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Situated on the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert, Scottsdale is located in Arizona’s Maricopa County, in the heart of the American southwest.
Although mostly known for its chic resorts and world-class golf courses, Scottsdale is a vibrant, year-round destination with diverse cultural, culinary, and outdoor experiences sure to impress even the most discerning traveler.
Generally, Scottsdale is considered a safe travel destination for both domestic and international vacationers.
However, like all tourist hotspots, there are some safety considerations to weigh before planning a trip to Scottsdale.
To decide whether Scottsdale is the right place for your group to visit at this time, please read on to learn the most up-to-date information and recommendations about traveling to Scottsdale, Arizona.
Warnings & Dangers in Scottsdale
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Overall, it is generally safe to visit Scottsdale, Arizona. Crime rates are lower than the average in most American cities, and there are currently no pending safety threats. It should be noted, though, that as of January 2022, the United States, including Arizona, are experiencing rapidly rising rates of COVID-19 due to the omicron variant. This may be a concern for at-risk or unvaccinated travelers.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Scottsdale has a robust and user-friendly public transit system. Valley Metro is the city’s bus system. All buses are GPS equipped, and visitors can download a corresponding app to peruse schedules and bus locations. There is also a free trolley system serving Scottsdale and the Phoenix metro area. Additionally, the city features designated Transport Safety Zones, where rideshare services and taxis can safely pull over to load and unload passengers.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Scottsdale has a slightly higher rate of theft than the average American town, however, this is often true in busy tourist areas. Assuming travelers take reasonable precautions, such as securing valuables in a purse or bag and remaining aware of their surroundings, the risk of being pickpocketed in Scottsdale is relatively low.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Natural disasters are extremely uncommon in Scottsdale. For example, there has never been a major earthquake recorded in the Scottsdale area, and the last tornado occurred almost 30 years ago, in 1993. Because it is situated in a desert, there is very little precipitation in Scottsdale, making weather events such as a hurricane or blizzard exceedingly unlikely.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Muggings are not prevalent in Scottsdale, however, as in most cities, they can occur. The state of Arizona does not require residents to have a concealed carry permit, which could, in theory, make it easier for an assailant to mug a victim at gunpoint. If you find yourself in this situation, the safest way to react is to comply with the mugger, then promptly seek help from local law enforcement.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
On November 11, 2021, the Department of Homeland Security issued an updated National Terrorism Advisory System Bulletin citing a heightened risk of domestic or international terrorism due to an increase in large group gatherings, the holiday season, and the complications of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While there are currently no credible threats to any U.S. cities, including Scottsdale, the advisory will remain in effect through February 8, 2022.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
While scams do happen in the Scottsdale area, they are usually targeted towards residents. There have been reports of scammers making phone calls pretending to be police officers or government officials and asking citizens to send money or purchase gift cards, but again, tourists are not usually the target of this. If travelers are vigilant and exercise common sense, the risk of being scammed is low.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
In any city, it is prudent for female travelers, particularly women traveling alone, to implement basic safety practices. Be aware of your surroundings, don’t go out alone in deserted areas at night, and always let someone know where you’re going, if possible. That said, Scottsdale is relatively safe for women travelers, and the risk of crime or violence against female tourists is rather low.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
In Scottsdale, Arizona, tap water is clean, readily available, and safe to drink. It is closely monitored and routinely tested by Scottsdale Water, the municipal water provider, and meets or exceeds all standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Safest Places to Visit in Scottsdale
There are a seemingly endless amount of things to do, see, and experience safely in Scottsdale.
Known as “The World’s Finest Golf Destination,” avid golfers can choose from over 200 courses in the greater Scottsdale area.
Some of the most popular and highly-rated local courses include McDowell Mountain Golf Club, the Boulders Club, and TPC Scottsdale, home of the Waste Management Phoenix Open. (Please note, not all of these clubs are open to the public.)
For outdoor enthusiasts, McDowell Sonoran Reserve provides a plethora of hiking trails, and Lower Salt River offers kayaking from May-October.
Looking for a culturally enriching experience?
Try the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of the West, or the trendy, unique Wonderspaces, which feature breathtaking art installations and signature cocktails.
If you prefer something a little more laid back, spend an afternoon visiting the six wineries and tasting rooms on the centrally located Scottsdale Wine Trail.
Placess to Avoid in Scottsdale
Scottsdale is a fairly affluent area with a low level of crime, relative to other American cities.
While most areas of the city are safe, locals rate the northern and downtown areas as the safest.
As in any urban center, it’s wise to avoid traveling alone at night through quiet or deserted neighborhoods.
Tourist districts are generally more vigilantly patrolled by law enforcement, so visitors may feel safest sticking to these areas.
When using public transportation, be sure to confirm the route before boarding, to avoid getting lost in potentially unsafe areas.
As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the United States, use your best judgment when visiting high traffic or densely populated areas and attractions.
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health advises visitors to Scottsdale to wear masks in public indoor settings, wash hands thoroughly and frequently, practice social distancing, and use contactless payment whenever possible.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Scottsdale
- Stay somewhere reputable. Scottsdale offers a huge variety of safe and comfortable lodging ranging from five-star resorts to quaint boutique hotels, to unique apartment rentals. Before embarking on your trip, research your options, and choose accommodations that are verified and have positive reviews.
- Pack accordingly. Summers in Scottsdale can be extremely hot, with average temperatures soaring to 105 degrees. If traveling during the warmer months, pack lightweight, breathable clothing in light colors, hats, and sunscreen. In the cooler months, evening temperatures can dip as low as the mid-40s, so plan to bring some warmer layers.
- Carry water. Scottsdale is in the desert, which means the air is dry, and it’s very easy to become dehydrated, particularly in the summer. When venturing out for the day, be sure to bring a bottle of water with you.
- Avoid the midday heat. Whenever possible, schedule athletic excursions like golfing, hiking, or kayaking early in the morning or later in the day, especially in the summer. The heat of the midday sun can be dangerous for vulnerable individuals.
- Don’t venture out alone at night. As in any city, it’s wise to avoid traveling through Scottsdale alone whenever possible, especially at night. If you must travel solo, let someone know where you’re heading.
- Download the Valley Metro bus app. This app lets users explore transit routes, arrival and departure times, and real-time bus locations. To keep a handle on where you are going, refer to the app before boarding public transit.
- Use contactless payment. The city of Scottsdale currently recommends using contactless payment, such as ApplePay or a mobile wallet, to prevent the transmission of germs and help contain the spread of COVID-19.
- Carry a phone charger. Between referencing the Valley Metro app and utilizing contactless payment, it’s easy to run down your smartphone battery. To ensure you don’t get stranded with a dead phone, consider carrying a battery pack or extra charging cord with you on your travels.
- Social distance and wear a mask. Heed the recommendations of Maricopa County and the CDC by wearing a mask in indoor public spaces and practicing social distancing whenever possible.
- Use common sense. Be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention and be vigilant in crowded areas. Watch out for suspicious individuals and activities. Employ basic personal safety practices to ensure you have an incident-free trip.
So... How Safe Is Scottsdale Really?
Scottsdale is a popular, upscale tourist destination with relatively low crime rates.
With a population of 263,000, Scottsdale was ranked the 40th safest midsize city in America, and the 11th safest city in Arizona in 2021.
Located in a desert climate, there is an exceedingly low risk of encountering any kind of natural disaster.
However, temperatures can climb extremely high in the summer months, making it very important to avoid spending too much time in direct midday sunlight, stay hydrated, and go indoors frequently to cool off.
Vacationers who are sensitive to the heat should consider visiting Scottsdale in the cooler months.
Scottsdale is not at a greater terrorism risk than other American cities, and there are currently no credible threats to the area.
It should be noted, though, that Arizona is the 16th-deadliest U.S. state for gun violence, reporting 1,136 gun-related fatalities in 2019.
Arizona has relaxed gun-control laws compared to much of the country; there is no enforced waiting period before purchasing a firearm, and adults are not required to obtain permits for either open or concealed carry.
For this reason, travelers to the area should be aware of the possibility of citizens carrying firearms in some public areas.
Perhaps the most pressing current threat to Scottsdale, and the country at large, is the fast-spreading omicron variant of COVID-19.
Because of this, visitors should wear masks in crowded areas, practice social distancing, and wash their hands frequently.
Despite these general concerns, Scottsdale is largely a safe, beautiful, and diverse place to visit.
How Does Scottsdale Compare?
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- Visas - Visas are not required for domestic travelers. For international travelers, the United States offers a Visa Waiver Program, allowing citizens from 39 approved countries to visit the U.S. for up to 90 days without a visa. Visitors from excluded countries may have to apply for a visa before entering the country. To check whether your country is eligible, visit USA.gov. Additionally, all international visitors must have a valid passport.
- Currency - The currency in Scottsdale is the U.S. dollar. International travelers can either choose to exchange currency in their home country before their trip or upon arrival in the United States. Most major banks provide currency exchange services during normal business hours.
- Weather - Scottsdale features a desert climate. The coolest month is January, with an average low of 43 degrees, and an average high of 67. July is historically the warmest month, with an average high of 104, and an average low of 83. A typical year sees 225 days with temperatures over 80 degrees and 94 days with temperatures over 100. The city averages 11 inches of rain and 0 inches of snow per year.
- Airports - Scottsdale is served by two nearby airports. The closest and largest is Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, located 14 miles from Scottsdale. A domestic airport, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, is about 30 miles away. Additionally, Tucson International Airport, located about 125 miles from Scottsdale, offers a third option.
- Travel Insurance - There are several companies that specialize in domestic or international trip insurance. Each offers various coverage plans at multiple price points. If you’d like to protect your trip in the event of a necessary cancellation or postponement, you might consider researching options through a travel agent or other reputable source.
Scottsdale Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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