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6 Fun Things To Do In Scottsdale, Arizona

The first port of call on our Arizona roadtrip was the desert city of Scottsdale, just east of Phoenix. Scottsdale was one of the places where I could definitely live.  Perhaps not in the summer months but maybe as a snow bird in my twilight years. We spent 3 nights here, exploring the city at a snail’s pace following our long journey from Singapore.  One of the biggest surprises was the amazing food, including the best burger we’ve ever eaten…

Where did we visit?

  1. The Museum Of Musical Instruments. No ‘boring museum’ here, this places houses 6,800 instruments from all over the world. There are plenty of interactive displays and we honestly could have spent all day in here!
  2. Butterfly Wonderland is America’s largest Butterfly Conservatory. The 3D movie showcasing the Monarch butterfly migration engaged us all. The best bit though is finding the lucky spots in within the Conservatory, where the butterflies will land on you. Bald heads are best! Butterfly Wonderland is next door to the OdySea Aquarium but we felt like doing both attractions would be expensive and we’d visited the amazing Georgia Aquarium earlier in the year.
  3. We celebrated Miss Mayhem’s 7th birthday horsebackriding through the Sonoran Desert at Macdonald’s Ranch.  I booked this about 2 weeks in advance and it was a highlight of our Arizona roadtrip.  Despite being beginner riders, we all felt in safe hands as we ambled through the cactus lined path.  After the horseriding, we enjoyed the Pumpkin Patch and Petting Zoo.
    Horseback Riding Macdonald's Ranch
  4. Cosanti is a designated Arizona Historic Site, designed by world-renowned architectural innovator Paolo Soleri. Featuring terraced landscaping with experimental earth-formed concrete structures, I felt like I was in another world.  On a weekday morning you can (for a price), check out the amazing bronze casting process.
    Soleri Brass Pour
  5. I love a cactus. Although you can see them dotted throughout large parts of Arizona, the Desert Botanical Garden features 50,000 plants from across the world. There are a number of different trails which loop you through the Park. We also loved the Butterfly Pavillion and depending on your interest, you could cut out Butterfly Wonderland and enjoy both at the Desert Botanical Garden.
    Cactus at Desert Botanical
  6. There’s loads of great shopping to do, whether that’s in Fashion Square or pottering around Old Town Scottsdale.  Our kids were delighted to find ‘The Live Poets Society’ on the streets of Old Town Scottsdale.  For a small donation, she would conjure up a poem on a suggested subject.

Where did we eat in Scottsdale?

Where did we stay?

I toyed with the idea of staying at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale. I had stayed there about 30 years prior and still remembered how amazing the 10 swimming pools were. Plus my mum winning the limbo competition. Yet for the price of one hotel room, I got a 2 bed apartment through airbnb.  The place was clean and centrally located to Old Town Scottsdale.  The pool was a bit grimy but luckily we were too jetlagged to care.


  • Allison


    I’m sure horseback riding was so fun! What a great way to spend a birthday. #farawayfiles

  • California Globetrotter


    Nice to get a glimpse of Scottsdale! I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about it lately, so it’s piqued my interested! #FarawayFiles

  • Corey | Fifi + Hop


    I’ve always wanted to go to Scottsdale – actually all of Arizona is on my list right now. I passed through Flagstaff years ago on a road trip right after college, and have an ex boyfriend who used to live in New Mexico, and I just love the landscape of that area of the U.S. A family trip to Scottsdale sounds like so much fun. Thanks for linking up with #farawayfiles

  • hilary


    I recently learned of the Museum of Musical Instruments, and I hear it’s fabulous! I said I’d never go back to Arizona, but maybe I’ll have to get myself back over that way after all… #farawayfiles

  • Nell (Pigeon Pair and Me)


    Eek – I’m not sure I’d cope well with a butterfly landing on my head! The Desert Botanical Garden looks beautiful, though. #FarawayFiles

  • Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles)


    The best burger on the planet? That’s quite an accolade! Sounds like Scottsdale hit all the right notes for everyone in the family. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

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