9 Reasons to Visit Scottsdale in the Winter

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Scottsdale in Winter
You can lounge poolside during Winter in Scottsdale

If you are like me living on the East Coast, once November hits I am always looking for an escape to warm weather! Many people flock south, but have you ever considered a winter getaway to Scottsdale?

After my recent visit to Scottsdale Arizona, I can tell you it’s literally the best place to visit during the winter months. 

The perfect weather, plenty of outdoor activities, shopping, and many *fabulous* restaurant options makes Scottsdale a must-visit during the winter. Plus every corner is filled with Christmas Lights & Holiday decor!

Below are the top 9 reasons to visit Scottsdale During the Winter

And P.S. you won’t need to bring your winter parka! #Winning

Contains Affiliate Links. Post is in partnership with Experience Scottsdale.


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Scottsdale in the Winter

Scottsdale Photo Spots

1. Scottsdale Weather

First things first, one of the best reasons to visit Scottsdale during the winter is for the weather! I don’t know about you, but the perfect temperature is a comfortable warm with low humidity- which is exactly the temperatures in Scottsdale. 

The average high for Scottsdale in December & January is in the mid-70s, making it comfortable to do all your favorite outdoor activities. 

And because Scottsdale is in the desert, it does chill down in the morning and night- so packing a light jacket is a smart idea!

So for any of you looking for a place to visit with perfect weather, your answer is Scottsdale!


The average temperature in Scottsdale Arizona

So in general the weather will feel like crip mornings and evenings, and the perfect warm in afternoons. 

If you are used to freezing cold winters like me, this weather is great for some sunbathing (but the locals will disagree- it’s a bit chilly for what they are used to in the summer) 

w hotel scottsdale

What to Pack for Scottsdale Arizona in the Winter:

My biggest tip for visiting Scottsdale in the winter is packing layers! This way you can take off layers and the temperature warms up during the day! 

I wore long pants & a sweatshirt/long sleeve in the morning with a light jacket. And during the day I changed into a dress/ shorts & top. 

  • Light Jacket
  • Long Pants
  • Sweatshirt 
  • Day outfits: dresses, shorts & tops (if you get warm easily) 
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat


2. Scottsdale Holiday Decor

Winter in Scottsdale
Photo courtesy of Jenna McKone for Experience Scottsdale.

It may not feel like winter, with the awesome Scottsdale weather, but it will sure look like winter with all of the amazing holiday decor! 

Scottsdale does not hold back when it comes to adding lights, trees, wreaths- you name it, throughout Old Town Scottsdale. 

Best Places to see the Holiday Decor: 

  • All around Old Town Scottsdale
  • Old Town Scottsdale Christmas Tree
  • Coach House


3. Scottsdazzle

Winter in Scottsdale
Courtesy of Experience Scottsdale

Scottsdale is a month’s long festival that incorporates holiday-themed activities to get you in the holiday spirit! If you are visiting Scottsdale in December, definitely take a look at the events taking place during your visit. 

Some Scottsdazzle Events include: 

  • Letters to Santa
  • Whiskey Tasting
  • Flower Workshops
  • Scottsdale Light Strolls
  • Painting Parties
  • Sparkle & Spin Bicycle rides

Some special events have an extra charge to participate in. Check out the full calendar of events


4. Shopping in Scottsdale

Fashion Square Scottsdale

If you love shopping, Scottsdale has plenty of options from small boutiques, outdoor shopping centers, and interior malls to choose from. You can get some items off your Christmas shopping or buy something for yourself! 

Here are the places you’ll want to check out for some excellent shopping:

Fashion Square

Fashion Square is a premium shopping center with over 220 stores that include favorite staples and luxury stores. Plus, during the holiday season, Fashion Square is decked out with Christmas Lights, and Santa!

Check to see a full list of stores, restaurants, and activities.  

Old Town Scottsdale

Throughout the Old Town, expect to find unique boutiques ranging from art galleries, home decor, fashion boutiques, antiques, and more. These boutiques are scattered throughout the entire Old Town, so you won’t have trouble finding a really unique store.

Check to see a full list of shopping options

Kierland Commons

Located north of Old Town Scottsdale is Kierland Commons which is an outdoor shopping center home to sophisticated and unique shopping. You can find shops like Anthropologie, Crate & Barrel, plus dining Postino Wine Cafe, and The Mission. 


Courtesy of Experience Scottsdale


5. Ice Skating at Winter Wonderland

The great thing about the Scottsdale weather is enjoying iconic winter activities- without being cold! A skate at Winter Wonderland Ice Rink is a must to get into the holiday spirit. 

This outdoor rink is in the center of town, making it easy to get to. 

Open: Enjoy skating at Winter Wonderland until January 2nd.

Tickets: $10 per 1-hour skate session (includes skate rental) 


6. Las Noches De Illuminares 

Winter in Scottsdale
Courtesy of Experience Scottsdale

 If you like viewing botanical gardens during your travels, a visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens should be added to your list! 

What’s special about Scottsdale during winter is this botanical garden turns into Las Noches De Illuinares. The garden glows with more than 8,000 hand-lit luminaires & thousands of lights. 

Plus you’ll get into the holiday spirit with live entertainment, and favorite warm drinks like hot cocoa and mulled cider. 

Tickets & Hours: advance tickets are required to visit. Find availability & tickets here


7. Scottsdale Outdoor Activities

Again, because of the awesome Scottsdale weather, you can enjoy plenty more activities including epic hot air balloon rides, exploring different hiking trails, or even horseback riding. 

Hot Air Balloon Ride 

rainbow ryders

rainbow ryders

A trip to Scottsdale Arizona is not complete until you do a hot air balloon ride. Rainbow Ryders is the top hot air balloon ride company in Scottsdale to have this epic experience. 

You’ll have a Birdseye view of the stunning Arizona landscape during sunrise. Not only will you enjoy the views, but your pilot will also point out unique facts about ballooning, Arizona, and the surrounding area. 

I 100% recommend this bucket list tour. Plus, once you land you celebrate with a champagne toast- just like tradition!

And did you know the best time to balloon is during the winter months? Because of the temperate weather, you’ll have near-perfect flying conditions with little to no wind.

Find availability with Rainbow Ryders.



Another favorite outdoor activity you can do during the winter months is taking a hike. You won’t melt in the sun during a hike in the wintertime- even if you go during the afternoon.

There are numerous amounts of trails you can explore. Some are more known than others, but all will have gorgeous views.

Here are some popular hikes in the area: 

  • Gateway Loop Trail: 4.4-mile loop trail.
  • Pinnacle Peak Trail: 4 miles out & back trail


Horseback Riding

horseback riding scottsdale

Get your inner cowgirl/ cowboy on at Mac Donald’s Ranch. This ranch is home to over 140 horses with guided horseback riding tours. 

On the tour you make your way through the Sonoran desert horseback, taking in all the different kinds of cacti for a truly unique experience. 

Advance reservations are required, learn more here


8. Dining Al Fresco 

One of the things I loved about Scottsdale is dining Al Fresco! The majority of restaurants have outdoor seating options in beautiful courtyards or sidewalks. And because of the warm weather during the day, you’ll definitely want to request a table outside. 

And even if the temperature drops at night, you’ll find space heaters and fireplaces at many restaurants for a cozy vibe! 


9. Fewer Crowds & Lower Rates

Scottsdale in Winter
Desert Botanical Gardens

And finally, you can do all of the actives above with fewer crowds & lower rates-Sounds like a win-win! 


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