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Romantic Date Ideas & Things to Do in Scottsdale AZ

Famous for its vibrant art scene, world-class golf courses, and stunning desert landscapes, Scottsdale also boasts a plethora of unique and romantic date ideas.

Whether you’re a local looking to spice up your dating game or a couple visiting for a weekend getaway, we’ve curated a list of unforgettable experiences that will make your hearts flutter in the sun-kissed city of Scottsdale, Arizona.

From leisurely walks accompanied by beautiful scenery to fun activities and delectable cuisine, you’ll experience simultaneous romance and leisure on your next trip to Scottsdale. 

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For more Scottsdale travel inspiration, check out our other Arizona content listed below:

Hot Air Balloon Ride with Rainbow Ryders

Embrace the tranquility of early mornings in scenic Scottsdale with a sunrise hot air balloon ride with Rainbow Ryders. You’ll be directed to meet up with your crew at the Rainbow Ryders Headquarters, where you’ll then take a van out to the take-off location.

Although catching the sunrise meant a very early start to our day, the view made it SO worth it! The hues of amber and gold that illuminated the landscape below were unbelievable. If you’re unsure if this experience is for you, our flight was nice and smooth, with an even smoother landing.

The place is also beautiful from the ground, but I highly suggest this one-of-a kind experience, especially if you’re looking for memorable Scottdale date ideas!

Our ride was followed by a celebratory toast and light snacks. We even received a flight certificate as a little souvenir! You’ll also have a chance to shop their gift shop back at Headquarters and be sure to tip your captain!

Explore Old Town Scottsdale AZ

Visit Old Town Scottsdale for a quick lunch or stay for the day to take advantage of the friendly vibe of the many cafes, food trucks, pubs, and unique stores that line the streets. Simply explore on your own or sign-up for a guided tour for a little extra insight into what makes Old Town Scottsdale so special.

A historic looking storefront with a tall cactus and a sign that says "Trading Post" on it.

Here are a few of the many spots we had the chance to experience for ourselves in Old Town Scottsdale that make great date ideas. However, we encourage you to explore and see what else you’ll find!

Berdena’s Coffee Shop

Begin your morning in Old Town Scottsdale with a visit to Berdena’s Coffee Shop. This charming boutique cafe specializes in artisanal coffee, with beans sourced from the finest small-batch roasteries. They also serve warm breakfast options and delightful pastries!

Everything is made in-house, like the use of real pumpkin in their seasonal Pumpkin Spice Latte, and the 3-hour process that goes into making the orange spice that is a key ingredient in their Orange Spice Latte. Their commitment to quality is evident in every cup!

Snag a sunny spot, enjoy a creamy latte, share a freshly-baked croissant with your date, and set the tone for the day ahead!

The Mercantile of Scottsdale

Housed in a beautifully restored space in the heart of Old Town, The Mercantile of Scottsdale is an indoor marketplace full of a variety of handmade items from local artisans and merchants.

Browse through their carefully curated selection of goods, from handmade jewelry at Porters to unique Southwestern style decor at Mexican Imports. Don’t miss Bischoff’s Shades of the West for authentic cowboy boots and small gifts, as well as Bischoff’s Gallery for striking local art.

Tip: Bischoff’s and the Gilbert Ortega Galleries have great photo ops out front! Porter’s also has a horse statue on their balcony that you can pose with!

Native Art Market

Immerse yourselves in the vibrant culture of the Southwest with an afternoon visit to the Native Art Market, a native-owned marketplace full of incredible work from local, Native American artists. It is actually the first and only native-owned art gallery in Scottsdale and funnels over three million dollars back into the community.

The establishment’s goal is to be a safe and affordable avenue for Native Americans to sell their artwork directly to consumers. The new storefront located in Old Town Scottsdale brings cultural awareness while offering local residents and visitors a chance to immerse themselves in Arizona’s rich Indigenous culture and art.

Each piece tells a story of tradition and craftsmanship, from intricate jewelry to stunning pottery. Engage with the artists and learn about the rich cultural heritage behind their creations. Be sure to add some of their Navajo coffees and teas to your shopping cart!

If you can, time your visit for Friday-Sunday between 11am and 5pm to catch one of their live, in-store performances, during which they provide complimentary drinks like Rose, Cabernet and more!

Luv Luxe Authentic Handbag Resale

For the fashion-forward couple, a stop at Luv Luxe Authentic Handbag Resale, is essential.

This boutique offers a treasure trove of designer handbags and accessories at unbeatable prices. Find a luxury piece to commemorate your date, or simply enjoy window shopping through their impressive collection.

Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

Filled with artistic and cultural exhibits, the Scottsdale Museum of the West pays tribute to the region’s Vaqueros, indigenous people, influential Western artists, and others who played a part in the development of the West.

Be sure to stop for photos with the iconic saguaros and vivid wildflowers out front of the museum!

Kactus Jock Rydables Tour

Add a dash of whimsy to your list of Scottsdale date ideas with a Kactus Jock Rydables Tour through Old Town Scottsdale. Hop on one of their adorable motorized animals and zip around Old Town Scottsdale with your very own tour guide.

We decided on their “Now You’ve Seen It All” tour, which is their #1 booked. We learned all about Hohokam Native Americans and ended our tour with a surprise sweet treat at Luxe Bar (read more about it below).

Some of the waterways and passages of the region date back to 300 BC, which were hand dug by the Hohokam Native Americans, the original occupants of the area between what is known now as Scottsdale and Tucson. However, mysteriously around 1460 AD, the Hohokam left without a trace.

In their place, settlers moved in, and lucky for them, the Hohokam had left behind just one clue of their existence: the same waterways and passages that supply water to this part of the Arizona valley today!

While the Egyptians built the world’s very first canals, the Hohokam created North America’s first canals! They are the reason you can bask in the beauty of the Scottsdale Waterfront on your next romantic trip to Scottsdale!

Luxe Bar

Cool off on your journey around Old Town with hand-dipped ice cream bars from Luxe Bar, which shares a retail space with Luv Luxe.

Hand-dipped ice cream bar covered in chocolate, chopped nuts, a Reese's cup, and chocolate drizzle

Scottsdale ArtWalk

The Scottsdale ArtWalk, located in the Historic Arts District of Old Town Scottsdale, is a great way to get a little taste of the city’s reputation for its arts and culture.

Since 1975, the Scottsdale Gallery Association has hosted the ArtWalk, where art galleries showcase the works of local and international artists, including live entertainment. Extend the fun by exploring the local shops, trying out new eateries, or take the romance to the next level with a horse-drawn carriage ride.

You can experience the Scottsdale ArtWalk, the longest running event of its kind, every Thursday evening from 7 to 9 p.m. 

Museum of Illusions

Sometimes museums can be a great first date idea as your just starting to get to know each other. However, if you’re looking for a fun museum date, pay a visit to the Museum of Illusions in Scottsdale.

You and your date will be mesmerized by a combination of visual perception science and illusion magic. Since their exhibits are designed to be interactive, there are sure to be some laughs exchanged, a key element of a great date. 

The museum in Scottsdale features over 40 exhibits designed to trick your senses and provide great photo opportunities. These include the Vortex Tunnel, a rotating cylinder that makes you feel like you’re spinning, the Ames Room, which distorts perception and size, and the Infinity Room, where mirrors create the illusion of endless space.

Plus, its location on the Arizona Boardwalk will make it easy to extend your date (if it’s going well) as you continue to explore this vibrant part of Scottsdale.

Canal Convergence

As the sun dips below the horizon, for 10 days in November, the Scottsdale Waterfront springs to life with free public art and activities during Canal Convergence.

This annual event is more than just an art show; it’s a celebration of creativity and innovation where water and light play together to create a symphony for the senses.

Stroll hand-in-hand along the canal, illuminated by the glow of majestic installations crafted by visionary international artists. Engage with interactive exhibits that blend art and technology in unexpected ways, and be swept away by the energy of live performances that echo the dynamism of Scottsdale’s vibrant art scene.

This adventure is more than just a tour; it’s a bold expedition. As the longest running ATV Tour operator in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area, your guide will lead you to hidden vistas and along uncharted trails that only they have access to. Our starting point was the Tonto National Forest and our amazing guides were Aiden and Don.

We recommend setting up a Uber pick-up and drop-off through Desert Dog. They will schedule a driver to pick you up from your hotel and take you to the tour starting point. After your experience, a driver will then take you back to your hotel. The cost for the driver pick-up/drop-off is roughly $170. There is no signal out in the desert so this is the best option for those not driving.

McDowell Sonoran Preserve

The Sonoran Preserve provides the perfect backdrop for couples looking for unique date ideas in Scottsdale.

Start your day by traveling up Scottsdale Road to where the 4,000-foot McDowell Mountains dominate the skyline. This vast preserve, covering more than 30,000 acres, has hundreds of miles of trails to explore, making it the largest city park in the country!

The trails vary in difficulty and terrain, so be sure to come prepared with good hiking shoes, water, sunscreen, and be aware of desert wildlife that may cross your path along the way.

There a variety of guided tours available online as well, including a sunrise or sunset guided hiking tour or even a mountain bike tour! Take the romance a little further and book one of the areas guided horseback rides.

Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art

If you and your date share a love for the arts, check out the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art on your next date night in Scottsdale! It houses a sculpture garden and five art galleries that focus on modern architecture, art, and design.

The best part? It’s affordable, with admission costing only $10 per person online ($12 at the door). Admission for anyone 18 and under is also free.

The museum also offers what they call “Pay-What-You-Wish” admission on Thursdays & 2nd Saturdays. When you reserve your online ticket well enough in advance, you can choose to pay between $0 and $15.

Simply choose the day you wish to attend where it says “Pay-What-You-Wish Day,” and select your timeslot followed by your desired admission cost. Availability will vary.

Take part in one of their public tours, each lasting 90 minutes and led by a team of trained volunteers. 

For an even more unique experience, try the Nightfall Guided Tour, a 60-minute tour that’s best enjoyed in the evening as the sun sets over the mountains. A knowledgeable guide will also take you through the outdoor areas on the property.

If you’re looking for a longer tour, try the Night Lights Tour, which takes place from February to September. It’s a two-hour adventure on Friday nights, complete with a sunset view and complimentary lemonade and cookies.

OdySea Aquarium

If you and your partner are looking for memorable date ideas in Scottsdale, OdySea Aquarium will provide just that!

As the largest aquarium in Arizona, the facility features not only a rich selection of marine life, but also animal encounters and attractions like Pangaea: Land of the Dinosaurs, a UFO Experience, and even a boardwalk!

Butterfly Wonderland

One of the nine attractions at the OdySea Aquarium, Butterfly Wonderland houses a miniature rainforest with hundreds of butterflies from all over the world inside their Butterfly Emergence Gallery.

With so many interesting things to see and learn, visiting Butterfly Wonderland is an exciting way to start an all-day date in Scottsdale.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

We’ve been to our fair share of train museums, but the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park takes the cake! 

Aside from the Scottsdale Railroad Museum, you can ride on a model railroad, a vintage carousel, and on first weekend of the month (Oct – May), you can ride through the park’s on-site desert arboretum, admire historic train cars that date as far back as the 1920s, wander through 10,000 square feet of miniature trains, and so much more!

The Summer Concert Series is a seasonal highlight, including live music by local artists on an outdoor stage. If you are thinking of catching one of their shows on your visit to Scottsdale, keep an eye on the park’s website.

Plus, with its proximity to downtown, you can easily add it to your list of date night ideas in Scottsdale.

Taliesin West

You’ll want to move in after you experience this one-of-a-kind home in the Sonoran Desert. Taliesin West, famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter residence in the McDowell Mountains, is a breathtaking piece of art you have to see in person.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

As the city’s top retail center, Scottsdale Fashion Square is known for its high-end boutiques, specialty shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Spend quality time with your partner on a romantic stroll through the posh district and shop (or just admire) the many unique and up-scale department stores before grabbing a meal or a coffee/cocktail at one of their on-site restaurants.

Papago Park

Papago Park, just south of Scottsdale, is the perfect place for a fun and simple date idea! There is so much to do on-site and nearby!

You can start your day at the Phoenix Zoo, home to more than 1,200 animals and unique experiences like riding camels or feeding giraffes. Tack on the Desert Botanical Garden while you’re at it, or save it for another day.

Papago Park offers hiking (including the popular Hole-in-the-Rock Trail, especially during golden hour), fishing, and golfing. Witness the breathtaking transformation of the desert sky into a magnificent canvas as the sun sets. 

Sur La Table

If you’re looking for cute, unique date ideas in Scottsdale, Sur La Table offers cooking classes for couples to both improve their culinary skills and try something new together.

You can choose from several cooking class workshops like sushi-making, multi-course classes, knife skills, and more! Even better, you can take what you learned and plan for a second Scottsdale date night where you try it together at home!

Desert Dog Offroad Adventures

Unleash your adventurous spirit with one of Desert Dog Offroad Adventure’s guided tours through the picturesque Sonoran Desert.

Take the wheel of an ATV or UTV and kick up clouds of dust as you conquer the challenging terrain. You can also book one of their private Jeep/Bronco tours, sit back, and let your guide/driver do all the work!

A red and a blue dune buggy parked in the middle of the desert with cacti and a hill in the background

Romantic Places to Eat in Scottsdale AZ

Francine Restaurant

Francine Restaurant, located in the luxury wing of Scottsdale Fashion Square, exudes the charm of le midi, or the south of France, which is the homeland of its creator, acclaimed restaurateur Laurent Halasz. 

Patrons can expect a menu filled with modern French food and Mediterranean dishes, served in a beautifully-designed space that mirrors the aesthetic of the French Riviera.

The dishes blend exquisite flavors and textures, with subtle smokiness in the grilled octopus and a new spin on the classic Salad Niçoise with seared ahi tuna.

Don’t forget to try the Croquetas de Jamon Iberico – made to honor the traditional Spanish appetizer, but with an added gourmet flair.

Due to Francine’s popularity, make sure to plan ahead and make a reservation.

For more of our favorite romantic places to eat in Scottsdale, check out our complete list here!

Romantic Places to Stay in Scottsdale AZ

Hotel Valley Ho

Escape the mundane and step into the extraordinary at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. Experience a perfect blend of mid-century charm and modern luxury, enjoyed by several Hollywood celebs, nestled in the heart of Arizona.

Delight in their top-notch service, chic rooms, and refreshing pool area, as well as a variety of menu offerings at their on-site restaurant Zuzu.

Want to know more? Discover the unique allure of Hotel Valley Ho in our full review. It’s more than just a stay, it’s a timeless experience!