Scottsdale - getting around without a car
January 16, 2019 10:03 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to a spring training game with my brother. The wrinkle, I'll be the fifth wheel so I'd like to have options away from the group. This is Scottsdale (Salt River Fields) and my hobbies are libraries.

I'm looking for recommendations on getting around. I see Uber has electric bikes but not too many. Also things to see, things to avoid, and of course libraries.
posted by notned to Travel & Transportation around Scottsdale, AZ (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Uber is widely available and cheap - I'd just use that generally. Distances are rough when it comes to the Phoenix area.

Re what to see, the Musical Instruments Museum was really impressive to me and is kind of like a library... but no, it's a museum - but fascinating.

Re libraries, the ASU library is open to the public and is kind of cool to see in downtown Tempe - not too far a drive from Scottsdale. The Phoenix Central library is the biggest public library, but frankly I don't think of it as particularly notable. The Heard Museum has a small library collection - and it's a great museum too. The other public libraries I know seem like public libraries - but to be fair libraries are not my hobby so you may have a lot more to see!

Enjoy! Nice time of year to visit.

Edited: Actually the Tempe Public Library is a pretty cool building too - it's several miles from the ASU library, but I like it too. But again, not sure what about libraries enchants you so hard to advise! :)
posted by slide at 11:19 AM on January 16, 2019

Hi Phoenix-bound friend! Unfortunately you will be in the rich part of town which has also, quelle surprise, been the most resistant to implementing accessible forms of public transit. I would suggest that you Uber or Lyft to the nearest lightrail station and enjoy the much more interesting downtown Phoenix area. There is a lovely central public library right on the lightrail, and if you get bored there, the art museum and the Heard museum are just a stop or two away. Oh, and there's a nice little lunch joint that does quite good Japanese curry right next to the library. If you have time and inclination, you could always hop back on the lightrail and get a solitary drink at the excellent Bitter & Twisted or The Blue Hound. Or, farther afield but just delightful, First Draft, a bar within one of our local bookstores. I'll stop there -- I love this big dumb town, so if you need any more recommendations, definitely let me know.

That being said, if you want to stay in Scottsdale, the MIM is seriously cool if a bit $$.

Normally I would agree about the ASU library, but it's undergoing renovations now so most of the building is closed. Definitely take a pass, this time.
posted by WidgetAlley at 12:52 PM on January 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Cannot third the Musical Instruments Museum enough. I'm definitely going back if I ever get around to Phoenix again.
posted by clarinet at 3:18 PM on January 16, 2019

You can take the 72 bus all through Scottsdale and into Tempe. From Tempe you can easily catch the lightrail to downtown Phoenix.
There's also a free trolley that runs through Scottsdale, it's easy to jump off and on.
posted by jennstra at 5:29 PM on January 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

NY Times has your back as of today too: 36 Hours in Scottsdale.
posted by slide at 7:13 AM on January 17, 2019

I agree 100% with WidgetAlley (esp on using the light rail, it's safe, well-priced, and a great way to get a scope of the area) and am commenting mainly because slide's comment said they don't find the Phoenix Central Library particularly notable and I wanted to offer as a counterpoint that both myself and my two nerdiest friends in Phoenix absolutely love it. From the exterior to the interior, it always felt so perfect for the area. Especially if you can imagine it in the summer with 105+ degree temperatures...the way it lets in filtered light, the small water feature under the main staircase, and the otherwise calm feeling in the stacks...ooooh, how I love it. I'm still a member even though I live far away because they have a good digital collection, but I enjoyed their physical media when I lived nearby and spent a lot of time having a quiet moment, reading periodicals.

Very close by (you can walk this time of year, it's just a block away) is my absolute favorite thing in the area, the Phoenix Art Museum. My love of it is similar to how I love the library, the building itself invokes a contrast to the summer heat, all low stone and clever window placements and pockets of water or green spaces while still staying true to the desert. In addition to the building itself, the collection is not to be missed, there are many delights to be found. (My hobby is art museums. PAM is one of my favorites.)

Close to both of those things (walking distance again) is my favorite coffee shop, Giant Coffee, which is owned by the family behind a beloved local breakfast place (Matt's Big Breakfast, which has a ridiculous wait time). It's a lovely and comfy spot to have a delicious lunch and coffee and read, and doesn't get too busy.

As mentioned by WidgetAlley, north along the same street as the library and art museum (Central Ave) is the Heard Museum; south along Central (light rail accessible) gets you into the art district for more coffee shops, restaurants, etc. So you get a LOT of bang for your buck taking the light rail into this area.

Sorry that my must-see items are in Phoenix and not Scottsdale, but the light rail makes it so easy, I think you'd really enjoy yourself if you take a day to go into Phoenix. My best friend stayed in the frou-frou part of Scottsdale for two days without a car (after I moved away) and didn't venture anywhere else, and then complained to me about how awful it must have been for me to live there. It still breaks my heart that she missed out on exploring such a special area.

Lastly, if you don't mind the transportation cost of Lyft or Uber, I also really love spending half a day or more at the Desert Botanical Gardens. It's not easy to get there on public transportation, but it is close to Scottsdale and easily accessible with a car.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 9:30 AM on January 18, 2019

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