Must-See Fall Activities Near Scottsdale
Throughout the United States, cities have their reputations. Broadway and Central Park are popular New York City attractions while the Golden Gate Bridge draws people to San Francisco. Cities like Austin and Nashville are well-known for great music and refreshing culture.
Scottsdale, a suburb of Phoenix, is typically recognized as a high-end place to be with luxurious resorts and spas, well-maintained golf courses, and ample shopping. While these are popular with both tourists and locals alike, there is a lot more to explore in Scottsdale, Arizona.
With the beautiful fall weather upon us, there is a lot to explore around town including fall events and activities. Here are some of the local-favorite events that you do not want to miss.
1. Pumpkin Picking
Going to the pumpkin patch and picking out your pumpkins seems to be the typical fall event that you wouldn’t expect to see near Scottsdale. While some are a short drive away and others are a bit farther, the weather doesn’t stop Arizona from offering a quintessential fall activity.
Throughout the year, Macdonald’s Ranch provides family fun activities and festivals, including a pumpkin patch in October. The event provides plenty of opportunities in addition to picking pumpkins. Find everything from gold-panning to hay-bale mazes, classic lawn games to treats to eat. You can spend hours hanging out and having fun.
2. Fall Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss
Scottsdale is home to quite a few fall festivals to fit every mood. They spread through the entire autumn season. If you’re a fan of the food, games, and general festivity that comes with fall festivals, you won’t be disappointed! Here are some of the favorites:
Scottsdale Fall Festival
In the middle of the month of September, you’ll find the Scottsdale Fall Festival. The 3-day affair features local crafters, ethnic and regional food vendors, and even a parade. Spectators can wander around the car show, compete in a chalk art contest, and partake in a cornhole tournament.
You’ll also have live music to enjoy on the Gazebo and children’s shows for younger visitors. Check out more information here.
Salt River Fields Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival
In October, the Spooktacula Hot Air Balloon Festival takes over Salt River Fields in Scottsdale. More than a dozen beautiful hot air balloons are on display, accompanied by live music, food trucks, and thousands of pounds of candy for trick-or-treating kids.
Activities include a costume contest, hot air balloon rides (don’t worry! You’ll stay tethered to the ground), a haunted walk, and a fireworks spectacular. This event is located right off the freeway for easy access from around the Valley, and is appropriate for all ages.
Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival
The Fine Art & Wine Festival in Carefree is another popular outdoor option in the fall. In early November, the streets are closed for pedestrian traffic to partake in an artists paradise. Find unique work from artists across the country in mediums ranging from paint to clay, metal to glass, photography to jewelry, and more.
For the wine lovers, a souvenir glass and tasting tickets will allow you to discover new blends to add to your collection at home.
3. Enjoy the Outdoors
Enjoying the fall in Scottsdale is a must, as the outdoor weather is the perfect blend of warm with cool mornings and evenings.
While most of the country is gearing up for more time spent indoors, Scottsdale residents are venturing out from a summer spent in air conditioning or the pool. Here are some outdoor adventures to try.
The nearby Pinnacle Peak offers hiking for various skill levels, including a quick 2-mile trail through the Sonoran Desert. The animal sanctuary provides plenty of opportunity to view local flora and fauna, and possible wildlife like roadrunners and javelinas.
McDowell Sonoran Preserve
This nature preserve is winding with desert trails and picnic facilities. You’ll see a wide range of cacti on the several hundred miles of interconnected trails. There are also multiple entrances. You can hike the same trail over and over again or discover a new path every time.
Cave Creek Regional Park
Located on more than 3,000 acres, the Cave Creek Regional Park is a favorite for hikers and horseback riders alike. Enjoy the picturesque views or take a guided tour through life in the late 1800’s.
4. Enjoy Scottsdale Attractions
Visiting a museum in Scottsdale is far from your traditional walk and look experience. Many of the Scottsdale area museums are known for being interactive, providing special events, and much more to engage the general public. Here are some you don’t want to miss out on.
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park
The McCormick Stillman Railroad Park in Scottsdale is a treasure to behold. The local favorite not only provides train rides and creative playgrounds for families, but also the Scottsdale Railroad Museum for history enthusiasts. You’ll discover 200 or more years of artifacts related to the railroad industry’s history.
For ticketing and more information, contact the park at (4800 312-2312.
Scottsdale Museum of the West - Western Spirit
Discover a new outlook at the West when you visit the Scottsdale Museum of the West. This Old Town Scottsdale gem provides both cultural and artistic features to feast your eyes on. Spend the day learning about the history on the western side of the United States, but don’t forget the gift shop on your way out!
While not technically a museum, this indoor rainforest and butterfly conservation exhibit provides an immersive experience with the beautiful species of butterflies found throughout the world. At Butterfly Wonderland, you may be able to see a butterfly emerge from its cocoon, learn about the Monarch butterfly migration patterns, and meet other reptiles and insects of the rainforest.
5. Go for a Ride
Discover the desert from a new perspective with these unique ride opportunities. The beautiful weather makes for the best time to really explore Arizona’s natural beauty.
Horses are a great way to explore more desert land, and MacDonald’s Ranch provides truly exceptional experiences. This family friendly activity provides group and private rides, as well as moonlit date nights, but reservations are highly recommended. Find more information about ride offerings and book your horseback ride here.
Desert Splash Adventures
See the land from a different viewpoint - the air - with Desert Splash Adventures! This high-flying activity is great for thrill-seekers who are looking for breathtaking views and aren’t afraid of the water. When you’re done, you’ll be able to explore the beautiful Old Town Scottsdale shops and restaurants.
Explore Scottsdale in Beautiful Weather
There’s a reason many people travel to Scottsdale during the fall and winter months. The beautiful weather makes for many hours spent outdoors instead of holed up due to the snow. No matter the season, Scottsdale is full of life and culture to explore.
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