Scottsdale Travel Guide

It’s no secret we love Scottsdale – my parents have lived here (near Old Town) since 2016 and we lived just two blocks away from them for a little over a year. There’s something so peaceful and serene about the desert – the sky and mountains are ever changing, and the landscape is a welcome escape from our life in the city any time of year. We’re fortunate to be able to visit so often!

scottsdale canal

Below you’ll find a quick guide to our favorite things to do in Scottsdale as well as recommendations for visitors!

Scottsdale Travel Guide

collage of 3 images of scottsdale restaurants


  • Fat Ox – Our favorite place for a Friday night cocktail. I think we have been here over 30 times – it’s our favorite for a reason 🙂 Sit at the bar!
  • Pitch – A fun place to watch football and hangout – big outdoor seating area with lots of TVs and really good food. Try the Tres Peps pizza!
  • LGO – About 10 minutes from Old Town and great for food all day. They have a section of gifts/clothes/candles/to-go meals/etc. right in the restaurant – kind of like a smaller scale market. Be sure to pick up something from their in-house bakery – the english muffins, AZ cookies, and rainbow cake are some of our favorites.
  • Ingo’s – Across the street from LGO – a fun patio and casual for any time of day.
  • Postino – A local(ish) chain with a delicious selection of wines, snacks, boards and bruschetta, and more. The Highland location is closest to Old Town, though the Arcadia, Tempe, and Kierland locations are all somewhat nearby.
  • The Henry – A wonderful spot for breakfast meetings/workdays as well as happy hour.
  • Buck & Rider – A local spot for fresh seafood.
  • Craft 64 – A neighborhood wood fired pizza place on Main Street in Old Town.
  • Malee’s Thai Bistro – Our go-to takeout spot! We love ordering in on chilly (yes, it does get chilly!) desert nights. Their spiciness scale is pretty hot – I love spice and can tolerate about a 3 on their menu.
  • Farm & Craft – Great brunch/dinner spot in Old Town with an excellent happy hour Monday-Friday.
  • Diego Pops – Fun Mexican in Old Town.
  • Olive & Ivy – They have string lights, a beautiful outdoor seating area right along the canal, and it’s just a super idyllic place to have dinner.
  • Tocaya – Casual Mexican near Fashion Square Mall (a chain, but still good!).
  • The Sanctuary – A beautiful spot to watch the sunset and enjoy drinks/appetizers.
Hap in front of fortillfour

Coffee & Breakfast

Many of these are also open for cocktails/happy hour, but I love them for coffee and breakfast.

  • Schmooze – One of our favorites! It’s super casual with a gorgeous outside dining area (also good for lunch) right in the heart of Old Town. I love working from here, too.
  • Breakfast Club or Morning Squeeze – Two great breakfast/brunch options – pretty touristy.
  • Chop Shop – Casual breakfast/lunch (the Scottsdale location is right in Old Town) – love their acai bowls.
  • Sip – Fun local coffee spot (2 locations) with surprisingly delicious food!
  • Provision Coffee – In a cute neighborhood called Arcadia (near LGO). They have outdoor fireplaces and it’s a fun place to hangout. It’s right next door to another Chop Shop location in case you want to have more of a meal with your coffee.
  • Fourtillfour – A fun outdoor coffee shop – on weekend mornings they have neighborhood car shows. Love their simple style and whole vibe! They also love dogs and Hap is a star here!
  • Lola’s – Amazing coffee and really great bakery.
collage of 3 images of coffee shops in scottsdale

Shop Local

  • Light & Bark Candle Co – Stop in to make your own candle at the candle bar or purchase the most delightful hand-poured candles. A portion of proceeds support local animal rescue organizations. You might meet Hap (and you’ll definitely see her photo on the wall!)!
  • Urbana – My favorite home store in Phoenix! A gorgeous selection of home furnishings and gifts.
  • Old Town Farmers’ Market – Saturdays from 8a-12p (during the cooler months). Happy Tails Barkery is one of our favorite vendors – locally made dog treats!
grant and hilari with a dog on a hike

Things to Do

  • Hike Camelback – Bring a TON of water and don’t wear flip flops. There are 2 sides of the mountain you can hike – one is longer but less steep, the other is shorter but steeper. (I think one of these trails is temporarily closed right now so check it out and make a plan before you go.)
  • 32nd & Lincoln Hike – Much less intense than Camelback. There’s a Starbucks across the street you can park at – we usually buy a water or something so the car doesn’t get towed. Or you could Uber.
  • E Sage Drive – A hill (about a half mile) in a beautiful Paradise Valley neighborhood (close to Camelback) with gorgeous views from the top.
  • Desert Botanical Gardens – Stunning grounds and gardens! If you’re visiting around the holidays, we love going to the Las Noches de las Luminarias event. Such a fun and beautiful way to get into the holiday spirit!
  • Segway Tours in Old Town
  • Queen Creek Olive Mill – It’s kind of far out of town, but it’s such a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon! Take the tour, sample olive oils, and have breakfast or lunch on site.
  • Kierland – An outdoor shopping mall about 15-20 minutes north of Old Town. True Food Kitchen is one of our favorites for lunch up here!
  • We haven’t spent much time in Tempe, but ASU is here and there are great restaurants and cute shops!
  • Walk, run, or bike the canal – There are a bunch of entrances in Old Town – the access point we use most often is at the intersection of 68th Street and Indian School Road.
collage of 3 images of desert plants