Scottsdale Arizona is the perfect winter escape. While the rest of the country is layering up, and sometimes even experiencing snow, it’s not uncommon to be chilling out in a beautiful resort poolside while looking out at the mountains all around. We loved getting to experience the warm weather and even some of the great deals and all the great things there are to do in Scottsdale AZ in the winter.
So whether you’re coming in time for all of the holiday and Christmas festivities, or are looking for a break from the cold weather in the early months of the year, check out all of the other fun things to do in Scottsdale, including:
- Best Restaurants in Scottsdale
- Romantic Date Ideas & Things to Do in Scottsdale
- How to Spend a Weekend in Scottsdale
See the Lights
Every year Scottsdale puts on Canal Convergence, a light and art show along the Scottsdale Waterfront. They have public art throughout, performances, augmented reality, and even workshops. Once the sun goes down, the city lights up for a whole new experience.
Relax in a Resort
Some people prefer spending the winter or Christmas around snow, but I’ll take the warmth. Scottsdale is know as the resort capital of the World and it’s easy to see why. So many top luxurious resorts are all in this town that set the mood for a vacation that’s full of relaxation. Each resort is unique, whether you’re looking to hang out at the pool all day, looking for a wellness getaway, looking for the best scenery, or anything else to catch your mood. With so many options, we checked out two of the hotels that each offered something unique. With over 10 pools, the Hyatt Scottsdale was the perfect place for relaxing. For the best mountain views that give you luxury and nature, check out Mountain Shadows Resort.
Get a Massage
Or enjoy in one of the many spa amenities that can be found across Scottsdale. The Hyatt Regency has an entire spa lounge. On top of your treatment, relax in their adults-only spa pool, go between the hot tub and plunge pools, and then unwind in the sauna. Especially in the winter, I love getting to enjoy all the coziness and warmth at the spa. They also have additional treatments like their salt room.
Go For a Hike
With the mountains all around, even on the chillier days of winter, you can warm up with one of the scenic hikes around the area. In fact, you can spend your whole trip just checking out all of the different hikes. Tom’s Thumb Trailhead has so many different hikes and trails with fun rock structures to check out. There’s also the McDowell Mountain Trail Loop for an incredible sunrise or sunset. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you can start at the trailhead and just take in all of the giant cacti! For a longer hike where you’re met with breathtaking views of the city below, you can hike up Camelback Mountain!
Indulge in the Great Culinary Scene
From top celebrity chefs who come down to make a home in Scottsdale, to all the photo worthy foodie items, Scottsdale has quite the culinary scene! On your list of things to do in Scottsdale, be sure to plan out your restaurants and where you want to eat because there is so much to see and foods to try. You can read our review of where to eat in Scottsdale.
See the Views From Above
One of the best ways to take in all of the scenery is by balloon! Rainbow Ryders takes you through a tour of the skies with sunrise (and in the winter – sunset) rides. Afterwards you get to celebrate with mimosas and snacks.
Visit the Zoo
The Phoenix Zoo is the largest privately owned non-profit zoo in the United States, and just as it’s fun to see the animals during the day, the zoo completely transforms on winter nights when it’s adorned in light displays and special exhibits! The Christmas exhibits are stunning.
Check Out the Christmas Lights Bar
The Coach House Bar goes all out for the holidays with Christmas lights all around! If you’re looking to get into the spirit while grabbing a drink, be sure to check this spot out!
See Thousands of Cacti
The Desert Botanical Gardens are something that are beautiful year round, so even when normal gardens start to die down for the winter, the cacti are still a sight to be seen! The gardens are filled with hundreds of endangered and rare plants, so you get to see cacti and other desert plants that you likely won’t see anywhere else. They even have a beautiful butterfly enclosure where you can see them fluttering all around.