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The Ultimate Guide to Living in Scottsdale, AZ

If you have ever wondered why so many people are drawn to the pleasant lifestyle that Scottsdale, AZ offers, you came to the right place. In this local area guide, The Carol Royse Luxury Division explains the enduring appeal of “The West’s Most Western Town.”

Arizona blue city

In a nutshell, the city of Scottsdale has all the ingredients for an exceptional quality of life:

  • An ideal location. Scottsdale sits close enough to Phoenix to enjoy access to its thriving urban conveniences, yet still being separate enough to have its very own distinct suburban character.

  • An inviting and accommodating environment for everyone. Scottsdale is an outstanding place to live, no matter your age. For families who are just starting out, the school districts serving the city offer a firm foundation for the formative years of growing children. For young professionals, Scottsdale balances economic opportunities alongside social and recreational opportunities. Empty nesters and retirees will feel right at home in this city too, thanks to the ideal conditions, amenities, and facilities that are well suited to the needs and interests of this demographic.

  • Comfortable weather throughout the year. Like most of the Valley, Scottsdale enjoys more than 300 days of bright sunshine each year. And while temperatures in the summer can reach the 100s on some days, you have no reason to worry about chilly winters getting in the way of your favorite leisure activities in and around the city.

  • A diverse range of local attractions and activities. Speaking of leisure and recreation, Scottsdale is more than just an excellent place to live in the Greater Phoenix area, it is also known for being a worthwhile travel destination. The city offers plenty of attractions and activities that suit diverse interests and personalities. From sprawling natural attractions just waiting to be explored, to luxurious downtown shopping hot spots and championship golf courses, Scottsdale truly has something for everyone.

  • A lifestyle that thrives with sustainability in mind. The city of Scottsdale is committed to preserving the natural beauty and health of its Sonoran Desert surroundings. In the early 1990s, the city government acquired roughly 100,000 square miles of the desert to create the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy. The same decade saw the creation of the Scottsdale Water Campus, Arizona’s first potable water recycling facility. On top of these, the city is eyeing a complete shift to carbon-neutral power generation by 2050.

All these facts are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the great things that make living in Scottsdale an appealing idea. Read on to learn more about this wonderful Arizona city and why you should make it your next hometown.

Fast facts about Scottsdale: What it’s like to live in the Sonoran Desert

Location

Scottsdale is a 184-square-mile city that sits right next to the northeast limits of Phoenix. It is also adjacent to other sought-after Phoenix suburbs such as Paradise Valley and Tempe, and is just a short drive away from Mesa, Chandler, and Gilbert.

Part of Maricopa County, Scottsdale homes fall into ZIP codes 85250 through 85271.

Scottsdale connects to the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area primarily via the Arizona State Route 101. Public transportation is provided by the Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority. The city also operates a free local public transit service called the Scottsdale Trolley.

Scottsdale also has its own Municipal Airport, which serves tour and commuter flights in a limited capacity.

Climate

Scottsdale

The climate in Scottsdale is classified as arid, which features mild to warm winters and summers that can get extremely hot and dry. Temperatures range from an average of 40 degrees from December to February to an average of 103 degrees between June and August.

Scottsdale gets an average of 11 inches of rainfall annually and it rarely snows.

History

Scottsdale was incorporated as a city in 1951, but its history stretches several decades back. The area that the city currently occupies grew from a 640-acre parcel of land in the Salt River Valley that was purchased by United States Army Chaplain Winfield Scott in 1881. The original plot of land is located near present-day downtown Scottsdale.

Because of the favorable climate and land conditions, Scott chose this location to establish a farming operation. But Scott also invited health seekers, artists, and writers from the East and Midwest to join him in his growing community. This would become the seeds of a lasting impression that Scottsdale is a place fit for the affluent and sophisticated.

Scottsdale’s first public school system was established in 1896 and during the early decades of the 1900s, the town enjoyed an increase in population following the construction of the Granite Reef Dam and the Roosevelt Dam. The area developed as a prominent cattle ranching region through the 1950s.

From a modest town of 2,000 people occupying an area measuring less than one square mile, Scottsdale has flourished into a desirable city of more than 258,000 vibrant and satisfied residents. Frequently visited by vacationers and tourists during the colder months, the city today consistently draws attention and interest from homebuyers and investors looking for the perfect desert vacation getaway, whether for vacation or permanent use.

Economy

Scottsdale boasts a prolific and still growing economy that makes the city an ideal place to live for anyone charting a course toward a fruitful career. Anchored by a renowned tourism industry, the local economy is highlighted by thriving luxury hotel and spa industries.

Health care is also a primary economic driver, with Honor Health, CVS Health, Mayo Clinic, and McKesson Corporation ranking among the top 10 employers in the city.

The Scottsdale economy also benefits from the presence of the Scottsdale Municipal Airport, which primarily provides corporate and general aviation services. Despite being a single-runway airport, the airport’s surrounding Industrial Airpark is a bustling hub of commerce.

Schools

There is no shortage of outstanding schools in the city of Scottsdale. The Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) operates 31 public schools, including 20 primary schools, 10 middle schools, and six high schools. 18 of these schools offer early learning through preschool programs.

In addition, the northern part of the city is zoned to schools under the Paradise Valley Unified School District.

More than just quantity, however, Scottsdale schools are recognized for their high level of performance. Four SUSD high schools, for instance, rank among Arizona’s 100 best high schools according to US News & World Report. These include Chaparral High and Desert Mountain High, which rank 24th and 26th across the state.

Young learners’ paths toward their prolific futures are further reinforced by quality education at the collegiate level, courtesy of Scottsdale Community College. The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine and Arizona Culinary Institute have campuses in Scottsdale, while other institutions like Arizona State University and University of Arizona have locations that are easily accessible from Scottsdale.

Homes for sale in Scottsdale, AZ

Prominent architectural styles

Discerning homebuyers and architecture enthusiasts will be pleased to know that Scottsdale offers a wide range of house styles. In fact, the city has been described as an “Architectural Mecca,” citing the influence of American architecture icon Frank Lloyd Wright on the city’s mid-century modern aesthetic.

Below is an overview of the common house styles that you will see when you explore Scottsdale listings pages:

  • Contemporary – Capturing the minimalist aesthetic at its finest, these structures are defined by their clean lines and angles, as well as simple yet elegant modern construction materials like glass, steel, and concrete.

  • Mediterranean Revival – This style is common not just in Scottsdale, but also across the rest of the Greater Phoenix area. It features tiled roofs, arched windows, and a rectangular floor plan that makes it suitable for master-planned communities.

  • Pueblo Revival – This architectural style is a distinctively Southwestern house design. You will instantly recognize a house built in this style with its adobe exterior, flat or sloping roof, rounded corners, and use of heavy wooden elements.

  • Ranch – An open concept floor plan is used to maximize flow and comfort in these single-story homes. They may seem modest, but these houses are built for function and can also boast eye-catching details on their facades.

  • Santa Fe – Also known as the “Phoenix Territorial” style, this house design features flat roofs similar to Pueblo Revival homes and are painted in neutral tones that complement the sprawling desert landscapes in its background.

  • Spanish Mission – Featuring stucco and adobe brick facades and tile roofs, this unmistakable design is a remnant of late 19th century architecture that remains prevalent in many Southwest locales to this day.

  • Spanish Revival – Like Spanish Mission homes, these “Hacienda” homes use stucco, but also incorporates wrought-iron, tile, and pottery in its exterior and interior elements.

  • Tuscan – This design aesthetic is preferred in neighborhoods near the mountainous parts of the Greater Phoenix area. It combines Italian architectural influences with practical desert home functionality.

Golf communities

Golf

Golf plays a huge part in the Scottsdale lifestyle, so it comes as no surprise that golf course communities and private country clubs are some of the most sought-after neighborhoods in this luxurious real estate market.

If this is the lifestyle you aspire to lead when you buy a house in Scottsdale, these 12 renowned golf communities should be at the top of your list:

  • DC Ranch – Built around an 18-hole golf course designed by John Fought and Tom Lehman, this highly coveted luxury community offers homebuyers a variety of single family homes, condos, and luxury villas. This thriving community boasts its own shopping district and K-8 school.

  • Desert Highlands – This 850-acre guard-gated private community has a Jack Nicklaus-designed 18-hole championship golf course as its centerpiece. There is also a putting course designed by Gary Panks.

  • Desert Mountain – Built on a marvelous 8,000-acre sprawl near the border of Carefree, AZ and the Tonto National Forest, this affluent North Scottsdale community enjoys access to not just one, but six Jack Nicklaus courses, as well as an abundance of exclusive country club amenities.

  • Estancia – One of the most exclusive luxury enclaves in Scottsdale, Estancia sits on the northern slope of Pinnacle Peak, offering impeccable landscape views to go along with unforgettable golf experiences at the 18-hole Tom Fazio-designed course.

  • Grayhawk – Comprising distinct neighborhoods known as The Park and The Retreat, Grayhawk offers a diverse range of prime real estate options, ranging from single-family homes, to condos and townhouses. The Talon and Raptor golf courses are part of The Retreat neighborhood.

  • Legend Trail – This community occupies a 640-acre parcel at an elevated portion of North Scottsdale. This makes the area a great choice if you are looking for an Arizona home that is somewhat spared from the scorching summer heat. This community’s golf course is designed by Rees Jones, son of golf legend Robert Trent Jones.

  • Mirabel – If you want your golf-centric lifestyle to come with spectacular views of the urban desert around you, the Mirabel Golf Club is the ideal community for you. At an elevation of 3,000 feet, you gain an excellent vantage point while enjoying cooler conditions compared to most of the Greater Phoenix area.

  • Silverleaf – While located within the DC Ranch community, this guard-gated enclave stands on its own, offering sprawling estate properties as large as 35 acres. Its golf course is designed by Tom Wieskopf.

  • Terravita – Another upscale North Scottsdale golf community, Terravita maximizes its 823-acre sprawl with gorgeous luxury homes and the exclusive Terravita Country Club, where a Greg Nash and Billy Casper-designed 18-hole golf course takes center stage.

  • Troon North – Troon North is home to 13 distinct neighborhoods spread across a 1,300-acre area north of Pinnacle Peak. With this diversity of local communities, homebuyers will be treated to a wide range of housing options, including both manufactured homes and custom-built luxury estates. This community features two Tom Wieskopf-designed golf courses, namely, The Pinnacle and The Monument.

  • Troon Village – This gated community offers exceptional mountain views, thanks to its ideal position on the southern slopes of Pinnacle Peak. Within this community is the private Troon Country Club, which features a Tom Wieskopf and Jay Moorish-designed 18-hole golf course

  • Whisper Rock – Aside from its soothing name, this community also offers unparalleled comfort and privacy with lots as large as five acres. It boasts an ultra-exclusive, by-invitation-only Golf Club that features two courses—one designed by Tom Fazio and the other by Gary Stephenson and Phil Mickelson.

Ready to dive deeper into the fascinating world of Scottsdale, AZ real estate? Browse the latest listings here or contact The Carol Royse Luxury Division for your inquiries and concerns.

Things to do in Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale is second to none when it comes to offering the irresistible perks of living luxuriously in the modern, urban desert that is Greater Phoenix. Below are some of the best highlights of the local lifestyle that you can look forward to:

Explore and unwind in vibrant Downtown Scottsdale

Downtown Scottsdale

From a vibrant nightlife to the city’s most important ties to its rich history, Downtown Scottsdale truly has it all. Dotted with condominium complexes and other urban housing solutions, this part of the city is also a hub for the city’s growing tech startup scene. There is no doubt that Scottsdale’s downtown district is designed for the genuine, “live, work, and play” experience.

Indulge in the city’s rich and thriving art and culture scene

Artists, writers, and other creative professionals were pillars of Scottsdale’s earliest settler communities, so it should be no surprise that the city today celebrates art and culture in grand fashion.

There are so many attractions dedicated to the various forms and expressions of art in this city, from local institutions such as the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, to various public art installations you can find all around the city, you can be sure that this city is never lacking in creative energy and inspiration.

Embrace nature and the great outdoors

If you fancy outdoor activities like hiking, rock climbing, cycling, and even horseback riding, you are sure to find more than your fair share of adventure in and around Scottsdale. The McDowell Sonoran Preserve, for instance, is a 30,000-acre expanse of lush desert landscape that can be accessed from multiple trailheads and explored either on foot, on a bike, atop a horse, or aboard an ATV or a Hummer.

Discover a unique architectural masterpiece

Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the most important American architects to ever live, once called Scottsdale home—even if only for brief interludes during the winter months. In addition to stamping his influence in the local architecture, he also left behind the Taliesin West, hailed as Wright’s “desert laboratory.” Open for public tours, this historic home offers a unique glimpse into the mind of one of American history’s most talented creators.

The Carol Royse Luxury Division is the company to remember when you are all set to explore Scottsdale’s incredible luxury real estate market.

Dedicated to providing nothing but the best professional guidance and personalized white-glove service, Carol and her team promise a smooth and rewarding homebuying experience, no matter what specific interests and conditions you might have as a buyer.

Find the perfect home today. Call 480.776.5231, email carol(at)carolroyse(dotted)com, or leave a message here to start a conversation with one of our local luxury experts.

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