Even though Mercedes outnumber horses in Scottsdale these days, the city once known as “The West’s Most Western Town” still has a distinctly western feel.
Here are eight ways to indulge your inner cowboy or cowgirl in Scottsdale:
Dress the part. Want authentic western wear? Head to Saba’s for the Southwest’s largest selection of boots, jeans, and hats. J. Gilbert Footwear at Scottsdale’s SouthBridge sells handmade boots while Pendleton has ranch-style shirts and jackets. Ladies can complete the look with authentic Native American jewelry from River Trading Post.
Go to school. Learn to ride, rope, pen, and more at Arizona Cowboy College, where the CMT reality television series, “Cowboy U,” was filmed from 2003-2007. A working ranch, Arizona Cowboy College offers one-day, three-day, and weeklong classes ranging in price from $450 to $2,250. Meals and bunkhouse lodging is included for multi-day adventures.
Head out on the trail. If a working ranch sounds too intense, try a more laidback horseback ride instead. MacDonald’s Ranch in Scottsdale takes guests out on one-hour, one and a half-hour, and two-hour trail rides. You must be at least five years old to ride and weigh less than 260 lbs. The ranch also offers stagecoach tours and cookouts.
Learn about the Old West. Discover what life was like for adventurers and settlers who headed west at the Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West. The museum tells the story of the Native Americans who were already here, the explorers and settlers who came later, and the people who live here today through art in various mediums including paintings, photographs, ceramics, and more. There is also an impressive display of saddles, guns, and other artifacts.
Belly up to the bar. The Rusty Spur Saloon is the real deal. Over the years, celebrities including Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Vince Vaughn, and Jennifer Aniston have walked past the hitching post on Main Street in Old Town Scottsdale and through the saloon’s swinging doors to listen to the live country music that’s played here seven nights a week.
Grab some grub. In addition to hard liquor, the Rusty Spur Saloon serves chili, burgers, nachos, and rattlesnake eggs (jalapeno poppers). For something a little more sophisticated, try Roaring Fork, known for its spin on campfire cuisine such as with options like sugar-cured duck breast and green chili mac and cheese. If you’re hankering for a steak, head just a little south of Scottsdale to the Stockyards Restaurant and 1889 Saloon, where you can order corn-fed, aged beef with all the trimmings.
Learn to two step. Handlebar J Restaurant and Saloon also serves hearty western fare like steaks and ribs. Come for the food and live music six nights a week, as well as dance lessons on Wednesday nights at 6:30 pm. Line-dancing lessons are offered on Tuesdays, also at 6:30 pm.
Step back in time. Want to see stagecoaches rolling down the streets of Scottsdale again or cowboys wrestling a doggie to the ground? Mark your calendar for the annual Parada del Sol Parade and Rodeo. Festivities begin on February 13 with the parade along Scottsdale Road (more information to come). The rodeo, a PRCA sanctioned event, runs February 25-28 and includes Scottsdale Pro Bulling Riding on February 25. Celebrate in the evenings with a nightly hoedown at Handlebar J.
Scottsdale is full of amazing cultural events, galleries, shopping, and restaurants that are guaranteed to take you back in time. Feel free to reach out to learn more about making the best of the Old West in our community!