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: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne

1. 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.

Phoenix: Guided Self-Drive ATV/UTV Tour

2. 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

3. 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.

From Sedona: Vintage Railroad Car Tour of Verde Canyon

4. From Sedona: Vintage Railroad Car Tour of Verde Canyon

Travel along a wild and scenic river, only accessible by rail that was first built in 1912. Enjoy comfort and style, exceptional amenities and outstanding service. Wind your way through a red rock paradise, with tracks that hug the curves of the Verde River.Relax in spacious living room-style seating near panoramic windows. Individually packaged, freshly made snacks of meats, cheeses, fruits and brownie bites are served at your seats. Full bar service is available in every car. Stroll around the train to open-air viewing platforms. Take in astonishing views of a wild and vibrant frontier, historic trestles, bridges, and a 7,000-foot tunnel. See nature tucked into unusual rock formations, red rock pinnacles, and towering crimson cliffs. Look up to see bald eagles and hawks float effortlessly on the breeze above Javelina. Keep an eye open for wild burros, jackrabbits and many other canyon creatures who have been peacefully coexisting with this heritage railroad for more than 100 years.

From Phoenix: Grand Canyon Tour with Sedona and Oak Creek

5. From Phoenix: Grand Canyon Tour with Sedona and Oak Creek

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.

Scottsdale: Self-Guided E-bike Tour of McDowell Mountain

6. Scottsdale: Self-Guided E-bike Tour of McDowell Mountain

Grab your own e-bike and embark on a self-guided ride along one of the many trails around Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountain. Immerse yourself in nature, fresh air, and picture-worthy scenery. Ride solo or gather a group of friends, family, or co-workers. This is the perfect activity for friends and family to tour the naturally beautiful McDowell Mountain. After picking up your bike, gear, and map from the store, you’ll head straight out to your adventure around the mountains. The McDowell Mountain area consists of many different trails, so you can customize your adventure to your preferences and needs. The various routes offer the best tour experience for anyone who wants to see many different views from different elevations. Whatever route you decide on, expect a 10-mile-long loop that’s the perfect nature ride. After your trip, enjoy an easy e-bike return back at the shop.

From Phoenix, Scottsdale & Tempe: Grand Canyon Day Tour

7. From Phoenix, Scottsdale & Tempe: Grand Canyon Day Tour

Experience the Grand Canyon National Park during this guided tour. Explore the canyon rim with its panoramic views and visit Route 66 with your guide. Start your tour at Route 66. Experience the historic highway in the town of Williams, the last town passed by I-40. Explore this famous location and take the opportunity to purchase lunch in Williams or Grand Canyon. 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. Stop into the shop or enjoy your lunch and relax with the best seat in the house.

Sedona and Grand Canyon Day Tour from Phoenix

8. Sedona and Grand Canyon Day Tour from Phoenix

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 Scottsdale: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Day Tour

9. From Scottsdale: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Day Tour

Travel in a spacious and airconditioned van day trip from Phoenix or Scottsdale to Lower Antelope Canyon and take a walking tour with a Navajo guide. Discover the natural beauty of the Horseshoe Bend on a self-guided hike. Be picked up from your hotel in Phoenix or Scottsdale in the morning and relax in the van on the drive to Page. Along the way, your guide will tell you about a number of interesting sites and the history of the state of Arizona. Reach Page and head to Lower Antelope Canyon where you can capture pictures of the slot canyons and their colors and formations. Travel into the canyon with a Navajo guide. Stop to refuel with a delicious lunch before going to Horseshoe Bend.  Take a self guided hike at Horseshoe Bend for 80 minutes and explore this horseshoe-shaped curve in a canyon carved out by the flow of the Colorado River. Return to your hotel in Phoenix or Scottsdale at the conclusion of your tour.  .

From Phoenix: Apache Trail & Dolly Steamboat Day Trip

10. 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in Scottsdale

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What people are saying about Scottsdale

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,072 reviews

We loved our day, aloft with a light breeze, gorgeous sunrise and desert scenery! You would never even know the balloon just went up to 5,000 feet without all the others around you rising and setting. I think there were a total of 15 groups in balloons taking to the air… views from above as they prepared to take flight were remarkable! The pilot was so informative and polite, a 9 year veteran but also extremely hilarious. We are already planning a family outing!

The staff at REI, met all are expectations for my wife and I. The experience and knowledge we gained will always be appreciative. Shout out to Jim King and Denny " like the restaurant " .

Richard was a great guide. such an awesome experience. Our group of 7 divided into 1 HTV and 3 ATVs. Our ages ranged from 17 - 73. We all had a great time!

Was very enjoyable and knowledgeable, wonderful scenery and great job by all!

We had a really good time! Was a fun rocky terrain.