DESTINATIONS
EXPERIENCE
DESTINATIONS
EXPERIENCE
Wondering what to do in Old Town Scottsdale? Our local guide will help you out in Sentral’s latest destination. Photo by Ethan Sees.

An Insider Guide to Old Town Scottsdale

BY MELISSA LARSEN
Old Town Scottsdale, Arizona’s walkable neighborhood just outside of Phoenix, somehow manages to be both ever-evolving and a charming snapshot of the Scottsdale of yore. From the iconic “Welcome to Old Town” cowboy sign reminding residents of its Western roots to the area’s impressive lineup of restaurants, nightlife, galleries, and shops, Old Town is a one-of-a-kind gem in the Grand Canyon State. Its newest neighbor,
Sentral Old Town
, provides the perfect jumping off point for all that Scottsdale has to offer. 
Explore Old Town Scottsdale Map

EAT LIKE AN OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE LOCAL

Wondering where to eat in Old Town Scottsdale? Below are some of our favorite spots, including the Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room. Photo by Ethan Sees.
Whether you’re craving tacos and salt-rimmed margaritas after a spring training game or seeking a special night out at one of the nation’s top fine dining destinations, there is a restaurant in Old Town Scottsdale to satisfy any appetite or occasion. Best of all? They are all close to home.

AZ/88

Since 1988, AZ/88 has been an Old Town treasure for gathering with friends to feast on elevated bar food  paired with an eclectic selection of martinis (there are 15-plus to choose from!). For a little eye candy on the side, the hot spot’s minimal aesthetic is the perfect canvas for a rotating collection of art.
az88.com
, 7353 E. Scottsdale Mall.

CAFE MONARCH

Cafe Monarch’s list of accolades reads as long as its wine menu, as it has been named among the top fine dining restaurants in the nation. This family-owned outpost dishes up a four-course prix-fixe contemporary American menu with decadent add-ons, like foie gras and caviar. The romantic patio is exceptionally beautiful, twinkling with candlelight.
cafemonarch.com
, 6939 E. 1st Ave.

DIEGO POPS

It might look like an unassuming spot right off of Scottsdale Road, but this taco-and-tequila darling is home to one of the Valley’s most talked-about dishes: brussels sprouts nachos. Pop in for happy hour from 3-6 p.m. seven days a week to get this crowd-pleaser for half off.
diegopops.com
, 4338 N. Scottsdale Rd.

FnB

From the dynamic duo of Chef Charleen Badman, a James Beard Award winner, and Beverage Director Pavle Milic, FnB shows off the freshest ingredients that the local farming community has to offer via its seasonal menu. A sweet staple guests can always find is the life-affirming butterscotch pudding.
fnbrestaurant.com
, 7125 E. 5th Ave. #31.

MERKIN VINEYARDS OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE TASTING ROOM

From fresh produce to dairy products, nearly everything that graces this tasting room menu is local. Pair an artisan board or wood-fired pizza with a glass of Merkin red or white, produced from its 110 acres of Estate Vineyards in the Verde Valley and Willcox, Arizona — even the coffee and kombucha are local. To end, a scoop of house-made mint chocolate or lemon-pomegranate gelato is in order.
merkinoldtownscottsdale.com
, 7133 E. Stetson Dr. #105.

THE MISSION

From Chef Matt Carter, one of Scottsdale’s most respected culinary figures, The Mission takes diners on a tasting tour through Spain, Mexico, Central, and South America. House-made salsas, sauces, and tortillas are just a few of the elements that make The Mission an Old Town mainstay. The cucumber-jalapeño margarita certainly helps, too.
themissionaz.com
, 3815 N. Brown Ave.

SNACK AND SIP

Brunch at Berdena’s is always a good idea. Photo by Ethan Sees.
From delicate macarons in rainbow hues to Instagram-worthy lattes and craft cocktails, it’s as easy as pie (or in this case, brioche doughnuts and boba tea) to spend a day drinking and nibbling your way through Old Town Scottsdale.

BERDENA’S

Come for a lavender latte; stay for a slice of award-winning avocado toast at the prettiest coffee shop in all of Scottsdale. Whether admiring the gorgeous design elements (like the yellow floral wall) or chatting with the attentive staff, plan on staying for a spell.
berdenas.com
, 7051 E. 5th Ave. Suite I.

CARLSON CREEK VINEYARD TASTING ROOM

Cozy up to the 20-foot distressed copper bar at this laid-back art-gallery-turned-tasting-room in Old Town, and choose from more than a dozen varietals from the Willcox-based vineyard on the rotating menu. Tastings are just $12 per person and include your choice of five wines. Now, that’s certainly something to cheers to.
carlsoncreek.com
, 4142 N. Marshall Way.

CITIZEN PUBLIC HOUSE

From time-honored tipples, like Old Fashioneds or Manhattans, to newfangled cocktails, this award-winning speakeasy offers a sip to satisfy all tastes. Though regal in looks — decked out with leather booths and dark wood accents — Citizen Public House is warm and welcoming. Tip: pop in from 4-6 p.m. for Social Hour.
citizenpublichouse.com
, 7111 E. 5th Ave.

FOURTILLFOUR

Marrying his love of coffee and classic cars, Fourtillfour owner Nico Samaras gave an old garage a serious facelift, and Fourtillfour was born. Not only does the shop offer tasty third-wave coffee, but it also hosts Cars and Coffee weekend meetups for gearheads who appreciate a good cup of joe.
fourtillfour.com
, 7105 E. 1st Ave.

RUZE CAKE HOUSE

A Valley favorite for gorgeous cakes and cupcakes for special occasions, the mother-and-daughter duo behind this artisan bakery also host a storefront for macarons, pastries, and bobas. Bonus: the rotating menu of macarons features mostly gluten-free options in flavors like prickly pear and birthday cake batter. Yum.
ruzecakehouse.com
, 7033 E. Main St. #100.

SUGAR BOWL

Sugar Bowl has been a tasty tradition since 1958, and it still oozes the back-in-the-day charm of a soda shop. Though its sandwiches and salads are delish, it’s all about the ice cream here. Share a sundae or slurp a creamy malt or old-fashioned Camelback soda at a heart-shaped table.
sugarbowlscottsdale.com
, 4005 N. Scottsdale Rd.

SWEET DEE’S BAKESHOP

The gorgeous goods that grace the pastry case at Sweet Dee’s Bakeshop range from over-the-top cupcakes and doughnuts to delicate macarons. Sweet Dee does savory just as well as sweet, serving the prettiest avo toast around — hands town — as well as tasty salads and sandwiches come lunchtime.
sweetdees.com
, 7350 E. Stetson Dr. #C101.

SHOP LOCALLY

Shopping in Scottsdale is a popular draw, from local fashion boutiques to the Old Town Scottsdale Farmer’s Market. Photo by Ethan Sees.
Scottsdale and shopping go hand in hand. Old Town, especially, is brimming with wildly cool shops for clothes, unique gifts, and tasty treasures, as well as one of the state’s top farmers markets.

ALIXANDRA BLUE

Beloved brands like Cosabella and MZ Wallace line the shelves and racks at the popular Alixandra Blue. Women of all ages and aesthetics can shop the latest accessories, clothing and gift items at an array of price points at Alixandra Blue or sister shop, Alixandra Collections.
shopalix.com
, 4235 N. Marshall Way.

CARMEN ON 5TH

Chic meets affordable at Carmen on 5th. Here, you can grab a cutie-pie present for a friend’s baby shower and pick up an on-trend dress (and a wide-brimmed hat to pair it with) for yourself to wear to said shower at the same time.
@carmenon5th on Instagram
, 7126 E. 5th Ave.

LEELA MARKET

Leela Market — with not one but two Old Town outposts — is a darling boutique with playful gifts, home decor, clothing, and accessories. Want to show off your Valley pride? Grab a wooden magnet, cropped tee, or a number of other items Leela Market carries in homage to its home state.
@leelamarket on Instagram
, 7121 E. 5th Ave., 7150 E. 5th Ave.

OLD TOWN SCOTTSDALE FARMERS MARKET

Open Saturdays from October to June, the treasured Valley farmers market features the goods of more than 100 local growers and specialty purveyors. The whole family is welcome for a morning of perusing fresh-baked breads, free-range eggs, pesticide-free produce, and more. (Well-mannered pups are invited, too!)
arizonacommunityfarmersmarkets.com
, 3806 N. Brown Ave.

SCOTTSDALE FASHION SQUARE

Scottsdale Fashion Square is known for its wall-to-wall luxury restaurants and retailers, including Nobu, Toca Madera, Bulgari, Dior, and, new to the center, Christian Louboutin. Go-to brands like the Apple Store, Harkins Theatres, and Dick’s Sporting Goods also make their home at the Scottsdale shopping fixture.
fashionsquare.com
, 7014 E. Camelback Rd.

SPHINX DATE CO. PALM & PANTRY

For 65 years, Sphinx Date Co. has been a time-honored gem, offering the most delicious local dates and edible gifts. Stop in for tins and trays brimming with Arizona-grown Medjool dates, peruse the selection of local wines and beer, and grab a cooling, creamy date shake to savor on the patio.
sphinxdateranch.com
, 3039 N. Scottsdale Rd.

VINTAGE BY MISTY

Where’s an A-lister to go for fantastic designer vintage? To Vintage by Misty, that’s where. The likes of Rihanna and Kylie Jenner consider the Old Town shop a must-stop for classic finds from Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Yves Saint Laurent…the luxe list goes on.
vintagebymisty.com
, 7046 E. 5th Ave.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE (AND BRING A FURRY FRIEND!)

If desert landscapes are calling to you, you’ll love getting out and about around Scottsdale. Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden.
Scottsdale boasts more than 330 days of sunshine per year — you read that right — and many beautiful parks, trails, and gardens for soaking it all in with your friends, whether they’re two-legged or four. (Plus, there are plenty of alfresco photo opps for capturing your goodest boy or girl.)

CHAPARAL PARK

Chaparral Park’s three-acre dog park is considered one of the Valley’s most popular, complete with play features and water fountains for Fido and Fluffy. A fishing pier, a 10-station exercise course, a lake, and basketball and volleyball courts also fill the picturesque park.
scottsdaleaz.gov
, 5401 N. Hayden Rd.

DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN

Just a short drive away from Old Town, Desert Botanical Garden with both out-of-town visitors and locals, thanks to intriguing programming throughout the year and annual passes. Here you’ll find more than 50,000 plant displays to admire over 140 acres and plenty of desert critters to peep along the way. On select Sunday mornings the complex also hosts Dog Days for pups and their people to take in the sights (and sniffs) of the garden.
dbg.org
, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy.

MCCORMICK-STILLMAN RAILROAD PARK

Especially for pups who love attention from kiddos, McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park offers 30 acres of space to roam. Though not allowed in the on-site Scottsdale Railroad Museum, lap dogs are invited to hop aboard the Paradise & Pacific Railroad for a spin with their fur mom or dad.
therailroadpark.com
, 7301 E. Indian Bend Rd.

MCDOWELL SONORAN PRESERVE

There are 30,000-plus lush acres of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to explore on foot, bike or horseback, including more than 225 miles of trails, diverse wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. For a mild to moderate pup-friendly hike, try Lost Dog Wash or Gateway trailheads.
mcdowellsonoran.org
, 7447 E. Indian School Rd. #300.

SCOTTSDALE CIVIC CENTER PARK

The expansive park is a beloved open-air event space and is currently slated to reopen in 2023 after undergoing an extensive makeover. Upon reopening, wanderers can enjoy botanical gardens, water features and, of course, the area’s famed LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana.
scottsdaleaz.gov
, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd.

SOAK UP SOME CULTURE

An inner courtyard at Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. Photo courtesy of the architect, Studio Ma, and photographer Bill Timmerman.
Whether you’re an arts and culture connoisseur or a more casual consumer, Old Town locals have world-renowned sculptures, paintings, architecture, and performance venues at their fingertips in Scottsdale.

THE MARSHALL GALLERY

Found at the center of the Main Street galleries, The Marshall Gallery has been a leader of the Old Town arts scene for two decades. The art collection (which showcases the works of more than 70 talents) might be fine, but you won’t find any art snobs here; the atmosphere is super-relaxed.
themarshallgallery.com
, 7106 E. Main St.

MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MUSEUM

If seeing instruments played by Elvis, Tito Puente, and Johnny Cash in person seems too good to be true, chances are you haven’t visited Phoenix’s Musical Instrument Museum. Guests can even get hands on with harps and drums from around the world and enjoy concerts in the MIM Music Theater.
mim.org
, 4725 E. Mayo Blvd.

SCOTTSDALE CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

From distinguished musicians to David Sedaris, elite theater troupes to Elvis Costello, this performing arts venue has hosted some of the nation’s top talents on its very stage. A star in its own right, The Store @ The Center carries unique jewelry, home decor, gifty goods and more.
scottsdaleperformingarts.org
, 7380 E. 2nd St.

SCOTTSDALE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Better known as SMoCA, the celebrated museum is a spotlight of contemporary art, design, and architecture. James Turrell’s Knight Rise, which was created for the opening of SMoCA in 1999, remains one of the Valley’s most awe-inspiring interactive art experiences.
smoca.org
, 7374 E. 2nd St.

TALIESIN WEST

Whether you’re an architecture nerd or just love a one-of-a-kind experience, Taliesin West delivers. This National Historic Landmark was Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home and desert laboratory which now hosts a slew of events and programs, like sunset happy hour and film nights.
franklloydwright.org
, 12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd.

WESTERN SPIRIT: SCOTTSDALE’S MUSEUM OF THE WEST

Through hundreds of paintings, sculptures, and ever-changing exhibits, Western Spirit tells the story of the Greater Western region and the 19 states it comprises. Visitors can tag along during three daily docent-led tours Tuesday through Sunday or take it all in via a self-guided audio tour.
westernspirit.org
, 3830 N. Marshall Way.

WONDERSPACES

This social media darling is an ever-evolving art show at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Visitors can get up close and personal with 15 immersive art installations. Do mind-blowing experiences make you parched? Fortunately, there is an on-site bar with a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.
arizona.wonderspaces.com
, 7014 E. Camelback Rd. #584. 
Explore Old Town Scottsdale Map

SOUND LIKE YOUR KIND OF PLACE? BECOME A LOCAL BY LIVING AT SENTRAL OLD TOWN.
Discover your new home at Sentral Old Town

ABOUT THE WRITER
Melissa Larsen is an Arizona-based writer and editor with 18 years of experience in print and online luxury lifestyle publications. Melissa has written about restaurants, travel, design, nightlife, fashion, fitness, beauty, nonprofits, real estate, and the Valley’s most high-profile events.

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