FREE Scottsdale Date Ideas (You've Never Heard Of!)
Your local Scottsdale Event Oracle is back, this time with fun, free, and cheap date ideas for you and that special someone to do right here in Scottsdale. While Scottsdale is known for country-club style living, not everything in Scottsdale has to come with a high price tag. Whether you're on a budget or want to try something that isn't a "typical" Scottsdale hot spot, the all-knowing Oracle has just what you're looking for. It can be difficult to find affordable date options, especially in an area like Scottsdale. This bigger than a two pony town truly has a lot to offer, from high-end dining and shopping, fun outdoor adventures, and even some hidden treasures that you'll only know if you're a local (or are fortunate enough to be favored by my crystal ball). If you live in the area or are heading to town for a short visit, here are THE best free Scottsdale date ideas that you should check out while there. Or if you need to know what is going on today in Scottsdale, visit the Best Events in Scottsdale Today.
4420 N Scottsdale Rd, Scottsdale
4420 N Scottsdale Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Scottsdale is a very artistic city, and Canal Convergence is one of the best free art events in the region. Taking place every November, the ten-day art show features local and international artists and combines art with public spectacle. Centered around Scottsdale's canal, you'll be able to see beautiful works of art, live dance performances, poetry readings, live music, and vendors throughout the area. When it comes to a date, there aren't many events that are as unique as this, all while being free. Many of the installations are interactive as well, allowing you to engage and have fun with the art. Transport yourself and your date to a world of magic this November by heading to Canal Convergence.
E Main St, Scottsdale
E Main St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
For something fun and romantic in the city, the Oracle recommends an evening stroll through the Scottsdale Artwalk. This free event is hosted every Thursday evening from 7 pm to 9 pm and is completely free to the public. Celebrating both local and internationally-renowned artists, local galleries open their doors for the public to enjoy. This event began in 1975 and is organized by the Scottsdale Gallery Association to bring attention to the arts in Scottsdale.
Both serious art collectors and casual onlookers walk through the various art galleries, creating a fun, intimate atmosphere that's perfect for an evening out with your significant other. In addition to walking through art galleries, you'll also enjoy live music in a beautiful setting. Pop into one of the many delicious restaurants, or take your romance to the next level with a horse-drawn carriage ride. Even if you're not into art, this is not an event you should miss.
6433 E Doubletree Ranch Rd, Paradise Valley
6433 E Doubletree Ranch Rd
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Enter a world of whimsy and magic (and trust us, we know whimsy and magic) by heading to Cosanti. This vibrant, stunning site is a collection of buildings designed by artist Paolo Soleri and his students. The buildings were formed by pouring concrete over shaped mounds of dirt, and once the concrete hardened, the mounds were removed, creating the interior of the structures underneath. A majority of the buildings were actually constructed below ground, allowing for year-round temperature control.
In addition to the stunning buildings, you can also view and purchase handmade bronze bells, wind chimes, and statues. These artistic pieces are still made on site today, and you can even schedule a bronze pouring demonstration to see how the process works. General visits are completely free to the public, allowing you to explore the grounds and learn about this incredible artist. Cosanti is an ideal date location if you're looking to do something fun, unique, and enriching. The bars and restaurants in downtown Scottsdale will always be there - Cosanti truly is a once in a lifetime experience.
7014 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale
7014 E Camelback Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Scottsdale has so much to offer, and there's no better way to get to know this amazing town with your significant other than by hopping on an adorable trolley and hitting up some of the top spots in the area. Always free and always fun, the Scottsdale trolley combines old-world charm with modern-day convenience. Since rides are free, you can hop on and off wherever you'd like without worrying about transportation costs. The ride itself is always enjoyable, showing off some of the area's best shopping, dining, and entertainment options.
The free trolley system is actually significantly larger than most people think, offering four distinct routes to various parts of Scottsdale that are always - you guessed it - free. The most popular route is the Old Town Route, starting at Scottsdale's Fashion Square and making multiple stops on the way to the Historic Old Town. Or travel through the Arts District and visit the Scottsdale Museum of the West. When it's baseball season, the route expands to Scottsdale Stadium, offering routes before and after games. Ask just about anyone in any major city across the country and they won't tell you that their transit system is free, let alone a great date option - with the Scottsdale Trolley system, you get both!
18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy, Scottsdale
18333 N Thompson Peak Pkwy
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Boasting over 30,000 acres of land to explore, McDowell Sonoran Preserve is the perfect spot for a fun outdoor adventure. Hike, bike, and learn about the beautiful Arizona wildlife, all without paying a dime. Adrenaline junkies can bike on more than 200 miles of trails, ranging from beginner-friendly trails to advanced riding trails. When it comes to a unique, romantic date, what better idea than to head out to one of the most beautiful nature preserves in the country?
Open sunrise to sunset every day, there are countless opportunities to head out and hit the trails. If you're not interested in hiking or biking, you can also ride horses along the trails, making for an even more romantic setting. Be sure to check out their impressive calendar of fun events - most of those events are free as well! McDowell Sonoran Preserve is just a short drive outside of Scottsdale, making it the perfect destination for a rugged, romantic outdoor date.
9120 East, Talking Stick Way, Scottsdale
9120 East, Talking Stick Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Head down to the Pavillions Shopping Center in Scottsdale, just outside the McDonald's restaurant on any given Saturday night and you will be happy to find the longest running cruise-in event anywhere. Classic cars and bikes start cruising in around 4pm and within a few hours the lots is jammed packed with vintage and classic vehicles. It's a fun family event or just a nice way to spend a Saturday evening, strolling among some pretty sweet rides. Chat with the owners (or gearheads as they are lovingly called), learn something about why they love their ride and take some selfies while your there, perhaps with a 1960s Camaro in the background. Revel in the cotton candy colors and the shiny chrome. It's fun, it's free and its fuel injected!
7374 E 2nd St, Scottsdale
7374 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Unlike most museums that have only one day per month that they are open to the public for free, SMoCA (or the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art) in fact has quite a few free days each month. All day every Thursday in fact. And for those that prefer to visit weekends, the 2nd Saturday each month is also free. Dedicated to today's art and artists, they present a global perspective of modern and contemporary art, design and architecture. No stuffy old portraits of long dead dukes and duchesses here. The provocative pieces you will see here will bring you into a world of dynamic creativity and expression.
The museum hosts a lot of lectures, workshops and special events, although you may find these do not fall on the days when you get free admission. Still some of the events and talks are free, so it is worth checking out their website under upcoming events. You will find that the admission price for this museum as actually very reasonable, so free or no, it is a great place to visit.
Fashion Square Scottsdale
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Well, there is nothing free about shopping or dining, especially when you are talking about stores like Cartier and Coach. Of course window shopping is absolutely free! Why not go and enjoy the air-conditioning, the beautiful people, and if nothing else, pretending like you just might buy something! But wait, there is something else at Scottsdale Fashion Square that will help ease the pressure on your wallet if you do decide to do a little shopping. It's called "Visitor Incentives" and it's available to anyone from out of town.
Here is how it works. Show your out of town ID or hotel room key to the concierge. There are actually two concierge desks in the mall, as well as a roving concierge. The concierge will set you up with a password that will unlock a boatload of savings and values at participating stores. Sorry locals, this deal is for visitors only.
7135 E Camelback Rd, Scottsdale
7135 E Camelback Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
This one is really for fans of college football, but it is still absolutely free every day from Monday to Friday. They are not however open on weekends. The Fiesta Bowl started in 1971 and has had football fans looking forward to this yearly game ever since. The museum has exhibits covering all things Fiesta Bowl and some pretty impressive college football trophies to boot. Friendly docents are there to highlight the exhibits and share stories. Peruse all the helmets of almost every team in the college division, check out some of the interactive exhibits. There are photos, stories and jerseys of past players and some interesting memorabilia.
This museum is not going to take you very long to see, but if your girlfriend insists on shopping at the nearby Fashion Square, then this might just be the spot to stop in to see while she spends too much money on a new outfit.
1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008
1201 N Galvin Pkwy
Phoenix, AZ 85008
The Desert Botanical Gardens joins the ranks of most museums when it comes to offering a free community day, theirs being the second Tuesday of each month. Arrive early to find decent parking or take public transit, as the lot fills up fast. Then be prepared for 55 acres of desert landscape. The gardens is also host to many art exhibits throughout the year. Bring water, sunscreen, a hat and a camera! Just be sure to not back into anything super prickly, spiny or otherwise pokey while composing that perfect shot.
21001 N Tatum Blvd, Phoenix
21001 N Tatum Blvd
Phoenix, AZ 85050
Every Friday and Saturday evening you can catch free local live music and get your shop on at the Desert Ridge Marketplace. This upscale outdoor shopping mall is actually also a fun place to just hang out, catch some tunes and maybe a bite to eat. Of course the food part is not free, but you can't always have your cake and eat it too. There is not one but two stages, the District Stage and the AMC Fountain Stage, so double the fun. The Oracle suggests bringing your own chairs just in case they are all taken, grab your date a cool drink and sit back and enjoy.
2301 N Central Ave, Phoenix
2301 N Central Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85004
If you planned it right you could probably go to a different museum or garden for free each week. Start building your once a month free calendar with the Heard Museum which is free on the first Friday of each month from 6pm to 10pm. What will you see there? The Heard is the preeminent museum for American Indian art. Everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary works, you will find the Heard to be a cultural treasure. Just be forewarned that there are no free days in March.
La Casa de Cristo Lutheran Church
6300 E Bell Rd
Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
7380 E 2nd St
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Don't pass up the opportunity to hear a professional orchestra play classical favorites. Even if classical isn't really your thing, just watching the precision of the violinists or the passion of the conductor is an experience that can be very rewarding! And why would you pass up on this offer when every concert is FREE! The Scottsdale Philharmonic are dedicated to bringing classical music to the Scottsdale community with style and professionalism. With approximately six concerts per year, there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy Bach to Beethoven to the Barber of Seville with your sweetheart.
3939 N Drinkwater Blvd, Scottsdale
3939 N Drinkwater Blvd
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
It's a lazy Sunday afternoon and a hike, bike or run sounds too exhausting. If being more relaxed is your speed then the Sunday A'Fair is probably the thing for you. From January through April you can head down to the Scottsdale Civic Center Park and catch live outdoor music for free from 12pm to 4pm. There's a variety of music from pop to rock to jazz to country. So grab your date, a picnic basket and a blanket that is just the right size for two and head on down to the park. And when you need to stretch your legs a bit, there's an arts-and-crafts market to check out along with docent led tours of the sculptures in the park. Food and drink are also on hand for sale in case packing a picnic basket also sounds too exhausting.
All around Scottsdale
Some towns have one iconic statue or a few interesting public art pieces but Scottsdale is chock full of fabulous public art ranging from smaller intimate pieces to larger than life sculptures and installations. There are so many public art pieces around town that it could take more than one date to see them all, which certainly makes for a great excuse for a second date! Start by visiting the Scottsdale Public Art website so you can map out which pieces you'll want to see. Plan a walking tour of pieces close together or get more adventurous and design a tour based on time periods or certain styles of art. Go for visiting only permanent pieces or catch the temporary works while they are still up. There are many iconic works such as the LOVE sculpture designed by Robert Indiana. Although most of the permanent pieces are sculptural in nature, there are other mediums that include light, digital media, painting and waterworks. Just be sure to pick a sunny day which shouldn't be too difficult in Scottsdale.
7191 East Chauncey Lane
7191 East Chauncey Lane
Scottsdale, AZ 85054
Every third Saturday of the month, head on over to the Penske Racing Museum between 8 and 10am (summer hours are 7 to 9am), and check out all the fancy cars you wished you owned! Cars and coffee has been going strong since 2012, and you will always find free coffee, and food trucks on site. But the best part is waking up early and strolling around checking out all the tricked out automobiles. Old cars, fast cars, and funky cars. If you like cars, then this is a fun place to meet for a low-key stroll, chat, and car ogling excursion.
Arizona Biltmore Resort, Phoenix
2400 E Missouri Ave
Phoenix, AZ 85016
Mesa Arts Center, Mesa
1 E Main St
Mesa, AZ 85201
Tempe Center for the Arts, Tempe
700 W Rio Salado Pkwy
Tempe, AZ 85281
We admit it, this one isn't free. It is one of our favorite date spots though and if you haven't heard of it, you're in for an evening of magic that will leave you and your date looking at each other and saying, "how did they do that?" The Carnival of Illusion is a vaudeville-style magic show that will keep you on the edge of your seat – and maybe holding your date's hand – for the duration. They will certainly have you mesmerized, laughing and even participating in the show, making this is a great evening for special nights out like anniversaries, date nights, birthdays, and celebrations.
Shows are on select Friday and Saturdays at three favorite Valley locations, the Arizona Biltmore Resort, the Tempe Center for the Arts, and the Mesa Arts Center. Each of these locations has something special (and FREE) to offer if you decide to arrive early for the show. Both the Mesa Arts Center and The Tempe Center for the Arts have art galleries to wander through and admire. And for an architectural journey back in time, The Arizona Biltmore Resort is worth a walk around to admire the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design. Enjoy the Magic!
These are just a few of the many fantastic date options that you'll see here in Scottsdale. It can be tough to find a free date idea that's fun, entertaining, and romantic, but free dates can very well be some of the most memorable ones. You don't have to spend a lot of money to have a great time in Scottsdale, and as you can see, there's something that's fun (and free!) for everyone - the Oracle sees one of these exciting date ideas in your near future.
We'll look deep into our crystal ball for any additional free date ideas for future posts - if you have any suggestions or recommendations for unique date ideas that are free or inexpensive in Scottsdale, be sure to let us know!