As you’re planning your Scottsdale, Arizona getaway, perhaps you’re wondering about the best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale?
In this article, we’ll uncover the absolute must-do activities in Old Town, as well as fill you in on the best places to eat, shop, stay and play!
Look no further for our top recommendations on the most fun and memorable things to do in Old Town.
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What is Old Town Scottsdale?
Located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, Old Town is simply a term used to refer to a large chunk of the historic downtown area.
It’s the part of Scottsdale that’s filled with pedestrian-friendly streets lined with popular restaurants, quaint tourist shops, posh condos, public monuments, and world-class art galleries.
From Chaparral Road to Earll Drive and Miller Road to 65th Street, Old Town encompasses Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, Civic Center Park and Library, the city’s spring-training ballpark, the Museum of the West, and dozens of restaurants and shops.
Though Old Town Scottsdale is sometimes referred to (and known interchangeably) as Downtown Scottsdale, the area is officially branded as Old Town in order to attract more local and nationwide visitors to this historic core.
*Need suggestions on what to wear in Scottsdale when visiting there? Check out our entire article that includes our Scottsdale packing list, plus what to wear based on what time of the year you’re visiting!
Things to do in Old Town Scottsdale
There are literally dozens of things to do in Old Town Scottsdale!
Whether you’re in town for a golf vacation, sightseeing excursion, or Scottsdale girls’ weekend getaway, you can spend anywhere from 1-3 touring Old Town and not run out of things to do.
Because of the close proximity of the various restaurants and attractions here, it’s best to just park your car in one spot or Uber in, and walk around from place to place.
Here is our list of the top 9 best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale!
1. Do the Public Art Walking Tour
Old Town Scottsdale’s Public Art Walking Tour is a free, 60-minute self-guided tour that introduces you to the city’s rich legacy of art.
It involves printing off the Public Art Walking Tour map which guides you to 10 of the most-celebrated Scottsdale public artworks.
Pieces include “The Doors” by Donald Lipski, the “Soleri Bridge & Plaza” by Paolo Soleri, and the Instagram-worthy “Love” by Robert Indiana.
This is a walking tour you don’t want to miss!
2. Visit the Rusty Spur Saloon
Old Town Scottsdale’s Rusty Spur Saloon is the oldest bar in Scottsdale and was the area’s first-ever saloon.
Constructed in 1921, the building is an officially registered historic landmark that used to be the Farmers’ Bank of Scottsdale.
Once it became a saloon in 1958, the money in the vaults was replaced by liquor.
In turn, cowboys were known to ‘water’ their horses here with buckets of beer.
Its traditional country bar atmosphere has been nostalgically maintained making its Old West decor the biggest draw to patrons.
Celebrities like Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Vince Vaughn, and Jennifer Aniston have all visited Rusty Spur Saloon for the chance to walk through its swinging doors and travel back in time.
Additional planning tip: Rusty Spur Saloon features live country music seven days a week and offers both food and drinks.
3. Go Tasting on the Scottsdale Wine Trail
The Scottsdale Wine Trail is a collaboration of 5 Arizona wineries that have come together to offer an authentic Arizona wine tasting experience.
The Scottsdale Wine Trail includes:
- LDV Winery Tasting Room
- Merkin Vineyards
- Salvatore Vineyards Tasting Room
- Carlson Creek Tasting Room
- Aridus Wine Company
Each winery has a tasting room that features plenty of unique Arizona wines to try and buy.
In addition, don’t miss a chance to feast on the locally sourced charcuterie boards and other small bites found at our favorite, Merkin Vineyards.
Additional planning tip: The Scottsdale Wine Trail features an official passport that can be purchased at any of the five wineries for $5.
Passport holders receive $2.00 off a 5-wine tasting at each location and a Scottsdale Wine Trail commemorative wine glass.
Some tasting rooms have seasonal hours, so be sure to check before you visit.
4. Eat Delicious Food
One cannot talk about the best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale without mentioning the impeccable food and top-notch dining found here.
Amazing cuisine can be found around every corner in Old Town Scottsdale with most foodie spots featuring locally sourced produce and Arizona ingredients, along with perfectly crafted cocktails.
Though it would be impossible to experience every great restaurant during your short stay in Old Town, here are my top choices for delicious and unique Old Town Scottsdale restaurants:
- Olive & Ivy – Mediterranean cuisine, an extensive variety of signature cocktails, huge outdoor patio, onsite coffee, and gelato bar.
- The Mission – Modern Latin Cuisine, dimly lit, amazing housemade margaritas and guacamole.
- Citizen Public House – Gastropub cuisine, extensive craft beer list, unique and memorable ambiance, excellent service.
- Diego Pops – Modern twist on authentic Mexican favorites, playful decor, huge outdoor patio, a local hotspot.
- Culinary Dropout – Trendy gastropub, vibrant atmosphere, American comfort food, live music, great reviews.
5. Browse Unique Boutiques and Galleries
Old Town Scottsdale is home to dozens of gift shops, Native American jewelry stores, unique clothing boutiques, and art galleries.
When walking through the area these unique beauties are hard to miss and your eye will draw you into their creative storefronts.
As some of the best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale, don’t miss Sewell’s Indian Arts, Crazy Horse Gallery, Gilbert Ortega Galleries, Mexican Imports, and the many other unique boutiques found on 5th Avenue.
6. Do the Historic Old Town Walking Tour
Scottsdale’s Historic Old Town Walking Tour is another free, 60-minute self-guided walking tour.
It features Old Town’s most renowned historical sites and museums.
The tour involves printing off the Historic Old Town Walking Tour map which guides you to 15 historical locations in Old Town.
(This tour can easily be combined with the Public Art walking tour that was listed above.)
Our favorite spots on the Historic Old Town Tour include taking photographs of The Little Red Schoolhouse, Sugar Bowl, the Old Olive Trees, and Mission Church.
Once again, this free walking tour should not be missed in order to help appreciate the amazing beauty and history of Old Town!
7. Take the Trolley!
Scottsdale’s free trolley system links residents and visitors to entertainment, restaurants, shopping, schools, and parks.
The free Old Town trolley is a charming way to tour Old Town Scottsdale as it provides a continuous loop through the heart of the best things to do here.
Riders are able to hop off at points of interest and hop back on when they are done.
Find routes and details for the Old Town Trolley here.
8. Shop at Fashion Square
Another one of the best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale is to visit Fashion Square – Arizona’s largest shopping mall!
With over 2 million square feet of retail space, this luxury shopping center packs a punch with its presence in Old Town.
From big names like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Versace, to more traditional brands like Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Anthropologie, Fashion Square features upscale amenities and exceptional service.
Fashion Square offers free parking, multiple dining options, and is home to Harkins Theatres (offering both mainstream and independent films) on the top level of the mall.
9. Take a Guided Tour
Another one of the best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale is to explore the area on a guided tour.
Learn about the public art, historical landmarks, cultural sites, and best places to eat and shop as a local expert shows you around.
Popular guided experiences in Old Town Scottsdale include Segway tours, electric bike tours, and our personal favorite, guided food tours.
Where to Stay in Scottsdale, AZ
No matter how much time you have in Scottsdale, I highly recommend that you stay at one of its luxurious spa resorts.
To help you choose, narrow down your budget and decide on the views and amenities that will be most memorable to you.
Here are some of the best-located spa resorts in Scottsdale that have amazing ambiance and excellent customer reviews:
- JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort & Spa
- The Phonecian
- Westin Kierland Resort & Spa
- Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa
- Mountain Shadows
What do you feel are the best things to do in Old Town Scottsdale? Have you ever visited here before? I’d love for you to comment!Jen
Thanks to Experience Scottsdale for the hosted experience at Merkin Vineyards and lunch at The Mission. Thanks also to Fox Restaurant Concepts for the discounted lunch at Olive & Ivy. As always, all opinions are my own.
*Before leaving our guide on a Scottsdale Girls Weekend, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find our exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*
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