A Local’s Guide to Scottsdale’s Best Kept Secrets


Discover Scottsdale’s Hidden Treasures

In the heart of Arizona lies Scottsdale, a city that is a fusion of southwestern tradition and modern luxury. Known for its upscale resorts, championship golf courses, and vibrant nightlife, Scottsdale is a popular tourist destination. However, this city is more than meets the eye. There are hidden gems tucked away in Scottsdale that offer a unique experience that goes beyond the usual and familiar.

Scottsdale: A Food Lover’s Paradise

The culinary scene in Scottsdale is diverse and exciting, with a mix of upscale restaurants, charming bistros, and hidden eateries. Venture beyond the popular tourist-friendly spots and you’ll discover local favorites offering authentic experiences that are often missed by visitors.

The Mission is one such place. Nestled in Old Town Scottsdale, this culinary gem serves Latin cuisine with a modern twist. Their pork shoulder tacos, made with slow-cooked pork and served with fresh pineapple and tomatillo salsa, are a crowd favorite. Another must-try is their table-side guacamole, prepared with fresh avocados, cilantro, and jalapenos.

For a taste of locally-sourced, farm-to-table cuisine, head to FnB Restaurant. This award-winning eatery is loved by locals for its innovative dishes made with Arizona-grown ingredients. The menu changes with the seasons, but their signature dish, the braised leeks with mozzarella and mustard bread crumbs, is a constant and a must-try.

Atlas Bistro, a BYOB restaurant, is another hidden gem. This eatery offers a unique dining experience with their chef’s tasting menu that changes daily, depending on the freshest ingredients available.

Check out the Eat in Scottsdale page for more culinary secrets.

Local Eateries What to Try
The Mission Pork Shoulder Tacos
FnB Restaurant Braised Leeks
Atlas Bistro Chef’s Tasting Menu

Explore Scottsdale’s Natural Beauty

Scottsdale’s natural beauty is not just confined to its well-manicured golf courses. The city is home to numerous hiking trails and nature paths that offer solitude, stunning vistas, and an opportunity to explore Arizona’s unique flora and fauna.

One such hidden gem is the Lost Dog Wash Trail. This moderately difficult trail is part of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and offers beautiful views of the Sonoran Desert. The trail is less crowded than other popular hiking spots, making it an ideal place for those seeking peace and solitude.

For a more adventurous outdoor experience, try Hot Air Ballooning. This off-the-beaten-path adventure offers a unique perspective of Scottsdale’s stunning landscapes. Soaring above the Sonoran Desert during sunrise is an unforgettable experience.

Discover more hidden trails and outdoor adventures at the Play in Scottsdale page.

Immerse in Scottsdale’s Vibrant Art Scene

Scottsdale’s art scene is vibrant and eclectic, extending beyond the famous Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The city is home to local art galleries, studios, and cultural centers that offer a glimpse into its artistic soul.

The Cattle Track Arts Compound is one such hidden gem. This historic artist enclave is home to painters, blacksmiths, printmakers, and other creatives. Here you can explore their studios, see them at work, and even purchase unique art pieces.

Scottsdale’s ArtWalk is a weekly event that invites art lovers to explore the city’s art district. This event, held every Thursday evening, features art galleries, live music, and artist demonstrations.

Find more local art spots in the History of Scottsdale section.

Discover Unique Attractions in Scottsdale

Scottsdale is full of unique attractions that offer a different perspective of the city. One such place is the Butterfly Wonderland, an indoor rainforest habitat housing thousands of butterflies from around the world. This magical experience is often overlooked by tourists, making it one of Scottsdale’s best-kept secrets.

Another hidden gem is the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM). This museum houses a collection of over 15,000 musical instruments from around the world and offers guests a chance to hear, see, and even play some of them.

For more unique attractions, visit the Stay in Scottsdale page.

Experience Scottsdale’s Local Events and Festivals

Scottsdale is home to several events and festivals that truly capture the city’s spirit. The Scottsdale Culinary Festival is a week-long celebration of food and drink that showcases the city’s culinary prowess. This event features cooking demonstrations, gourmet tastings, and live music, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Another local favorite is the Scottsdale Art Festival, which features artworks from hundreds of artists across the country. This event also offers interactive art activities, live music, and delicious food.

The Events in Scottsdale page keeps a comprehensive list of local events and festivals.

Scottsdale is a city of contrasts, where the old meets the new, the desert meets the city, and the known meets the unknown. Its hidden treasures offer a unique experience that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions. Whether you’re a food enthusiast, an art lover, an outdoor adventurer, or a history buff, Scottsdale has something for everyone. So why not take the road less traveled and discover the city’s best-kept secrets? With each hidden gem, you’ll uncover a piece of Scottsdale that makes this city truly special.


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