A Visit to Scottsdale

Golden brittle-bush in the foreground Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale AZ in the background

We were off to an early start. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I was on a mission. I was in desperate need of blog material and photogenic subjects. I needed some inspiration and knew Scottsdale, Arizona, was just the place to visit.

sunrise in the desert southwest
We’re off to an early start! Sunrise in the desert southwest.

I enlisted the company of my daughter and husband. Although I’ll admit, neither were particularly eager to join me on my photographic outing. I remember there being some eye rolls and me being the subject of their amusement, but when I bribed them with mouth-watering treats found at the Scottsdale farmers market, they quickly jumped on board …. and they didn’t even complain when I told them I wanted an early start to the day …. much to my surprise, I might add. (This walk was taken 11/2018 when life was normal ).

(To enlarge photos in a gallery, simple click on any image. To return to the post, click on the x found at the top right corner)

After we were fueled with coffee and filled with sustenance purchased from local vendors at the farmers market, I consulted my little map of downtown Scottsdale. We would be going on a walking tour visiting seven of Scottsdale’s most beloved public art sculptures.

Sculptures in Historic Old Town Scottsdale

It’s impossible to visit Old Town Scottsdale and not walk by our first sculpture on the tour; The Yearlings by George-Ann Tognoni. This is a monument to wild horses and depicts three bronze yearlings galloping in full stride.

The Yearlings Scottsdale Arizona
The Yearlings sculpture

This sculpture serves as a backdrop to family photo shoots and is especially popular during the holiday season when the sleigh and Christmas tree are set up.

Another popular photo shoot spot is at the LOVE sculpture. LOVE by Robert Indiana was conceived when the United States was involved with the Vietnam War and became a symbol for peace. This famous sculpture is one of the most celebrated works within the pop art movement.

Love sculpture in Scottsdale Arizona
The Scottsdale “LOVE” sculpture sitting at a temporary site near the library.

Robert Indiana created the first version of LOVE with stacked capital letters for a personal Christmas card designed for friends in 1964. In 1965, the Museum of Modern Art selected Indiana’s LOVE design for its official Christmas card.

The original sculptural rendition of LOVE was fabricated from Cor-ten steel in 1970. It can be seen at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Dozens of other LOVE sculptures are now on display around the world.

Scottsdale LOVE sculpture
Al and me at the Scottsdale LOVE sculpture 12/17

Our walk takes us into Scottsdale’s Art District

With two sculptures checked off the list, we continued our walking tour which found us venturing into Scottsdale’s Art District. The Jack Knife sculpture serves as the center of attention for the art district and sits in the middle of the road.

Jack Knife by Ed Mell is a giant bronze sculpture of a cowboy on a bucking bronco giving a nod to Scottsdale’s Western heritage and the city’s official seal.

On to the Fifth Avenue Shopping District

Who knew Scottsdale had a “Fifth Avenue” shopping district! Now for those of us that have actually shopped at the real 5th Avenue …. as in New York City’s Fifth Avenue, this Fifth Avenue is quite a bit different, but still fun. It’s kitschy, small, and is a long-time favorite with tourists boasting dozens of unique shops, award-winning restaurants, and the famous Bronze Horse Fountain.

The Bronze Horse Fountain was created by Bob Parks, who owned an art gallery in town. This piece showcases the beauty of five Arabian horses as they play in the fountain. I love how they were decorated for the holiday season with wreaths.

Bronze Horse Fountain Scottsdale Arizona
Bronze Horse Fountain

The Scottsdale Water District

We continued our trek. Not far from the Bronze Horse Fountain, we rounded a corner and walked up some stairs. We found ourselves along the Arizona Canal and noticed the bronze sculpture on the other side of a bridge.

Colorado Artist Herb Mignery is a noted western artist and sculptor. He gained early recognition for his classic and humorous western cartoons and rose to fame when he started sculpting scenes from his early Nebraska farm and ranch days.

In Passing the Legacy, a vintage 1860s horse and rider represent the original Pony Express. The lead rider reaches back to grasp the passing legacy, ready to plunge forward into a new era. It took twelve months for the artist and fabricators to refine and create the life-and-a-quarter size bronze monument, which is 20’ long.

Scottsdale Arizona Canal

As we continued our walking tour along the canal and amongst a beautiful park setting, we took great pleasure in the wonderful winter weather that Phoenix is known for.

Water is a precious commodity in a desert and controlling flood water is crucial, especially in a high density urban environment. Phoenix and her surrounding suburbs do a great job in beautifying these man-made waterways. More efforts are ongoing toward waterside recreation and beautification along these canals.

This Scottsdale section of the Arizona Canal is particularly attractive and popular with cyclists and pedestrians alike. Lighted art over and in the water are changed up regularly and the picturesque park setting serves as a great spot for festivals.

The Soleri Bridge & Plaza was designed by the late Italian architect Paolo Soleri. The bridge was designed to demonstrate the importance of solar movement.

The bridge is anchored by two 64-foot pylons and is twenty-seven feet wide on the south side narrowing to eighteen feet on the north.  Situated at a true north axis, the bridge is intended to mark solar events produced by the sun’s shadow.  The six-inch gap between both sets of pylons allows the sun to create a shaft of light as the earth moves.

Most Entertaining Sculpture

The Doors by Donald Lipski is an interesting and entertaining work of art. The structure consists of three 28 foot tall doors that lean against one another on an angle. They are made of Brazilian hardwood, mirror polished stainless steel, and thousands of hand forged steel rivets and strapping.

The Doors sculpture in Scottsdale Arizona
Approaching the “Doors” sculpture in Scottsdale, AZ

When we stepped in between the doors, we were met with a kaleidoscope effect that shines from sunlight during the day and LED lights at night. We were entertained by multiple reflections of ourselves. The experience is enhanced with sound … various sounds of bells, chimes, swooshing, and flute can be heard in and around the sculpture.

A kaleidoscope self-portrait visiting The Doors in Scottsdale Arizona
A self-portrait inside the “The Doors” – a kaleidoscope

I’d have to say, we found this sculpture rather entertaining and found ourselves lingering in and around it. I’d love to go back at night to see what it looks like all lit up from the LED lights.

End of our walking Tour of Scottsdale

Our Scottsdale walking tour visiting the most popular art sculptures in the area took us less than 2 hours full-circle and accounts for all the photo-op stopping and playing around that we did. The sculptures gave us purpose to meander down streets that we had never ventured down before. What a fun and special excuse to explore this entertaining desert southwest city!

This leisurely city walk allowed us the opportunity to see interesting sights and take note of eating establishments for future visits. There’s no shortage of fantastic eateries in Scottsdale. The biggest problem is deciding where to eat when given so many choices.

Okay … time to plan our next adventure!

Additional Scottsdale Information

For more information and downloadable maps – click here.

73 thoughts on “A Visit to Scottsdale

      1. You’re welcome 🙂
        Photography is one of my many hobbies, but I still need to create a gallery on my Green Gemini page for it! For now I have galleries of food pics and paintings. It’s so fun! My blogs are only two months old 👶


  1. Ohhhh I love this post too….There is a love sign just like that in NYC that we saw when I visited there a few years ago with one of my daughters. I feel like my hubby and daughters would be the same way…eye rolls, but bribery might work…lol


    1. The LOVE sculpture is certainly a popular photo-op spot and I’ve seen photos of these sculptures from around the world. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. I live from another part of the world and it is so interesting for me to watch your travels. So many bright and colorful photos, I’m just delighted. You give the opportunity to travel virtually. Good luck!


    1. Fortunately, the internet allows all of us to travel virtually around the world. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the tour of Scottsdale. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. 😊


    1. Thank you for reading and remembering. Scottsdale is a great vacation destination. There are so many beautiful resorts and award-winning restaurants not to mention the beautiful landscape.

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  3. Ingrid such marvelous information for anyone visiting Scottsdale. I think the city tourism board could hire you! I especially love the doors sculpture. I’ll remember this post should we find ourselves in the area one day in the future.

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    1. Let’s hope we’ll be back to regular travels in 2021. You’d enjoy exploring Old Town Scottsdale and seeing the interesting sculptures. And since you already tackled Camelback Mtn, you still need to hike Piestewa Peak. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was a marvelous walking tour, Ingrid, and I enjoyed your narrative on the sculptures so much. Very interesting to hear about the different artists and their work, accompanied by descriptive photos. I espec. liked the photo of you in the reflecting doors (how great!) and “Father Daughter Time” for their beaming happiness.

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    1. Thank you Jet. It was a very fun day as well as educational. We learned a lot about the area by merely walking streets we normally wouldn’t have gone down if not for the sculptures. We always cherish time with our children.

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  5. You must have posted this before I followed your blog, as I don’t totally remember it. I think… 🙂 We haven’t been to Scottsdale yet, but it seems to offer enough entertainment for a multiple-hour visit. Maybe in the spring? For a moment I thought this was a recent excursions and I kept looking for masks in the photos. I hope you get to repeat this day trip again soon!


    1. It was a different kind of hike and very enjoyable. Currently, the Farmer’s Markets are still operating throughout the valley but with restrictions and on a much smaller scale.
      I’m learning a little bit more about you every day and really enjoying the book.

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  6. What a great collection of public art! I love the Bronze Horse fountain and the Doors in particular but all of them look worth seeing. We saw a version of the LOVE sculpture in Tokyo btw

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    1. The Bronze Horse fountain is truly lovely and images of it are seen routinely in any Scottsdale publications. Seems the LOVE sculpture is popular around the world and most major cities seem to display one. Always makes for a great photographic background.

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    1. I believe all these sculptures have been around for more than a decade or so, but they do try to keep things fresh and updated. I really need to get back over there for a day of shooting.

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  7. I remember some fun outings to Scottsdale with you guys. Maybe next time we’re down there we can try the walking tour.


    1. Absolutely! The combo of the Farmer’s Market and sculpture walking tour was the perfect way to spend a Saturday morning. You guys would really enjoy it. Look forward to the two of you spending time back here in Phoenix.


  8. That is one thing that we don’t do when we are traveling. Checking out the sights and sounds of the local cities. We generally spend all our time in nature but there is a lot to see in the city as well!


    1. We discovered city hiking when our daughter lived in a Denver suburb and we spent a couple of summer months RVing around the area. On a Sunday morning, we would take the 15-minute drive into the city and spend a couple of hours walking around making some fun discoveries. At the time, that was certainly not the norm for us. Nature will always win!


  9. Whe we were in the Southwest [Sedona] last year, we missed out om Scottsdale. Our tour group did that on their way back from the hotel in Sedona to the airport in Phoenix, but we went to Las Vegas in our care, for Mary to see Lady Gaga. Maybe some other time, who knows. Meanwhile: thanks for the virtual tour.


    1. Ah yes, I remember that. Well, you have to pick your priorities. I’ve learned, we can’t see it all. Given the choice, I too would’ve sided with Mary.😀


  10. Isn’t it fun to take artistic photos of art? Love your pics of the horse fountain especially. And the LOVE sculpture is so bright and joyful. It’s great that Scottsdale has prioritized art and made it so accessible and fun. I never have much desire to go look at sculptures in a museum, but love seeing them when we’re out and about, wandering.

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    1. We aren’t usually museum-goers, but the sculptures gave us reason/purpose to walk down and around various streets and sidewalks. It was a fun way to learn more about Scottsdale. The bright sun made it difficult for photography but made for a wonderful day.


    1. It was a great way for us to see and learn more about Scottsdale. I had driven by ‘The Doors’ many times but did not know it was an interactive sculpture. I’m so glad we did this ‘city hike’.


    1. Yes it is a fun place to visit and I really need to get back over there, but for now, I’ll ease myself back into hiking and savor this gorgeous weather while it lasts. 😎


  11. Ingrid,
    Thanks for the reboot! I have never visited Scottsdale and it looks like a very interesting town…kinda reminds me of Sante Fe, a place I have visited and enjoyed greatly. Y’all looked like you were having fun. I loved the “Doors.” Have a great week and stay safe out there!


    1. If you like Sante Fe, you’ll enjoy Scottsdale and there are several places within the Maricopa County park system that aren’t too terribly far away for camping and hiking. Keep it on your list for a future visit to Arizona. You won’t be disappointed … plus there’s a couple of casinos for Helen 😀


    1. Ah yes … a different time, when life was ‘normal’. I’m hoping to do a repeat with my daughter soon. Should be interesting to see how many folks are out and about.

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  12. Wow, Ingrid, what a beautiful virtual walking tour of Scottsdale and its art district! I remember ours from last December. Everything was so festive under the AZ sun. I look forward to getting back there some day, to see friends like you and now family has moved into the area. California is shutting down again, can’t wait to leave for good.

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    1. Grrr … sorry to hear about the shut down. The vaccine can’t come soon enough. I do hope you make it back here for a visit sometime in the future. What part of the valley did your brother move to? Safe travels north!

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      1. Dale moved to Fountain Hills. My step-daughter will be moving somewhere in Phoenix soon. It’s incredible how many people in the rural towns in NorCal refuse to wear masks, and of course those are the places covid is hitting hardest.


        1. Fountain Hills is lovely. The same land developer, Robert McCulloch, developed Lake Havasu City, Fountain Hills, and Pueblo West, CO (where we lived). It’s fun to visit all three communities because they share street names and are laid out in a similar confusing manner. I don’t think McCulloch liked straight lines.😆

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  13. Just read your about. You did it right. My plan was the same, especially being a photographer, but finances don’t permit. Thank you for sharing as I will live vicariously through you. 🏕🛣

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      1. Great Pics and sculptures … now I won’t have to take Steph on that walk … unless she sees them!

        Hugs and see you soon,

        Dick and Steph


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