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Scottsdale Early History

The area that would become Scottsdale was originally inhabited by the Hohokam, from approximately 300 BC to 1450 AD. This ancient civilization farmed the area and developed a complex network of canals for irrigation which was unsurpassed in pre-Columbian North America. Under still-mysterious circumstances, the Hohokam disappeared around 1450 or 1500, the most likely theory having to do with a prolonged drought. 

In 1888, U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott visited the Salt River Valley, was impressed with its potential, and subsequently made a down payment on 640 acres to start a farming operation. Scott’s purchase, near the heart of present-day downtown Scottsdale, would be the impetus for the development of the city that bears his name.

Scottsdale’s favorable climate, irrigated desert location and beautiful scenery influenced its initial settlement. While agriculture was the main draw, many health seekers came to Scottsdale. Many of the community’s original settlers, recruited by Scott from the East and Midwest, were educated and had an appreciation for cultural activities. These early settlers established the Scottsdale public school system in 1896, supported a burgeoning artists and writers culture in the early 1900’s, and promoted Scottsdale’s affiliation with the earliest area resorts, the Ingleside Inn (1909) and the Jokake Inn (1922).

The town expanded rapidly during the 1950s, growing to a population of more than 10,000 within an area of about 5 square miles by 1960. During the 1950s, town residents began the annual Parada del Sol celebration, brought the Baltimore Orioles to town for the first spring training season and organized the first All Arabian Horse Show – activities that continue as major attractions and continue to define the character of modern-day Scottsdale.

By the end of the 1960s, Scottsdale’s population had increased six-fold to nearly 68,000 while its land area increased twelve-fold to 62 square miles. During this decade, the city rejected federal plans for a concrete-lined ditch to handle floodwaters and later began work on the Indian Bend Wash greenbelt, an innovative project that turned the wash into a series of parks, golf courses and open space that double as a floodwater during infrequent heavy rains.

Learn more about Scottsdale History and early developments at

Scottsdale Life Style

Scottsdale life style

Scottsdale is well-known for fine resorts and spas, expensive restaurants, superior shopping, art galleries, designer golf courses, ritzy night clubs, and country club living.

Serious Retail Therapy In The Desert 

In Scottsdale, retail therapy is elevated to high art, where specialty couture and nationally-recognized retailers come together in the name of serious shopping. Whether you’re shopping for a top-name designer for the latest piece, or looking for a special Arizona gift, chances are you’ll find it in the city of Scottsdale. 

Scottsdale Fashion Square – One of the largest shopping malls in the Southwest, this upscale shopping center features more than 225 stores and restaurants, including 40 that are their brand’s sole representatives in Arizona.

Scottsdale Quarter – An urban, chic and decidedly hip mixed-use shopping center in central north Scottsdale. Towering palm trees, water features, and retail space spanning 370,000 square feet. Upscale boutiques make this a hub for Fashionistas and serious shoppers. 

5th Avenue Shops of Scottsdale – This quaint Old Town area features a lot of exclusive shopping, dining, and entertainment in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. Eclectic specialty stores line the street, and shoppers walk along the tree-lined avenue between them or take advantage of omnipresent bicycle taxis and a free trolley. Forming a center for the development of the district is a stunning, elegant sculptor Bob Parks fountain featuring five Arabian rearing horses which makes this a must-see destination to anyone that’s visiting downtown Scottsdale. 

Scottsdale Waterfront – is a 1.1 million square foot project located on the outskirts of Old Town Scottsdale. This futuristic mixed-use plan includes residential shopping, office, restaurant and high-rise buildings. Connection to peaceful walking trails makes this a great place to take a breather from Old Town Scottsdale’s buzz.

Kierland Commons – Incorporated into a planned community, this spectacular shopping center was designed to have a feeling of Main Street, complete with sidewalks, a plaza and varied-looking structures, all connected by a unity of architecture. Throughout the year Kierland Commons hosts enjoyable community events such as seminars and lectures. There’s also a famous weekly outdoor concert series in the summer.

Scottsdale Fine dining

Scottsdale Fine Dining

Cafe Monarch
 – Imagine not heading to France but eating in European-style villa with a personalized menu and privacy. Couples will receive special attention from the staff and the ingredients from the farm to the table will ensure the highest quality in the cuisine. 

Sel – Sel is an intimate fine dining restaurant located among the art galleries and shops of Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale, in the heart of Scottsdale  Arts District. They serve a creative 4-course prix fixe dinner featuring a progressive contemporary American cuisine which boasts of sophisticated, bold flavors. 

Talavera – Talavera delivers exquisite cuisine, well-considered wine pairings, and a truly spectacular view. While the menu is partially comprised of upscale Spanish Steakhouse, juicy, well-prepared steaks, game, and seafood also find a welcome place. 

Virtu – Tucked away in the Bespoke Inn in Old Town Scottsdale, Virtu Honest Craft is a charming cafe with a world-class menu. After only a few months in operation, the small eatery made a big splash by appearing on Esquire Magazine’s annual Best New Restaurants in America list. The menu incorporates Mediterranean flavors with southwestern sensibilities.

Scottsdale golf course

Scottsdale Golf Courses

Scottsdale’s golf courses are among the highest-rated in the world when it comes to consistency, playability, and variety.

With more than 200 golf courses in Scottsdale to choose from including lush traditional layouts, classic links designs, and thrilling desert target-style tracks, rest assured that no matter which course you choose, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking scenery and all the top-tier amenities you need to enjoy the round of a lifetime. 

TPC Scottsdale – the award-winning Stadium course host to the PGA Tour’s Waste Management Phoenix Open and the all-new Champions course. Both courses feature undulating fairways, manicured greens, and challenging bunkers. With breathtaking views of the McDowell Mountains.

Estancia Club –  Positioned beneath the north slopes of Pinnacle Peak and routed to provide a variety of uphill and downhill shots and a change of direction on almost every hole, Estancia is an easterner’s version of rock-and-cactus architecture, with wide turf corridors, few desert carries and greens wilder than most. 

Whisper Rock Golf Club –  Whisper Rock, generous fairways gently roll and weave through desert vegetation leading to greens bordered by chipping areas and bunkers more strategic than penal. It was named Arizona’s top private club when it opened in 2000 and to Golf Magazine’s list of the Top 100 Modern Courses.

Desert Highlands – Back in the mid-1980s, Desert Highlands made golf industry headlines by becoming the first club in the U.S. (and second in the world) to install an 18-hole professionally designed putting course. The extensive (par-41) putting course is a Gary Panks design that features more than 60,000 square feet of lush putting surface.

Scottsdale's world renowned resort and spa

Scottsdale’s World Renowned Resort & Spas

Enjoy some of the most luxurious spas along with Scottsdale’s beautiful serene desert landscape.

Joya Spa at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia – It is a Spanish-inspired Paradise Valley resort, situated at the foot of the Camelback Mountain. Montelucia is Spanish for “mountain of light” and is the resort’s perfect name. You’ll be in awe of this desert jewel as you watch the sunset and illuminate the craggy edges of the Camelback. Joya Spa’s signature scent, Joyambrosia, comes from the cactus flower known as the “Queen of the Night.”

The Spa At Talking Stick Resort –  This 13,000 square foot, open-air spa on the 14th floor offers guests unparalleled views of the Valley and floor-to-ceiling windows that can be opened during treatments. True to the heritage and traditions of the Native American community, The Spa at Talking Stick features treatments inspired by products made with culturally significant ingredients. 

The Phoenician – Nestled in the luxurious surroundings of the beautiful Phoenician Resort, this luxury spa has everything to help you unwind. Salon services, fitness center, facials, mud treatments, and a range of body massage are among the services available. Some of the highlights here include holistic massage, body treatments, hot stone rituals, state-of-the-art facials, body wraps and full well-being packages. 

Scottsdale's Arabian Horse Show

Scottsdale Yearly Events You Can’t Miss

Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction – Kicks off on January 11 and runs through January 19 at WestWorld of Scottsdale. Barrett-Jackson produces The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions® in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Mohegan Sun in Connecticut and Las Vegas, Nevada. The auctions, widely regarded as a collector car industry barometer, have evolved over the years into world-class automotive lifestyle events where thousands of the world’s most sought-after, rare and desirable vehicles cross the block in front of a global audience – in person and on live national and international television.

PGA TOUR’s Waste Management Phoenix Open – is a professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour, held in late January/early February at the Tournament Players Club (TPC) of Scottsdale, Arizona.

Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show – Ann McCormick bought 150 acres in the city of Scottsdale and made it into the horse facility known as Paradise Park. From the very beginning, the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show was a first-class show. It is based at WestWorld in Scottsdale, the show has expanded from 50 horses to almost 2,400 horses, bringing in some of the world’s top owners, trainers, and breeders competing for a chance of winning. 

Cactus League Spring Training – spring training under the warm Arizona sun has been a staple for devoted baseball fans since 1947. The San Francisco Giants play in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale at Scottsdale Stadium. A short drive north, the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks play at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, along Scottsdale’s border with the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. See all Cactus league AZ locations 

Canal Convergence – The aim of Canal Convergence is to provide an authentic and immersive experience of art within and around the Scottsdale Arizona Canal. It is a 10-day public art event at the Scottsdale waterfront. The event features 14 large-scale artworks created by local, national, and international artists.

Check out more Scottsdale’s events. 

Scottsdale scenic hiking trails

Scottsdale Scenic Hiking Trails

With more than 400 miles of well-kept trails in the region, it’s no wonder that the city of Scottsdale was once named one of the top 15 hiking destinations in the nation by National Geographic.

If you’re planning a Scottsdale hiking trip, you’ll have five fantastic trails to consider here:

Gateway Loop Trail – Scottsdale’s Mcdowell Sonoran Preserve – If you’re looking for peace and solitude, the Gateway Loop Trail is perfect, because it’s away from the busy city. The 4.5-mile trail gains just 655 feet in elevation so it’s a short, relaxing walk through the desert that circles to your starting point.

Pinnacle Peak Summit Trail – The north Scottsdale gem is a great choice if you’re a game for a moderate workout. A broad, smooth trail leads you to the top where you’ll enjoy expansive Valley views. Keep your camera ready as Gamble’s quail, jackrabbits, cactus wrens and road runners are likely to be included in your hiking companions. The lengths of the round trip are 3.5 miles, with an elevation gain of about 1,300 feet.

Lost Dog Wash – Is one of the main Preserve access points. This award-winning trailhead features extensive vehicle and equestrian parking, as well as a meeting area and other amenities. Lost Dog Wash Trailhead provides much shorter and simpler walking trails through and across a natural wash of the desert. Children love to explore the edge of the Lost Dog Wash Trail for wildlife just like native people did for hundreds of years.

Sunrise Trailhead – The Sunrise Trail rises into the lower canyon steeply over the suburban trailhead area, where grades are moderate by 1.0 miles. Switchbacks and a smooth hike up make a perfect aerobic workout. At 1.2 miles you can reach a designated viewpoint, beyond which intensifies the climbing in the upper canyon with better views of the mountainous interior.

Brown’s Ranch Trailhead – Brown’s Ranch Perimeter Loop Trail is a 14-mile loop trail located near Scottsdale, Arizona, which provides wildlife viewing opportunities and is rated moderate. The trail is used mainly for nature and mountain biking journeys, and is open throughout the year.

Scottsdale Butterfly Wonderland

Fun For The Entire Family

OdySea Aquarium – The largest aquarium in the southwest will definitely amaze the whole family. OdySea Aquarium Provides an exciting, interactive, and informative experience for visitors of all ages by integrating theme-park-style fun with highly engaging aquatic life presentations.

Butterfly Wonderland – brings visitors of all ages into the rainforest, immersing them in the world of butterflies and other rainforest animals. You’ll be captivated by America’s largest butterfly pavilion with the 3D film “Flight of the Monarchs,” as well as the Emergence Gallery, honeybee hives, a stingray touch tank and other live-nature displays.

McCormick-Stillman RailRoad Park –  Situated in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, the 30 acre park is the most unique of its kind in the country. Take a ride on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad and the Allan Herschell 1950 vintage carousel. Visit a range of shops and museums, play on our one-of-a-kind playgrounds or playgrounds, or just relax in the grass under a tree in the most beautiful park of Scottsdale.

MacDonald’s Ranch – a premier horseback riding stable in the Valley of the Sun! Located in the tranquil Sonoran Desert, in Scottsdale, Arizona, just north of Phoenix. MacDonald’s Ranch offers Guided Horseback Rides, Stagecoach Rides, Petting Zoo, Young Children’s Pony Rides, Hayrides, Cowboy Cookouts, Wedding Ceremony & /or Receptions, Rehearsal Dinner Sites, Bachelorette Rides, Team Building Activities, Public Events like our October Pumpkin Patch, Kids Birthday Parties, and more!

SMoCA (Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art) – Is an educational institution devoted to exhibiting contemporary and decorative art, architecture, and design exhibits. The creative kids will enjoy experiencing and learning about these eye-catching exhibitions with the most compelling art and design displayed from

iFLY – Indoor Skydiving, No Plane Required. Just Spread Your Wings and Fly. Step Into The Wind & Take Flight. Get your heart racing with indoor skydiving in the heart of Scottsdale’s Talking Stick Entertainment District.

Click here for more family activities 

Scotsdale tourist spots

Touristy Things To Do

SCOTTSDALE’S MCDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE – The McDowell Sonoran Preserve encompasses over 30,500 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert and is open from sunrise to sunset. Over 215 miles of well-maintained trails allow you to explore the Preserve on foot, by bike or on horseback.

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT’S TALIESIN WEST – Legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright was so captivated by the Sonoran Desert’s natural beauty and sunny climate and chose Scottsdale as the location for his winter home and architectural school, Taliesin West. Daily tours provide guests with an insider’s insight at Wright’s innovative designs and his ability to combine indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly.

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE – Explore the history of Scottsdale in Historic Old Town, visit Arts District galleries, shop along Fifth Avenue or explore Scottsdale’s vitality in the Entertainment District after dark.

SCOTTSDALE’S MUSEUM OF THE WEST – This Old Town gem celebrates the American West’s pioneering spirit by changing fine art exhibitions, rare historical artifacts, and cultural treasures.

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN – The five paved thematic trails of The Garden introduce you to thousands of arid-land plants from all over the world. The Garden must-see events include Las Noches de las Luminarias, the concert series Music in the Garden and the summer Flashlight Tours.

Scottsdale's economy and real estate


Scottsdale has an unemployment rate of 3.4%. The US average is 3.9%.

Scottsdale has seen the job market increase by 3.3% over the last year. Future job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 51.2%, which is higher than the US average of 33.5%.

Tax Rate for Scottsdale

– The Sales Tax Rate for Scottsdale is 8.0%. The US average is 7.3%.


As per the Cromford Report, the monthly median sales price in Scottsdale is $549,000. Scottsdale home values have gone up 5.4% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 3.9% within the next year. The median list price per square foot in Scottsdale is $274.57. 

The median price of homes currently listed in Scottsdale is $620,000. The median rent price in Scottsdale is $2,400,

Top Employers in Scottsdale, AZ

While tourism supports 39 percent of the Scottsdale’s workforce, the largest single business employers are in health care, technology, education and government. 

Financial Services

Vanguard –  2,300 employees in AZ


GoDaddy – 3,000 employees

Spear Education – 309 employees

Nextiva – 1,000 employees


Make-A-Wish-Arizona – 876 employees

Health Care

HonorHealth – 17,000 employees

Mayo Clinic – 7,084

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