City Guide of Scottsdale, AZ

Overview Tab

History: After arriving upon land in 1888, Army Chaplain Winfield Scott thought the area had serious potential with its desert location, climate, and scenery. Thus he subsequently put a down payment on 640 acres to secure the land. Scott’s purchase remains today as the heart that is Scottsdale, Arizona. The location and agricultural aspects is what originally drew people to Scottsdale. These early settlers were well-educated and had a true love for culture. Shortly after arriving the Scottsdale Public School System, Ingleside Inn, Jokake Inn was built. The construction of the Granite Reef Dam in 1908 and then the Roosevelt Dam in 1911, is what led to the sharp increase in population. From there the city grew as they provided services for the agricultural industry, then to the ranching operations. The chamber official named Scottsdale the “West’s Most Western Town.” On June 1951, the town was officially incorporated with the above as the official motto.

Location: Scottsdale, Arizona, is a city located in the eastern part of Maricopa County, which is a part of the Greater Phoenix Area. On the west hand side the city is bordered by Phoenix, to the north is the Tonto National Forest, and to the south Scottsdale is bordered by Tempe. Scottsdale is 31 miles long and 11.4 miles wide at its widest point. The New York Times has previously described downtown Scottsdale as being the “desert version of Miami South Beach.”

Commutes: Out of all the largest cities in Arizona, Scottsdale has been labeled one of three with the shortest average commute times. A large majority of these commuters opt to take transportation via car, and the remaining either work from home, carpool, or use some form of public transportation. There are a variety of different roadways, highways, and interstates available to residents depending upon location of interest. In addition, the city offers the Scottsdale Trolley System, Valley Metro Transit, Scottsdale Cab Connection, and Valley Metro Paratransit.

Culture: Scottsdale sticks true to its western roots and that is apparent in every sense of the city. Often there are events and activities based around the old West. Hence the motto “The West’s Most Western Town.” The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, Heard Museum, and Taliesin West, are just a few examples. Regarding the population, Scottsdale is diverse, thus there is a large number of churches, chapels, and temples scattered around the city. All in all, the city is one of the wealthiest and most prosperous places to live in all of Arizona.

Local Government:

City Council
The Scottsdale City Council operates on the mission statement of “Simply better service for a world-class community.” These “priorities” refer to providing support for tourism, anticipate and plan for the city’s future transportation needs, prepare and adopt the operating budget, and more.
Phone: (480) 312-3111
Address: 3939 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Email: citycouncil@ScottsdaleAz.gov

Mayor’s Office
In a city address, the Mayor of Scottsdale has clearly stated that the city intends to put a particular focus on improving the profitability of local businesses in order to foster a good economy, increase tourism, and strengthen the city as a whole. The Mayor also desires to decrease spending, cut taxes, and ensure first responders continually work with excellence.
Phone: (480) 312-2433
Address: 3939 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Email: jlane@ScottsdaleAz.gov

Chamber of Commerce
The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce desires to build a vibrant community through the practice of business leadership. The Chamber of Commerce aids regional businesses and the community as a whole through things like advocacy, economic development, and business leadership.
Phone: (480) 355-2700
Address: 7501 E McCormick Pkwy, #202-N, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Email: mstanton@scottsdalechamber.com

Schools Tab

Overview: Whether your student is interested in attending a public or private school, Scottsdale has plenty of options. The Scottsdale Unified School District and the Paradise Valley Unified School District account for all of the city’s institutions. In addition to various preschools, elementary, middle, and high schools, Scottdale also contains a large number of Colleges & Universities. A few of these being Northcentral University, Northern Arizona University, NAU at Scottsdale Community College, Arizona Christian University, University of Phoenix, and Arizona State University. The U.S. News and World Report awards schools with a state ranking if they earn a national gold, silver, or bronze medal. Arizona itself has been awarded 12 gold, 38 silver, and 70 bronze medals. Basis Scottsdale was awarded one of the twelve gold medals assigned for excellence in education, college level classes, and extracurricular activities.

School Districts: There are two public school districts located within the city boundaries. The dominating school district in Scottsdale is the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) which covers the majority of the city as well as parts of Phoenix, Tempe, and Paradise Valley. SUSD covers approximately 112 square miles of Scottsdale. The district is highly regarded as 22 of its schools have earned the highest rating possible from the State of Arizona. The Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) is the other district encompassing some of the city’s schools. PVUSD serves portions of northeast Phoenix and North Scottsdale. The district has a variety of elementary, middle, and high schools and accounts for close to 32,000 students.

Schools:

Elementary Schools
There are both public and private elementary schools in the city. North Ranch Elementary School, Basis Scottsdale Primary School, Mission Montessori Academy, and Cherokee Elementary are a few of the most highly regarded schools. Three out of the four schools start at kindergarten, with one starting at fourth grade. Serving students up to 12th grade, Basis is the most recognized out of the bunch. The U.S. News and World Report ranked it as the number one Best High School, number one Charter High School, and the third best STEM School in the United States.

Middle Schools
Again, Basis Scottsdale makes the list of the best middle schools along with Cheyenne Traditional, Great Hearts Academies – Scottsdale Prep, Desert Shadows, and Mountainside Middle School. All of which seem to be located in or around the Fountain Hills area of Scottsdale. The city’s middle schools provide students with a variety of clubs and sports activities and even teach foreign languages. Some schools are more academically rigorous than others, for example Great Hearts Academies, as they have a vested interest in preparing students for college as early as possible.

High Schools
High schools in the city span from Central Scottsdale all the way to Desert View Village. Besides the two previously mentioned schools — Basis Scottsdale and Great Heart Academies — which encompass a mix of middle and high schools, Phoenix Union Bioscience High, Mission Montessori Academy, Chaparral, and Desert Mountain High School are among the best. High Schools with higher difficulty and a preparatory basis seem to have fewer students, whereas public schools located in some of the more central areas has a larger number of students and subsequently offer a wider variety of clubs and activities.

Private Schools
Within the city boundaries of Scottsdale, there are about 40 different private institutions. These schools altogether account for around 5,232 students. The private schools vary on program emphasis with some basing their teachings on religion and others leaning towards college prep. The benefit of private schools in the area is that it averages a teacher to student ratio of 11:1, which gives students the ability to learn quickly and efficiently. However, the positives come with a steep tuition price. On average Scottsdale students pay about $17,000, give or take a couple thousand.

Housing Tab

Overview: The definition of home types is different in Arizona than anywhere else in the country. Meaning there are unique terms for housing. For example one person may market their property as a “patio” while the same person may call it a “townhouse.” With this being said, Scottsdale has a wide variety of housing types. A bulk of all homes are single-family residences. The city also has, in order of greater to lesser popularity, a mix of condominiums, townhomes, manufactured/modular homes, patio homes, twin/gemini homes, and lofts. Unique to Arizona are patio homes. This housing type references one-story buildings that share at least one wall with another, but may have a backyard of their own. Scottsdale properties are the highest in all of Arizona. In fact, the cost of living here is greater than what the average person pays while living in the United States.

Housing:

Single Family Homes
There are three main neighborhoods of Scottsdale: North Scottsdale, South Scottsdale, and Pinnacle Peak. For single family residences Pinnacle Peak is generally home to the most expensive properties, with North and then South Scottsdale following behind. For the homeownership rate, about 65% of homes are retained by owners, with 34% retained by renters, and the remaining percentage of homes vacant. Home sizes are most often two to four bedrooms and are built somewhere between the years of 1970 to 1999.

Apartments
There are both affordable and luxury apartments available in Scottsdale, Arizona. Most, if not all of the listings hug the left hand side of the city near the Paradise Valley, Basking, and Tempe areas. However there is a limited availability in Cave Creek and Fountain Hills as well. Some of the highest-rated neighborhoods include Ten Wine Lofts, The Standard, Optima Sonoran Village, The Palladium at Scottsdale, and Broadstone Waterfront. Utilities are included in the price of rent for some apartments while not in others. Depending upon the apartment complex, valet trash, pool, gym access, etc., may be available.

High Rises
High rises in Scottsdale are few and far between. However, the High rises that the city does have come equipped with a magnificent unobstructed view of the valley. In addition, secure parking, concierge services, and amenities are usually included. Prices for high rises when compared to apartments or homes are sharply increased as you are paying for the view and the five-star privileges that go along with it. Optima Camelview Village, The Mark, Landmark Condominiums, Envy, and Scottsdale Shadows are a few of the available properties.

New Construction
There are many new construction properties available. However there are much fewer listings as most housing was built somewhere between 1970 and 1999. The majority of all new construction are either homes or condominiums. New homes in Scottsdale are located in well-rounded communities with trails, amenities, playgrounds, parks, and more. Another option, if a project sounds enticing, is to buy a lot and hire a home builder to build from the ground up. With this option you can truly customize the home and make it your own.

Mountain Views
If looking out your back porch to see the serene mountain tops is something so desired, you’re in luck. Approximately 55% of all Scottsdale housing has some sort of mountain view. However, some neighborhoods obviously give residents a better look than others do. Out of all the areas of Scottsdale, the Troon area in the northern part of the city provides the most unobstructed view of Pinnacle Peak.

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Overview:

Things to Do Tab

Overview: Both indoor and outdoor people will love what Scottsdale has to offer. Adrenaline junkies with a taste for adventure will surely enjoy some of the city’s ATV and off-road tours where you can speed through the rocky terrain. The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center is another one of Scottsdale’s more popular options. The non-profit organization, which specializes in caring for wild mammals and then returning them to the wild, offers guided tours. For the art aficionados there is Mesa Arts Center. It is an award-winning venue, not to mention one of Arizona’s largest arts center. Beyond that what is mentioned, the Desert Botanical Garden, Taliesin West, McDowell Sonoran Preserve, and Pinnacle Park are other local treasures. Scottsdale also has world-class shopping, theaters, museums, aquariums, parks, restaurants, raceways, and much, much more.

Retail & Entertainment

Parks & Recreation
Scottsdale has some of the most beautiful and scenic views in all of Arizona. Places like Pinnacle Peak Park, Tom’s thumb trail, and Piestewa Peak will let you get up close and personal with nature while getting a little exercise along the way. There are also dog parks; Chaparral Dog Park, aquariums, community pools, and even rose gardens.

Shopping
Scottsdale is an upscale city and the shopping options in the city reflects that. All year round, Kierland Commons and the Scottsdale Fashion Square are booming. If you need to pick up a new painting or just check out artists in the area, the Main Street Arts District is the place to be.

Art & Culture
Performing arts, theater, galleries? Scottsdale has it. Look at the colorful paintings and picturesque murals of Scottsdale Summer Art Walls. Watch a show at ASU Gammage or the Scottsdale Center of Performing arts. When your finished you can even take a stroll around the cultural Heard Museum.

Night Life
End the night listening to the rock ‘n roll of Scottsdale’s Rockbar Inc. Or opt for a more relaxed night at the Wasted Grain. The Mint, Maya Day and Nightclub, Kazimierz World Wine Bar, and The Beverly are just a smidgen of the city’s most vibrant and popular nightlife destinations.

Restaurants
According to the Phoenix New Times, Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, Citizen Public House, Sel, Virtu Honest Craft, and FnB are Scottsdale’s finest restaurants. These range from high-end mediterranean cuisine, to up and coming brunch spots, and upscale gastro pubs.

Neighborhoods Tab

Overview: Scottsdale has about seven main neighborhoods and suburbs scattered around the city. Each one offers visitors a little bit of something unique. Visit Gainey Ranch for a taste of the high life or Old Town for a look into Scottsdale’s history. The seven neighborhoods include: (1) South Scottsdale, the area situated between Tempe and North Scottsdale. (2) Old Town, whose name truly speaks for itself. It is the most historic and cultural neighborhood of the city. (3) Paradise Valley, a neighborhood whose dazzling homes seem to attract the richest and most famous home buyers. (4) North Scottsdale, one of the poshest neighborhoods. (5) McCormick Ranch, an upscale community with a ton of amenities. (6) Cave Creek, where the Old West roots shine through, and finally, (7) Gainey Ranch. Home to glitzy golf clubs and the best resorts and spas money can buy.

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