Banking on its rich western history, each year Scottsdale holds the famous Scottsdale Jaycees Parada del Sol, a month long event that draws cowboys and cowgirls from all over. The event begins in February with the arrival of the Hashknife Pony Express and features the world's longest horse-drawn parade. It comes to a climatic end in March with fast action rodeos, dances, and concerts. The city also plays host annually to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show, billed as the largest and most prestigious horse show in the world. Started in 1955, the show has grown from 50 horses to over 2,400 horses and draws large crowds.
If the "wild west" doesn't beckon you, perhaps Scottsdale's McDowell Sonoran Preserve will. Located to the north of the city, it is the largest urban wilderness area in the United States. Visitors can trek over 60 miles of trails while viewing stunning scenic desert terrain.
For the night owls in the group, Scottsdale has a growing nightlife and was recently named by the New York Times as one of the "hippest and most happening" places in America. High-end nightclubs, hotels, bars, restaurants, and lounges have popped up in the downtown core appealing mostly to the trendy younger crowd.
If retail therapy is an integral part of your vacation experience, look no further than Scottsdale. Shop in style at the Scottsdale Shopping Square; find high-end retailers at the Scottsdale Waterfront; and stroll across the pedestrian bridge to SouthBridge for a retail extravaganza. Just a four-hour drive from Scottsdale is the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, making Scottsdale a great place to visit if you want to do it all.