Not the caption I envisioned using to describe this trip. Scottsdale become for me a bit of an onion, I had a preconceived notion of what it was about (which was in itself off base) and as I peeled back the layers I was pleasantly surprised! I thought Scottsdale would be a lot like San Diego with a huge Mexican influence with loads of history. Turns out it is more like Calgary except 50 degrees warmer! The Old Town is only about 50 years old, the town is heavily influenced by a cowboy culture (which in this state legally slings a gun), the tourist dollars sports fans bring in are jaw dropping and just like Calgary we didn’t find one single person actually from Scottsdale! The nearby university and year round warm temperatures draw northers seeking refuge from the cold, the low houses prices and close proximity to Canada (only a 2 day drive from Calgary) draw Canadian snowbirds along with the football and baseball fans Scottsdale is a bustling little place. Scottsdale is also a great alternative to Phoenix which sits at a population of about 3 million and can feel over crowed and overwhelming. Yet the most interesting characteristic of Scottsdale is the vibrant display of public art and the artistic community that promotes art in its many forms on a weekly basis. From the moment we set foot in Scottsdale downtown we were surrounded by amazing sculptures paying homage to Scottsdale’s cowboy culture, thanks to a vibrant public art program, the city purchases and maintains public art throughout Scottsdale. Probably the most famous display is the LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana found in the Civic Centre Plaza near the Centre for the Arts and the Library. The Public Art Program began in the 1980’s and you can find out more about their work on their website: http://www.scottsdalepublicart.org/
There are also a myriad of galleries and these galleries fling their doors open every Thursday evening 7-9pm (as they have for the past 30 years) and invite tourists and local alike for the Thursday night Art Walk. From vocal performances to street art to high end work, these galleries put on their Sunday best enticing buyers and showcasing their finest talents. The Art Walk has a celebratory nature about it. A number of people have written that it is a tourist trap, honestly we had a great time. We looked at art, enjoyed vocal performances, soaked up the festivity in the air and had a margarita- how does a night get better than that? You can find out more at the official art walk site http://www.scottsdalegalleries.com/
If you love visual art you will enjoy a stroll along the streets of Scottsdale, if you are looking to buy you will find everything from the traditional to the whacky and a whole lotta in between! If you are a photographer this is a photography paradise and if you just want to sit and enjoy the sun, there really is no better place! Definitely not the same laid back vibe as found in California but there is something intriguing about Scottsdale that will lure us back for sure!