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If you like to walk the path untraveled and prefer to explore the hidden gems in Scottsdale that only those who live in the area know about, your Scottsdale getaway will be unlike any the masses may experience, especially because you chose Paseo Homes for your vacation accommodations. We like providing our guests with the most comfortable and luxurious homes in the state, but more than that, we like to help you to enjoy the vacation experiences that are near and dear to your heart. This ultimate guide to hidden gems in Scottsdale, the lesser known spots, the events that Scottsdale residents and very few travelers know about, will help make your Scottsdale getaway one that you will remember forever and wish never had to end.

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Secret Savings

We watched the Academy Awards the other day, cheering on the winners and booing when our favorites didn’t win, but we mostly watched to see what people were wearing, taking in the classic black evening gowns, the bright pops of color, and of course, the wackiest evening wear worn by those who really know how to stand out in a crowd of rich and beautiful people. And we sighed to ourselves, knowing we could never afford something as nice as what we see on the screen. Or could we? Scottsdale is a haven for sports stars, movie stars, and real estate moguls, all attending their own versions of the Oscars, and when the night comes to an end, their evening gowns often make their way to one of our favorite vintage stores, Fashion by Robert Black. Located at 7144 E 1st Avenue and open by appointment only Wednesday through Saturday from 10AM until 2PM, their vintage wear often includes couture gowns and everyday wear with designer names. You’ll find Bob Mackie, Galina, and so much more, including vintage fashions from the Roaring 20s that will stun you with their classic style and longevity, and because they are pre-owned (but still look like new), they will cost you less than if you purchased them new off the showroom floor.

Scottsdale public art

Free Art, Less Crowds

Scottsdale is known for its creative vibe, and its streets are crammed with art museums and galleries, but have you heard about our Scottsdale Public Art Walking Tour? This self-guided tour lasts about 60 minutes—longer if you want to examine each art installation with a little more intensity and perhaps take a few selfies for your Insta page—and promises to become yet another highlight in your Scottsdale adventures. Discover what it feels like to stand inside a kaleidoscope at the “The Doors” created with glass panels and an incredible amount of imagination. Delight at the play of light and metal at Soleri Bridge & Plaza, a bridge that crosses the Scottsdale waterfront and serves as a solar calendar as well. And explore the “skyspace” installation while seated within the Knight Rise art piece, best experienced at sunrise and sunset. All of these and more will fascinate and charm while giving visitors a glimpse of the creative side of Scottsdale. The map for the Art Walking Tour can be found here.

Great Escapes

Many people do not realize that Scottsdale was the location of a camp built to house prisoners of war during World War II. Located in Camp Papago Park, 625 N Galvin Parkway, on a chilly December night in 1943, 25 German soldiers tunneled their way out of the camp, hoping to make it to the Mexican border and freedom. They did escape and spent up to a few weeks wandering the desert, only to be recaptured with no loss of life. Today, the spot where they came up is marked with a marker in the ground, and although we think this is a pretty cool story, very few people who use the path where it is located for jogging and biking seem to notice.

A Taste of the Area

The epicurean landscape of Scottsdale is an international one, featuring foods of many nationalities, but perhaps the one that best represents the history and the people is a lowkey open air spot called the Stand. Located at 4020 N Alma School Road, the restaurant is definitely nothing to look at, built of arrow root and cactus ribs and often featuring a bright blue plastic tarp as a roof, it is the food that draws us in and has refused to release its hold on us since opening day about 7 or 8 years ago. Frybread is the centerpiece of its menu, a meal that has complicated beginnings, said to have been created from necessity during the Long Walk in 1864 when the US Government forced the Navajo out of the state into New Mexico. Made from a simple dough, it is the toppings that make this dish shine, and can include sweet toppings such as sugar or honey and savory ones with red or green chili. Closed Sundays, its hours are from noon until 6PM; don’t forget to make a stop at the ATM because they only accept cash at this divine roadside stand.

A Little Green in the Desert

What you might not expect from a desert vacation is an oasis of green at its center. The Scottsdale Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt is our town’s version of Central Park, offering 11 miles of bicycle paths, grassy meadows, pools, parks, and golf courses, encouraging visitors and residents to get outside and play. Its borders begin in the center of Scottsdale, ending at Tempe Town Lake, and although Valley dwellers love and adore this splash of green, it is a secret not often shared with travelers, but that’s ok; we consider you friends worthy of sharing the secret with! The biggest secret of the greenbelt is that it is actually a flood prevention tool that took 20 years to plan and complete, but when you are biking, hiking, swimming, or playing a game of golf, we don’t think you will be thinking about the rains and floods, just about all the fun you are having. Pro-tip: If you want to explore all 11 miles of the park but don’t feel like using up all your energy, rent an electric bike from E-bike Tours & Rentals and let the bike do all the work!

A miniature train

Adobe Mountain Train Museum

Americans have always enjoyed a romance with the rails, even as railroad travel is slowly disappearing from the horizon, and Adobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park captures the magic of the train, providing a pleasurable experience for all who visit, even as it is located in one of our neighboring communities. Encompassing everything train over 150 acres, the park offers a train museum filled with artifacts and exhibits, model railroad displays that never fail to stun, and a miniature train ride that will thrill the miniature train enthusiasts in your family. The museum is only open on Sundays from 11-3, the model trains are open on Saturdays from 8-1, and the Live Steamers (the train ride around the park) is also open only on Sundays from 11-3.

Feeling Batty

Although the desert is more likely known for its snakes, spiders, and Gila monsters, it is also the summer home to thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats making a pit stop during their migration to Mexico, and the Phoenix Bat Cave, although not in Scottsdale, is where they like to roost. The “cave” is actually a flood control tunnel that runs through the Phoenix area, and it can be a bit difficult to find, but if you can follow these easy directions, be sure to arrive at sunset so as to enjoy the sight of the thousands of bats fly off into the horizon. Best viewed between May through October, to get to the tunnel you need to walk north west from 40th Street and Camelback on the northernmost end of the Arizona Canal Trail. Google maps may even mark the area with a notation that reads “Bat Cave Parking.”

Festivals for the Rest of Us

Sometimes the best way to truly experience an authentic “taste” of the town you are visiting is by attending one of the local festivals, and Scottsdale offers a unique selection of festivals that will add an extra element of fun to your Arizona adventures.

The Arizona Ultimate Elvis Festival, 5001 N Scottsdale Road in September

2023 was the first year this cool festival came to town, and we think it will continue to grace the town for many years to come. Officially sanctioned by Elvis Presley Enterprises, this show offers a rocking good time, and we can promise no heartbreak hotel will be in sight.

Pet-A-Palooza, 3720 N Marshall Way in November 

As you explore the patios, parks, and streets of Scottsdale, it will be easy to determine that we Arizonans REALLY love our pooches, and if you still aren’t sure, our Pet-A-Palooza festival, taking place on the day of the dog, is sure to make the point clear. Costing nothing to attend, if you are staying in one of our pet friendly escapes, your sweet fur baby is invited to participate as well, sampling treats, foods, toys, and dog accessories that will be appreciated by all. Offering food for humans as well and events and activities that will be enjoyed by both man and dog, this heartwarming festival is worth returning for year after year.

Arizona Indian Festival, Scottsdale Civic Center, Museum of the West in February

Authentic and exciting, the Arizona Indian Festival provides crafts, foods, and a variety of other indigenous activities, giving travelers a peek into life as a Native American in the Southwest. Lasting two days and costing absolutely nothing, this festival is perfect for vacation budgets of all sizes.

Two mixed drinks on a table

Hidden Gems in Food and Drink

There is a long list of restaurants and bars that make up the culinary scene of Scottsdale and below we have listed a few of our favorite off the beaten path establishments.

Killer Whale Sex Club, 922 N 6th Street in Phoenix

Don’t worry, the name of this crazy hot spot in Phoenix is more of an attention getter rather than a reflection of what happens under its roof. We promise there are some truly excellent cocktails and a really fun time waiting for all who step inside.

The House Brasserie, 6936 E Main Street in Scottsdale, Closed on Sundays

Open 5-10PM six days a week, the House Brasserie takes guests on a culinary adventure back to gentler times when service was key and meals were created with locally sourced ingredients. The cottage that holds Scottsdale’s most tasteful meals was built in 1939 and retains its historic charm today, while the chef-driven menu never hits a wrong note. Creative meals such as Iberico Pork Pluma and 28-day dry aged steaks will make your taste buds stand up and cheer. Their desserts are worth saving room for, changing daily according to the whims of the chef.

Pool patio in one of our Scottsdale vacation rentals

Book Your Scottsdale Vacation Rental Today!

Not a Secret

The ultimate hidden gem is not a secret to discerning travelers, and we are, of course, talking about our Scottsdale vacation rentals at Paseo Homes AZ. Offering all the comforts of home combined with the simple luxuries that we feel our guests deserve, every home is designed to be an integral part of your vacation experience. Explore enchanted gardens in large fenced-in backyards, binge-watch classic movies and true crime channels on state-of-the-art televisions, and sleep deep every night of your stay when you retreat to our tranquil bedrooms. Luxuries abound in these spaces, including soaking tubs in en suite baths, crystal-clear pools in the backyards, and gourmet kitchens filled with high-end appliances that will bring the joy back to your cooking experiences. Contact us to reserve your favorite Scottsdale vacation rental today and enjoy a getaway you will never forget.