buildings behind a tree at Scottsdale canal

I was introduced to Scottsdale the first time I visited my parents when they retired to Mesa, AZ. I fell in love with this beautiful city and dreamed about living there one day. This was the only place I would visit where I wasn't ready to go home.

Scottsdale, Arizona, is a city that offers an ideal mix of modern amenities and natural beauty. Located in Maricopa County, it is a part of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. With a population of just over 250,000, it is the sixth-largest city in Arizona. Scottsdale is renowned for its luxurious resorts, world-class golf courses, and vibrant nightlife. However, it's not just a vacation destination; it's also a great place to call home.

Located in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is a beautiful and thriving city with plenty to offer residents and visitors alike. Known for its warm climate with over 300 days of sunshine a year, upscale shopping, and beautiful outdoor spaces, Scottsdale is a great place to live if you love arts and culture, outdoor activities, and entertainment and nightlife. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at what it's like to live in Scottsdale and explore some of the top attractions and experiences that make it such a special place to call home.

When we purchased our first home in Scottsdale, one of my friends laughed and asked if we were retiring already. This popular city was known as a retirement haven, but it has become a hot spot for all age groups. It's a top destination city and was voted as the number 2 place for bachelorette parties. We saw one of these when we had dinner with our neighbors at our favorite place, Los Olivos Mexican Patio. It looked like they were having a lot of fun.

Living in Scottsdale, Arizona: A Guide to the City's Nightlife, Outdoor Activities, and Arts and Culture Scene

Arts and Culture in Scottsdale

Scottsdale is also home to a thriving arts and culture scene that celebrates the rich history and traditions of the Southwest. One of the city's top attractions is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, which features an impressive collection of contemporary works by both established and emerging artists. Other notable cultural attractions include the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, which hosts a wide range of concerts and theater productions throughout the year, and the Scottsdale Public Art program, which showcases a variety of public art installations throughout the city.

girl in front of light show at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art SMOCA
Granddaughter posing at a light show at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

One of our favorite places we have visited multiple times is Western Spirit Museum of the West. It is one of the top places to check out in the Oldtown area, especially during Scottsdale's annual Western Week, and there is usually a day when there is free admission.

saddle display at Western Spirit Museum of the West in Scottsdale AZ
Scottsdale Museum of the West

Another favorite spot of mine is the Heard Museum, which showcases the art and culture of Native American tribes from around the region. The museum is home to an impressive collection of art, jewelry, pottery, and other cultural artifacts, and offers a fascinating glimpse into the rich history of the area.

There are many annual events and many are free to enter. There are food festivals, Summer Solstice, Dia de Muertos, art walks (weekly), Canal Convergence, and so much more that it would need a calendar. Many events feature live music.

Outdoor Activities in Scottsdale

One of the biggest draws of living in Scottsdale is its stunning natural beauty and abundant outdoor activities. Whether you love hiking, golfing, or just soaking up the sun, you'll find plenty of ways to get outside and stay active in this beautiful desert city. The city is surrounded by rugged mountains, pristine deserts, and world-class golf courses, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. Some of the best activities to try include hiking, mountain biking, golfing, and horseback riding.

people on Toms Thumb Trail
Tom's Thumb Trail

Some of the top outdoor attractions include Camelback Mountain, Pinnacle Peak Park, and McDowell Sonoran Preserve. These scenic areas offer a range of hiking trails and other activities that let you explore the beauty of the Sonoran Desert up close. One of the most popular hiking trails in the area is the Camelback Mountain Echo Canyon Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the city and surrounding landscape.

When it comes to golf, Scottsdale is truly a golfer's paradise, with dozens of world-class courses to choose from. Some of the top options include TPC Scottsdale (they host of the WM Phoenix Open), Troon North Golf Club, Scottsdale National Golf, and many more.

people at Waste Management Golf Open 2023
16th hole at the WM Phoenix Open in Scottsdale

Nightlife, Dining, and Entertainment in Scottsdale

When the sun goes down, Scottsdale comes to life with a vibrant nightlife scene that caters to a range of tastes and interests. If you're looking for a great place to grab a drink and dance the night away, you won't want to miss the clubs and bars in the city's popular Old Town area. From sleek and sophisticated lounges to high-energy dance clubs, there's something for everyone in Old Town. Some of the top spots to check out include the Bottled Blonde, Cake Nightclub, Hi Fi, Riot Club, and W Scottsdale, just to name a few.

If you're looking for a night out on the town, Scottsdale has a lot to offer. Some of the top nightlife destinations in the city include the lively Old Town Scottsdale, where you'll find a variety of bars, restaurants, and clubs to suit every taste. For a more upscale experience, head to the trendy bars and nightclubs at Scottsdale Fashion Square, or visit the W Scottsdale hotel for a rooftop party with stunning views of the city.

Don't forget the Scottsdale Casinos including Talking Stick Resort and Casino and the original Casino Arizona. You'll find more than just gambling. They offer food, lounges, music, and much more.

Another thing Scottsdale is popular for is its many dining experiences. The city's culinary scene is diverse, with options ranging from classic American fare to international cuisine. Of course, there are too many wonderful restaurants to list. We have several favorite breakfast and lunch spots, including the aforementioned Los Olivos Mexican Patio. We have several favorite breakfast and lunch restaurants. Foodies have a wide array of dining experiences from fast food to casual dining, and award-winning fine dining options.

exterior of Los Olivos Mexican Patio in Scottsdale

Challenges and Downsides of Living in Scottsdale

While Scottsdale offers many advantages, there are also some challenges and downsides to living in this vibrant city. One of the biggest issues facing residents is traffic congestion, particularly during peak tourist season. The city's population also continues to grow, which has led to rising housing costs and some concerns about community diversity. However, many residents find ways to overcome these challenges by taking advantage of public transportation, exploring less crowded areas of the city, and participating in community events and activities that celebrate the diversity of the local population.

Scottsdale Real Estate

There truly is something for everyone in Scottsdale. With that said, I receive many Scottsdale home buyers that get sticker shock when they think they can afford a nice house only to realize that their price range is in condo territory. The good thing about Scottsdale condos and townhomes is that their values rise at a good rate, trumping many attached properties in other cities and states.

Las Hadas condominiums in Scottsdale
Las Hadas Villas in North Scottsdale

But some buyers can't even qualify for a mobile home in the area and have to make a choice to live in a town they can afford or continue paying rent. And that's another sore spot. After the pandemic, many tenants were priced out of their Scottsdale rental properties and were left moving farther away or having to move in with relatives.

Some buyers are sitting on the fence with the high interest rates as they're waiting for the Scottsdale real estate market to crash. Real estate gurus are not expecting a crash. In fact, prices are rising at a very small percentage. We won't be seeing the 35%+ annual price increases like we did in the near past, but we won't see the 20% decrease some buyers are hoping for.

Scottsdale and the Greater Phoenix area are attracting too many new residents from different areas and states. Inventory is still down and it is expected to remain low. It is no longer the crazy seller's market we had seen, but buyers are still out there and homes priced right and in great condition are still seeing multiple offers and selling quickly.

The homes that are sitting on the market and taking price cuts were priced too high to begin with. It sometimes takes sellers a while to understand when a market has changed. Many think they should still be able to get what homes were selling for in 2021 and the beginning of 2022 when interest rates were low. Those times are over.

Overall, Scottsdale is a city that offers endless opportunities for residents to enjoy the best of what the Southwest has to offer. Whether you love hiking, golfing, or exploring the arts, you'll find plenty to keep you busy in this vibrant desert community. So if you're looking for a great place to call home, be sure to consider all that Scottsdale has to offer.

Posted by Judy Orr on
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