AZentertain: Tour Arizona

Touring around Scottsdale

By Jeff Reed

Time to think about all those tourists, in their baggy shorts with cameras dangling from their necks, visiting the galleries and shops in Scottsdale, and other points of interest throughout our Valley. 

When the tourists arrive, where do we go to get away and have a little fun?  We all love those tourists, as they do fuel our economy, buying Southwestern Art and Jewelry to take home. 

When the season arrives, I always take a day and jump into the fray.  I like the tourists who visit Scottsdale this time of year. 

Most of them arrive by airplane, rent a car and then spread their city map out on the dashboard as they make their way along Scottsdale Road.  (The tourists I never really understood are the ones who arrive in their motor homes?) 

They may dress funny, and they may have a strange concept of what cold weather really is, they bring life and excitement to the downtown Scottsdale streets.

Leave your bolo tie at home, but certainly park your car in downtown Scottsdale and blend into the tourist scene.  It can really be fun. 

Sit outside a coffee shop, sipping your favorite coffee flavored drink, (maybe even pretending you are on the streets of New York) watching the tourists glide by. 

During this season, we have trams that stop throughout Scottsdale.  The tram route includes Main Street, Fifth Avenue, a few up scale resorts. Best of all, it is free!  Jump on, take a tour of the area, meet the tourists and just enjoy what Scottsdale has to offer.

Window-shopping in the art district around Fifth Avenue will also open your eyes!  The first time I walked by some of these prestigious galleries, I assumed I would see an assortment of Southwestern Art on display.  What I discovered was every kind of art you could imagine. 

Of course, I found the cowboy sculptures, but I also was amazed at the brilliant colors, paintings, abstract art and just all around fabulous works that were prominently displayed in the window showcases of these galleries.

Nightlife for a geezer like me is a little slower than the pace set at the bars and restaurants in this area.  Young folks from throughout the valley find themselves at the upscale restaurants and bars in downtown Scottsdale every night. 

If you are more my speed, let me suggest an early dinner at one of the finer restaurants on Scottsdale Road, and then a little theater to enjoy. 

The Sagebrush Theater on 2nd Street always has a quality production going on.  The Desert Stage Theater is new, and also touts some quality performances.  The Desert Stage Theater is on Scottsdale Road close to Camelback Road.  Both theaters are wonderful.

As if that isn’t enough, on Main Street (a few blocks south of Fifth Avenue) you will find wonderful restaurants, movie theaters and a park that is bustling with excitement.  During the “season”, festivals abound at this park. 

Almost every weekend, you will find a special event being hosted at the park.  I especially enjoy a monthly festival called “Native Trails.”  Check it out; Scottsdale in the spring is quite a place to pretend you are a tourist. 

Jeff Reed is a retired Gerontologist, who has owned a private travel club for senior citizens in Arizona since 1984.  He has traveled more than 900,000 miles on escorted tours just in the State of Arizona.  You can reach him at [email protected] or leave him a voice message at 480-497-2478. His web site is

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