Top 12 Parks in Scottsdale

Scottsdale’s parks system contains over 50 properties offering nearly 20,000 acres of vibrant open space. Ranging from neighborhood playgrounds to vast desert preserves, the parks provide recreation opportunities amidst the stunning Sonoran Desert landscape.

Park NameKey Features and Activities
Civic Center ParkGreen lawns, gardens, pond, amphitheater, art museums
McCormick-Stillman Railroad ParkAntique locomotives, railcars, museum, train rides
Eldorado ParkGrassy fields, skate park, basketball courts, aquatic center
Tom’s Thumb TrailheadHiking trails, panoramic views, desert environment
CosantiArchitectural art, bronze bell workshops, tours
Arabian Horse Show PavilionArabian horse events, stables, trails
WestWorldEvent venue, horse shows, auctions, festivals
Scottsdale Xeriscape GardenDrought-tolerant plants, educational garden
Scottsdale Sports ComplexBaseball and multi-use fields, tournaments
McDowell Mountain Ranch ParkAquatics center, sports facilities, playground
Pinnacle Peak ParkHiking trails, rock climbing, wildlife, scenic views
Vista del Camino ParkWaterfront paths, art garden, public events

Visitors will find amenities like tennis courts, aquatic centers, skate parks, pickleball, and disc golf sprinkled throughout Scottsdale’s park sites. Many also incorporate public art installations, farmer’s markets, and events. For appreciating nature or engaging in activities, these standout parks represent the best Scottsdale has to offer.

Civic Center Park

Name and Location: Civic Center Park is located in downtown Scottsdale, Arizona bounded by Drinkwater Blvd and Scottsdale Rd.

History and Significance: Opened in 1983, this 37-acre urban park is centrally located downtown. It hosts community events and public art.

What to Expect: Green lawns, walking paths, a lagoon, amphitheater, playground, and 19th century farmstead replica. A nice place for a downtown picnic.

Visitor Information: Open daily from sunrise to 10PM. Leashed dogs allowed. Free parking garage nearby and pedestrian access.

This 37-acre park provides expansive green lawns, lush gardens, and a charming 1-acre pond in the heart of downtown Scottsdale. People gather at the park’s open-air amphitheater to hear free concerts and events.

Visitors also enjoy feeding the ducks, relaxing under shade trees, or letting kids play on the playground. Surrounding the park are the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. With its central location and bucolic atmosphere, Civic Center Park pleases all ages.

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

Name and Location: McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is located at 7301 E Indian Bend Rd in Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Opened in 1975, this park showcases vintage locomotives and railroad history. Rideable miniature trains available.

What to Expect: Museum displays, train rides, carousel, and model railroad exhibits. Special events held year-round. Gift shop onsite.

Visitor Information: Open daily 9am-5pm. Admission fee. Free parking onsite. Picnic area available.

At this park, train lovers can explore antique locomotives and railcars, including the elaborately ornate 1929 Pennsylvania Railway car named the Crown Coach. Visitors can climb aboard engines to glimpse the inner mechanics. The park also contains a railroad museum, train rides, carousel, and play areas.

Model railroaders operate intricate mini layouts replicating Arizona landscapes. Special events like Day out with Thomas bring this railroad park to life for kids. Watching these mighty vintage trains makes for some epic family fun.

Eldorado Park

Name and Location: Eldorado Park is located in north Scottsdale at 2311 N Miller Rd.

History and Significance: This 50-acre park opened in 1959. It offers outdoor recreation alongside the natural desert environment.

What to Expect: Ramadas, grills, playground, ball fields, walking paths, and open green space. Popular for picnics and community events.

Visitor Information: Open dawn to dusk daily. No entrance fee. Free parking lot onsite. Leashed dogs permitted.

Found in North Scottsdale abutting the Sonoran Preserve, this park contains ten acres of grassy fields, playgrounds, a skate park, basketball courts, and a large multipurpose recreation center. The facilities can be rented for parties and events.

Eldorado Park also operates an aquatic center during summer with lap pools, a splash pad, and a flow rider surf simulator. A weekly farmer’s market takes place on Saturdays when the community can sample fresh produce and goods. The park’s diverse amenities offer entertainment for all.

Tom’s Thumb Trailhead

Name and Location: Tom’s Thumb Trailhead is located in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve at 29790 N 128th Way Scottsdale.

History and Significance: This trailhead accesses the well-known Tom’s Thumb hiking area, with panoramic desert views.

What to Expect: Parking lot, restrooms, and access to the trail system. Challenging hiking with rugged terrain. Bring plenty of water.

Visitor Information: Open sunrise to sunset daily. No entry fee. Dogs permitted on leash. Note trailhead access gates.

Part of the vast McDowell Sonoran Preserve network, the Tom’s Thumb Trailhead provides access to one of the preserve’s most popular trails leading to panoramic views. The moderate 4-mile out-and-back route climbs to a saddle below the rock formation Tom’s Thumb.

Hikers will traverse a typical rugged desert environment containing cholla cactus, palo verde trees, and endless mountains surrounding the valley. Arriving at the top brings a great sense of accomplishment. This trailhead delivers signature Scottsdale scenery.


Name and Location: Cosanti is located at 6433 Doubletree Ranch Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251.

History and Significance: Founded in 1970 by Paolo Soleri, Cosanti is an experimental town integrating architecture with nature.

What to Expect: Unique concrete structures, vaults, tunnels, and residences. Self-guided walking tours available daily. Bronze bell castings.

Visitor Information: Free admission. Open 9am-5pm Mon-Sat, 11am-5pm Sun. Cafe and gift shop onsite. Tours available.

This fascinating landmark developed by architect Paolo Soleri combines art with urban architecture to convey bold environmental philosophies. Visitors can freely explore the studios and windbell workshops Tuesday through Sunday on self-guided tours.

Hands-on bronze casting demonstrations explain how Cosanti’s signature bells are made. The experimental community’s creative spaces and desert landscaping provide inspiration. Make sure to also check out the gift shop’s bells and artwork influenced by Soleri’s designs.

Arabian Horse Show Pavilion

Name and Location: The Arabian Horse Show Pavilion is located at 16200 E. Via Del Jinete in North Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Built in 1957, this hosts the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, a major equestrian event.

What to Expect: The pavilion hosts horse shows, concerts, and events year-round in an indoor arena seating up to 3,000 guests.

Visitor Information: Show schedule online. Ticket purchase required for events. Parking onsite. Facility rented for private events.

Home to the annual Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, this pavilion and arena host one of the premier Arabian horse events in America. The complex contains over 300 stalls plus three arenas for presentations and competitions. Visitors can tour the stables and meet the graceful Arabians.

Free horse shows run most Thursday mornings where the public can admire choreographed performances and skilled riders. The pure beauty of these horses will amaze spectators. Beautiful trails also surround the facility for horseback riding.


Name and Location: WestWorld is located at 16601 N Pima Rd in Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Opened in 1965, WestWorld is a large event venue hosting shows, festivals, and horse events.

What to Expect: Major events like Barrett-Jackson Auto Show and the Arabian Horse Show held here. Multiple arenas and facilities.

Visitor Information: Event schedule online. Paid parking available. Admission varies by event. Transit access via bus.

This expansive event venue contains seven different arenas plus expansive facilities for horse shows, auctions, and festivals. Throughout the year, WestWorld hosts major events like Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auctions and the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

When not in use for premier events, the public can access WestWorld’s riding arenas and trails for exercising horses. Part of the property is even open for leashed dog walking. Check event schedules to find free times for exploring this versatile venue.

Scottsdale Xeriscape Garden

Name and Location: The Xeriscape Garden is located at 721 N Marshall Way in downtown Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Created in 1981, this 1.5 acre garden demonstrates low-water landscape design in a desert environment.

What to Expect: Winding paths past informative displays of cacti, succulents, trees, shrubs and plants suited for a xeriscape.

Visitor Information: Free access daily from 8am-5pm. Guided tours offered Saturdays at 10am. Metered street parking nearby.

This free demonstration garden at Chaparral Park illustrates attractive landscape design suited for Scottsdale’s desert climate. Plants requiring minimal water populate the garden grouped by theme like a butterfly garden. Visitors can identify drought-tolerant native species to use in their own yards.

The garden emphasises the beauty and practicality of xeriscaping with rocks, succulents, trees, and shrubs thriving in the arid environment without any lawn. Educational signs describe the benefits of the shown water-wise gardening techniques.

Scottsdale Sports Complex

Name and Location: The Scottsdale Sports Complex is located at 8081 E Bell Rd in north Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Opened in 1997, this large city-owned venue hosts spring training and amateur sports.

What to Expect: The complex includes stadiums, ballfields, courts, and indoor facilities. San Francisco Giants train here. Public swim center.

Visitor Information: Schedule varies by season. Parking fee required for events. Walkable from nearby hotels.

Baseball fans will love visiting this massive complex containing 12 baseball fields, 8 multi-use fields, batting cages, and concessions. Sports enthusiasts can watch local teams play in tournaments or just enjoy the park-like grounds.

Shaded bleachers line the fields for comfortable game viewing. The complex hosts major events like the Cactus League with Spring Training for MLB teams. With its endless diamonds and devotion to America’s favorite pastime, this complex is a field of dreams.

McDowell Mountain Ranch Park

Name and Location: McDowell Mountain Ranch Park is located at 15525 N. Thompson Peak Pkwy in Scottsdale.

History and Significance: This new 38-acre park opened in 2019 with amenities for outdoor recreation.

What to Expect: Ramadas, playground, basketball court, volleyball, walking paths, grills, lighted ball field, and open green space.

Visitor Information: Open 5am-10:30pm daily. No entrance fee. Parking lot onsite. Leashed dogs permitted.

Nestled against the scenic McDowell Mountains, this large park includes an aquatics center along with a fishing pond, tennis courts, volleyball, and amenities for baseball, basketball, and soccer. Groups can reserve picnic ramadas for gatherings.

Families also enjoy the interactive McDowell Mountain Ranch Park Playground designed to look like a Western ranch town. With playgrounds, sports facilities, and lovely desert scenery, the park pleases kids of all ages.

Pinnacle Peak Park

Name and Location: Pinnacle Peak Park is located at 26802 N 102nd Way in north Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Opened in 1977, this park offers hiking trails with scenic desert vistas overlooking the city.

What to Expect: Trail access, picnic ramadas, and a restaurant/western steakhouse onsite. Popular for photos of Pinnacle Peak.

Visitor Information: Open sunrise to sunset daily. No entry fee. Parking lot available. Leashed dogs permitted.

Featuring massive stone formations jutting into the sky, Pinnacle Peak Park contains trails for hiking surrounded by the rugged desert terrain. The most popular 1.75-mile trail leads to sweeping city views from the flat top of Pinnacle Peak, marked by a real cowboy on horseback.

Rock climbers also scale the park’s granite cliffs and boulders. Watch for chuckwallas, jackrabbits, and other desert wildlife while exploring this geologic wonder up close. The iconic peak reflections at sunset create epic photo backdrops.

Vista del Camino Park

Name and Location: Vista del Camino Park is located at 7700 E Roosevelt St in central Scottsdale.

History and Significance: Developed in 1979, this large park offers many recreation amenities and access to nature.

What to Expect: Green space, ramadas, tennis courts, volleyball, playground, hiking trails, and sport fields.

Visitor Information: Open 5am-10:30pm daily. No entry fee. Parking lot available. Leashed dogs permitted.

Situated along the Arizona Canal in downtown Scottsdale, this community park spans nearly eight acres and provides pleasant pathways following the waterway. A children’s art garden displays sculptures designed by local students.

Visitors also enjoy public art like decorative fencing and ceramic mosaics adding visual interest. Frequent events include concerts, story time, and movies in the park. For gardens, art, and waterfront strolling, make Vista del Camino Park a downtown oasis.


Scottsdale’s diverse parks offer a chance to fully embrace the spectacular desert environment while also providing fun recreational amenities to stay active. Hiking trails ascend into the McDowell Mountains and serene desert preserves surrounding Scottsdale. Parks downtown incorporate fountains and greenery for urban escapes.

From surfing indoors at Eldorado Aquatic Center to riding the rails at McCormick Park, the parks system has dynamic options for all ages. Sporting facilities, cultural sites, event venues, and playgrounds further ensure Scottsdale parks contain something for everyone.

Beautiful xeriscape gardens will even inspire your own landscaping back home. When visiting Scottsdale, make sure to experience the natural beauty and outdoor attractions that the amazing parks system has to offer.

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