We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“tacky town”

Old Town Scottsdale
Book In Advance
More Info
and up
Small-Group Tour: Deluxe Phoenix and Scottsdale Day Trip
More Info
and up
Segway Tour of Old Town Scottsdale
More Info
and up
Admission Ticket to Magic Illusion Special Event
Ranked #7 of 165 things to do in Scottsdale
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: The Conservatory is a locally owned, beautiful and unique store offering fine furniture, fabulous accessories, antiques, baby treasures and exceptional gifts.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access
Reviewed October 17, 2011

I was disappointed in old town. It was strictly touristy. considering I was a tourist it didnt cater to me. I was looking for quaint stores. But I found tacky stores with cheap indian jewelry. It seemed like we could have been at the beach with cheap tacky beach items. Same concept. If you are looking for typical tacky souveneers like tshirts, shot glasses, magnets, jewelry that it looks like it is from china, you will enjoy this place. Some people like this type of environment. If you do, then you will enjoy it. I was looking for something more authentic and creative.

Thank luvv
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review
Reviews (4,030)
There are newer reviews for Old Town Scottsdale
See the most recent reviews
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year

3,857 - 3,861 of 4,031 reviews

Reviewed October 13, 2011

After spending an afternoon in Old Town I feel like this area of Scottsdale is torn between two identities. Does it want to be a tourist trap or a foodie, arts, shopping haven? Probably a little bit of both, and it takes on these identities with pride. "The West's most western town" will provide you with an afternoon or evening of activities, great restaurants, and plenty of Native American themed shops. There is free 3 hour time limit parking available in abundance and a free trolley service that loops around Old Town, perfect for those painfully hot days.

Our first stop was Mexican Imports and we really enjoyed it. It's basically a large Mexican themed gift shop geared towards tourists, but some of the items for sale are really interesting. After that we took the free self-guided walking tour. The tour showcases some of Old Town's historic spots and takes you right past the beautiful Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. Some of the places on this tour are very cool, like the still functioning blacksmith shop, the olive trees, and the Sugar Bowl, but others can be skipped - sorry, but there is nothing historic about your public library or city hall.

Old Town is worth checking out. We really enjoyed the day we spent there. We ate a great meal at The Mission, had delicious camelback sodas at the Sugar Bowl, and got a kick out of the "Old West" atmosphere of this area. As always, bring plenty of water, as it does get extremely hot!

3  Thank jackman61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 23, 2011

There are several key things to consider when visiting anywhere in AZ: Climate, Politics, Culture and People. It applies to Old Town and anything you might do after visiting old town. This is a good place to visit in november or april due to bad weather most of the rest of the year (too hot or too cold). If you like daytime temperatures over 100 every day from may until october, and temperatures from 30 to 60 from december to march, then this is the place for you. If you want a desirable climate go to hawaii, or southern california (if you are on a budget or driving).

Politically, AZ is Republican, and they penny pinch on everything, including absolutely necessary social services. If you are an older person with no kids and you do not care about bad drivers and public safety issues, this would be the place for you. The taxes here are lower for these people, but you do pay an 8 percent sales tax. If you are a democrat this is probably not the place for you. I am not saying that az looks bad at first glance but i am saying it can be bad in certain areas or at certain times. Some or all of these factors my apply in any given circumstances, and AZ tends to rank very low on quality public education, which exacerbates these negative factors.

The culture is pretty simple, lots of people speak spanish and alot of the architecture is spanish with lots of adobe (plaster or mudlike) walls for houses. If you like Mexican architecture there is lots of that here, but little else. Most people tend to be very self centered here, rude, and do not act within the norm. Lots of homeless people and unintelligent people wander around the valley. The racial makup of the valley is about half White and half Latino, so there is not much diversity here. There is not much of a middle class it seems like, you are either poor, very poor, or upper middle class or rich. Also be very careful of restaurants, both me and a friend have tried many different restaurants here and were not pleased with the service. For example, in Tempe we went to a Thai restaurant and had one waiter walk away from the table when we said the food wasnt good. He gave no explanation. Another time we went to the same restaurant and waited to be seated. there was no one in the restaurant, we had to go back to the kitchen. We went to several other restaurants including a greek place where the food was served poorly or cold. A chinese place we went to in the area used to be good, but now they changed chefs or something and now it isnt. The only place we can go for a good reliable meal is olive garden near old town.

If you like clear clean water to drink here, go elsewhere, the city heavily chlorinates the water and i heard that it is recycled water from the treatment plant (i dont think they do a good job because the water stinks if you smell it when it comes out of the tap). Also if you like clean air go elsewhere because there is a lot of dust in the air and it does not smell good, mostly the air smells like dirt, and if there is a dust storm that is really bad to breathe into your lungs because the particles can stick to your lungs, similar to smoking a cigarette or something. Also be careful walking through crosswalks, the drivers here do not care and will hit you or make turns very close to you. Also to complicate the already huge problem of dangerous and reckless people here, they are allowed to carry guns now, thanks to a new law. So if you want to feel safe and not vacation in a potentially hostile environment, try Hawaii or California instead.

If you think Sedona or the grand canyon would be nice to visit after seeing old town, consider that they will be similar looking to the desert scenery around phoenix, except the rocks are more red. The canyon is a big hole in the ground and is a desert. But there are some trees near the rivers and maybe you could swim there. Sedona was kind of brown.

In summary, Be careful here, follow all signs and use common sense and keep yourself out of danger. Avoid homeless people and do not give them money because they will use it to buy drugs, and try not to venture out at night after 9pm if at all possible, especially if you have kids. Stay in north scottsdale in a nicer area, because the rest of the valley is dangerous. Im sure some of you have heard about crime issues around ASU, so be careful if you take the bus or light rail, and always carry extra water and have a phone and credit card and a little cash in your wallet so you can buy food and water if needed. Finally when hiking watch where you step and carry atleast a half gallon of water in bottles preferably or in one jug. Carry hydrating foods even walking around old town or taking the trolley there, which i do recommend so you can see all the shops there. Also you should go on the art walks and go to the farmers markets and buy from them to support the local farmers here. The food is really good.

1  Thank chrisff3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 14, 2011

Enjoyed all the shops and found some really nice birthday presents and even some early christmas presents for relatives and friends. Lots of things to see and it's very unique and well-kept.

Thank derek m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2011

I love the nightlife and the awesome restaurants.The clubs are so fun such as Mint and Axis Radius

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Old Town Scottsdale also viewed

Scottsdale, Central Arizona
Scottsdale, Central Arizona
Scottsdale, Central Arizona

Been to Old Town Scottsdale? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing