Old Town Scottsdale - A Tour of Old Town
Old Town Scottsdale is a unique place that has something for every type of person. It is a charming mixture of authentic cowboy saloons, eclectic art galleries, fun shops and hip bars. Depending on the time of year (and the time of day) groups of families, tourists, shoppers, and bar-hoppers can all be spotted enjoying what Old Scottsdale has to offer. Best of all, Old Town is just two miles from the Magnuson Hotel Papago Inn. You can easily bicycle or even walk there.
I had been to Old Town Scottsdale several times growing up when I was in the area visiting my grandparents. I remembered ordering ice-cream from the Sugar Bowl and taking a picture with my younger brother at the famous Cowboy Sign on Main Street. Now, as a 23 year old college graduate, I was ready to enjoy the nightlife of Old Town Scottsdale. I was lucky to have my good friend Marjorie with me. We both live in Portland, OR, but Marjorie was moving to Washington D.C in two weeks to start a job in public health. I felt incredibly fortunate to be able to spend a few sunny days in Arizona with her before she began her new life so far away.
While Majorie and I were out and about, my Dad hug out at The House Brasserie. He said it was a chic and cozy restaurant in an old remodled house. There was an extensive wine list, innovative cocktails and cutting-edge taste combos. Dad sat at the bar and enjoyed the small plates with the big flavors.
The next day, after an event-filled day of sightseeing at the Desert Botanical Gardens, The Phoenix Zoo, and the desert rock formation known as the Hole in the Rock, we were back in Old Town Scottsdale for another evening of drinking and playing in cowboy country. This time, my Dad was with us and the three of us did some Christmas shopping. Dad bought a kokopelli shirt at Bichoff’s Shades of the West, so he could blend in with the other residents of Scottsdale. Marjorie bought an adorable potted cactus plant for her mother. I loved the beautiful cowboy boots at Saba's. The owner chatted with us and explained that Saba's had been an Arizona tradition for 85 years while we had fun admiring the many boots. When I’m ready to buy my first pair of authenic western cowgirl boots, I’m coming back to Old Scottsdale.
After our shopping was done, it was time to pick a restaurant in Old Town for dinner. If you are looking for a traditional Mexican restaurant Los Olivos is a good choice. Los Olivos is owned and run by the Corral family who is proud of their tradition of good food, a warm and friendly atmosphere, and of being able to contribute to the history and heritage of Scottsdale for three generations. My Dad and cousin have eaten there. They said the food was good and it was reasonably priced.
We opted for a trendier restaurant. After some searching, we found Bootleggers Modern American Smokehouse. This restaurant is symbolic of Old Town Scottsdale: its simple interior is simultaneously fresh and rustic. The menu was simple, but everything was vibrant and tasty. I enjoyed my meal of ribs, greens, and brussel sprouts. My cousin Erin and my Grandmother (known to all relatives and non-relatives alike as “Nanny”) both joined us. We had a fantastic time eating, drinking, and telling stories about our silly pets.
Story by Becca Wirta - Photos by Bret Wirta