Although Scottsdale, Arizona is an incorporated city, it is, in essence, an upscale suburb of Phoenix located just 10 miles east. The ambiance is definitely California suburban, but just beyond the city limits, you will gaze at saguaro cactus and roadrunners against a mountain backdrop that loudly proclaims ARIZONA! The climate is mild, the sun shines nearly year-round and beautiful vistas are everywhere.
Scottsdale sprawls over 185 square miles and has a population of 208,000, with 20% of this population retired. The prevailing architectural styles are southwestern adobe and Mediterranean in a mix of mansions, estates and more affordable housing. Cultural and recreational activities abound and shopping is excellent. Trendy boutiques enhance more stable department stores such as Neiman-Marcus, Bullocks and Nordstrom. Fine dining is more than available with fifteen restaurants holding quality ratings by AAA.
Scottsdale is a major art center of the Southwest. One hundred twenty galleries sponsor Thursday night art walks and Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio is now a historic landmark. There is a Scottsdale symphony orchestra and the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra. Nearby Arizona State University is the home of Kerr Cultural Center and has two theaters for the performing arts. The area also boasts 125 golf courses and an annual PGA event, the Phoenix Open Golf Tournament. Hiking, biking, tennis and water sports are plentiful along with river rafting and hot air ballooning.
Seniors can also take advantage of college courses offered through the Senior Adult Education Program, part of Scottsdale Community College. There is also a Elderhostel course and the Robinson’s department stores offer OASIS, Older Adult Service and Information System. DOAR (Developing Older Adult Resources) is a church and a synagogue group that helps seniors with home services, transportation, care-giver assistance, etc. Scottsdale Civic Center Senior center and Elder Via Linda Senior Center offer recreational and social activities.
Regarding transportation, Sky Harbor International Airport is in Phoenix, ten miles away, and is served by 12 major airlines and schedules 1,000 flights a day. Bus service is good in Phoenix but sparse in Scottsdale. There is a dial-a-ride service for seniors and the disabled, but most people find a car necessary.
This city’s modern, stylish atmosphere is shared by Old West and Indian influences. There are twenty-one Indian reservations in the area that offer rodeos, fairs and arts and crafts.
It does get hot here in the summer, but air conditioning is everywhere. While cultural opportunities are abundant, formal education opportunities are not. All in all, though, Scottsdale is a unique blend of diverse culture, leisurely living and desert beauty.