Exploring Scottsdale’s Holiday Magic

As the air gets crisper and snow starts to fall in some regions, why not head to the desert for a Thanksgiving to remember? November is a beautiful time of year in Arizona, and for those that live in the northern states, spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Scottsdale is a welcoming change. Thanksgiving unveils a unique charm in the Scottsdale area, with slightly cooler temps, fewer crowds, and the start of the wonderful holiday season. While many people associate the holidays with home and hearth, a Thanksgiving getaway to Scottsdale offers a delightful twist to the traditional celebration. Here are just a few reasons why visiting Scottsdale over Thanksgiving is a decision you won’t regret:

Perfectly Pleasant Weather

The weather in Scottsdale over the Thanksgiving holiday is typically very pleasant, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to mid-70s, and sometimes even warmer. Late November in Arizona is a nice respite from the heat of the summer, with temperatures perfect for days by the pool, hikes in the surrounding mountains, golf, cycling, and more. It truly is an ideal destination for those seeking a break from colder climates. The city’s unique blend of desert beauty and urban sophistication adds a special touch to the holiday season.

Thanksgiving Activities and Events

Scottsdale hiking trail

Whether you’re interested in holiday-themed events for your Scottsdale vacation, or you’re simply looking to relax and explore the desert, there is plenty to do over the Thanksgiving long weekend. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Outdoor Adventures: Scottsdale’s beautiful desert surroundings beckon outdoor lovers. Go for a hike in McDowell Sonoran Preserve or up the popular Camelback Mountain, or take a leisurely horseback ride to soak in the tranquil desert landscapes. Scottsdale also boasts numerous world-class golf courses. Take advantage of the pleasant weather in November and get outside with friends or family.
  2. Desert Botanical Garden: The Desert Botanical Garden in nearby Phoenix offers 55 acres of desert botanical splendor, showcasing just how colorful and unique desert flora can be. It also features a special exhibit that starts the day after Thanksgiving – Las Noches de las Luminarias. Enjoy an evening filled with sparkling luminarie-lit trails and twinkling holiday lights, along with musical performances, entertainment and festive food and drinks. 
  3. Tour the Holiday Lights Around Town: Scottsdale really puts on a show for the holidays, and there’s just something special about seeing cacti lit up with colored lights. From the McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park to Scottsdazzle in Old Town, to ZooLights at the Phoenix Zoo, there are a variety of stunning light shows you can go view. This is a great way to kick off the holiday season and get in a festive mood!  
  4. Turkey Trot: The Phoenix Turkey Trot offers a 1-mile Gobble dash for the little ones, or a 5k or 10k scenic routes through downtown Phoenix. The event is hosted at Wesley Bolin Plaza on Thanksgiving Day, with the festivities kicking off at 7:30am. Don’t forget to dress up for a chance to win awards!
  5. Thanksgiving Dinner at the Zoo: Experience a unique Thanksgiving dinner at the Phoenix Zoo, where you can enjoy a delicious meal while surrounded by stunning wildlife exhibits.

Where to Enjoy a Thanksgiving Meal

There are many Scottsdale hotels and restaurants that serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal or a special prix-fixe menu for the holiday. Another favorite way to spend Thanksgiving is going to a special holiday brunch at one of the many local hotels and restaurants. We’ve included just a small selection of some of our favorite places in Scottsdale for a Thanksgiving holiday meal, but there are dozens more to choose from!

Outdoor dining in Scottsdale for Thanksgiving

  1. The Mission: Renowned for its modern Latin cuisine, The Mission often serves a delectable Thanksgiving menu with a Southwestern twist.
  2. Lon’s at The Hermosa Inn: This upscale restaurant offers a traditional Thanksgiving feast with a touch of Arizona flair. Enjoy a sumptuous meal in a charming, hacienda-style setting.
  3. Tommy V’s Urban Kitchen: Located in the heart downtown Scottsdale, Tommy V’s serves a delicious prixe-fixe dinner for Thanksgiving that’s a bit different from the norm. If you’re not tied to turkey and mashed potatoes, Tommy V’s is a fun option.
  4. El Chorro: This fine dining restaurant has been a Paradise Valley landmark since 1937. They offer a wonderful Thanksgiving meal that can be enjoyed on their expansive patio with views of Camelback mountain, or inside for a cozier setting.
  5. T Cooks at Royal Palms Hotel: Treat your family and your tastebuds to a Thanksgiving Day meal that all will enjoy. Enjoy the beautiful historic grounds, take in the live music and indulge in flavorful dishes from their creative culinary team. T Cooks offers a Thanksgiving breakfast, prix-fixe Thanksgiving dinner, and a Thanksgiving buffet. 

Where To Stay

Scottsdale vacation rental kitchen and living room

Staying in a Scottsdale vacation rental with friends and family over the Thanksgiving weekend means you get more quality time to spend together. Rather than being in separate hotel rooms, a vacation rental offers expansive living areas for lounging together as a group, watching football, playing games, and much more. Having a fully equipped kitchen makes it easier to enjoy group meals, so that every meal doesn’t have to be out at a restaurant. Or you can cook a Thanksgiving feast at your vacation rental if that’s your preference. Nearly all of our Scottsdale rentals also feature private pools, hot tubs, fire pits, and large outdoor spaces, allowing you to spend more time in the beautiful weather! Browse our selection of Scottsdale vacation rentals, and start planning your Thanksgiving trip to the desert. In addition to Scottsdale, Goodnight Stay also offers beautiful rentals in Paradise Valley, Phoenix, Chandler, Cave Creek, and Fountain Hills. 

Visiting Scottsdale over Thanksgiving is the perfect way to transform the holiday into a memorable adventure filled with unique experiences and beautiful surroundings. From outdoor adventures in the desert to savoring a delicious Thanksgiving meal with a Southwestern twist, Scottsdale has something special in store for everyone. This Thanksgiving, consider trading the traditional home-cooked meal for a holiday escape that’s sure to create lasting memories.