Because Scottsdale is a part of the Greater Phoenix Area, the easiest way to get to the city is by flying into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport
, Arizona’s largest, and one of the top 10-busiest airports in the United States. From here, it’s only about a 20-minute drive into the heart of Scottsdale. Sky Harbor is home to more than 16 airlines. Big names like US Airways, Continental, Delta and United Airlines all fly here, as do select flights from budget companies like JetBlue and a wealth of regional flights by Southwest, among many others. Shuttle buses will get you to the offsite rental car facility, or you can schedule a transfer ahead of time with SuperShuttle
, starting at approximately $40 round trip. Catching a cab from Sky Harbor is easy, with a well-organized curbside pickup system outside each terminal.
While Scottsdale is certainly not New York City when it comes to the availability of taxis, cabs are still a convenient mode of transportation. Unless you’re in downtown on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night when taxis are lining the roads, the best way to track one down is by calling the company ahead of time. AAA Yellow Cab
($2.50/pick up + $2/mile) and Discount Cab
($2.95/pick up + $1.95/mile) are two of the more popular companies. For a more eco-friendly ride, try Clean Air Cab
($2.50/pick up + $1.90/mile). AAA Yellow Cab: (480) 252-5252 Discount Cab: 602-200-2000 Clean Air Cab: 480-777-9777.
In case we haven’t emphasized it enough already, renting a car is the most convenient way to get around in Scottsdale. The rules and culture of driving in Scottsdale aren’t much different than other destinations in the United States, though the average speed limits tend to be a bit higher, at 65 mph on the freeways (in most sections) and anywhere from 30 to 50 mph on city roads, depending on the area of town.
The Downtown Scottsdale Trolley
(which only runs from 11AM to 6PM Monday - Sunday, and to 9PM on Thursdays for the Scottsdale ArtWalk), is the only public transportation in Scottsdale. (The new Light Rail System, which opened in December 2008 and stretches from the East Valley in Mesa to northwest Phoenix, has yet to make its way into Scottsdale, if it ever does.) Renting a car is the best, and sometimes only, way to get around the city, but if you’re feeling adventurous and have some time to kill you can try the Valley Metro
bus system. The cost for a one-way local ride is $1.75, but keep your eyes open, or you might miss the bus stops as, yes, even Scottsdale’s bus stops are a part of the city’s public art program. All modes of public transportation in Scottsdale are safe, with minimal to no reports of issues. You can plan your trip itinerary, purchase a fare card, and download schedules and maps online at www.valleymetro.org
. Be at your bus stop at least 5 to 10 minutes before your bus is scheduled to leave—it’s not uncommon for buses to arrive at, and leave early, from their stops. Priority seats for seniors and passengers with disabilities are located directly behind the bus operator. When transferring between buses, if the connection time between your transfers is close, you’ll want to tell your operator so that he or she can turn on the passenger transfer light on top of the bus to alert the connecting operator that you want to transfer. All Valley Metro buses are equipped with bike racks that are on a first-come, first-served basis.