It's been a long time since Scottsdale, Ariz., lived up to it's official nickname: "the West's most Western town." Old Town Scottsdale does have its share of saloon doors and an annual festival celebrating the Pony Express, but for those who take the new with the old, there is something for visitors of every type.
Art galleries, restaurants and shops fill the traditional low-slung, beige buildings of Scottsdale's historic district, where you can snap up artwork and turquoise jewelry made by local artists.
There is no need to fear the triple-digit temperatures that Scottsdale's locals shrug off -- nights are cool in the Sonoran Desert, but Scottsdale has a buzzing nightlife that heats up as the temperatures drop.
Swanky lounges like the W Hotel's Wet Deck draw crowds of sun-kissed, sharply dressed, beautiful people, while the open architecture brings a laid-back vibe to sports bars like the Upper Deck. And don't worry about over-imbibing:?Free golf carts make it easy for revelers to bar-hop at the night's end.
View from the top
For those who think vertically, a peaceful hot air balloon ride in the early morning is the perfect cure for last night's party. Vistas of the mountain ranges surrounding Scottsdale are breathtaking. For the physically ambitious, Camelback Mountain turns a honey-kissed red as it catches the sunlight in the morning -- almost as red as the faces of those tackling the moderately strenuous 1,300-foot hike.
Eat your fill
Luxury hotels and a rabid, year-round golf scene mean that there is a restaurant for every palate in Scottsdale. For diners looking for bright modern design in dish and decor, AZ88 Bar and Restaurant is ideal. A short walk down the Scottsdale Waterfront to Lee's Cream Liqueur ice cream shop will finish off any meal with boozy flair -- the Jack Daniels chocolate swirl is a special treat.
Scottsdale's architectural landscape mimics the flat, low topography of the surrounding natural environment. Architecture lovers shouldn't miss a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's famed former home, Taliesin West, which is a bastion of sustainable architecture and design.