Scottsdale, Arizona is one of the prettiest cities in America.
Bold statement, sure, but I think it rings true!
The gorgeous Arizona desert surrounded by mountains makes for a stunning backdrop to this palm tree-speckled town.
There are so many Instagram and photo shoot worthy spots in and around town.
My husband, Harrison, and I visited Scottsdale after being invited by the Scott Resort to stay at their gorgeous hotel.
I had been dying to see Scottsdale anyway, so it was a perfect situation!
We booked our flights, I asked my Arizona-native friends for location recommendations, I researched on Pinterest, and came up with our itinerary.
We were only in town for the weekend, but I feel like we were able to see plenty of it with my jam-packed itinerary, which I’ll share soon!
Without further ado, here are 12 of the prettiest places in Scottsdale.
1. The Scott Resort
If you’re visiting Scottsdale, arguably the best place to stay is The Scott Resort.
With its two large resort pools, beautiful interiors, and amenities, it’s a no brainer.
The interior is mid-century modern meets jungle, you can rent a relaxing cabana by the pool, and it has amenities like bike rentals or the free shuttle (just runs off of tips) that will take you anywhere within a few miles.
Sure, we were invited by The Scott, but I’d 100% recommend it and book again out of pocket.
It’s an absolutely beautiful resort (no joke, even the bathrooms are beautiful) with great customer service.
We absolutely loved our stay and it was so easy to photograph this resort!
2. Papago Park
Papago Park is close to both the Zoo and the airport- we actually made it our last stop before heading to our flight.
It features a community fishing pond, multiple lakes, and great mountain views.
But what it is most famous for is the Hole in the Rock, which is a hike up to a hole in a rock (clever name, huh?) that offers views over the entire city.
3. Salt River- Tubing Exit
If you’re lucky, you’ll see the wild horses that graze along the Salt River in this area!
This area does require a Recreational Pass (which we didn’t know ahead of time and parked anyway- so park at your own risk!).
We visited during an off season when there isn’t tubing in the area, but if you visit over the summer, you can actually float the river!
(Also, the photo on the right was taken off the side of the road on the way to the Salt River.)
4. Phon D Sutton Recreational Area
The Salt River entrance by the Phon D Sutton Recreational Area is a really neat area to visit if you want to do a little bit of swimming!
We saw a few families swimming in the river off of the shore here, and I waded in to cool off a bit.
Other than swimming, you’ll find some stunning water holes, a beachy shore, some interesting light gray rock formations, and a view of the mountains in the distance.
Go at golden hour and you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous sunlight streaming through the trees over the mountain.
We captured the right hand photo on the side of the road after exiting the main road from Phon D Sutton.
There are great blue wildflowers (possibly bluebonnets?) that grow on the side of the road as you’re turning right to exit.
5. Lost Dutchman State Park
Lost Dutchman State Park is nestled in the Superstition Mountains.
Be prepared for tall saguaro cacti, wildflowers in the spring, and great views of the Superstitions.
Note that the trails are pretty rough– my friend who has twin babies had difficulty pushing their stroller around at this park, so keep that in mind!
There are multiple parking lots throughout this park and multiple trails to explore. It costs $8 per vehicle for a day pass (and they accept credit cards).
6. “It’s That Hot” mural & The Fashion Square
This mural is right in the heart of a very fun part of the city: the Fashion Square.
In the Fashion Square you’ll find great shopping and dining options.
There’s an iconic old ice cream shop, Sugar Bowl, right by The Fashion Square as well, which is pictured on the right.
I actually had seen it on other people’s posts for picture spots in Scottsdale, but when we walked in it didn’t seem very appealing (we were seated at a sticky, not photo-worthy booth and the store smelled like a dirty mop).
But if you visit on a week day when it’s not as crowded, I can imagine that you could get a cool shot if you’re seated in a pink booth!
7. Usery Mountain Regional Park & surrounding areas
We headed to Usery Mountain Regional Park and on the way I saw these two gorgeous spots off the side of the road.
When we got to the park, we decided we’d rather photograph the surrounding area than pay for access to the park for just a few photos.
So we turned back around and stopped off along the road for these shots!
It’s really true when they say it’s not about the destination but the journey along the way!
8. The Mission
Here are two great views that are diagonal from each other!
We got to The Mission at 8 in the morning on Sunday, but it was covered in tents for an art show!
So instead, we took the picture on the right hand side since the streets were completely empty.
We came back to The Mission after the art show ended to then get the shot on the left!
9. The Canal Club
I ordered lox toast and Harrison opted for the fruit granola and brunch burger, and we got waffles to share.
Anywhere you go in The Canal Club is photo-worthy.
For example, they’ve got a large booth in front of a gorgeous green palm print (you can see it in the back of the photo with me in it), as well as patio seating that is decked out with plants.
10. The corner of Hayden and Legacy
This location is great for a sunrise or sunset shoot!
When the wildflowers are in bloom, you can get a dreamy shot with them in the foreground.
How to get here: navigate to the intersection of Hayden and Legacy.
As you’re driving north on Hayden, there will be a left hand turn onto Legacy. Instead, pull into the little parking lot on the right.
Park and explore for great photo locations!
Also, nearby you’ll find a scenic preserve, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, so you can check out both spots while you’re in the area.
11. Diego Pops
You’ll find Diego Pops in The Fashion Square but I’m giving it its own spot on this list because of just how cute it is!
You can get your drink in a coconut, there are great neon signs on the walls, and Instagram-worthy wallpaper in certain sections of the restaurant.
Also, their food is wonderful. Nuff said.
12. monOrchid murals
These murals are technically in Phoenix, but are just a short drive away, so I figured I’d include them!
The best part of where these murals are is that this area is literally full of murals, everywhere you turn.
So if you’re in the market for a mural photo and want your choice of mural, this spot is for you.
We found these murals by navigating to monOrchid.
That’s all folks.
But this list is in no way exhaustive!
There’s the Desert Botanical Garden, the Mesa Mural, and so many more places to be photographed!
Comment your favorite photo spots below, and I’ll check them out next time I’m in Scottsdale!