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A Guide to Scottsdale Western Week

Scottsdale is a city rooted in its Western origins. From the iconic public art displays like Windows to the West and Implosion to various architectural treasures inspired by the desertscape surrounding them, you can find a celebration of Western spirit around nearly every corner. Every year, Scottsdale honors this heritage during the city’s beloved Western Week, an event dedicated to ensuring the Western legacy remains strong. Here is our guide to Scottsdale Western Week 2024.

Returning to Old Town Scottsdale from January 27 – February 4, 2024, the free-to-attend event is back with more events and activities than ever before. The celebratory week starts with the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market on January 27, followed by a kick-off party planned to transport visitors back to the Wild West with events like the Rodeo Museum’s roping demonstrations, blacksmith demonstrations, live music and various pop-up shops.

Throughout the week, visitors have access to exclusive events like the Gold Palette Artwalk on February 1, an exhibition that spans the Scottsdale Art District featuring artwork from various galleries. The Hashknife Pony Express on February 2 is another favorite of the festival. Visitors are invited to gather at Scottsdale’s Museum of the West to witness the world’s oldest officially sanctioned Pony Express. On February 3, the Scottsdale Civic Center hosts the Arizona Indian Festival, which showcases the rich Indigenous American culture tied to the area with traditional arts and crafts, foods and engaging experiences.

Parada-del-Sol-Historic-Parade-2009
Riders in the 2009 Parada Del Sol Historic Parade, Photo credit to Alan English CPA flickr

Closing the electrifying week, more than 125 acts will walk the streets of Old Town in the Parada Del Sol Historic Parade on February 3. In its 70th year, the thrilling parade features vibrant floats, marching bands and stagecoaches representing cultures from Mexico, Native American, Arabian and, of course, Western. Following the parade, visitors of all ages are encouraged to stay in the Old Town District for the Trail’s End Festival, a western-themed block party.

For residents at Optima Kierland® Apartments, Optima Sonoran Village and Optima Camelview Village, Scottsdale Western Week makes the perfect opportunity to get out and explore the community while learning more about the city’s roots. To learn more about Western Week and its many events and activities, head to Old Town Scottsdale’s website here.

The Scottsdale Civic Center

The Scottsdale Civic Center, situated in Old Town, serves as a cultural hub for the entire city, including our residents at Optima Sonoran Village®. It seamlessly balances Scottsdale’s historical identity as “The West’s Most Western Town” with modern influences, making it a popular focal point where the city’s heritage intertwines with its more recent cultural and artistic expressions. 

This urban oasis is surrounded by some of Scottsdale’s most vital facilities, including City Hall, Civic Center Library, Center for the Performing Arts, and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art. It’s both a retail center and a retreat, marked by its lush greenery, tranquil fountains, and eclectic sculptures. You can also enjoy views of Camelback Mountain, which becomes particularly captivating at dusk, offering a serene environment for relaxation and cultural immersion.

Civic Center City Hall. Photo: SAH Archipedia

The Civic Center dates back to 1966 when a master plan by local architectural firm Bennie M. Gonzales Associates was adopted, emphasizing the seat of town governance as “an open invitation for citizens to participate in their government.” Bennie M. Gonzales, with his distinct Southwestern modernist style, led the planning and design process during the center’s foundational years. His designs are characterized by their harmony with the environment and their use of natural materials, which can be seen in the kiva-like City Hall, the Civic Center Library (built in 1968) and the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts (constructed in 1975).

Scottsdale Civic Center Library. Photo: Kevin Bondelli

Decades later, award-winning architect Will Bruder further shaped the Civic Center, designing the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (constructed in 1999). His design paid homage to the curved facades of the neighboring Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Sculptures including Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture and George-Ann Tognoni’s The Yearlings further amplify the center’s art scene. Adjacent to them, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, with its stages and galleries, has hosted notable events like the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, enriching the center’s aesthetic and cultural offerings.

George-Ann Tognoni’s The Yearlings at the west entrance to the Civic Center.
Photo: Scottsdale Public A

The Scottsdale Civic Center has recently seen major renovations, with its western two-thirds reopening back in January 2023. With plans to showcase 80 annual outdoor events over the next several years, ranging from national touring acts and orchestras to dance ensembles and community events, the Civic Center remains committed to cultural vibrancy and communal engagement.

Keen on exploring upcoming Civic Center events? Follow the link here for more information.

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