Where to Stay in Scottsdale, AZ: The Ultimate Area Guide

A scenic view of a canal lined with palm trees and red flowers in Scottsdale, with a yellow building and a distant mountain in the background.

Howdy, adventurer! Welcome to one of the most eclectic suburbs of Phoenix, AZ! This ultimate guide will help you decide where to stay in Scottsdale, and I can’t wait to share everything I found!

I compared all the areas in Scottsdale, read the best travel guides, and cherrypicked the top-rated hotels around the city, so you don’t have to! I organized everything nicely according to interest and budget, so you can book your favorite place in seconds!

Old Town Scottsdale is the best place to stay for first-timers and everyone really! It’s the heart and soul of the city, it’s super walkable, and it has tons of attractions to cater to all interests!

Before we dive in, here’s an important tip: Book your stay in Scottsdale as soon as possible because hotels around central attractions sell out quickly, and the prices can be quite high regardless of the season! 

Quick Picks for Your Stay

Check out the best hotels in Old Town Scottsdale:

This handy map will help you visualize the areas of Scottsdale I’ll discuss in this post:

1. Old Town – where to stay in Scottsdale for the first time

A street view of Old Town Scottsdale featuring a "Welcome to Historic Old Town Scottsdale" sign and a cowboy statueA street view of Old Town Scottsdale featuring a

The Old Town Scottsdale is the absolute best area to stay for all types of travelers! If I was visiting Scottsdale, I’d book a hotel here and then drive to the attractions in other areas! 

Old Town Scottsdale is actually part of the broader Downtown area. But the Old Town is really an attraction in itself, and all locals recommend it as the best place for tourists. That’s why I decided to include Old Town separately from Downtown, which I named the 2nd best place to stay after Old Town.

The Old Town offers visitors a wide range of activities, from museums and art galleries to a super trendy nightlife, most of which takes place in the iconic 5th Avenue (map)! Bar hopping is also a thing here! The New York Times newspaper even named this area the desert version of “Miami’s South Beach” due to all the club and after-dark fun!

Besides all the cool shopping (Scottsdale Fashion Square, map, is the main place for it) and delicious restaurants, Old Town Scottsdale has a few historic sites, like the Old Adobe Mission (map), the city’s oldest catholic church. 

Most museums and attractions are within walking distance of each other and from the best hotels in Scottsdale. I know I’d start my visit from the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, exploring the art and history of the American West! 

You can spend a Friday night in Cave Creek’s bars (North Scottsdale) and organize a trip to the golf course on Saturday morning (Paradise Valley), but still base yourself in Old Town for convenience, proximity to attractions, and entertainment options!

Accommodation in Old Town runs out faster than any other area in Scottsdale, so remember to book your stay in advance!

Luxury hotel

This pet-friendly property is perfect for your luxurious getaway to Scottsdale, Arizona! Read a book or get some vitamin D on the loungers by the swimming pool or on the balconies. The air-conditioned rooms are super spacious, modern, and come with a lovely view! Don’t forget to pass by the spa center and enjoy some alone time!

Other options in Old Town (Downtown)


Enjoy your vacation by the outdoor swimming pool, try various on-site dining options, and relax in the family rooms


This modern hotel has a swimming pool, a bar, and a central location, so you can walk everywhere


Enjoy some relaxing time on the patio of this property that has a great style, a pool, 2 rooms, and free Wi-Fi

Things to do in Old Town (Downtown)

2. Downtown – the best place to stay for culture + shopping

Aerial view of an urban area with a busy intersection, several mid-rise buildings, parking lots, and a mountainous backdrop under a partly cloudy sky.Aerial view of an urban area with a busy intersection, several mid-rise buildings, parking lots, and a mountainous backdrop under a partly cloudy sky.

Downtown Scottsdale surrounds the Old Town (which itself is a part of Downtown, as I mentioned above). It’s a bustling and fun place to stay for art lovers, foodies, shopaholics, and everyone interested in culture.

The Downtown area is split into multiple sub-districts, each offering various things to do. The Waterfront area (map) is perfect for strolls, casual bar hopping, shopping, and just all things big-city-like! 

And then, North of Old Town Scottsdale, you’ll find Fashion Square (map), a vibrant neighborhood that is a paradise for anyone who likes to shop in high-end stores like Gucci, Versace, Prada, and such! 

Both the Waterfront and Fashion Square areas cater to business travelers, given that they’re close to meeting spaces and business-friendly hotels. 

The Entertainment District (around East Camelback Road and North Drinkwater Bd) is ideal for nightlife, with plenty of live music venues and late-night bars, while the Arts District (map) caters to artsy people, with tons of art galleries and exhibitions. 

Downtown is also the best area to stay for Spring Training since the Scottsdale Stadium (map) is located here!

Overall, it’s easy to get around in Downtown Scottsdale. Most of the areas I mentioned above are walkable and easily accessible. You can also use the well-developed bike infrastructure with bike rentals and lanes, the free trolley (check the free fixed routes here), or the usual Uber and Lyft!

Luxury hotel

Forget you’re staying in an urban city in this Scottsdale resort hotel that looks as if it’s located on a remote island! Enjoy the views of Camelback Mountain near the pool and take a breath of fresh air before you head out to see all the attractions! The resort has an on-site restaurant and modern rooms with private bathrooms.

Other accommodation options in Downtown


A family-friendly resort where guests have access to a miniature golf course and dining options


Feel at home in this cozy property that’s located near Fashion Square and has a pool and a balcony


I like the all-white style of this modern apartment where guests have access to a pool and free parking spots

Things to do in Fashion Square

  • Go shopping in the high-end stores of Fashion Square 
  • Enjoy the colorful lights show at the Wonderspaces Arizona Art Organization (map
  • Take a stroll around the local Soleri Bridge (map)
  • Go for drinks at the trendy Culinary Dropout (map
  • Visit the Fiesta Bowl Museum
  • Go for a stroll in the Waterfront area

3. North Scottsdale – what area to stay in Scottsdale, AZ, for luxury

A bronze statue of a figure with concentric circles in a landscaped plaza in ScottsdaleA bronze statue of a figure with concentric circles in a landscaped plaza in Scottsdale

Located 9 miles (14 km) away from Downtown Scottsdale, North Scottsdale is packed with things to do, especially those catering to luxury travelers and adventure seekers

I recommend this area for luxury because it’s home to the highest concentration of 5-star hotels and resorts, being 2nd only to the Camelback Mountain area to the West of Downtown!

You can explore museums, wineries, and golf courses on every corner, but also stay in the vicinity of natural sights and recreation areas such as Lake Pleasant Regional Park (map) and Pinnacle Peak (map).

Golf lovers can enjoy the iconic Gainey Ranch Golf Course (map), while the kids can enjoy horseback rides at McDowell Mountain Regional Park (map)!

The Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community, on the other side of Arizona 101 Loop, is home to two Native American tribes (Pima and Maricopa)! The 52,600 acres of land where they live are open to visitors!

There are also a few good bars and restaurants, especially in the Cave Creek neighborhood. If you’re visiting for fun and want a good night out, a Friday night at Cave Creek is a must! Think bull riding in restaurants, Steelers bars, and more!

This area is also lovely for hiking! You can hike to Pinnacle Peak (map), with stunning views at sunrise and sunset, or explore the Gateway Trailhead (map). For both places, it’s best to go early in the morning when the temperatures are still bearable!

A hiker walking along a desert trail surrounded by large boulders and cacti, with mountains in the backgroundA hiker walking along a desert trail surrounded by large boulders and cacti, with mountains in the background

If you’re looking for slightly more affordable accommodation close to the Old Town, check what’s available at North Scottsdale Road! My favorite place nearby is Vista Del Camino Park (map)! It is this super big park where you can have a picnic, and apart from admiring its natural beauty, you can also play some golf if you’re in the mood! 

North Scottsdale is also where the airport is located, making it a great place to stay for layovers! 

NOTE: You’ll find plenty of Extended Stay America lodges here (and around Phoenix), but I honestly don’t recommend them since they all have a bad rating. There are better budget options!

PRO TIP: North Scottsdale (considering everything North of Downtown Scottsdale) also encompasses Paradise Valley. For extra accommodation options, check out the hotels in the Paradise Valley section after this one! They’re all nearby. The main difference is that the ones in Paradise Valley are more secluded, but the amenities and nearby attractions are pretty much the same!

Luxury hotel

Welcome to North Scottsdale’s best 5-star resort! Four Seasons is the perfect place to get spoiled in captivating rooms with mountain views, multiple pools and restaurants on-site, and outstanding service! This resort is rated 9.8/10 for couples on Booking.com, so really, it hardly gets any better than here!

Other accommodation options in North Scottsdale


Lovely bright rooms, a swimming pool, and free parking are available at Fountain Park Hotel


A perfect place for large groups or families with a spa and pool, also marketed for long-term stays

Things to do in North Scottsdale

  • Explore the local golf courses
  • Hike to the Pinnacle Peak and other nearby natural sights
  • Have a fun night watching bull rides at Buffalo Chip Restaurant (map)
  • Tour the UNESCO-listed Taliesin West home, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Visit the best Steelers Bar in the Nation (map)
  • Check out the Penske Racing Museum

4. Paradise Valley – best area of Scottsdale to stay with kids + for golf

An aerial view of a lush golf course nestled among desert mountains and residential areas.An aerial view of a lush golf course nestled among desert mountains and residential areas.

Located 3 miles (4.8 km) North of Old Town Scottsdale, this upscale neighborhood is home to many golf courses with mountain views, tons of bicycle paths, and parks, making it the best place to stay in Scottsdale if you’re traveling with kids. The wide range of activities will keep the little ones (and you) occupied all day long!

It’s impossible to get bored in this fun neighborhood! You can spend your time on the golf courses or take the kids to play and explore old trains in McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park (map).

There are 7 man-made lakes in this area, and they all offer the visitors some pretty scenic mountain views, especially at sunset! I highly recommend renting a bike for you and the kids and exploring the whole area, maybe doing some hiking, and just enjoying the easy access to this natural beauty in Scottsdale, Arizona!

For extra activities, you can visit the attractions East of Paradise Valley, like the Butterfly Wonderland (map) interactive rainforest habitat and OdySea Aquarium, I’m sure the kids will love every minute of it!

The best way to move around this (and pretty much all other areas other than Downtown Scottsdale) is to rent a car. The Valley Metro bus system and a trolley line connect North Scottsdale to Downtown, but many travelers still find it more convenient to have their own car, especially the ones traveling with kids.

Luxury hotel

Here’s one of my favorite 4-star resorts in the city based on amenities and style! Be situated in the shadow of the glorious Camelback Mountain and enjoy 5 large pools, 4 on-site restaurants, and the day spa and salon! Plus, all past guests say the breakfast here is on another level!

Other accommodation options in Paradise Valley


Get great value for money at this 3-star hotel with a swimming pool and a gym

Things to do in Paradise Valley

  • Explore local golf clubs like the Camelback (map) or Paradise Valley Club (map)
  • Go on a hiking day trip to Cholla Trailhead Camelback Mountain (map)
  • Spend a day at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve (map)
  • Eat out in the best Brazilian Steakhouse in the city (map)
  • Take a day trip to Old Town Scottsdale or Phoenix

5. South Scottsdale – where to stay on a budget near Phoenix

A serene pond with tall palm trees and a clear blue skyA serene pond with tall palm trees and a clear blue sky

South Scottsdale encompasses the area South of Downtown Scottsdale until the South River. If you’re a budget-conscious traveler wanting to stay near Phoenix but like the attractions of Scottsdale, this is the best part of Scottsdale to stay in!

Of course, to get the best of both worlds, you need a car to get around. You can rely on public transport in South Scottsdale, but renting a car (check rates here) definitely makes things easier, given that plenty of attractions will be to the North and South from where you’re staying. 

A trip to the Desert Botanical Garden (map) is an absolute must for the fabulous sights of desert plants, cacti, and the cutest butterfly house! While you’re here, explore the rest of the expansive Papago Park (map), which is also home to the Phoenix Zoo!

Nearby you’ll also find the Arizona State University (the campus is in Tempe, just across the river), as well as plenty of restaurants, bars, and hotels along the North Scottsdale Road that actually begins here. 

For those willing to test their luck, Casino Arizona (map) is also close by, just on the other side of the Arizona 101 Loop.

As you can see, South Scottsdale offers plenty of sightseeing and entertainment opportunities! Best of all, it’s considered less expensive to find accommodation here compared to areas in the North. This being said, South Scottsdale is not a place to look for luxury hotels.

Luxury hotel

This cozy 4-star inn is the closest to luxury you can find in South Scottsdale. It has a lovely garden, a serene location, and a delicious restaurant on-site. There’s also a cute outdoor pool, free parking, and family-friendly rooms!

Other accommodation options in South Scottsdale


One of the top-rated stays in Scottsdale with a fitness center, a pool, on-site parking, and a delicious breakfast


This budget stay has a year-round swimming pool, 24-hour front desk, and free parking

Things to do in South Scottsdale

  • Explore the delicious restaurants on North Scottsdale Road 
  • Visit the Phoenix Zoo
  • Spend a day in the Desert Botanical Garden and Papago Park 
  • Get lucky in Casino Arizona
  • Take a day trip to Phoenix, Tempe, or Mesa

BONUS: 4 Best Hotels in Scottsdale with water activities

Outdoor swimming pool area with water slides, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. Surrounding the pool are palm trees and a building with balconies. Sky is clear and blue.Outdoor swimming pool area with water slides, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. Surrounding the pool are palm trees and a building with balconies. Sky is clear and blue.

Since Scottsdale is a popular spot to spend a summer vacation in the water, here is a list of the best hotels for water activities featuring lazy rivers, waterparks, and pools!

  1. The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa – a hotel with a waterpark
    You’ll want to spend at least a week here! This is one of the best resort hotels in Scottsdale, with a waterpark and a lazy river. I’m sure this will make the kids and the parents super happy! After a full day of fun under the sun, you can head to the spa center to relax and get ready for a new day of swimming and sunbathing!
  2. Holiday Inn Club – a hotel with a water slide
    If you’re looking for hotels in Scottsdale with waterslides, you’ve come to the right place! Have fun all day long, play with the little ones at the waterslides, or go swimming in one of the 4 pools. The hotel has a restaurant and offers free parking spots for its guests.
  3. JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort – a hotel with a slow river
    Scottsdale and Phoenix are well known for having some of the best hotels with slow rivers, golf courses and lots of pools! They sure know how to make one relax! So buckle up and get ready for a few days of sunbathing near the pools, playing golf and eating at one of their 5 restaurants!
  4. Scottsdale Camelback Resort – a hotel with a jacuzzi in the room
    Planning a romantic getaway to Scottsdale? Well, nothing says a romantic holiday like a hotel with a jacuzzi in the room. Spend a lovely night in the room of this amazing resort that’s located at the base of the Camelback Mountain and enjoy the jacuzzi. During the day you can take up tennis lessons or play some golf. If you ask me, this is the perfect place to stay in Scottsdale for couples!

FAQs about where to stay in Scottsdale, Arizona

A fountain with horse sculptures surrounded by palm trees and buildings in a sunny plaza in ScottsdaleA fountain with horse sculptures surrounded by palm trees and buildings in a sunny plaza in Scottsdale

🌆 What part of Scottsdale is best to stay?

Old Town and Downtown Scottsdale are the best areas to stay in Scottsdale, AZ! It’s where most of the tourist attractions are located!

🏙️ Is it better to stay in Downtown Phoenix or Scottsdale?

If you’re looking for an upscale place to visit, pick Scottsdale. It has some amazing resorts, top hotels like the Hotel Valley Ho, exciting nightlife, and many high-end shops. Phoenix is better if you are looking for a more urban vibe.

🤔 Is it better to stay in Scottsdale or Sedona?

The cities are super different. If you’re looking for a holiday in an urban city, then I would go to Scottsdale. But if you want to spend more time in nature and go red rock hiking, I recommend Sedona.

💕 What is the best place to stay in Scottsdale for couples?

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess & Spa is one of the best places to stay in Scottsdale if you’re traveling with your partner! The hotel offers a great deal of privacy, and you can enjoy romantic dinners at its on-site restaurant.

📅 What is the best time to visit Scottsdale?

The best time to visit Scottsdale is late September through November or March through early May. That’s when the weather will be perfect for pool time and outdoor activities.

❓ Is Downtown Scottsdale the same as Old Town?

Old Town is part of Downtown Scottsdale. Think of Old Town as a sub-area of the broader Downtown. 

🚶 What is the most walkable area of Scottsdale?

The Old Town is definitely the most walkable area of Scottsdale! It’s got a compact layout, plenty of pedestrian-friendly streets, and all of the attractions are nearby!

🚗 Do I need a car in Scottsdale?

It depends. If you stay only in the Old Town, you don’t need a car since everything is nearby. However, if you plan to visit attractions outside the Old Town, like the golf courses in the North, it’s best to rent a car in Scottsdale.

💃 Where to stay in Scottsdale for a bachelorette party?

Old Town is the best area in Scottsdale to stay for a bachelorette party! This area is perfect for girls trips since it has plenty of bars and attractions all within walking distance! Check out Femme House or the Andaz Resort for accommodation!

Final thoughts on the best area to stay in Scottsdale, AZ

An aerial view of Scottsdale with mountains, a large building complex, and roads, taken at sunset.
An aerial view of Scottsdale with mountains, a large building complex, and roads, taken at sunset.

What a fun trip! I hope this article helped you decide where to stay in Scottsdale, AZ, and which resort spa hotel to book!

I know there are many accommodation options and resorts in this article, but here are my top 2 favorite ones, both located in the Old Town:

All these resorts with pools and spa centers are super popular among all tourists who come to the city, so I would book in advance just to avoid getting all the last options or paying the extra cost for a Scottsdale resort spa hotel that I really want!

Enjoy the stunning views of Camelback Mountain and that desert climate, and leave me a comment below if you have any questions or if you just want to chat about this stunning destination!

Safe travels,


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