One perfect day in Scottsdale, AZ

Enjoy amazing outdoors and cowboy roots on a winter visit
Nora Burba Trulsson

Get your yee-haw on: Boots and cowboy hats are the dress code at Parada del Sol—a monthlong Western-palooza that ends with a rodeo on March 4. Cheer on 30 Hashknife Pony Express riders as they gallop into town with bags of (real!) mail (noon Feb 11; hashknifeponyexpress.com). The next day, watch floats, bands, and 1,000 horses on parade, then hit the street dance. paradadelsol.org

Make it a weekend: Back in the ’30s, cowboy artist Lon Megargee built an adobe home and studio in the desert. These days, it’s the Hermosa Inn, a luxe hotel and informal gallery of Megargee’s work. Check out the updated rooms, the tiny new spa, and the always romantic restaurant Lon’s ($$$). From $269; hermosainn.com

Kick up your heels at classic cowboy bars

The rustic desert hangout: Dance under the stars at Greasewood Flat, ringed by towering salt cedars. Dress warmly, grab a beer, and commandeer a picnic table near a firepit to stay toasty in between two-stepping to the live music. $; 27375 N. Alma School Pkwy.; 480/585-9430.

The honky-tonk: Don’t know the swing from a line dance? Join lessons at Handlebar J, where rafters are festooned with old cowboy hats, or cool your heels on the streetside patio. Free dance lessons 6:45 p.m. Sun; 7116 E. Becker Lane; 480/948-0110. 

The saloon: Step through the swinging doors and you’ll literally be rubbing elbows with cowboys, tourists, locals, and the occasional country music star at the teensy, beloved Rusty Spur Saloon, open since 1951. Hold your beer above your head when you maneuver the dance floor so you don’t spill. 7245 E. Main St.; 480/425-7787.

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