Scottsdale is widely known for its resorts, golf courses, galleries and emerging restaurant and nightclub scene. It's a big stage for million-dollar car auctions, the rowdiest golf tournament on the PGA Tour and Cactus League baseball. The San Francisco Giants play at Scottsdale Stadium and the hometown Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies share Salt River Fields on the adjacent Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
But don't overlook one of Scottsdale's biggest assets, the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Over the past 20 years, the preserve has grown to more than 30,000 acres of saguaro-studded desert and mountain terrain with a growing number of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.
Visitors might notice that Scottsdale still tries to hold onto its Western roots with lots of horse sculptures, urban equestrian trails and Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the West downtown.
The city's oldest business, Cavalliere's blacksmith shop at Second Street and Brown Avenue, got its start in 1910. Back then "Scottsville," named for retired Army Chaplain Winfield Scott, had 267 residents.
Fast forward to 1960 when Scottsdale was home to 10,026 folks and then boomed to more than 240,000 residents 60 years later.
Greasewood Flat, Pinnacle Peak Patio and Rawhide are gone but you can still find a good cowboy bar at Handlebar J's or the Rusty Spur. The Hashknife Gang still brings the mail once a year via the Pony Express from Holbrook and the Parada del Sol, first staged in 1953, still clip-clops down Scottsdale Road as the World's Largest Horse Drawn Parade.
The chamber moniker of Scottsdale being the West's Most Western Town has faded from official use. But there are still plenty of trails to kick up dust on in the McDowell Mountains.
At the foot of the McDowells is Taliesin West, built in the late 1930s as the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright. Guided tours are available daily.
WestWorld of Scottsdale is a 386-acre event site for horse shows and horsepower shows, including the massive Barrett-Jackson collector car auction in January and two Good Guys car shows annually.
Pickleball in gaining popularity in Scottsdale and drop-in play is available on outdoor courts at three city parks:
-- Cholla, 11320 E. Via Linda, 8 courts.
-- Horizon, 15444 N. 100th St., 10 courts.
-- Thompson Peak, 20199 N 78th Place, 3 courts.
Fall League baseball in October and November is a little known secret that's sparsely attended. Six Fall League teams combine a mix of top Major League prospects from each ball club. These bonus-baby players compete to test their readiness for "The Show."
Tickets are $10, $8 for seniors 55 and older and free for children 12 and under with an adult. Best of all, general admission seating allows fans to sit close to the field just about anywhere in the stadium.
Visitors looking for something a little offbeat in Scottsdale can find the condo near downtown where "Hogan's Heroes" actor Bob Crane was killed or the Alcor cryonics warehouse in the Scottsdale Airpark where baseball legend Ted Williams' remains are frozen.
Elevation: 1,510 feet