10 Best Museums in Scottsdale: Explore the City's Arts and Culture Scene

Scottsdale's best museums offer a glimpse into a world of imagination, history and creation. One of the city's shining examples of creativity and innovation is the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, or the SMoCA. The museum is one of the country's leading venues devoted to cutting edge art, regularly hosting some of the country's leading contemporary artists.

Another must-visit museum is the Musical Instrument Museum, which is dedicated to celebrating music and musical instruments from around the world. On display are instruments from every region of the world, as well as fun hands-on room where guests are invited to try their hand at a diverse array of world instruments. The museum regularly hosts award-winning museums at the venue's intimate live music theater. 

For history buffs, there's the Scottsdale Historical Museum in downtown Scottsdale, which features the permanent Winfield Scott Exhibit, letting visitors get a close-up look at the personal artifacts of Scottsdale's founder. There's also the new Scottsdale Museum of the West, a state-of-the-art museum celebrating the history, art and culture of the American West. Visitors can see works of art from lumanaries like Georgia O'Keefe and Fritz Scholder. On display are also fascinating artifacts from Western legends like John Wayne and Kit Carson. 

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park

McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a train-lover's haven located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona. The park offers train and carousel rides for all ages, open green space for family picnics, historic Arizona railroad artifacts, model...  Read More

Tucked away inside Paradise Valley Mall is a pop culture-lovers paradise. The Arizona Pop Culture Experience is both a comic book store and museum of pop culture featuring an exhaustive catalog of movie posters, hard-to-find comic books, action...  Read More

Presenting the world's largest display of firefighting equipment, this museum highlights 100 restored pieces of hand-to-hand, horse-drawn, and mechanized firefighting equipment from 1725 to 1961. Additional exhibits include a fire truck for...  Read More

Butterfly Wonderland in Scottsdale is an unique facility featuring an indoor rain forest environment that is home to the largest butterfly pavilion in America. The museum features a 3D theater, butterfly emergence gallery, conservatory, a live...  Read More

Taliesin West

Located in northeast Scottsdale on the beautiful foothills of the McDowell Mountains, Taliesin West is Frank Lloyd Wright's desert masterpiece. This was the architectural master's personal winter home, studio, and architectural campus. Public...  Read More

Scottsdale's new Museum of the West celebrates the spirit, history and culture of the American West. The museum calls itself a "study in the west," featuring Western art, storytelling, and historical artifacts that help convey the story and...  Read More

Heard Museum

Heard Museum North is the Scottsdale extension of the world-famous Heard Museum in Downtown Phoenix. The North Scottsdale facility features two exhibition galleries, a gift shop, and a garden cafe. The world-renown collection of the Heard Museum...  Read More

Many visitors to Old Town Scottsdale stroll right past this local gem, located on the grassy pedestrian mall in the downtown district. The Scottsdale Historical Museum seeks to present, preserve, and interpret local Scottsdale and the cultural...  Read More

The Musical Instrument Museum, also known as the MIM, celebrates art, music and culture by documenting the history of musical instruments from around the world. Everyone from Carlos Santana to Tony Bennett have sung the praises of this bright,...  Read More

Five galleries and a sculpture garden make up the nucleus of this facility. Additional exhibits of interest include displays of international art, architecture and design, with a predominant focus on hometown attributes. The focus of the SMoCA...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats.

She received her MFA in Creative...  More About Patricia