Shine 2010: Where to Drive in Scottsdale

There's a reason why people who live in Phoenix sometimes fib and claim to live in Scottsdale. Named in 1894 for Army chaplain Winfield Scott, this smallish city is big on style. It's no wonder that folks take long, loving detours through Scottsdale — there's plenty to ogle. We say, start out at Scottsdale Center for the Arts (7380 E. 2nd St., 480-994-2787, www.scottsdaleperformingarts.org), where you can wander the grounds, nip into the lobby to see the gallery show that's on display, and check out the fun stuff for sale in the renovated gallery gift shop. Drop by the Scottsdale Public Library (3839 N. Drinkwater Blvd., 480-312-7323, www.library.scottsdaleaz.gov), with its stunning glass-and-steel underground entry and its cool retro interior. Then, hop into your car and head out for some architectural ogling. Due northwest, you'll find the Phoenician Resort (6000 E. Camelback Rd., 480-423-2530), with its extraordinary mountain backdrop and authentic Native American sculptures. Head north on Hayden through the Scottsdale Nature Park (7011 N. Hayden Rd.), and on into the McCormick Railroad Park (7301 E. Indian Bend Rd., 480-312-2312), a lush and gorgeous play park that's home to a pair of scaled-down, ride-able locomotives for kids of all ages (not to mention a really glam merry-go-round for folks who eschew choo-choos). Keep going toward the Cosanti Foundation (6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd., 480-948-6145), home to some of the state's most forward-thinking architecture programs and a whole bunch of really gorgeous copper sculptures and wind chimes, visible from the comfort of your automobile. Contrast this rustic desert architecture with a drive past the new and very urban Safari Drive live-work community (4725 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480-222-2586), all rusted steel, exposed concrete, and shiny glass. No tour of Scottsdale would be complete without a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West (12621 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd., 480-860-8810), and we recommend winding things up with a visit to Wright's 125-foot spire wedged at the front of the new and newly prominent Promenade (16427 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480-385-2820), one of Scottsdale's most important shopping and commerce centers — and, like so much of Scottsdale, a real monument to beauty.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robrt L. Pela has been a weekly contributor to Phoenix New Times since 1991, primarily as a cultural critic. His radio essays air on National Public Radio affiliate KJZZ's Morning Edition.
Contact: Robrt L. Pela