This is the kind of place where you might be able to get away with a cowboy hat and Jimmy Choos…
1. The town’s official nickname is the “West’s Most Western Town.” Scottsdale fulfills that claim with, in the right spots, an expansive backdrop of desert and Saguaro. Looking at these parts, you can almost hear the jingle of a spur. While Scottsdale has a veneer, cowboys do make Old Town appearances, especially around the annual Parada del Sol rodeo (February 25-28). The Smithsonian-affiliated Museum of the West gathers all the pieces into a neat chronological story of the American West.
Photo by Alan Levine via Flickr
2. The desert will make you a cowboy. It’s the heartiest and craftiest that survive in the prickly hot desert. That’s pretty evident from the flora and fauna. Anyone can learn to be a cowboy, but take it slow. When going on a hike, do it early morning, not at high noon.
Photo courtesy Desert Botanical Garden
3. The golfer is the new cowboy. This is a golf town, with 41 courses traversed by so many golf carts that these tiny vehicles have a second use at night: “transportainment,” or a taxi service.
Photo by Dru Bloomfield via Flickr
4. Frank Lloyd Wright slept here. It might be argued that FLW put Scottsdale on the map. He built his home-turned-architecture-school, Taliesin West, here, which attracts 125,000 visitors per year.
5. New York’s Central Park is lam-o tam-o next to McDowell Sonoran Preserve (although crime is practically non-existent in McDowell). This is the largest urban wilderness area in the United States with over 170 miles of trails.
Photo by Claire Y. Martin via Flickr
6. Shopping is a top sport. Ready your credit cards. Downtown’s Fashion Square is one of the largest malls in the Southwest, with a Barney’s New York, Jimmy Choo, and LATHER. Then, there are all the art galleries and indie boutiques in Old Town as well as the public art, which is thankfully free.