Centrally located, Old Town Scottsdale is a great launching point to exploring the popular city that has so much to offer. It’s primarily bounded by Chaparral Road to the north and Earll Drive to the south and 68th Street to the west and Miller Road to the east. Visitors can dive into the historic district, art gallery district, shopping district and the entertainment district, all within walking distance of each other.
How to Get Around
Old Town Scottsdale is very walkable and great for roaming around as there’s something to see nearly every step of the way. However, a variety of golf cart businesses are often cruising the streets ready to transport guests to their next destination. The Scottsdale Trolley is also an easy way to get around. Moreover it’s free to ride and runs year-round, every day from 10 a.m. to 9:25 p.m. There’s also plenty of bike-sharing options and even Segway tours and mobile bars (yes, mobile bars) available.
The Art Scene
Old Town Scottsdale is home to a plethora of art galleries, studios, museums and public art installations. Some popular museums include the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. As for public art, much of it is hidden in plain sight. Some permanent, iconic pieces to check out include Jack Knife by Ed Mell, the Bronze Horse Fountain by Bob Parks and Robert Indiana’s Love, which is the first in a series of just five. For shopping, many of the galleries are located on or near Main Street. Everything from Native American art and jewelry to fine contemporary galleries and studios abound. March 13-15, 2020, the Scottsdale Arts Festival will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the Scottsdale Civic Center Park with art, music, food and family fun.
Don’t expect many chain restaurants here. Instead, you’ll find plenty of local outlets serving up nearly every type of food in an array of atmospheres. Travelers can find everything from upscale steakhouses to authentic Mexican restaurants, casual sandwich shops, swanky lounges and local coffee shops. Some notable favorites include The Mission, an authentic outlet serving modern Latin cuisine; Malee’s on Main, a beloved Thai restaurant in a historic building; Los Olivos, a well-established favorite of 70 years serving authentic Sonoran Mexican cuisine; upscale Italian outlet Marcellino Ristorante; The House Brasserie, serving modern American in a Victorian-inspired house; casual Mexican outlet Frank & Lupe’s; Old Town Tortilla Factory, housed in a 75-year old adobe home with an iconic patio and so many more.
Whether you’re looking to cozy up at a wine bar or enjoy VIP bottle service, nightlife options are endless. For the most Vegas-esque experience, the Entertainment District is packed with high-energy nightclubs. Situated in the block east of Scottsdale Road and west of Miller Road, and south of Camelback Road and north of 6th Avenue, the area makes club-hopping easy to do. Popular outlets include Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, Maya Day + Nightclub, Bottled Blonde, Riot House and El Hefe. More low-key, less club-like destinations include laidback Kelly’s at Southbridge; Postino, a locally loved wine bar; Beverly’s on Main and Kazimierz Wine & Whiskey Bar, both popular speakeasies; and Toca Madera, newly opened hotspot and West Hollywood concept that’s part restaurant and bar and part happening nightlife scene.
One of the top malls in the country, Scottsdale Fashion Square is home to countless stores of all types and includes some of the most prestigious brands in the world like Gucci, Saint Laurent, Prada and more. For more locally inspired goods, the Fifth Avenue Shops house plenty of outlets full of Native American and Southwestern jewelry, antiques, home goods, art and more. Stop in to shops like Gilbert Ortega Gallery, Sewell’s Indian Arts or Scottsdale Trading Post. There’s also a bevvy of local boutiques, like Leela Market, Carmen or Alixandra Blue, offering modern-day clothing and accessories.
There’s plenty of history sprinkled throughout Old Town Scottsdale and it’s worth checking out if you’re already in the area. Located in the historic district, the Scottsdale HIstorical Museum, also known as the Little Red Schoolhouse, was built in 1909 and has served as a school, police headquarters and a visitor’s center. Just off Scottsdale Road, the pink-hued Sugar Bowl ice cream parlor opened in 1958 is still owned today by the original family. Guests can enjoy sundaes and scoops like the old days. The city’s oldest tavern in town, Coach House, is a popular, iconic joint still owned by the founding family. The outlet is known for being a favored dive bar with great deals and loyal customers. Another historic fave, the Rusty Spur Saloon has been in business since 1958 in a building that was constructed in 1921 and is now a registered historic landmark. Now, one of the oldest bars in Scottsdale, the saloon is unique from the swanky outlets that the city has become known for and is favored among locals, tourists and even real cowboys. Even celebrities like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne (among others) have stopped in.