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Things to do in Scottsdale, Arizona

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, Arizona

Phoenix: Guided Self-Drive ATV/UTV Tour

1. 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

2. 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.

Phoenix: Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne

3. 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.

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. Select the starlight option to travel through the canyon amid the brilliant variation of colors at sunset and twilight. Starlight rides follow the new moon when the cosmic constellations are at their brightest.

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.

Sonoran Desert: Sunset Jeep Tour with Tonto National Forest

6. Sonoran Desert: Sunset Jeep Tour with Tonto National Forest

Experience a world-famous Arizona sunset on a low-speed, off-road sightseeing tour of the Sonoran Desert via the Tonto National Forest. Your professional tour guide, a certified off-road driver, will tell you about the Sonoran Desert flora, wildlife, Arizona history, and Native American ethnobotanical practices. Hop aboard the Jeep and cruise past the Pass by Pinnacle Peak Park, a scenic 3,169-foot granite summit located in North Scottsdale, and Reata Pass, the last standing buildings of an old western town. Hear about these locations and their significance. At sunset, stop at a panoramic lookout point that overlooks the historic Great Western Trail. Feel free to exit the Jeep and walk around the scenic lookout. Whether you're interested in a couple of group photos or a full Instagram shoot with your camera, your guides are also great photographers willing to help. Depending on cloud conditions, the sky typically changes to various shades of pink, red, orange, and purple, all within the backdrop of the stunning Sonoran Desert.

Phoenix and Mesa: Self-Guided Kayak Trip on Saguaro Lake

7. Phoenix and Mesa: Self-Guided Kayak Trip on Saguaro Lake

Experience the spectacular landscapes of the Tonto National Forest on a self-guided kayaking tour around Saguaro Lake. Paddle through canyons, see beautiful desert scenery, and discover the local flora and native wildlife from a unique perspective. Escape the heat and feel refreshed by one of the most stunning lakes of Arizona. Travel at your own pace, giving you the opportunity to truly take in the picturesque views. Start with an orientation of basic safety and paddling instructions. The “sit-on-top”-style kayaks are very stable and easy to maneuver. Before you know it you’ll be paddling below thousand-foot cliffs. Explore the lake's glimmering waters and discover coves and craggy shorelines. Keep your eyes open for the native wildlife native to the Tonto National Forest.

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 Phoenix, Scottsdale & Tempe: Grand Canyon Day Tour

9. 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.

Phoenix & Scottsdale: Lower Salt River Kayaking Tour

10. Phoenix & Scottsdale: Lower Salt River Kayaking Tour

Experience the adventure of a lifetime in a desert oasis as you take a guided kayak tour through Salt River. This lush stretch of water is only a short drive from Phoenix. Spend your morning paddling along green riverbanks, and marvel at towering red cliffs. Don't forget to look for wild horses, bald eagles, and other desert wildlife along the way. Avoid crowds and take advantage of all the natural beauty the river has to offer. Enjoy a swim in the cool waters, and see the desert as you've never seen it before. This unique experience is perfect for all skill levels, and for groups, individuals, and families.

Available activities

  • Grand Canyon & beyond
  • Apache Trail & Verde Valley visits
  • Arizona adrenaline adventures
  • Kayaking, river rafting, & more
  • Scottsdale on wheels
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Frequently asked questions about Scottsdale, Arizona

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Other Sightseeing Options in Scottsdale, Arizona

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What people are saying about Scottsdale, Arizona

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 1,138 reviews

We took the whole family on a first time ride. Naturally we all were anxious but the crew explained everything and how it all will transpire which put us at ease. The ride was great. Seeing the sunrise peak behind the mountains as you rise up into the air was breathtaking. The serenity of it all was awe inspiring. We ended up at an elevation of 5500 ft!

Tim and Jason are amazing. We had a blast on the Segways and learned so much while wheeling through the desert. We had family from 12yr to 80yr and we ALL had a blast. Very organized, very fun....worth every penny!! Book this tour asap!

We had a beautiful ride and learned a lot from our awesome driver Earl! He was fun, informative and personal! An overall great experience!

Great bike ride and lots of information about the beautiful Arizona Desert.

The train ride was well worth the price. It was a fantastic trip.