shoulders with local creatives. Imagine sipping on some smooth wine while eye-to-eye with stunning sculptures and paintings that tell the heart and soul of the Southwest. Now that's some high-quality mingling!

Got a thing for live music? Guess what - they've got that too. Tunes drift in the breezy Scottsdale night, making sure your art walk vibes stay as cool as those desert evenings. Oh, and it's all free. Seriously, your wallet can take the night off.

Let's talk who this shindig's perfect for. If you're solo flying, thriving on date night, or out with your crew, you're all set. It's low-key enough for chill seekers but buzzing for the social butterflies. And hey, if you have tiny Picassos or mini Mozarts in tow, they're gonna dig it too.

How long should you hang? Give it a couple of hours, enough to soak in the creativity without the rush. With galleries throwing open their doors, you'll wanna take your sweet time.

Close by? You've got killer dining spots for when the masterpieces make your stomach growl for something other than art. And adrenaline junkies, fear not - there's always something around the corner in Scottsdale to ramp up your evening.

Remember that link clicky thing I mentioned? You'll wanna check out Scottsdale ArtWalk for the lowdown on this artsy rendezvous. This is not your grandma's walk through the park. It's a kaleidoscope of color, sound, and community - a slice of Scottsdale culture that'll paint your memory canvas in the boldest hues. So, lace up those walking shoes and let's hit the street where art lives and breathes!


Delight in a Chef’s Table Experience

Imagine sitting down to a meal where the aroma itself is a prelude to the symphony of flavors you're about to experience. You're not just at a restaurant; you're in the inner sanctum, the kitchen—close enough to hear the sizzle and see the chef's skillful play. Welcome to a chef's table experience, a must-do culinary adventure right in the heart of Scottsdale.

Scottsdale’s local cuisine is more than just ingredients on a plate; it's an art form, a cultural journey that’s crafted to perfection by passionate chefs. Trust me, it will be an evening where every bite tells a story of Scottsdale's rich culinary heritage. This immersive experience is perfect for food enthusiasts and anyone looking to spice up their dinner routine.

Here’s why a chef’s table experience in Scottsdale is uniquely irresistible:


  • Personal interaction with the chef: You'll get the scoop on what inspires their dishes and maybe even snag a secret or two behind the perfect sear!
  • Customized menus: Often, these experiences are one-of-a-kind, with menus tailored just for you. Say goodbye to order envy!
  • Behind-the-scenes action: Observe the kitchen's hustle and capture the essence of culinary excellence.


Scottsdale’s chef's table experiences cater to a variety of tastes, whether you’re into avant-garde gastronomy or classic comfort foods with a twist. While enjoying this intimate dining option, you can expect to spend a blissful evening indulged in a multi-course meal that showcases the pinnacle of local cuisine Scottsdale has to offer. It's great for a date night, a group of foodie friends, or even a solo adventure because there's nothing like bonding over exquisite food.

If your taste buds are yearning for a night filled with unforgettable flavors and your heart seeks a vibrant connection with food and its makers, reserve your seat at the table. After all, in Scottsdale, every meal has the potential to be a masterpiece. Dress smartly, come with an open palate, and clear your schedule—this is one culinary tour de force that deserves your unhurried savoring.


Explore the Eclectic Scottsdale Civic Center

The Scottsdale Civic Center is a real jackpot for family-friendly entertainment. It's not just some park. It's an iconic oasis of culture smack-dab in the middle of downtown Scottsdale. And let me tell you, it's no ordinary spot. We're talking about a place where art, performance, and greenery come together like some sort of outdoor festival that lasts all year long.

You wander in and bam, your eyes land on the famous LOVE sculpture. Snap a pic, because honestly, how often do you find massive art that shouts love right at your face? It's Insta-gold, trust me. This place is sprinkled with sculptures that'll make your artsy friends green with envy.

Imagine strolling down pathways lined with flowering shrubs and towering palms, maybe stopping by the fountains to let your kids splash around. They're having the time of their lives, and you're soaking up Arizona's sun, feeling as chill as can be.

Got a craving for some theater? This is the place. The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is right here, and there's always something going down—jazz, Broadway hits, you name it. It's the cultural heartbeat of the city, set in a plaza that just invites you to relax and soak in the vibe.

And when those little tummies start rumbling, there are restaurants nearby that'll have you munching happily in no time. From casual bites to upscale eats, your taste buds are going to be on a joyful ride.

So, how long should you spend here? Give it at least half a day or a full one if you're really into the scene. It's perfect for all ages, from toddlers with energy to burn to adults looking for a serene escape. Bring your family, bring a date, or just bring yourself. There's something for every kind of explorer at the Scottsdale Civic Center.


Experience Equine Magic at WestWorld

Picture this: You're at WestWorld, where the air buzzes with excitement, and you're surrounded by the elegant beauty of horses. That's right, WestWorld in Scottsdale isn't your run-of-the-mill event center. It's a world teeming with majestic equestrian events that are nothing short of magical. And if you're into all things equine, this place is your happy hooves haven.

Now, you might be asking yourself, "What kind of equestrian events can I see at WestWorld?" Well, buckle up, cowboy, because you're in for events like the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show and the ever-thrilling Barrett-Jackson car auction.

At WestWorld, equestrian lovers gather from all over to witness some of the finest horse-related spectacles in the country. Whether you're expert level or can barely tell a stallion from a mare, there's something here that'll get your heart galloping. The best part? You're rubbing elbows with fellow horse aficionados in some of the most anticipated Scottsdale tourism events.

Not to mention, between events, you can stroll through the sprawling venue, grab a snack, or chat with local vendors about everything from fancy horse gear to that shiny, new saddle you've been eyeballing.

And here's the kicker: even if you're not big on horse events, the sheer scale and atmosphere of WestWorld are worth the visit. It's a place where families get wide-eyed at the sight of the majestic animals, where singles find common ground in their shared awe, and let me tell you, kids absolutely love the up-close animal encounters.

Pro tip: Don't miss the chance to check out the upcoming events at WestWorld. Each one offers a unique blend of excitement and local culture, making it an ideal spot for anyone looking to add a dash of unusual to their Scottsdale itinerary.

Alright, ready to saddle up for the time of your life? Great! Make sure to block out at least half a day to soak it all in. And who knows? You might just start feeling that equine magic coursing through your veins.


Join a Stargazing Event at a Desert Preserve

Picture this: You're in the middle of the desert, the sky inked black above you, dotted with a billion stars twinkling like a sea of diamonds. And there you are, under that vast universe at a desert preserve in Scottsdale, your eyes wide with wonder. This isn't just any old night; this is when you join a stargazing event that will knock your cosmic socks off.

These stargazing nights are perfect for families seeking a little outdoor adventure, or for anyone who fancies a dose of the extraordinary after an evening of Scottsdale's vibrant outdoor recreation scene. And yes, that means even if you've got tiny tots or teens in tow, they're gonna be starstruck too.

At a desert preserve in Scottsdale, you won't be elbowing your way through a crowd. It's an intimate affair, with local astronomers bringing out the big guns—telescopes, not literal firearms, mind you—to give you a guided tour of the universe. You'll get to know celestial bodies like they're old friends. Venus, Mars, Saturn? They're all part of the squad here.

The setting itself is unreal. The desert preserve is a stone's throw from the city buzz, but it's like stepping into another world. An otherworldly silence envelops you, and the clear desert air lets the city lights fade away, revealing a sky that city-dwellers can hardly dream of.

Here's the game plan:


  • Aim to spend a couple of hours for the full astronomical experience.
  • Dress comfy and maybe bring a blanket. It gets nippy once the sun dips.
  • Open to all ages, the stargazing scene is especially enchanting for the kiddos.


So whether you're a local or a Scottsdale newbie, a family on the hunt for some nocturnal thrills or a couple of lovebirds looking to make wishes on shooting stars—strap in for an evening where the universe practically unfolds before your eyes. It's not just looking at stars; it's about connecting with the cosmos in a place where the night sky is still a mystery just waiting to be unraveled.


Discover History at the Pueblo Grande Museum

Ever wondered what the Salt River Valley looked like centuries ago? At the Pueblo Grande Museum, you'll get to time travel to the ancient Hohokam civilization. Trust me, your history-loving heart will be all aflutter with the ruins and artifacts that whisper tales of a bygone era.

With exhibits that showcase Scottsdale's historic sites, you might even feel like a bona fide archaeologist! Imagine strolling through the prehistoric village site; you'll be walking the same ground as the Hohokam peoples amid the remnants of their pueblos and playfields. And you won't need to wander aimlessly because the Pueblo Grande Museum houses local history that tells the vibrant stories of the people who thrived here between 450 and 1450 AD.

Here's what makes this museum a jackpot for history buffs:


  • Ruins that Speak Volumes: Feel the centuries-old energy as you observe the well-preserved platform mound and ball court.
  • Hands-On Exhibits: Get interactive with displays that invite you to experience the Hohokam lifestyle.
  • The Canal System: Gape at the ingenuity of the ancient Hohokam's irrigation canals—a blueprint for modern Phoenix's waterways.


Nestled right in Phoenix, this museum is a stone's throw away from Scottsdale—making it a perfect pit-stop for an eclectic outing. Spend a good half-day here (especially if you're a museum fan), and dive into the depths of Salt River Valley's local history.

Wandering around this historic treasure, you'll mingle with locals and tourists alike who share your passion for the past. Ideal for singles, families, and everyone in between, this is a spot where curiosity is the common language. Ready to take on the role of an explorer? Then Pueblo Grande Museum is calling your name! Get a taste of history and culture that will leave you fascinated long after you've left. Now, doesn't that sound like a journey worth taking? Check it out and add a sprinkle of ancient mystery to your Scottsdale adventure.


Embark on a Culinary Adventure with a Food Tour

Picture this: You’re traipsing through the sun-kissed streets of Scottsdale, your taste buds ready to explode with every bite you take. Yeah, that’s right, I'm talking about a food tour that'll make you feel like a local food critic, with insider access to the best flavors in town.

Scottsdale culinary tours are basically your golden ticket to foodie paradise. You can skip the endless Yelp scrolling because these curated experiences lead you straight to the heart of Scottsdale's dining scene. So, who’s ready to dig in?

Joining a food tour means every dish has a story and every flavor has a history. You won't just eat; you'll embark on an edible adventure. These tours aren’t about the usual sit-down dinner. They're about discovery. Whether you're into rustic Italian or cutting-edge fusion cuisine, you’ll find plates piled high with innovation and tradition.

Let's lay out the spread for you:


  • A parade of gourmet bites: Think artisanal delights, handcrafted by chefs who've turned the desert into a canvas for their culinary masterpieces.
  • A sipping journey through local spirits: Scottsdale's mixologists are the wizards of the Southwest, concocting potions of joy that sparkle, fizz, and warm the soul.
  • A community of fellow food lovers: Breaking bread with like-minded connoisseurs? Yes, please. Making new friends over shared plates is the secret sauce of a memorable tour.


One thing's for sure: your Instagram grid is going to look like a Michelin-starred feed after this!

The best part? You don't need to be a food expert. Whether you're a curious newbie or a seasoned gourmand, these tours cater to all. So why not shake up your dining routine and explore the bold flavors of Scottsdale? Ready your forks, and let’s eat our way through the city!


Find Zen at a Desert Yoga Retreat


Picture this: You're standing on a smooth, red sandstone plateau, the vast Arizona sky painted with hues of early sunrise. A warm breeze teases the air, whispering through the desert sagebrush. This is your yoga studio now, a far cry from stuffy gyms and mirrored walls. Welcome to the magic of a desert yoga retreat in Scottsdale, an experience that's as rejuvenating for the spirit as it is for your Instagram feed.

If stress has been your plus-one lately, it’s time to ghost it for sunshine and savasana. Imagine rolling out your mat alongside beauty that's been millions of years in the making. Scottsdale spas and wellness are not a secret, but finding that perfect balance of inner peace and outer adventure might as well be your next personal discovery. You're not just stretching your body; you're expanding your mind with every inhale of that pure, arid air.

So who's this for? Whether you're flying solo, coupled up, or in a squad, everyone's welcome. It’s not just for the flexi-bendy types either. Fitness and wellness span all levels here, so come as you are. Plan on giving yourself at least a couple of hours. Trust me, once you're there, time sort of melts along with your stress. It's close enough for a quick drive back to civilization, but we both know you came for the seclusion.

Still not enough to convince you? You’ll also get bragging rights for a 'workout' that's more chill than challenge. And let’s be honest, when's the last time you found yourself in lotus pose gazing upon untouched desert vistas? That’s right, it’s a whole new level of 'ahhh.'

So, ready to swap the sound of honking cars for hummingbirds? Join a desert yoga retreat and find out what it means to truly stand in the sunshine—literally and metaphorically. It's the perfect blend of natural splendor and personal serenity — because sometimes, the most unusual thing you can do is embrace the essence of calm in a world that won't stop rushing.


Unwind at Scottsdale’s Bespoke Wine Bars


Picture this: You're strolling down the vibrant streets of Scottsdale as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky with hues of fiery orange and purple. That's when you spot the perfect spot to relax—a bespoke wine bar that just oozes sophistication and that laid-back Scottsdale charm. You, my friend, are about to dive into a world of curated vintages and glasses clinking against the backdrop of a city known for its lively nightlife.

Why are Scottsdale's wine bars a must-visit? They're not just a place to sip on Chardonnay or swirl a Cabernet; they're an experience. With a blend of both local Arizona wines and international selections, these wine bars have a glass for every palate. Whether you’re a wine aficionado or a casual enthusiast, you'll find a story in every bottle and a taste of Scottsdale’s elegant evenings.

And can we talk about the ambiance? It’s like stepping inside a hidden world where the hustle of city life fades, and the focus zooms in on the refined pleasure of wine tasting. You'll be surrounded by sommeliers and patrons alike, all eager to share their passion and knowledge of the grape.

You should plan to stay a while, really soak in the atmosphere. A couple of hours will fly by as you pair your wine with an artisanal cheese platter or some tapas. Perfect for dates, catching up with friends, or even solo adventures—trust me, your taste buds will thank you.

Now, in case you're wondering about the best wine bars in Scottsdale, they're all about that personal touch and unique vibe. Some may hold wine tasting events to brighten your Scottsdale nightlife, and why not bond over a shared love for vino? They're cozy, they're chic, and they definitely deserve a toast.

So go ahead, pick out a classy spot, enjoy the wine and embrace the Scottsdale nighttime like a local. Discover bottles that tell the tale of vineyards from the rolling hills of Tuscany to the arid landscapes of Arizona. This isn't just wine tasting; it's Scottsdale style. Cheers! 🍷



Q: Things to do in Scottsdale for adults?

A: Catch some art at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, hit the golf course, or indulge in a spa day.

Q: Unique things to do in Scottsdale, AZ?

A: Explore the stunning McDowell Sonoran Preserve or take a hot air balloon ride at dawn.

Q: Things to do in Scottsdale bachelorette party?

A: Book a fun night out at Old Town's lively bars, or pamper yourselves at a luxury resort.

Q: Things to do in Scottsdale Reddit?

A: Reddit users often suggest hiking Camelback Mountain or shopping at Fashion Square.

Q: Things to do in Scottsdale with kids?

A: Visit the Butterfly Wonderland or OdySea Aquarium for an unforgettable family day.

Q: Things to do in Scottsdale this weekend?

A: Enjoy outdoor dining, check out the weekly Scottsdale ArtWalk, or catch a show at the performing arts center.

Q: How do I spend a day in Scottsdale AZ?

A: Start with a morning hike, brunch at a local café, afternoon gallery hopping, and end with a desert tour.

Q: Why is Scottsdale so well known?

A: Scottsdale is famed for its luxury resorts, golf courses, and vibrant arts scene.

Q: Is downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale better?

A: Depends on your taste! Scottsdale is known for luxury and leisure, while downtown Phoenix is more urban and cultural.

Q: What is the best street to walk in Old Town Scottsdale?

A: Stroll down Main Street for galleries and shops or 5th Avenue for dining and nightlife.


Final Words

Alright, let's wrap this up. We've blazed through Scottsdale's speakeasies, peeked into gallery openings, hit the trails for some awe-inspiring sunrises, and even rubbed shoulders with local artists. Our taste buds have been on a wild ride from chef's tables to food tours, and we've absorbed culture like a sponge at the civic center and equestrian events. Let’s not forget the stars that twinkled just for us and the history lessons that were actually fun. Oh, and the zen? We found it, big time.

So, you're looking for things to do in Scottsdale? You've got a treasure trove of experiences right here. Get out there, embrace the adventure, and watch your days fill up with more excitement than you can shake a cactus at. Scottsdale is waiting for you, friend - enjoy every moment!Ever think of Scottsdale as a silent movie star? Stick with me here. Because just like those black-and-white icons, Scottsdale, Arizona is timeless yet often cast in the stereotypical role of just another "desert getaway." But you? You're about to skip the surface-level stuff and plunge into the city's heart. Scottsdale isn't just about golf courses or spa days—although, hey, they're pretty great, too. Imagine uncovering hidden speakeasies where every cocktail tells a story, or facing the bold, unapologetic art in a gallery no bigger than your living room—this is where Scottsdale's soul dances in the after-hours glow.

Meet the Author
Aria Ohlsson
Aria Ohlsson, the Instagram storyteller extraordinaire, takes you on adventures through her enchanting narratives. An avid hiker, she scales peaks and weaves tales of mountaintop triumphs. When she's not conquering trails, you'll find her immersed in classic novels, finding inspiration for her next tale.
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