Scottsdale, Arizona, located in the Salt River Valley of central Arizona, is surrounded by iconic mountains like the distinctive Camelback, Phoenix Mountain Preserve, and McDowell. Look in any direction from many rooftop bars in Scottsdale, and you will surely see a mountain. These stunning views are a bonus when you’re enjoying an adult beverage (or not) and having a delicious snack or meal at one of the rooftop bars in Scottsdale.
A next-door neighbor to Metropolitan Phoenix, Scottsdale boasts 330 days of sunshine a year. You might think all those days would be perfect for running up the stairs and into the sunlight. That’s not necessarily so, however. Following is my first-hand experience with rooftop bars in Scottsdale and what you need to know to get the most from your time there.
Weather in Scottsdale
Central Arizona frequently experiences extreme heat in the triple-digit temps through the summer and early fall, from June through September. But that’s not all.
Monsoons strike during the summer. The air becomes humid and sultry with frequent dust storms, called haboobs, heavy rain, thunderstorms, lightning, wind, hail, and flash flooding.
The average daytime temperature is between 70 and 90 degrees the rest of the year. And it’s guaranteed that you will never have to shovel snow in Scottsdale.
How to Get There and Get Around
Interstate 10 from the east or west, connecting to the 202 Loop near Tempe, will have you in Scottsdale in about 14 minutes.
Scottsdale Airport is nine miles north, and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is about eight miles southwest of downtown Scottsdale.
Ride-sharing and taxis offer a 20-minute ride from the airports. Once in Scottsdale, you can book a ride on a street-legal golf cart or take a tour of Old Town on a trolley, party bike, e-bike, or Segway. The Segways are fun to ride and provide a unique experience at a destination. I highly recommend a Segway tour in any town you visit.
Scooters are found on many sidewalks and are convenient at hotels and on street corners. Pay, jump on, and scoot around the town.
Scottsdale boasts one square mile of easily walkable neighborhoods. I discovered lots of free, on-street parking and parking lots close to hotels, art galleries, shops, restaurants, and attractions.
Table of Contents
5 Must Visit Rooftop Bars in Scottsdale, Arizona
My quest to find the best rooftop bars in Scottsdale began on a hot, sultry day in August. Sometimes you go for the food and other times for the signature drinks and atmosphere. My friend and I arrived in Scottsdale just as our first destination opened at 11 am. Here’s how the day went down.
3608 N. Scottsdale Rd. //+14803507305
The Goldwater Brewing folks thought we were nuts when we asked to visit their rooftop bar. The temperature was already over 100 degrees on the roof. However, in the spirit of my quest, they graciously opened the rooftop bar and raised an umbrella so we could see the view and get the “Goldwater” rooftop experience.
The uniforms at Goldwater Brewing Co are unique, thought-provoking, and entertaining all at the same time. When visiting a brewery or restaurant, it’s not uncommon to see the waitstaff wearing uniforms. Most men plying the draft handles or working the counter wore black pants, black logo T-shirts, and black baseball caps. What made it even more interesting was that they wore long, dark beards, and some wore glasses. It was hard to tell them apart.
You could spend the entire day tasting the wide selection of beers at Goldwater Brewing Company. Fun names like Sourita, a margarita-inspired brew, or Shifty, a grapefruit grisette, and Oats M’gotes, an oatmeal stout, made me want to sample them all. However, I settled for their signature brew, Hop Chowda, a hazy IPA in a can resembling Campbell’s soup.
7142 E. 1st St. //+14805903864
The Outrider Rooftop Lounge is in the boutique Canopy Hotel (a Hilton property) in the Arts District of Old Town Scottsdale.
We took the elevator to the rooftop and had direct pool access with misters to keep us cool and hydrated during our visit. The unobstructed view of Camelback Mountain was exceptional. I felt that I could reach out and touch it.
We sampled Outrider’s signature drink—the Sunburst, during our visit. It’s like a Starburst candy but has a little creamsicle taste. The refreshing Sunburst contains pineapple, grapefruit, orange, lime, peach puree, and raspberry vodka. It might sound quite sweet, but it was surprisingly fresh and tangy.
The restaurant offers Southwest cuisine and complimentary regional beer, wine, and spirits tastings.
7501 E. Camelback Rd. //+14805905676
Located in Old Town Scottsdale’s Entertainment District, the Senna House is an urban desert destination. Furnished with stylish seating, rich colors and décor, and a lively bar scene right off the lobby, instead, we made our way to CALA Scottsdale, the exclusive rooftop bar with a Mediterranean flair.
CALA Scottsdale hosted us on this visit. However, all opinions are my own.
Dedicated to guests only, we enjoyed the privilege of hosted craft cocktails and snacks while enjoying the cabanas, adult beverages, and intimate yet spacious atmosphere. The mountain and valley views were spectacular, and we could easily see the dust and rainstorm heading our way.
My friend and I both relished our signature drinks and sandwich. The Prickly Sour and Mez-Cala include locally-sourced ingredients like lemon, lime, Mezcal, and CBD sparkling water. Shaken, not stirred by an attractive young woman behind the bar, the drinks were served over lots of ice and accompanied our sandwich.
The Grilled Chicken Sandwich, a moist and flavorful chicken on crisp ciabatta bread, was spread with herb aioli, fontina, and shaved prosciutto, along with roasted red pepper and butter lettuce. The sandwich, served with delicious battered French fries, was enough for us to share.
Mother Nature had other plans for us that afternoon. Before we finished our sandwich and drinks, a dust storm blew in ahead of the rain. Scottsdale was hit with a microburst, a downdraft, and heavy rain. We ran for cover to the Sonora Swim Club alcove on the rooftop. We waited for 45 minutes thinking the storm would pass.
Alas, it was not to be. We finally gave up and resolved to continue our quest of finding the best rooftop bars in Scottsdale another day.
4013 N. Brown Ave. //+14809941792
All the action at The Grapevine during the day is on the rooftop bar, and they were doing a brisk business when I arrived.
A mature pine tree grows up through the rooftop floor and provides shade for customers during certain times of the day. Giant umbrellas offer welcome shade at the big tables when the sun is overhead.
The specialty signature cocktail at The Grapevine is aptly called “The Grapevine” and is made with Three Olives Grape Vodka, Grape Juice, and Soda. It tastes like a grape Kool-Aid. The waitress warned me about the impact if I drank more than one. I heeded her warning.
The Grapevine offers appetizers, soups, salads, and Lahvosh, a crispy Armenian cracker bread topped with melted Havarti cheese. Think of pizza with a thin and crisp crust. Because the crust is so light, it’s not as filling as pizza, allowing the flavors of all the toppings to shine. The Lahvosh comes in two sizes–personal and shareable.
Happy hour is Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 pm, and all appetizers are $2 off. Stay for some karaoke and outdoor dining on the patio.
13225 N Eagle Ridge Dr //+14803331900
While Adero Scottsdale Resort is officially in Scottsdale, it has a warm relationship with Fountain Hills. It overlooks the valley of Fountain Hills, Four Peaks Mountain and is almost atop McDowell Mountain.
Adero Scottsdale Resort hosted my visits in the summer and winter. However, all opinions are my own.
While technically not a rooftop bar, The Village at SkyTop is a modern outdoor cocktail lounge, and I include it here because it is a must-see experience when searching for the best rooftop bars in Scottsdale.
SkyTop is a private refuge with oversized, comfortable chairs to draw up to the hillside edge and affords unobstructed views of the valley below and the mountains beyond.
Large fans move the hot, dry air around the SkyTop lounge during the summer. SkyTop was decked out in globes for stargazing and warmth in the winter season.
SkyTop comes alive as the sun sets, and hues of bright colors invite guests to sip, dine, or lounge as the stars come out. Fountain Hills is one of only 17 Dark Sky Communities in the world. That allows for incredible stargazing.
In the summer, I had the Lavender Negroni, a stirred drink with gin, Lavender Infused Vermouth, and Campari. It was a fitting beverage to go with the Charcuterie Board that included caper berries, Cherry Bomb peppers, rustic bread, Artisan cheese, meats, and whole grain mustard.
During my winter visit, It’s A Dry Heat was my curated craft cocktail of choice. Made with Corazon Tequila, pineapple, strawberry, lime, and simple syrup, the drink was tangy and not too sweet.
The Ahi Sashimi was a tasty plate presentation with blackened tuna seared on the outside, enhanced with Yuzu-Soy Vinaigrette, and covered with fresh, crisp microgreens. The fish was rich and flavorful and accompanied by sides of Truffle Edamame, Kimchi Cucumber, Pickled Garlic-Onion, and Shishito Peppers. This light meal was a wonderful mix of tastes and textures.
Have your drink or dinner on the deck or inside with panorama windows. The SkyTop Lounge has the most fantastic view of wide-open spaces.
In the winter, guests can reserve a themed globe that looks like an igloo to drink and dine under the stars. You can create a memorable experience in this sanctuary that includes a bottle of Prosecco, an appetizer, and a Bluetooth speaker.
Globes allow guests to enjoy the outdoor setting, stargaze, and be warm and comfortable. When I was at the SkyTop Lounge after dark, it was breezy with an unusual chilling wind.
On Friday nights, the Star Dudes, local experts in the night sky, host stargazing parties at the SkyTop Lounge. Their engaging, interactive program includes a telescope, stories, and education, making a fitting end to an exciting day of searching for the best rooftop bars in Scottsdale.
Visiting other destinations in Arizona? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 15 Best Restaurants in Prescott, Arizona
- 7 Sedona Restaurants With a View
- 7 Must-Try Lake Havasau City Restaurants
- 8 Must-Try Flagstaff Restaurants
- 12 Exciting Things To Do In Cave Creek AZ
- 8 Best Cave Creek Restaurants
- 10 Best Restaurants In Salt Lake City
- 20 Best Restaurants In Tucson
- 6 Must-Try Glendale Restaurants
- 10 Fun Things To Do In Flagstaff, Arizona
- 10 Must-Try Mexican Restaurants In Phoenix
- 10 Best Dishes to Eat in Arizona
- 5 Best Scottsdale AZ Restaurants
- 8 Must-Try Restaurants in Wickenburg AZ
Julie Diebolt Price is a professional photographer, educator, travel writer, and journalist. She helps corporations and solo entrepreneurs establish their brands with imagery and business training. She educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures. Learn more at linktr.ee/PhotoTravelWrite.