Did you know that Scottsdale is a hot-spot vacation destination for the rich and famous? The New York Times even dubbed it “the South Beach Miami of the desert.” While there’s certainly truth to that, you don’t have to be a zillionaire to vacation in AZ In fact, you can join the fun here in Scottsdale for pretty darned cheap. Here are a three of our favorite things to do in the area that are both fun and free:

  1. Climb a mountain. This is not common knowledge, but Scottsdale is home to a rare giant camel. Okay, it’s not an actual camel, but a mountain that looks like one. It’s Camelback Mountain. Hiking the trails is totally free (although guided tours are available too), and you’ll get to see some truly breathtaking desert vistas. Plus, just imagine the bragging rights you’ll have when you get back to the office after your vacation in AZ and someone asks what you did over the weekend. “Oh, I just climbed a mountain. No big deal.”
  1. Get artsy. Most cities have some kind of art walk now, but Scottsdale is home to the one of the very first. Every Thursday evening for the past 30 years, Scottsdale art galleries have opened their doors to the public for free – and as an added bonus, many galleries offer complementary wine and snacks too. Art Walk is obviously great for looking at art, but it’s also good for looking at people. You’ll see just about every kind of character imaginable.
  1. Go for a ride. If you’re a history buff – or if you just want to get to know every nook and cranny of the city – you should definitely hop on the Scottsdale Trolley Tour. You’ll learn the history of the town and some fun local trivia, and you’ll get a through overview of what there is to do in each neighborhood. It’s completely free, but you do have to reserve your spot in advance. The tour takes a little less than two hours to complete.

From hobnobbing at Scottsdale art galleries to climbing mountains, there are plenty of ways to have a fun vacation in AZ, even if you’re not filthy rich. Any other tips for vacationing like a prince on a pauper’s budget in Scottsdale? Let us know in the comment section.