Scottsdale has fashioned itself as an oasis in the middle of the Sonoran desert. In this upscale destination, visitors never have to choose one extreme because they can easily have both. Arid landscapes dotted with saguaro cacti and lush championship golf courses. Hikes up boulder-studded mountains and leisurely strolls through air-conditioned luxury boutiques.
Scottsdale makes leisure and relaxation a top priority, with nearly 200 golf courses, a staggering 5,500 shops, and more spas per capita than any other U.S. city. Serious golfers will find themselves in good company, playing courses that have hosted the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Tenacious shoppers can fill their bags with an only-in-Scottsdale combination of haute couture, Native American Arts and Crafts, and Southwest jewelry. And relaxation buffs find spa therapy elevated to high art with options such as caviar facials and aquatic reflexology.
With more than a hundred galleries, museums, and yearly art festivals—many featuring Native American and Southwest-inspired art—Scottsdale has made a name as an fine arts destination as well. Taliesin West and Cosanti, the homes of two famous architects, are open to visitors, and allow guests to explore homes influenced by the landscape.