If you are trying to become well acquainted with a new town, the best way to do so is to live like a local! Not only will you avoid the areas of town that are a little more touristy, but you will get to see a city as its most authentic self. Scottsdale is a unique destination because it’s not only a wonderful place to visit on vacation, but it’s also a fantastic place to live. Whether you are on vacation and want to try something different, or you are a local who wants to find the best secret spots, we’ve compiled our list of all the spots around town where you’ll find Scottsdale’s year-round residents.
Get Pancakes at Butters on the Weekend
Photo credit: Butters Trip Advisor
On a Saturday or Sunday morning, the line for a table is usually out the door at Butters Pancakes & Cafe. This breakfast spot offers some of the best pancakes you will find in town with a no frills eating experience. If you like decadently sweet breakfast food, you’ll love Butters signature pancakes with flavors like banana cream and Oreo s’mores. This is a very casual diner-like eating experience, and people often will come in their workout clothes after a long bike ride or workout.
Butters is also very kid-friendly, so it’s a spot where you’ll find lots of young families enjoying coffee and breakfast together. Call ahead to get added to the waitlist on weekends, otherwise you may have to wait for a while!
Hike Your Favorite Neighborhood Trail
Photo credit: Hike Bike Travel
On a nice crisp fall morning, you are most likely to find Scottsdale residents doing what they love best: hiking! The ample hiking trails are one of the biggest selling points of living in the Valley of the Sun, as you are never far away from getting a great workout on the mountain. There’s something so therapeutic about being outside, enjoying the mountain air, and getting in your steps for the day.
Whichever region of the city you are in, there’s a great hiking trail waiting for you to climb! If you are near the McDowell Mountains, try hiking Sunrise Peak. If you are in the Troon area, build your endurance on the Tom Thumb trailhead. If you are in the Paradise Valley area, give the iconic Camelback Mountain a try.
Get a Scoop of Gelato at Sweet Republic
Photo credit: Sweet Republic
Sweet Republic quickly became a Scottsdale favorite when it opened its doors back in 2008. Since then, it has been named the Valley’s best ice cream shop by the Phoenix New Times. The original location is in Scottsdale off of Shea Boulevard, but over the years they have added stores in Phoenix and Tempe as well.
The allure of Sweet Republic is that it’s a local ice cream shop that offers artisanal flavors all made with milk and cream from Arizona-based dairy farms. They make all of their own cookies, toppings, and cones from scratch without using any artificial flavors or preservatives. All of the ice cream is made in small batches, so you can expect the flavors to change seasonally, making it fun to keep coming back!
They offer flavor combinations that are unlike anything you will find at other ice cream shops, such as Basil Lime sorbet or Sweet Corn and Blue Cheese. Of course, if you are more of a traditional ice cream flavor person, they still have classics like Rocky Road and Mint Chip on their menu as well.
Catch a Movie at the Harkins Scottsdale 101 Theater
Photo credit: Travursity Travel Showcase
If you are in the mood to see a movie on the big screen, Scottsdale 101 is the best spot to go to see the latest and great blockbuster films. This theater is where you will find the most comfortable lounge chairs with stadium seating, all digital projection, and best movie screens around town. Locals love the Scottsdale 101 theater because it is in a shopping center around several restaurants, making it an ideal spot to plan dinner and a movie.
Pick up a Pizza at La Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria
Photo credit: Picky Palate
Located off of 40th Street in Phoenix, La Grande Orange Grocery & Pizzeria is a unique but magical spot. La Grande Orange is a general store that sells cute gifts and food, but it also has a pizzeria, bakery, and wine shop attached. Locals have learned that all of LGO’s food is delicious, so it is busy at all times of day. If you can’t find a parking spot in the front, head around back to their overflow parking lot.
Whether you are looking for a quick breakfast and coffee, or want a local spot to enjoy great pizza, La Grande Orange really offers it all. Their pizzeria opens at 4 pm during the week, and is available on the weekends starting at 11 am. The third section of LGO is their bakery, where you can get custom cakes made or try some of their delicious pastries. It’s a great place to grab a fresh slice of cake if you are looking for an after dinner dessert. On your way out, make sure to stop by the bakery counter to grab a fresh dozen of their signature English muffins. You’ll thank us later!
Enjoy a Visit to The Henry
Photo credit: The Henry
The Henry’s tagline is “the greatest neighborhood restaurant,” and this restaurant lives out that motto. The Henry is very centrally located off of Camelback Road, in the Arcadia area. The restaurant really offers something for everyone’s palette, and they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day.
What makes The Henry unique is that locals will drop in to stop by their coffee bar and grab one of their specialty espresso drinks on the way to work. Some might pop in for a lunch meeting with coworkers on a busy day during the week. It’s also a fun place to grab drinks with friends for happy hour. The restaurant offers a great community feeling, and you’ll even see people with their laptops working on the large upper level.
It’s also a beautiful venue to host a special event such as a bridal shower or birthday brunch.
They are very accommodating for groups planning private dining experiences, and they have five event spaces that can accommodate varying amounts of guests. Don’t be surprised to see lots of celebrations taking place when you stop by!
Order Takeout from Flo’s
Photo credit: FriendsEat
When you want good food but don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home, Flo’s Chinese & Asian Restaurant is one of the local favorite spots to order delicious Chinese takeout. They offer the option to order online or call into the store to place an order. Try their Wonton soup on a chilly day and make sure to sample their Chinese lettuce cups!
Hang out in Scottsdale Ranch Park
When you want to spend time outdoors, Scottsdale Ranch Park is the best place to go with your family. The park has an extensive tennis facility with over eighteen courts, four racquetball courts, and six sand volleyball courts, all open to the public. There are also basketball courts and several baseball fields, in addition to a large playground for children.
People will often throw outdoor picnics and birthday parties at the covered picnic ramadas, which can be reserved online. On a nice day, SRP is bustling with activity. They also host community events throughout the year like movie nights in the park.
While you might not find these spots in all of the Phoenix travel guidebooks, they are some of the places that made the locals fall in love with life in the Valley! If you get a chance to check them out, we think you will love them too.