Welcome to Scottsdale

About Scottsdale

Named Scottsdale in 1894 after its founder Winfield Scott, a retired U.S. Army chaplain, the city was incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2,000. The 2019 population was estimated at 258,069, and Scottsdale is now the sixth largest city in Arizona. Its slogan is “The West’s Most Western Town,” but don’t expect to see a frontier style town, except for the galleries area of Old Town Scottsdale. This is a contemporary city filled with luxury homes and master planned subdivisions and is one of the most beautiful cities in America.

Scottsdale is 31 miles long and 11 miles wide at its widest point, but it is much narrower at most locations in the south of the city. The southern part of the city is densely populated while the north is newer, has more master planned communities, and offers the best of desert Sonoran Desert living.

This is an interesting city in terms of residential areas and geography. You can go from living in older neighborhoods in the south, to a vibrant urban lifestyle in the Old Town (Downtown) area, to living on large swaths of desert land in the north, which shares a border with the Tonto National Forest.

If you are interested in moving to Arizona, it is important to work with an agent who is an expert in the entire region and can guide you in selecting the perfect location considering your budget and criteria.

I am an Arizona native and have lived all over the Phoenix metro area throughout my life. You can trust me to help you and your family find the perfect home. Please feel free to reach out and schedule a consultation to discuss your upcoming plans.


The area was originally inhabited by the Hohokam indigenous people, from approximately 300 BC to 1450 AD. This ancient civilization farmed the area and developed a complex network of canals for irrigation that was unsurpassed in pre-Columbian North America. At its peak, the canals stretched over 250 miles. Many remain today, some having been renovated and put back into use in the 20th century. Under mysterious circumstances, the Hohokam disappeared around 1450 or 1500, most likely because of a prolonged drought.

In the early to mid-1880s, U.S. Army Chaplain Winfield Scott visited the Salt River Valley and was impressed with it and its potential for agriculture. He purchased 640 acres for $3.50 an acre for a stretch of land where downtown Scottsdale is now. It was soon known as Orangedale due to the large citrus groves he planted. The town was renamed Scottsdale in 1894.

In the early 1900s the community supported an artists and writers culture, culminating in the opening of the region’s first resort in 1909, the Ingleside Inn. In 1920, a second resort was opened on 12 acres of property owned by the artist Jessie Benton Evans. Called the Jokake Inn, meaning “mud house,” the structure still stands on the grounds of the Phoenician Resort.

Between 1908 and 1933, due to the construction of the Granite Reef and Roosevelt dams, Scottsdale’s population experienced a boom. It became a small market town providing services for families involved in the agricultural industry.

The Depression years saw an influx of artists and architects to Scottsdale, which included Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937. Wright purchased 600 desert acres at the foot of the McDowell Mountains and established Taliesin West, doubling as his winter home and his architectural firm’s southwestern headquarters. Scottsdale and the rest of Phoenix have seen an everlasting influence from Wright, and many buildings throughout the region were designed by him. His influence on the regional architecture is commemorated by a major street bearing his name and a 125-foot spire memorial designed by Wright in North Scottsdale.

In 1950, the town continued to grow as Motorola became the first of many technology companies to build a plant in Scottsdale. The city also became a tourist destination with the opening of the city’s first modern resorts in 1956, the Hotel Valley Ho and the Safari Hotel. The Valley Ho is still in operation in Old Town Scottsdale.

The city continued to grow into the 1960s and ’70s. Most of the unused property within the city limits was to the north, so that was the direction in which the city expanded. Large ranch tracts covered huge areas in the northern part of the city. One of the largest of these was McCormick Ranch, a 4,236-acre ranch serving much of the eastern boundary of Scottsdale. When this and other ranches in the north began selling off to developers, this started a series of large-scale, master-planned communities within Scottsdale’s borders, including Scottsdale Ranch (1978), Gainey Ranch (1980), McDowell Mountain Ranch (1992), Desert Mountain (1986), and DC Ranch (1990s).

Residential Areas

The city is loosely divided into four areas: South Scottsdale, Old Town (Downtown), Central Scottsdale (also known as the “Shea Corridor”), and North Scottsdale.

South Scottsdale has for many years been the working-class neighborhood. In recent years, many of these older homes have been flipped into modern homes and resold for large profits, which has driven the price of homes in South Scottsdale much higher than the average median sales price in the Phoenix metro area. These homes are still the most affordable homes in all of Scottsdale, however.

The median resale home price in South Scottsdale is $482,000, compared to $940,000 in North Scottsdale. South Scottsdale is the home to a new research center for Arizona State University known as SkySong, a collaboration between the university, local business, and global companies. The development has attracted the research and development arms of several international corporations.

Old Town Scottsdale is an area with many streets, old-fashioned stores, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and art galleries. It contains the major nightlife for the area and is a major art center of metro Phoenix. Scottsdale’s main cultural district is also in this area, which includes the high-end Scottsdale Fashion Square, one of the country’s 20 largest malls. The district features luxury condominiums and hotels in addition to the arts & culture.

The Shea Corridor was generally built during the 1970s and has increased substantially in value since. Several communities in this central region of Scottsdale remain among the most highly desired residential areas in the metropolitan area, including Gainey Ranch and McCormick Ranch. A large portion of Scottsdale Road in the Shea Corridor has been dubbed the Resort Corridor for the high number of resorts on the street.

North Scottsdale is the most actively developed area of Scottsdale as it was historically the least built up. This part of the city contains the most expensive houses in Arizona, with many custom homes selling in the multi-millions. Here is where you will find the newest master planned subdivisions as well as the ability to live in luxurious gated communities with private golf clubs and easy access to the many hiking paths of the McDowell Mountain Preserves.

Property Taxes

If you are relocating to Arizona from California or the Northeast, you will likely be shocked by how low our property taxes are compared to where you are moving from.  In fact, Arizona residents benefit from lower property taxes than the national average for all states.

In Scottsdale, the average annual tax bill for a 2,000 square foot home is approximately $2,800, which is the highest you will find in the Phoenix metro area. This will of course vary depending on the size of the lot, the size of the home, and special taxing districts, but it is a good rule of thumb to use as a baseline.

We can always help you understand the property tax bill for homes you are interested in purchasing and help you compare them to the surrounding area, including the other suburbs of Phoenix and similar property types.


The tourism industry is Scottsdale’s primary employer, accounting for 39% of the city’s workforce. In 2005, Scottsdale attracted over 7.5 million visitors to the city, providing an economic impact of over $3.1 billion. As of 2016, Scottsdale has the highest number of destination spas per capita of any city in the United States. The city of Scottsdale is tied with Atlanta for fourth, after New York City, Las Vegas, and Chicago respectively, as having the most AAA Five-Diamond hotels and resorts in the United States.

Much of the residential boom in North Scottsdale is driven by available land to build coupled with the fast growth of Scottsdale Airpark, the second largest employment center in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Scottsdale Airpark is home to over 55,000 employees, 2,600 businesses, and 23,000,000 square feet of office space. Many important companies are headquartered or have regional headquarters in the park.

Several of the top employers are: Honor Health, CVS Health, Scottsdale Unified School District, Vanguard, The City of Scottsdale, General Dynamics, Mayo Clinic, Nationwide Insurance, Yelp, and McKesson.

The aviation industry has also grown in Scottsdale, with the construction of Scottsdale Airport in North Scottsdale, in the 1960s. It is one of the busiest single-runway airports in the United States in terms of aircraft operations. Nearly all operations are corporate or general aviation.


Scottsdale rests at the northern most edge of the Sonoran Desert and features a hot desert climate. The average year-round high temperature in Scottsdale is 87 degrees and the average low is 63 degrees. Those not used to desert heat will find it dry and surprisingly comfortable since we do not experience high humidity and have air conditioning readily available everywhere.

The summer months (May to September) are very hot with temperatures regularly exceeding 100 degrees. We have very short fall and spring seasons and consider the winter to occur between October and April. Temperatures get close to freezing in the traditional winter months. With that said, the winter months in Scottsdale are very satisfying and comfortable. Winters here are the main reason so many people love calling Scottsdale home.

It may look dry due to the lack of natural rivers; however, at one time the Salt River and Gila River ran through the region untamed. They have since been dammed to form several reservoirs found north and east of the valley. These reservoirs now provide power and water, not to mention outdoor recreation, to the entire region.

The Phoenix metro area averages only 8 inches of precipitation per year and often experiences extended droughts, making water conservation an important issue in the city.


Public education in Scottsdale is provided for by both the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) and the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD).

SUSD contains 33 schools and serves most of Scottsdale, most of the town of Paradise Valley, as well as parts of Tempe and east Phoenix. It includes 5 high schools: Arcadia High School, Coronado High School, Chaparral High School, Desert Mountain High School, and Saguaro High School.

PVUSD contains 47 schools and is the 7th largest in the state. It serves northeast Phoenix and North Scottsdale. It includes 7 high schools. The high schools which serve portions of Scottsdale are Horizon High School and Pinnacle High School.

The primary institution of higher education in the city is Scottsdale Community College, which opened in 1970 on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Reservation. In 1999, the school opened a second campus in the Scottsdale Airpark, allowing it to serve the business community and North Scottsdale.

Other institutions of higher education with locations in Scottsdale include the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine, University of Phoenix, Gateway Seminary, and the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Many students at nearby Arizona State University in Tempe live in Scottsdale and commute.


The city is home to more than 200 area courses offering layouts that range from the rolling green fairways of traditional courses to desert golf designs. In 2006, the Robb Report cited Scottsdale as “America’s Best Place to Live for Golf.” The Boulders Resort & Golden Spa and Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North were selected in 2005 as the second and fourth best golf resorts in the nation by Travel + Leisure Golf magazine. Other golf courses in the area include FireRock, Troon North, The Phoenician, and Silverleaf, and Desert Mountain.

Taliesin West, architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and school from 1937 until 1959, is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Arizona. The complex is in the northeast fringe of the city, at the base of the McDowell Mountains.

There are many shopping areas within the city of Scottsdale, ranging from small districts to large centers. The most notable regional centers include the Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter in North Scottsdale, and the Scottsdale Fashion Square in Downtown Scottsdale, a major destination for high-end retailers. These shopping centers (and others) in Scottsdale claim dozens of marquee brands that are unique to both Phoenix and the Southwestern region.

The Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show has taken place since 1955. The show attracts thousands of visitors and tourists, to see nearly 2000 purebred Arabian and Half-Arabian horses competing for various prizes and recognition.

Since 1971, Scottsdale has been home to the Barrett-Jackson Auto Show. Now held at the expansive West World exhibition complex in North Scottsdale, the event is an auto enthusiast’s and collector’s spectacle. The show is known for featuring both exotic, luxury automobiles, and historic vehicles which have been expertly restored to mint condition.

Old Town Scottsdale consists of active night clubs, dive bars, entertainment restaurants and shopping around every corner. The majority of nightlife is concentrated in Downtown Scottsdale, between Camelback and Osborn Roads. This is the most active and popular nightlife destination in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

Arts & Culture

Scottsdale is home to more than 125 professional art galleries and studios, one of the highest per-capita anywhere in the nation. Located in the Old Town district of Downtown Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall is home to the two-theater Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the Scottsdale Historical Museum, as well as the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. SMoCA is the only permanent museum dedicated solely to the contemporary arts in the state of Arizona.

The city hosts an annual Scottsdale Arts Festival. The highest concentrations of galleries, studios and museums that are open to the public are in Downtown Scottsdale. Its Scottsdale Arts District can be segmented into three distinct districts. The largest is the Scottsdale Main Street Arts District, home to the largest and most diverse collection of styles and genres, the more contemporary Marshall Way Arts District, and the more touristy and western-themed Old Town district, which has the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. The popular Scottsdale Artwalk is held weekly, every Thursday evening.

The Scottsdale Culinary Festival is held annually during April. Though many of its individual events are held citywide, they concentrate in the downtown area. Entirely, it is estimated the week-long festival draws over 40,000 people. The most heavily attended such event is the festival’s Great Arizona Picnic, an outdoor fair-like showcase of both well-known local and national chefs and restaurants. It is held on the lawn of the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall.

The annual Scottsdale International Film Festival concentrates on the use of film to foster of the world’s cultures, lifestyles, religions, and ethnicities.


Scottsdale is the spring training home of several major league baseball teams. The San Francisco Giants practice at Scottsdale Stadium in Downtown Scottsdale while The Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks share Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, located on the city’s eastern border.

The historic WM Waste Management Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, formerly the FBR Open and Phoenix Open, is now held annually each January at the Tournament Players Club in North Scottsdale. The TPC is adjacent to the large Fairmont Scottsdale Resort. It is the largest-attended stop of the annual PGA Tour, attracting well over 500,000 people to the four-day event.

The City of Phoenix is home to several sports franchises and is represented by all four major professional sports leagues. For basketball, we have the Phoenix Suns; they play in Downtown Phoenix at Footprint Center. For baseball, we have the Arizona Diamondbacks; they play in Downtown Phoenix at Chase Field. For football, we have the Arizona Cardinals; they play in Glendale, AZ at State Farm Stadium. For hockey, we have the Phoenix Coyotes; they play in Glendale at Gila River Arena. We also have a Professional Women’s Basketball team, the Phoenix Mercury who also play at Footprint Center in Downtown Phoenix, an Indoor Football League team, the Arizona Rattlers, who play at Footprint Center, and a Professional Men’s Soccer League team, the Phoenix Rising, who play at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex at Wild Horse Pass.


Scottsdale has very well-maintained roads and it is easy to get around. Most of the roads provide three or more lanes in each direction so traffic is not a source of frustration living in Scottsdale.

There is one major freeway that runs along the eastern border of Scottsdale and along the northeastern portion of North Scottsdale near Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, the Loop 101. This freeway connects to many of the other major highways and interstates in the Phoenix metro area and is one of the most used highways in the system, connecting Scottsdale to Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs.

While not highways, Scottsdale Road and Shea Boulevard are two main arteries that connect Scottsdale to Phoenix to the west and Tempe to the south. If avoiding the 101 or needing to cross town, these road provide more than adequate throughfare.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is located to the southwest of Scottsdale and can be accessed by car within 15 to 45 minutes, depending on what are of Scottsdale you are coming from.

Public bus service for Scottsdale is provided by Valley Metro.

The city of Scottsdale runs a network of local neighborhood circulators, labeled the “Scottsdale Trolley.” Using trolley-replica buses, the public service is free to riders. As of 2021, there are two circulating “routes,” known individually as the Downtown Trolley and the Neighborhood Trolley. These connect at the Loloma Station transit center in downtown Scottsdale.

The Downtown Trolley circulates through downtown Scottsdale, and the Neighborhood Trolley circulates from downtown Scottsdale to neighborhoods throughout South Scottsdale, connecting with the city of Tempe’s own free public circulator, the Tempe Orbit at Roosevelt and Scottsdale Road. From there, riders can transfer onto the Tempe Orbit, and travel to Tempe, including Arizona State University’s main campus, and the downtown Tempe, or Mill Avenue, area.


The Phoenix metro area is served by over 50 hospitals and medical centers. The largest hospital network in Phoenix is Banner Health, operating nearly half of the hospitals and medical centers in the region. The Phoenix Children’s Hospital is ranked nationally for numerous pediatric specialties. Barrow Neurological Institute at Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Central Phoenix is the world’s largest dedicated neurosurgical center. Ranked one of the best hospitals for over two decades, The Mayo Clinic operates one of its world-renowned centers here in North Scottsdale.

Paul Hansen Downtown Phoenix Realtor

Scottsdale Sales Stats

last updated September 2021

Median List Price

Days on Market

Median Sold Price

Schools in Scottsdale

Public education in Scottsdale is provided for by both the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) and the Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD).

SUSD contains 33 schools and serves most of Scottsdale, most of the town of Paradise Valley, as well as parts of Tempe and east Phoenix. It includes 5 high schools: Arcadia High School, Coronado High School, Chaparral High School, Desert Mountain High School, and Saguaro High School.

PVUSD contains 47 schools and is the 7th largest in the state. It serves northeast Phoenix and North Scottsdale. It includes 7 high schools. The high schools which serve portions of Scottsdale are Horizon High School and Pinnacle High School.

Public Schools

Scottsdale Unified School District

Paradise Valley Unified School District


Private Schools

Guidepost Montessori of North Scottsdale


College & University

Arizona State University

Scottsdale Community College

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