The Best Fall Activities in Scottsdale

Posted on 11/10/2021

Many cities across the United States seem to be known for something. New York City has Broadway, Central Park, and the Statue of Liberty. San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge and cable cars. Austin has incredible music and a thriving cultural scene.

Scottsdale, just outside of Phoenix, is often known as an upscale destination. Sure it’s home to high-end resorts and sprawling, gorgeous golf courses, but the city has so much more to offer. There’s plenty to do year-round here, especially in the fall season.

From fall activities in Scottsdale to getting lost in nature, there’s something for everyone. If you’re looking for things to do in Scottsdale as the weather cools, we’ve got you covered. No matter what you enjoy, Scottsdale has a little something for everyone.

‌1. Pick Pumpkins

‌What’s fall without some good, old-fashioned pumpkin picking? Various incredible pumpkin patches are located in and around Scottsdale. You may have to drive a bit to get to some of the notable patches, such as the Schnepf Farms in Queen Creek, Mortimer Farms in Prescott, and Mother Nature’s Farm in Gilbert. There is also an incredible option located closer.

Fall Activities


MacDonald’s Ranch

MacDonald’s Ranch is open year-round for all kinds of family-friendly fun (we’ll get back to that a little later on). During the whole month of October, it opens up its pumpkin patch. In addition to picking the perfect pumpkins for decorating, you can visit the petting zoo, go panning for gold, and wander in the hay-bale maze.

‌Get the whole family together for some competitive fun with a game of Connect Four or Conk the Crow on the lawn. If you get hungry, you can always grab something to eat from the Blazin’ Barbeque Food Truck & Snack Shack.

‌2. Check Out the Fall Festivals

‌One of the best things about fall in Scottsdale is the fall festivals. There are several throughout the autumn season. If outdoor festivals with food, games, vendors, and fun are your thing, you certainly won’t be disappointed. Here are a few of the best fall festivals in Scottsdale.

‌Scottsdale Fall Festival

‌The Scottsdale Fall Festival is celebrated in the middle of September. It’s a three-day annual celebration that features craft vendors, local and ethnic foods, and a parade. Revelers can also enjoy a wide range of activities, including a car show, chalk contest, and cornhole tournament.

‌The festival has live music performances on the Gazebo stage and shows geared toward younger visitors at the Somerset Trust Company Children’s Stage.

‌Salt River Fields Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival

‌Just before Halloween, Scottsdale hosts the Spooktacular Hot Air Balloon Festival. It’s a two-day event that features 20 hot air balloons on display, live music, food, vendors, and more than 4,000 pounds of candy for trick-or-treaters.

‌There’s also a costume contest, tethered hot air balloon rides, a spooky trail, and fireworks. Whether you’re coming with your partner, friends, grandkids, or the whole family, it’s a great time for everyone. Salt River Fields is located just off of the Loop 101 Freeway on Indian School Road.

‌Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival

‌If you enjoy fine art and wine, the Carefree Fine Art & Wine Festival is the place for you this fall. Located in Carefree, just over a 30-minute drive from Scottsdale, this incredible festival takes place in early November. The streets, closed for pedestrian traffic only, provide a temporary home for more than 155 artists from all over the United States and abroad.

Artists showcase all kinds of amazing work, including paintings, clay, metal, blown glass, wood, photography, jewelry, and more. Festival attendees also get a souvenir wine glass and tasting tickets to enjoy samples of wines from all across the globe.

‌3. Spend Time in Nature

‌Fall in Scottsdale is gorgeous. The weather is still warm. The temperatures gradually drop as the season progresses.

‌If it was too hot during the summer months, autumn is the perfect time for outdoor adventures and activities. Here are some of the best places around Scottsdale for outdoor fun.

Fall Activities


‌Pinnacle Peak

‌If hiking trails are your thing, you won’t want to miss the out-and-back trail at Pinnacle Peak. The trail here is less than two miles one way and takes you through the picturesque Sonoran Desert. Pinnacle Peak is also an animal sanctuary.

‌Along the trail, you’re likely to see wildlife such as jackrabbits, cactus wrens, and possibly even a roadrunner. You may also see larger animals like bobcats, mountain lions, and javelinas.

‌‌McDowell Sonoran Preserve

‌The McDowell Sonoran Preserve features an array of gorgeous desert trails and incredible facilities. It’s a large, permanently protected area that’s home to lush cacti forests and a host of wildlife. There’s also a network of interconnected multi-use trails, totaling more than 225 miles, with several trailheads serving as access points.

‌The McDowell Sonoran Conservancy works with conservation centers in and around Scottsdale to protect the preserve. You can learn all about their efforts and enjoy nature at the same time. Find park information here.

‌Cave Creek Regional Park

‌Cave Creek Regional Park is a 3,000-acre park in the upper Sonoran Desert. At an elevation of 2,000 to 3,060 feet, the park provides trail hikers and horseback riders with picturesque views. You can hike the trails with your family and escape everyday life for a while. You can also travel back to the late 1800s with a guided tour.

‌4. Visit Local Attractions

‌Scottsdale’s museums are anything but boring. Most museums here are known for their interactive exhibits, special events, film screenings, and more. Here are some of the museums in Scottsdale you don’t want to miss.

‌McCormick Stillman Railroad Park

‌Located in the heart of Scottsdale, the McCormick Stillman Railroad Park is a 30-acre park that features model railroads, playgrounds for your grandkids, and the Scottsdale Railroad Museum. The museum brings the history of railroads to life with 200 years’ worth of artifacts and memorabilia.

‌If you come here in early October, you can also catch the RailFair. It’s a weekend event where you can enjoy outdoor model train layouts, train rides, and much more. For ticketing and event information, contact the park at (480) 312-2312.

‌‌Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West

‌See the West with a whole new perspective at the Museum of the West. Located in downtown Scottsdale, this museum features a vast collection of cultural and artistic artifacts. You can spend all day learning about the history of the West. Before you head home, you can check out the gift shops for some great souvenirs.

‌Butterfly Wonderland

‌Step foot into an indoor rainforest experience at Butterfly Wonderland and immerse in the world of butterflies and other rainforest animals. As one of the largest butterfly conservation centers in the world, it is home to different butterflies from around the world.

‌Watch a live butterfly emerge from its cocoon, check out the Monarch butterfly migration in 3D, and meet some rainforest reptiles and insects. Take a break at the café, and don’t forget to check out the Butterfly Treasures gift shop before you leave.

‌5. Go for a Ride

‌Finally, mix things up by going for an unconventional ride this fall. These adventures are a great way to enjoy the Arizona scenery during one of the best times of the year.

Fall Activities


‌Horseback Riding at MacDonald’s Ranch

‌If you love horses, you’ll love horseback riding at MacDonald’s Ranch. Take your family for a group ride, go for a moonlight ride, or reconnect with your significant other on a moonlight date ride. Rides aren’t always available, so you may have to call before you go or make a reservation. You can also enjoy a cowboy cookout or go for a stagecoach ride while you’re at the ranch. Book your ride here.

Flying at Desert Splash Adventures

‌If you like high-flying adventure, be sure to put Desert Splash Adventures on your fall activities to-do list. In the air, you’ll see some of the most dramatic and breathtaking views of Arizona you’ve ever seen. Then you’ll come down for a landing in either Powell Lake or Roosevelt Lake.

When you’re done, be sure to check out Old Town Scottsdale. Grab a bite to eat, go shopping, or enjoy one of the many local events.

‌There’s Always Something to Do in Scottsdale, Arizona

‌Fall is an exciting time in Scottsdale. With all kinds of indoor and outdoor activities, you’ll never get bored. And the fun doesn’t stop when winter hits. Scottsdale has a variety of incredible activities all year long! You’ll always have something to do, no matter what season it is.

‌Are you thinking about retiring in Scottsdale? You’ll never be far from the action at LivGenerations. We offer a range of unique, luxury resort-style living options that you’ll love. Our focus is on providing our residents with a lifestyle unlike any other. For more information about us and our community, contact LivGenerations today!