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Southwest

12 AMAZING Things To Do In Old Town Scottsdale ASAP

Jan 6, 2024

Southwest

12 AMAZING Things To Do In Old Town Scottsdale ASAP

Jan 6, 2024

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Old Town Scottsdale is the center area of Scottsdale, Arizona. This space is also known as Downtown, but because of the historic element of its streets and buildings, it’s been rebranded.

Old Town is where you’ll find Scottsdale’s heart — from its artistic flair to its Western culture and everything in between. 

I’ve been living in the Old Town area for 17+ years and can confidently say that it NEEDS to be a “must” on your Scottsdale to-do list. If you’re spending a weekend in Scottsdale, I suggest you put aside enough time to enjoy Old Town.

And to help you know exactly how much time you’re going to need, I’ve put together a list of the must-see and do activities — all based on my experience as a local. What to do in Old Town Scottsdale? Read on to find the answers!

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Best Things to Do in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ

#1 Take a Historic Walking Tour

Grab an Old Town coffee and get the best introduction to historic Scottsdale on a walking tour of the district. The walk should take around 45 minutes, depending on how often and how long you stop. You’ll find old buildings that hold so much of this town’s past. 

See the Mexican Imports shop, which is now in the building that used to be the town’s cinema. Then, make your way to where the first office was and so many other significant buildings.

Some of them have been transformed into new stores or business homes, but you’ll really understand the name Old Town after this walk. You can do this independently and free, at your own pace, by grabbing the tour map here

Read next: These two are so close to each other, but here’s a great comparison of Scottsdale vs Phoenix; or see if you’d prefer Sedona vs Scottsdale.

#2 Shop at the Scottsdale Fashion Square

Feel like spoiling yourself or your loved ones? Scottsdale Fashion Square is a premier shopping destination with over 200 stores and restaurants. It’s also the biggest mall in Arizona.

You can splurge on items at Gucci and Louis Vuitton or stop to eat at Nobu or Ocean 44. This is an opulent shopping experience, and the mall is known for its glamorous shopping.

There are also art galleries and entertainment options inside the three-story building. You could spend quite a bit of time here if your shopping game is any good. 

#3 Browse the Old Town Farmers Market

This market displays a community celebration of flavors and local life. You’ll find stalls bursting with fresh produce, from ripe tomatoes to homemade jam.

And unlike the massive mall in town, these vendors are all real people who carefully craft their wares for you to purchase. 

Note: The market is, sadly, only open on Saturdays from October to May, so if you’ve booked your trip during this time, you’re in luck. 

#4 Stroll Down Brown and Fifth Avenues

While I do suggest you take part in a full walking tour of the town, both Brown and Fifth Avenues hold a little something special that deserves a bit of lingering. 

The first, Brown Avenue, is a historic and vibrant road, offering a unique blend of culture, history, and modern charm. See Old Adobe Mission, Cavelliere’s Blacksmith Shop, and the Parada del Sol Rodeo Museum.

Fifth Avenue, on the other hand, is a lively mix of shops, eateries, and cultural spots. These include art galleries, boutique stores, and the Farmer’s Market mentioned above. 

#5 Visit Rusty Spur Saloon

There are plenty of Scottsdale Downtown restaurants that you should check out, but this one is more than just a place to eat or drink.

This is Scottsdale’s oldest bar, and it’s housed in a building that used to be a bank. Upon entering the swinging doors, you’ll be greeted by live music and smiling staff.

Sip on a cold beer and ask about the old bank vault that is now home to extra liquor stock instead of money. You can have lunch here, too, and everything is cowboy/Western-themed, which adds to the fun. 

Read Next: 36 Hours in Scottsdale

#6 Check Out the Museum of the West

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or curious about the stories that shaped the American West, this museum will enchant you.

The building houses a captivating blend of Western art, historical treasures, and cultural exhibits. From Native American heritage to cowboy traditions, the museum provides an immersive experience that captures the essence of the American West.

There are also events, lectures, and educational programs that happen here often. The museum is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5 PM, except Sundays when it opens at 11 AM. 

#7 Taste Along the Wine Trail

Looking for more unique things to do in Scottsdale? Here’s a fun one.

Old Town Scottsdale has a host of amazing winery tasting rooms with some of the most delectable reds and whites you’ll ever find. So, how does the city show this off? With their wine trail! 

This trail map has a list of the tasting rooms within the area of around seven roads in Downtown Scottsdale. You might not be able to visit every winery in a single day, but this could make for a great activity if you’re staying for a while — or you could just pick a few to try. 

To add to the fun, you can buy a wine passport for $5 and get it stamped at the tasting rooms you stop at. The passport also offers a $2 discount on some of the tastings. 

#8 Go on a Public Arts Walking Tour

Downtown Scottsdale things to do just have to include the appreciation of the magnificent art and artists who call the town home — or did at one point.

Throughout this area, you will find installations, sculptures, murals, and artistic landmarks that showcase the creativity bursting through the seams. 

Again, this is available completely free and independent, and all of the stops can be found here. Or you can join the free public walk that takes place every Thursday evening from 7 PM to 9 PM along Main Street from Scottsdale Rd.

#9 See the Scottsdale Civic Center

As one of the most Instagrammable spots in Scottsdale, in my humble opinion, the civic center is a must-see. This center has been renovated and only reopened in 2023, so it still has that new feeling to it. 

The center is gorgeous, and it has a serene ambiance to it.

Plus, there are plenty of Old Town Scottsdale things to do here, including unwinding on the grass with a picnic lunch, stretching those legs with a walk, or attending one of the many events and festivals that take place here. The center is open daily from 8 AM to 10 PM. 

Read Next: Best Hotels in Old Town Scottsdale.

#10 Admire the Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) in Old Town Scottsdale promises an exploration of cutting-edge art and innovative expressions.

As you step into this cultural hub, you’ll encounter a dynamic collection of contemporary artworks that challenge conventional boundaries and provoke thought.

SMoCA showcases rotating exhibitions that span various mediums, from paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations. The minimalist building is also worth admiring — it was designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder. This museum is open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM. 

#11 Join in For Happy Hour

This one really should be snuck into your itinerary, even if you’re short on time.

Old Town has some of the best happy hour options out there, and you’ll find somewhere to go any day of the week. However, the majority of places offer happy hour Monday through Friday. 

This wondrous event takes place anytime from 3 PM generally (this will depend on each establishment) and lasts somewhere between two and four hours. Typically, you’ll find happy hour from 3 PM to 6 PM – so it’s actually happy hour(s). 

#12 Attend a Vintage Car Show

Okay, this one is pretty cool and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorite things to do in Old Town Scottsdale.

The first Saturday of every month, coffee shop Four Coffee hosts a Porsche event. Folks from all over the area will park their Porsches outside of the coffee shop, take pictures, enjoy a sip, and mingle with other locals!

I’m not necessarily a car person, but this is a great excuse to admire some incredibly aesthetic cars and walk around Old Town Scottsdale.

Where to Stay in Old Town Scottsdale

The best way to see as many of these attractions as possible is to base your stay in Old Town. Here are some of the top accommodations in the area. But I HIGHLY recommend looking into the best boutique hotels in Scottsdale!

  • Bespoke Inn Scottsdale ($$$) – A 4-star inn on Marshall Way offering comfortable rooms and amazing amenities.
  • Canopy By Hilton Scottsdale Old Town ($$$) – This stunning 4-star hotel provides free bicycle rental, a hot tub, and a cozy room to escape to. 
  • Hotel Valley Ho ($$$) – Five minutes from Old Town Central, stay here for the wellness center and poolside bar, if nothing else. 

Read more: Best Boutique Hotels Scottsdale, AZ.

Things to do in Downtown Scottsdale Final Thoughts

Whether you’re into history, art, shopping, or just soaking in the atmosphere, Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, is a place where the past and present dance together, creating an unforgettable experience for anyone who strolls its streets.

For even more inspiration and helpful tips to take with you on your trip, read my Scottsdale travel guide before you leave. 

Old Town Scottsdale is the center area of Scottsdale, Arizona. This space is also known as Downtown, but because of the historic element of its streets and buildings, it’s been rebranded.

Old Town is where you’ll find Scottsdale’s heart — from its artistic flair to its Western culture and everything in between. 

I’ve been living in the Old Town area for 17+ years and can confidently say that it NEEDS to be a “must” on your Scottsdale to-do list. If you’re spending a weekend in Scottsdale, I suggest you put aside enough time to enjoy Old Town.

And to help you know exactly how much time you’re going to need, I’ve put together a list of the must-see and do activities — all based on my experience as a local. What to do in Old Town Scottsdale? Read on to find the answers!

Disclaimer: Hey explorer! This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of each purchase made through my links. I only ever recommend products I believe in and appreciate your support if you decide to use my links—thank you!

Best Things to Do in Old Town Scottsdale, AZ

#1 Take a Historic Walking Tour

Grab an Old Town coffee and get the best introduction to historic Scottsdale on a walking tour of the district. The walk should take around 45 minutes, depending on how often and how long you stop. You’ll find old buildings that hold so much of this town’s past. 

See the Mexican Imports shop, which is now in the building that used to be the town’s cinema. Then, make your way to where the first office was and so many other significant buildings.

Some of them have been transformed into new stores or business homes, but you’ll really understand the name Old Town after this walk. You can do this independently and free, at your own pace, by grabbing the tour map here

Read next: These two are so close to each other, but here’s a great comparison of Scottsdale vs Phoenix; or see if you’d prefer Sedona vs Scottsdale.

#2 Shop at the Scottsdale Fashion Square

Feel like spoiling yourself or your loved ones? Scottsdale Fashion Square is a premier shopping destination with over 200 stores and restaurants. It’s also the biggest mall in Arizona.

You can splurge on items at Gucci and Louis Vuitton or stop to eat at Nobu or Ocean 44. This is an opulent shopping experience, and the mall is known for its glamorous shopping.

There are also art galleries and entertainment options inside the three-story building. You could spend quite a bit of time here if your shopping game is any good. 

#3 Browse the Old Town Farmers Market

This market displays a community celebration of flavors and local life. You’ll find stalls bursting with fresh produce, from ripe tomatoes to homemade jam.

And unlike the massive mall in town, these vendors are all real people who carefully craft their wares for you to purchase. 

Note: The market is, sadly, only open on Saturdays from October to May, so if you’ve booked your trip during this time, you’re in luck. 

#4 Stroll Down Brown and Fifth Avenues

While I do suggest you take part in a full walking tour of the town, both Brown and Fifth Avenues hold a little something special that deserves a bit of lingering. 

The first, Brown Avenue, is a historic and vibrant road, offering a unique blend of culture, history, and modern charm. See Old Adobe Mission, Cavelliere’s Blacksmith Shop, and the Parada del Sol Rodeo Museum.

Fifth Avenue, on the other hand, is a lively mix of shops, eateries, and cultural spots. These include art galleries, boutique stores, and the Farmer’s Market mentioned above. 

#5 Visit Rusty Spur Saloon

There are plenty of Scottsdale Downtown restaurants that you should check out, but this one is more than just a place to eat or drink.

This is Scottsdale’s oldest bar, and it’s housed in a building that used to be a bank. Upon entering the swinging doors, you’ll be greeted by live music and smiling staff.

Sip on a cold beer and ask about the old bank vault that is now home to extra liquor stock instead of money. You can have lunch here, too, and everything is cowboy/Western-themed, which adds to the fun. 

Read Next: 36 Hours in Scottsdale

#6 Check Out the Museum of the West

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an art lover, or curious about the stories that shaped the American West, this museum will enchant you.

The building houses a captivating blend of Western art, historical treasures, and cultural exhibits. From Native American heritage to cowboy traditions, the museum provides an immersive experience that captures the essence of the American West.

There are also events, lectures, and educational programs that happen here often. The museum is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5 PM, except Sundays when it opens at 11 AM. 

#7 Taste Along the Wine Trail

Looking for more unique things to do in Scottsdale? Here’s a fun one.

Old Town Scottsdale has a host of amazing winery tasting rooms with some of the most delectable reds and whites you’ll ever find. So, how does the city show this off? With their wine trail! 

This trail map has a list of the tasting rooms within the area of around seven roads in Downtown Scottsdale. You might not be able to visit every winery in a single day, but this could make for a great activity if you’re staying for a while — or you could just pick a few to try. 

To add to the fun, you can buy a wine passport for $5 and get it stamped at the tasting rooms you stop at. The passport also offers a $2 discount on some of the tastings. 

#8 Go on a Public Arts Walking Tour

Downtown Scottsdale things to do just have to include the appreciation of the magnificent art and artists who call the town home — or did at one point.

Throughout this area, you will find installations, sculptures, murals, and artistic landmarks that showcase the creativity bursting through the seams. 

Again, this is available completely free and independent, and all of the stops can be found here. Or you can join the free public walk that takes place every Thursday evening from 7 PM to 9 PM along Main Street from Scottsdale Rd.

#9 See the Scottsdale Civic Center

As one of the most Instagrammable spots in Scottsdale, in my humble opinion, the civic center is a must-see. This center has been renovated and only reopened in 2023, so it still has that new feeling to it. 

The center is gorgeous, and it has a serene ambiance to it.

Plus, there are plenty of Old Town Scottsdale things to do here, including unwinding on the grass with a picnic lunch, stretching those legs with a walk, or attending one of the many events and festivals that take place here. The center is open daily from 8 AM to 10 PM. 

Read Next: Best Hotels in Old Town Scottsdale.

#10 Admire the Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) in Old Town Scottsdale promises an exploration of cutting-edge art and innovative expressions.

As you step into this cultural hub, you’ll encounter a dynamic collection of contemporary artworks that challenge conventional boundaries and provoke thought.

SMoCA showcases rotating exhibitions that span various mediums, from paintings and sculptures to multimedia installations. The minimalist building is also worth admiring — it was designed by award-winning architect Will Bruder. This museum is open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM. 

#11 Join in For Happy Hour

This one really should be snuck into your itinerary, even if you’re short on time.

Old Town has some of the best happy hour options out there, and you’ll find somewhere to go any day of the week. However, the majority of places offer happy hour Monday through Friday. 

This wondrous event takes place anytime from 3 PM generally (this will depend on each establishment) and lasts somewhere between two and four hours. Typically, you’ll find happy hour from 3 PM to 6 PM – so it’s actually happy hour(s). 

#12 Attend a Vintage Car Show

Okay, this one is pretty cool and I can honestly say that it’s one of my favorite things to do in Old Town Scottsdale.

The first Saturday of every month, coffee shop Four Coffee hosts a Porsche event. Folks from all over the area will park their Porsches outside of the coffee shop, take pictures, enjoy a sip, and mingle with other locals!

I’m not necessarily a car person, but this is a great excuse to admire some incredibly aesthetic cars and walk around Old Town Scottsdale.

Where to Stay in Old Town Scottsdale

The best way to see as many of these attractions as possible is to base your stay in Old Town. Here are some of the top accommodations in the area. But I HIGHLY recommend looking into the best boutique hotels in Scottsdale!

  • Bespoke Inn Scottsdale ($$$) – A 4-star inn on Marshall Way offering comfortable rooms and amazing amenities.
  • Canopy By Hilton Scottsdale Old Town ($$$) – This stunning 4-star hotel provides free bicycle rental, a hot tub, and a cozy room to escape to. 
  • Hotel Valley Ho ($$$) – Five minutes from Old Town Central, stay here for the wellness center and poolside bar, if nothing else. 

Read more: Best Boutique Hotels Scottsdale, AZ.

Things to do in Downtown Scottsdale Final Thoughts

Whether you’re into history, art, shopping, or just soaking in the atmosphere, Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona, is a place where the past and present dance together, creating an unforgettable experience for anyone who strolls its streets.

For even more inspiration and helpful tips to take with you on your trip, read my Scottsdale travel guide before you leave. 

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