Visiting the Scottsdale Arts District is one of the top Things to Do in Scottsdale when in Scottsdale. As a tour guide here at Segway of Scottsdale, I am always telling tour participants that Scottsdale has one of the highest densities of art galleries in the country. Santa Fe, New Mexico has the number one highest density of art galleries and Scottsdale has the second highest. The Arts District here in Scottsdale makes the area one of the most unique places in the USA.
You will ride right through the middle of it on any of our Scottsdale Segway Tours. The city of Scottsdale celebrates it's artistic community every Thursday from 7pm - 9pm by putting on the Art Walk. Check out more Art Walk details on Trip Savvy’s excellent blog.
I call it Art Gallery Row…
I love touring the Arts District at night on Segway’s because you can see through the front display of all of the galleries. So you can do a drive by art viewing! I don’t know if there ever was such a thing, but on Segway that’s what it is.
Walking and Segway'ing it is a pleasure…
In my opinion, as far as what type of art you will usually see. I think that there's a lot more landscape and Southwestern themed galleries in Scottsdale than contemporary futuristic style galleries. Just giving you a heads up on that. I personally love landscape oil paintings; almost as much as I love using a Semi-Colon; you will see a lot of landscapes. I’m talking, really high quality stuff here, not run of the mill artwork that you find in Target or Hobby Lobby. The Arts District is jam packed full of high-end-originals. When visiting, you might as yourself, how do all of these galleries stay in business? There's soooo many! A lot of the galleries sell a lot of art online and have special arrangement with design companies that need art for interior decoration purposes. Though they do get a lot of walk in traffic as well.
Special Art walk events and reviews…
On TripAdvisor Jacquelinerose5 wrote “It is literally one gallery after another. It is impossible to go into all of them on one evening. Some have artists present and some have music and wine. Everyone is incredibly nice. Clearly, many locals go there for fun, as do the tourists. I recommend an early dinner and then stroll through the galleries.”
I think Jacqueline’s recommendation is perfect
I have enjoyed dinner and then a walk-through a handful of art galleries with friends and family many times and I always enjoy myself. Especially in the evening when the temperatures have cooled a little and the streets are lit bright with lights. If attending big special events is your preference, here is the current event schedule for the Art Walk.
Maybe looking at Art isn’t your thing…
I talk to a lot of people on tour about what their interests are and I do hear people express a lack of interest in art. They just don’t walk around and observe art, it's not something that they do. Usually I respond like this… “well do you think that you would enjoy having an evening cocktail followed up with a slow stroll on a beautiful street?”. Almost 100% of the time, people say YES! to that.
So I vote for experiencing the Art Walk in the Scottsdale Arts District as one of the top Things to Do in Scottsdale. We’re out there everyday on our Scottsdale Segway Tours, so maybe we’ll see you out there!
Experience Scottsdale named visiting the Scottsdale Waterfront as one of the top Things to Do in Scottsdale. They describe it like this….
“The Scottsdale Waterfront is the most sophisticated and stylish community located in the heart of Downtown Scottsdale at Camelback Road between Scottsdale Road and Marshall Way. The beautiful 1.1 million square foot mixed-use project has become the distinctive lifestyle destination to visit, to shop, and to be seen.”
From a tour guide’s perspective…
I would totally agree, it is a place to see an be seen and it is stylish and sophisticated. If being seen is not your thing, there are also lots of nooks and crannies to hide away and enjoy a relaxing moment. The Waterfront is one of those things to do in Scottsdale that you just have to experience, otherwise you're missing out. Of course, I think that it's best seen on our Scottsdale Segway Tour because you can travel the whole waterfront in 20 minutes or so without breaking a sweat.
If you don’t go to the Scottsdale Waterfront during your visit, you’re really missing out, it’s beautiful. There is also an excellent selection of restaurants at the Waterfront. A few of my favorites are Culinary Dropout, Hand Cut Burgers X Chophouse, Olive and Ivy, Barrio Queen and PF Chang’s China Bistro.
The canals have an interesting history...
One interesting tidbit is that there are 180 miles of canals that wiggle their way through the Phoenix metropolitan area. The canals were originally dug by the Hohokam Native American’s back in AD1300 to support about 50,000 people. According to AZCentral there are more canals in Phoenix and Scottsdale than in Venice and Amsterdam combined. That is seriously impressive. So when you visit the Scottsdale Waterfront, you are also checking a big “Things To Do in Scottsdale” item off of you're list and that is: experience and learn about the world renowned canal system in the Valley of the Sun.
There are lots of events and Things to Do in Scottsdale...
The Scottsdale Waterfront hosts lots of events throughout the year including the Thunderbird Artists Fine Art & Wine Festivals, Scottsdale Public Art's Canal Convergence, The Original Taste and more! One of my favorites is the Grand Prix of Scottsdale. The city sets up a track and allows vintage mini racers to roar through the Scottsdale Waterfront District. They basically shut that side of downtown Scottsdale down and have a good time. It happens every year and it's a lot of fun to be a part of. Check out the video at the top of their website, it really captures the vibe.
The location in this blog is a highlight on our Old Town Scottsdale Segway Tours. Visit here for more tour information.
When travelers call our reservation line to book a Scottsdale Segway Tour they often ask questions like “What do you see on the tour?”. I usually tell them that we do our best to make sure that our guests see all of the important “Things To Do In Scottsdale”.
That leads us to the Civic Center Mall. I regularly describe the Civic Center Mall in Scottsdale as one of the most pristinely manicured public spaces in the enter United States. I believe that it totally is and I am sure a lot of people agree.
What makes the Civic Center Mall so special?
The Phoenix New Times calls it “a tiny oasis in the urban desert surrounded by eateries, city of scottsdale facilities and replete with perennial flowers, greenery, paths for strolling, gurgling fountains, sculptural works and one of the best viewing angles of Camelback Mountain.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Now close your eyes and picture that description in your mind. Now imagine yourself strolling with a friend or loved one through the lush gardens of an oasis, with the sound of running water from a few large fountains near you. That sounds pretty awesome to me. Of course I have to drop the hint for our tour now: don't have to walk it, you can ride it on a Scottsdale Segway Tour with us. =)
The serenity is calming and memorable…
There have been many times on tour where we have seen locals sitting on blankets, having a light picnic on the perfectly trimmed grass while lazily enjoying the weather that Scottsdale is known for. Scottsdale is known for having awesome weather during the winter season; it is unique in that way. I have also seen many people just sitting at picnic tables sipping lattes while reading a book; they just look like they’re really enjoying the peaceful environment of the Civic Center Mall.
Mike Phillip’s with the City of Scottsdale calls the Civic Center one of the great people places in Scottsdale. He says that it’s for, of and by the people. You can tell that his statement does hold true when you're there. People are always out enjoying the Civic Center. It is truly a space that is for the people.
No 90 degree angles!
In the 1960’s the city of Scottsdale allowed the contract for the design of the Civic Center Mall to go to an architect by the name of Benny Gonzalez. Benny was not into 90 degree angles. Keep that in mind as you experience the mall during your visit. Take a look around for sharp 90 degree angles. You won’t find many… thanks to Benny! Scottsdale is known for it’s pioneering architectural community with famous characters like Frank Lloyd Wright. The Civic Center reflects that community and talent pool.
It is not uncommon to see a bride and groom having a photoshoot with a professional photographer at the Civic Center Mall. It's actually a common daily occurrence. Also, our tour guides have seen many young women sporting their brand new Quinceanera dresses with family during photoshoots to celebrate their 15th birthday according to Latin American tradition.
The Love Sign!
Speaking of photos, one of the bucket list Things To Do In Scottsdale is to have your photo taken in front of Robert Indiana’s famous Love Sign, which weighs a whopping 3,800 pounds. So, when you’re visiting Scottsdale, do as the locals do and take a stroll through the Civic Center Mall and soak up the serenity and enjoy the weather.