Explore Scottsdale via the trolley
A fun way to explore Scottsdale, Arizona, sometimes called “The West’s Most Western Town”, is to spend a day hopping on and off the free Downtown Trolley. Trolleys run every 15 minutes daily from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. On Thursdays service is extended to 9:00 pm. Downtown Scottsdale has plenty of free parking. You can park your car and explore via the trolley and your feet.
Near Old Town Scottsdale, close to the intersection of E. Main and N. Brown, sits the Scottsdale Historic Museum. The little red schoolhouse housing the museum was originally Scottsdale Grammar School, built in 1909 to handle increased enrollment in the existing wooden school. The museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Scottsdale. And, yes, it does include a replica of a one-room school circa late 1800s. Check the museum website for hours.
To the east of Old Town lies Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, 21 acres of green space, where you can rest or picnic and enjoy fountains and public art.
A few blocks west, you’ll find the Art District with gallery upon gallery offering a wide variety of fine art. Every Thursday galleries, which usually close at 6 pm, re-open from 7 to 9 pm for Scottdale’s Artwalk.
A few blocks north is 5th Avenue, the original arts and crafts area, now home to restaurants, nightclubs, and shops.
Over a thousand years ago, Hokoham Indians built a rich canal system for irrigation in what is now the Greater Phoenix Valley. The canals are still used today, managed by the Salt River Project. In 2006, the Scottsdale Waterfront Project turned the canal running through downtown into a waterfront destination with commercial, residential, and cultural amenities.
The Soleri pedestrian bridge was designed by Paolo Soleri. Two sets of pylons create a solar calendar. At each solar noon, light coming through the six inch gap between the pylons produces a shadow, the length of which varies depending on the time of year. At summer solstice, when the sun is highest in the sky, there is no shadow.
The northern-most stop of the Downtown Trolley is Fashion Square, a beautiful, upscale shopping mall. From late December through March, two additional trolleys run from Fashion Square, allowing you to explore further. The Scottsdale Day Tripper travels north along North Scottsdale Road. The Paradise Valley Resort Trolley goes into the luxury resorts west of Fashion Square.
Have you taken the Scottsdale Trolley? Do you have a favourite spot in downtown Scottsdale?