Scottsdale’s thriving arts and entertainment, vibrant food and drink, and breathtaking desert landscape make it an easy pull for every type of traveler. Especially us creative types who’d prefer to go off the beaten path with more unique and meaningful adventures.
Digital nomads will love the easy access to cute coffee shops with lightning-fast WiFi. Outdoorsy folks will be enamoured with ease of access to trails in places like the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and Lower Salt River, while architecture buffs will have a field day in places like Taliesin West.
No matter your travel style, we promise you’ll find plenty of opportunities for creative, imaginative adventure while at work and play in Scottsdale.
Where to Work in Scottsdale
This specialty Old Town coffee shop is just the place to fuel up. And by specialty, we don’t mean the one-off pour over a personal French press brew. No, we’re talkin’ lattes of the honey lavender and cardamom rose variety. Plus, everyone’s favorite chai, mocha and matcha picks.
At the helm of this super charming cafe is Jonathan Madrigal, who attributes his passion for good coffee and even better company to his native Costa Rican roots. Don’t leave Berdena’s without a plate of Scottsdale’s best avocado toast lathered in creamy avocado, a hearty lemon squeeze, flaky sea salt and red pepper flakes.
You’ll be hard pressed (pun intended) to find another place that combines all the best in stout coffees, co-working space, and buzzy atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a spot for a business meeting, an after-work drink, or just want to sip a cup of Joe and take in the hip-style that just oozes from Schmooze, this is your place. Crowd faves include their smooth and creamy nitro brew, signature honeysuckle latte and Irish bo-bomb latte made with white chocolate and Irish cream.
Where to Play
This uber-Instagrammable art space has been all the rage in Scottsdale over the past couple of years. Self-described as “a new home for extraordinary art,” Wonderspaces is a place that is ever-evolving and endlessly inspiring. They focus on a wide array of artwork and artists from all around the globe to create unique, immersive experiences for visitors and encourage radical creativity in the global art sphere.
Current installations include Fuji, a large-scale project on volcanoes that also tells the story of the 10th century Japanese folktale known as Kaguya Hime, and Plume, a massive interactive dome with near-hypnotic light and sound.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
Smack dab in Old Town, you’ll find one of the state’s most beloved and compelling art museums in Arizona: the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SmoCA).
Since 1999, SMoCA has been dedicated to showcasing art that inspires, sparks imagination, challenges perception, and promotes dialogue. Whether you’re there to experience the iconic Skyspace by nationally acclaimed artist James Turrell, or to take in the works of highly respected artists with varying mediums from around the globe, it’s impossible to leave SMoCA uninspired.
Our favorite current exhibition is Jacob Meders’ And It’s Built on the Sacred, an installation that reflects the gentrification of indigenous land and aims to open a conversation about it. And It’s Built on the Sacred will be showcased until mid-October 2021.
Responsible for the design of more than 1,000 structures in the course of 70 years and pioneering a whole new philosophy of design known as organic architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright is remembered as one of the US’s most revered architects. His other achievements include being a vastly successful writer and educator with a reputation for being extremely creative and innovative with residential design.
Taliesin West was one of his greatest accomplishments and doubled as his winter home and desert laboratory. While you can visit in a group, we recommend taking a more independent route using the Guided by Wright audio tour, which will allow you to explore Taliesin West at your own pace. That way, you can experience Lloyd Wright’s legacy in a personal way and understand just how deeply he felt about the Sonoran Desert and the cultures that inhabit it.
Designed by world-renowned architect and visionary Paolo Soleri, Cosanti is one of Arizona’s most unique designated historic sites and a must-see while in Scottsdale. Applauded for his unique ‘earth casting’ technique and passionate philosophies surrounding consumerism and environmentalism, Cosanti brilliantly showcases his legacy and concept of ‘arcology’, the combination of architecture and ecology.
While there, purchase a Cosanti Originals windbell. Proceeds go to the Cosanti Foundation to aid in combating climate change as well as promoting sustainable living around the globe.
Where to Stay
Hotel Valley Ho
Hotel Valley Ho—or as we call it, the ultimate set for an alternate universe of Mad Men—is oozing with mid-century modern charm. Built in 1956, this retro gem is conveniently located just on the fringe of Old Town, meaning you’ll be in a world of your own with Scottsdale still at your fingertips.
Often praised for its unique, well-preserved style and unmistakably cool atmosphere, Valley Ho is a place that transports you to a different era. Did we mention that they also boast one of the most popular pools in town, complete with cushy cabanas and daybeds?
The Saguaro in Scottsdale, which was the first location in this boutique hotel collection, is an eye-catching combo of desert-inspired style, vibrant artwork and candy-colored details that all contribute to an undoubtedly joyful ambience.
In addition to a sprawling patio and pool area, you’ll also be able to indulge in delectable Mexican fares at their onsite restaurant, La Seńora. Taco Tuesday, anyone? Best of all, once you’ve got your fill, you’ll be just steps away from Scottsdale’s best attractions, including more than 30 art galleries and dozens of shops just a few blocks from your doorstep.
Need to get some work in? Carve out some productivity time at the personal ergonomic desk fitted in your suite.
Where to Explore
Lower Salt River
What better way to unwind and take in the breathtaking scenery of Scottsdale than a mosey down the Lower Salt River? Flowing from Northern Arizona and trickling down to four major dams in the Phoenix area, the Lower Salt River gives ample opportunity to experience the otherwise arid landscape that surrounds Scottsdale. And trust us, there’s plenty to do.
Whether you want to toss a line and go fishing, kick back on a tube, or take the river by kayak, there’s plenty of adventure to be had. Our tip? Pack a picnic and divide your day between kayaking and hiking along the Salt River Nature Trail.
Soleri Bridge and Plaza
One of Paolo Soleri’s most celebrated masterpieces can be seen right along the Scottsdale Waterfront. In true Soleri fashion, this isn’t your average bridge, in fact, it’s almost more solar-calendar than it is bridge. Anchored by two monolithic, earth cast panels, it’s aligned with the sun to correspond with solar events such as both equinoxes and solstices, and illustrates his desire to further connect man and nature.
The plaza is equally impressive and spreads across 22,000 square feet (2,043 square meters), featuring intricately carved panels that make the plaza seem like a wide open gallery.
Where to Buy Things to Adore
Antique Trove has long been the go-to for trinket and antiquary enthusiasts. Sprawled over more than 23,000 square feet (2,137 square meters) and hosted by more than 140 dealers, you’ll find bits and bobs from every era imaginable whether you’re fascinated by the glitz and glam of the ’20s or psychedelic ’60s pop art.
Take home a tiny novelty from your favorite period or bag a unique piece of vintage furniture to make your home complete, either way, you won’t leave Antique Trove empty handed.
The Merchantile of Scottsdale
Spend your afternoon browsing the carefully curated stalls of more than 70 merchants at The Merchantile. This indoor market works closely with Arizona’s most talented artists and small businesses to bring you the most valuable finds spanning from DIY creative workshops to handmade jewelry, artisan soaps, ethically sourced clothing, home goods, and so much more.
Be sure to stop by Arte De Mi Tierra, a traditional textile shop focusing on hand-embroidered Mexican goods while you’re there.
Whether you’re looking for a spot with lightning fast WiFi to set up shop or to find interesting scenes to capture on camera, Scottsdale is a great escape for any creative. When the work day is done, venture towards Camelback Mountain to relax at one of Scottsdale’s famous spas or explore the city’s Old Town neighborhood.