Unlike Phoenix ’s other suburban communities, Scottsdale easily stands on its own. The city has been tanned, toned, bleached, and buffed to enjoy the good life, and its residents happily comply. Scottsdale sits in the northeast of the Valley of the Sun, the glamorous, overindulged sibling to Phoenix’s family of suburbs. And like any spoiled child, Scottsdale demands the spotlight, luring residents and visitors to its resorts , restaurants , nightspots , five-star spas , and eclectic boutiques .
Scottsdale is divided into three areas. The compact, southern part of the city, downtown, is where you’ll find Old Town  and the arts districts of 5th Avenue and Marshall Way, as well as the city’s best shops and nightlife venues. The area is bordered by the college town of Tempe  to the south and by Phoenix to the west.
The central part of Scottsdale extends east, featuring an indistinguishable sprawl of housing developments and strip malls called the Shea Corridor. You’ll also find the community of Paradise Valley , the Valley’s answer to Beverly Hills and home to big-name celebrities and five-star resorts .
Within the last decade, the northern half of the city has become one of the most sought-after areas in the region and has begun to creep into formerly pristine desert and the relatively isolated arts communities of Cave Creek  and Carefree. Fortunately, developers have taken a more enlightened approach to the city’s growth, sparing much of the area’s indigenous wildlife.
Despite its flashy exterior (and occasionally hedonistic impulses), Scottsdale is still firmly rooted in its decades-old slogan as “The West’s Most Western Town.” The city is bordered to the east by mountains and the agricultural land of the Salt River Pima–Maricopa Indian Community, which has kept the city’s sprawling tendencies in check. It’s still one of the few spaces in metropolitan Phoenix  where you can truly feel like you are living in the desert—perhaps the city’s greatest luxury.