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Top Attractions for Families in Scottsdale

Moderate temperatures and abundant activities make Scottsdale the envy of other Southwestern family vacation destinations. Some families make the annual trip down to Spring Training to watch their favorite baseball team, while others choose to tee it up at one of 200 golf courses in the area. McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a great spot for games, rides, and live entertainment or you can plan a trip to Old Town Scottsdale to shop for a new cowboy outfit and enjoy a nice meal.


Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is Scottsdale’s only National Historic Monument, and its construction lasted from 1937 to 1959. Wright purchased the land in the foothills of McDowell Mountains and constructed the building to be his winter home. It also served as a base of operations for his group of architecture students, who were initially named the Taliesin Fellowship. Taliesin West is currently a center for learning where guests can observe Wright's unique designs, take classes, view artwork, and more. A variety of tours are available and range from a basic overview to an in-depth look at Wright’s personal art collection.


The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a 30-acre, family friendly park located in the center of Scottsdale. The park was built in 1975 to offer games, live entertainment, and rides on the Paradise & Pacific Railroad. It became one of the top attractions in Scottsdale and currently attracts more than a million people per year. Visitors will find a carousel, train rides and exhibits, a desert arboretum, playground, and more. The park is also home to the Scottsdale Railroad Museum, which contains generations of railroad history and a variety of artifacts and equipment.


Old Town Scottsdale features a collection of shops, restaurants, art galleries, and live entertainment venues located on the original site of the town of Scottsdale. There’s a shopping experience for everyone including spots for old west clothing, high-end fashion, antiques, souvenirs, and more. Restaurants cover the culinary spectrum with everything from bar food to classic Italian. Old Town Scottsdale is also a magnet for artisans, and a variety of galleries line the streets. Art enthusiasts will love the Scottsdale ArtWalk, which is held in Old Town each Sunday and features an impressive selection of artisans from the city and region.


The Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art contains a sampling of unique contemporary work from around the world. It's located in the heart of the city within the 21-acre Scottsdale Civic Center Park. Tours of the museum are free with admission and begin at 12:00 PM Tuesday through Sunday. Walking tours of the outdoor sculpture garden at Civic Center Park are also available free of charge. The museum regularly rotates exhibitions and features 9-12 annually, ranging from a collection of murals by local artist James Marshall to a collection of sculptures and paintings by elementary school children.  Don’t forget to stop by the museum shop, which sells unique jewelry, toys, and more.  


Opening in 2015 on the former site of the Loloma Transit Station, Western Spirit: Museum of the West is one of Scottsdale's newer attractions in the city’s Arts District. The museum aims to immerse visitors in the stories and lives of people who lived in the Greater Western Region, through a series of exhibits, performances, and events that cover a variety of West themed topics, One such exhibit, Heritage Hall, highlights the lives of some of the American West’s most influential people with a detailed series of photographs, records, and biographies. Live performances at the museum are perfect for all ages and include talks with authors, living history demonstrations, and more.

The Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts is one of the top performing arts venues in the Southwest, located on the grounds of Scottsdale Civic Center Park. It features a variety of music, dance, film, and theater performances from all over the planet. The center hosts more than 1,000 events annually, with more than a quarter million people in attendance, at the Virginia G. Piper Theater (853 seats), Stage 2 (137 seats), and the Scottsdale Civic Center Amphitheater (1,800 seats). Visitors will love the state-of-the-art facilities and performances that range from traditional folk music to cutting edge films.