Scottsdale City Tour

scottsdale waterfront

Source: Flyer84 at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0, GFDL, GFDL or CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Scottsdale is well known for it’s great climate and great communities. The desert mountains and beautiful golf courses of Scottsdale have created some of the best communities in the country. There is a place for everyone in Scottsdale, so take our city tour and find out everything there is to know about Scottsdale.


Since its founding in 1888 by United States Army Chaplain Winfield Scott, Scottsdale has grown from a collection of cattle ranches and citrus farms into a cosmopolitan community of young up-and-comers, financially comfortable middle-agers and retirees enjoying their just rewards. The city’s resort lifestyle extends far beyond the grounds of its expansive hotels. Many housing developments feature golf courses and recreational complexes, with shopping and other amenities just a bike ride away.

Although cattle ranching in the area is long gone, vast multi-development neighborhoods, such as McCormick Ranch and Gainey Ranch still bear the names of the early newcomers, primarily wealthy Midwesterners, who amassed the land holding which they are built.

For a city in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is remarkably green. Contributing to this verdant landscape are lush, nationally acclaimed golf courses and Indian Bend Wash, the centerpiece of Scottsdale’s extensive recreational amenities. This miles long ribbon of greenbelt, which extends down the middle of the vertically drawn city, is bordered by several parks that feature bike paths, small fishing lakes and recreational complexes.

Interest in culture and the arts is especially strong in Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Center for the Arts host an eclectic mix of intimate classical and modern concerts and other live performances.

With a median age of 39, Scottsdale’s demographics reflect a significant segment of residents over age 45 (40 percent). This has helped build a burgeoning medical community that includes the western campus of the Mayo Clinic.

Because Scottsdale borders Phoenix to the west, Tempe to the south and the Salt River Pima Indian Community to the east, new commercial and residential construction continues to expand rapidly towards Scottsdale’s northern city limits. Here, the cactus studded Sonoran Desert is dominant, Harris hawks circle the blue sky and the McDowell Mountains provide a picturesque backdrop to one of the southwest most sophisticated cities.

Old Town Scottsdale

old town scottsdale

Source Dru Bloomfield Flickr

Filled with great bars, restaurants and jazz clubs, Old Town Scottsdale is the place to be seen on a any night of the week. It is a fun filled atmosphere enhanced by the old western feel of Scottsdale. Walking through the Old Town is a great experience, there’s every kind of shop imaginable. There’s art galleries, furniture stores, hair salons, restaurants, jewelry stores, clothing stores and lots more.

Old Town Scottsdale is known for it’s great art galleries. There are artists showcased from around the world. Everything from sculptures to fine painting is displayed in Old Town. This is a wonderful place to find great art, western or any other kind, for your new home. Every Thursday night in the Winter and Spring, the art galleries put together the “Scottsdale Art Walk.” Each art gallery opens its doors and showcases their artwork for all to see. Some serve wine, some don’t, but either way this is a great way to get out into the beautiful weather and see some art from world famous artists.

North Scottsdale

North Scottsdale is the newest part of Scottsdale. It’s beautiful scenery of the McDowell Mountains and the forest of Saguaro cactus’ in the area have caused many visitors to fall in love with with the area and build a home there. It is also home to some of the best master planned communities in the entire nation. Many of which revolve around country club living and golf courses.

Some of the better known communities include Grayhawk, DC Ranch, Troon, Rancho Manana, Desert Mountain, Estancia, The Boulders and lots more. These are some of the best place to live in Arizona and the housing expenses reflect that fact.

If you buy a house in North Scottsdale, be prepared for a lot of change. This is the fastest growing area in the valley and is undergoing major change with new freeways, new communities, new shopping areas and more. One major change that will benefit the area is the completion of the Loop 101 freeway in April of 2002. It will take you anywhere you want to go in the entire valley. This is only one example of change, some are good and some are bad, you just have to recognize that North Scottsdale is changing and change with it.

South Scottsdale

When there were no freeways and not nearly as many people, South Scottsdale was were everyone lived. Therefore the homes in the area are older and are more affordable. This area is nestled just east of the beautiful Papago Park Mountains. It’s a short trip to Tempe or Phoenix, so there are many college students that live in the area and commute to Arizona State University in Tempe.

This area is becoming more desirable because of it’s proximity to the Tempe Town Lake. As time passes and the community finishes rebuilding itself. There aren’t many master planned communities in the area, as they are older areas, yet there are a few areas that are newer and nice to live in.

Other than the “Miracle Mile” (Several Auto Dealerships) on McDowell Road, there aren’t many commercial aspects to South Scottsdale. Most people who live in South Scottsdale, usually commute to North Scottsdale, Tempe or Phoenix for their employment.

Master Planned Communities

The master planned communities in Scottsdale are second to none. In recent years there has been unbelievable master planned communities spring up in the North Scottsdale area. Some of the better known communities are Grayhawk, DC Ranch, Troon North, Estancia, Legend Trail, Desert Mountain along with many more.

Grayhawk has been a very successful master planned community of over 1600 acres. Forty percent (640 acres) of which will remain in it’s natural state.They have developed Grayhawk as a master planned community centered around resort living. The communities center pieces include two beautiful master golf courses, Talon and Raptor. Each are anchored by the 40,000 square foot Grayhawk Golf Clubhouse, which includes all the amenities you can ask for including restaurants, shops, separate locker rooms and more.

DC Ranch is set in the ruggedly beautiful vegetation that grows taller and lusher as the land rises towards the McDowell Mountains in Northeast Scottsdale. The master plan offers a true sense of neighborhood by creating villages that conform to the land and its natural features. Encompassing approximately 3,700 splendid acres of high Sonoran desert, each home community offers unique home and site selection choices. New homes range from approximately $300,000 to over $2 million for custom homes and home sites. Semi-custom homes start at $640,000. Custom lots of 1 acre or more start at $150,000.

Troon North is an 1800 acre master planned development in north Scottsdale. The centerpiece of the community are the two nationally recognized golf courses. The community’s natural beauty is enhanced by the championship Monument Golf Course and the new Pinnacle Course – both considered to be among the finest in the world. A magnificent 35,000 square foot clubhouse showcases the two magnificent courses. Troon North promises to be a casual, yet elegant blend of the best in Southwest living.

Nestled on the northern slope of Scottsdale’s famed landmark… Pinnacle Peak, the private community of Estancia has been sensitively planned as the Southwest’s most prestigious address. This gated community, which encompasses 640 acres of the most exquisite Sonoran high desert terrain, features 223 spectacular custom home sites and 39 beautifully designed villas. By day or by night, the views are breathtaking with distant mountains, massive boulder outcroppings, statuesque saguaro cacti, romantic western sunsets, and twinkling city lights.

Located in North Scottsdale, Legend Trail offers a spectacular recreational and residential opportunity. Fifty percent of Legend Trail’s 640 acres is devoted to open space, much of which will remain in its natural state. The custom estates and resort style homes are situated in close proximity to the par 72 championship public golf course designed by Rees Jones. Legend Trail is a beautiful treatment of golf and lifestyle with options for everyone’s enjoyment.

Desert Mountain is one of the most beautifully planned communities in all of north America. The smell of the blooming cacti and the sight of splendid sunsets combined with the five Jack Nicklaus designed golf courses will ease your mind and entice your soul. The master plan offers a design of unique villages that entails a multitude of choices; from purchasing raw land, or buying a pre built home from a quality home builder. Desert Mountain is blessed with an elevation location, looking down over the entirety of Scottsdale. From Desert Mountain you can catch amazing views of the city, breathtaking sunsets, mountain vistas surround you in every direction.

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley is known as the most upscale community in all of Arizona. It’s tucked into a valley between 3 beautiful mountains, Camelback Mountain, Squaw Peak Mountain and Mummy Mountain.

Paradise Valley was developed as a community of homes and resorts. There are no grocery stores or corner markets in the town of Paradise Valley. It is strictly a community of large homes with beautiful mountain views and seclusion from the rest of the city.

Paradise Valley is actually in an interesting position in the Valley. It borders both Scottsdale and Phoenix, and each city stakes the claim that it’s a part of their city. When Paradise Valley was being developed, it was considered to be outside of Phoenix and away from Scottsdale. In time, Paradise Valley was annexed by the city of Phoenix, so it was officially a neighborhood village in Phoenix. Yet, many of the children who live in Paradise Valley, go to Scottsdale Schools and is therefore considered to be a Scottsdale Resident. This is a legal battle that has gone back over 30 years, yet it doesn’t affect the fact that Paradise Valley is the most exclusive address to have in all of Arizona.

Scottsdale Airpark

The Scottsdale Airpark is the commercial center of Scottsdale. It’s based in North Scottsdale off of Bell Road/Frank Lloyd Right and Scottsdale Road. Many of the people who live in North Scottsdale, actually work in the Scottsdale Airpark. There are many high tech companies in the Airpark, as well as manufacturers of commercial and high tech products.

It’s called the Scottsdale Airpark because it was originally an airport out in the middle of the desert. Today there is a constant barrage of small cesna’s and executive airplanes that fly in and out of the airpark. About 20 years ago, the City of Scottsdale decided to develop the airpark into a commercial center. Much like everything Scottsdale does, there plan was successful and it is one of the busiest business areas in the state. There are actually more commuters to the Scottsdale Airpark than there are to downtown Phoenix on a daily basis.

Parks and Recreation

One of the best parts of Scottsdale is the Indian Bend Park. It runs along side of Hayden road for over 6 miles and has something for everyone. There is a public golf course, mini lakes for fisherman, a skate park for skate boarders and roller bladers, a dog park for dog lovers, baseball fields, basketball courts, sand volleyball courts, and miles and miles of sidewalks for people to ride bikes, walk their dog or just go for a stroll.

On any given day you can drive by and see people fishing or riding their bike along the side of the road. It truly is the crown jewel of Scottsdale and is one of the most rewarding aspects of living in Scottsdale.

One things for sure, if you’re looking for a job in Scottsdale, the Airpark is a great place to look.