Bristling with cranes and construction fencing, the city's center has seemingly reinvented itself overnight as a sophisticated destination and a large, floating party scene, complete with fashionable hotels, pricey boutiques, and restaurants that alone are worth the trip. More than $2 billion is being sunk into the 2-square-mile area roughly centered on Scottsdale and Camelback Roads ― and it shows.
Downtown Scottsdale is between Chaparral Rd. and Earll Dr., Miller Rd. to 68th St. For information, visit www.scottsdaledowntown.com or contact the Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800/782-1117.
WHERE TO STAY
Hotel Valley Ho. From $319; www.hotelvalleyho.com; 866/882-4484.
Mondrian Scottsdale Hotel. Former James Hotel gets a makeover, including an Asia de Cuba restaurant. From $395; http://www.mondrianscottsdale.com; 800/697-1791.
WHERE TO EAT
Café ZuZu. Gussied-up mac 'n' cheese and meatloaf. $$$; at Hotel Valley Ho, 6850 E. Main St.; 480/421-7997.
Cowboy Ciao. Italian meets Mexican-border fare. $$$$; 7133 E. Stetson Dr.; 480/946-3111.
Kazimierz World Wine Bar. Globe-trotting wine list, plus nibbles. $$; 7137 E. Stetson; 480/ 946-3004.
Olive & Ivy Restaurant & Marketplace. Pick up gourmet picnic fixin's, or dine in on signature flatbread. $$$$; 7135 E. Camelback Rd.; www.foxrc.com; 480/751-2200.
Orange Table. Artsy hangout with lattes and exceptionally great grilled cheese. $; 7373 E. Scottsdale Mall; 480/424-6819.
Sea Saw. Sashimi and Japanese tapas from famed chef Nobuo Fukuda. $$; 7133 E. Stetson; 480/481-9463.
WHERE TO SHOP
Estilo Boutique. Flirty dresses and high-end jeans. 7135 E. Camelback; 480/664-0365.
Haus. Home decor store mixing mod with midcentury. Closed Mon; 4821 N. Scottsdale Rd.; 480/423-5444.
Kai Alise. Custom totes, from clutch to diaper bag. 7136 E. Fifth Ave.; 480/423-9700.
Mahsa. Stylish shoes and jewelry. 7135 E. Camelback; 480/ 990-8811.
WHAT TO DO
Axis/Radius. One of many trendy dance clubs. $10; 7340 E. Indian Plaza; www.eveningentertainmentgroup.com; 480/970-1112.
Cholla Trail. Strenuous 1.5 miles uphill to Camelback Mountain summit. Park on Invergordon Rd./64th St.; www.phoenix.gov/parks/hikemain.html; 602/ 261-8318.
Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt. Paved 7.5-mile path meanders past parks and urban lakes. Access at Indian School and Hayden Roads; www.scottsdaleaz.gov/parks/parks.asp.
Scottsdale art galleries. Dozens line Marshall Way and Main Street. ArtWalk 7-9 Thu; free; www.scottsdalegalleries.com; 480/990-3939.
Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Celebrity explores cult of the famous, through Apr 29. SMoCA Nights (9 p.m.-midnight Mar 22; $15). Closed Mon; $7 admission; 7374 E. Second St.; www.smoca.org; 480/874-4666.