Scottsdale has had longtime allure for art aficionados and culture enthusiasts. With a renowned history in mid-century modern design, along with enough trending restaurants to keep any foodie happy, Scottsdale is a vibrant city perfect for weekend getaways and extended explorations. You may already be familiar with the abundance of galleries and museums in town, especially with more than forty galleries in the downtown corridor, yet now there’s even more incentive for visiting Scottsdale: Canal Convergence and Scottsdale Contemporary Month.
Canal Convergence is an annual celebration of art and community, with interactive public art taking the center stage. The Scottsdale Waterfront comes alive with mesmerizing art installations, educational activities, outdoor performances, and a series of cultural enrichment opportunities. The immersive experience brings the public together along the waterfront day and night, with many installations offering a different experience depending on time of day. I had a fabulous introduction to Canal Convergence during the spring 2018 event, and this fall’s celebration promises to be even more stunning.
From November 9-18, the Scottsdale Waterfront will dazzle guests with water + art + light, with nine larger than life installations from international artists. Artist talks offer an intimate opportunity to explore the process and vision of touring artists, while hands-on arts workshops are a great way to involve the whole family during this cultural extravaganza. For even more cultural immersion, Canal Convergence has become a part of Scottsdale Contemporary Month, which adds film, architecture, and the culinary arts into the mix. The full range of events takes place October 21-November 21, 2018, though several opportunities for arts immersion continue beyond that with ongoing exhibitions and special events extending into the new year. To join the fun, consider attending the Canal Convergence Launch Party on November 8, which introduces the Floatus fire show, includes live music, and features a selection of local food trucks.
Situate yourself in the heart of the action with a stay at Hotel Valley Ho, a gorgeous example of mid-century modern architecture and design. Hotel Valley Ho originally opened in December 1956 and its restoration highlights stunning design elements and modern amenities. For behind-the-scenes insight into the hotel’s architecture and history, sign up for a Hotel Architectural Tour. You won’t find resort fees here, but you will find a refreshing retreat with the VH Spa, OH Pool, and on-site eatery ZuZu—which I highly recommend for brunch. Pair the Arizona Omelet or Red Velvet Waffles with the Mimosa Bar.
At Hotel Valley Ho, you’ll be a short jaunt to the festivities at Canal Convergence and just down the block from Old Town Scottsdale attractions and eateries. Be sure to stop at Craft 64 for fresh house-made mozzarella and artisan wood-fired pizza. The cozy venue features dozens of Arizona craft beers on tap, along with a generous selection of wines. Continue to cheer along the evening with a beverage at Rusty Spur Saloon, a registered historic landmark and Scottsdale’s oldest bar. Of course, no visit to Old Town would be complete without a meal at The Mission. The modern Latin cuisine menu features hand pressed corn tortillas, vibrant shared plates, and guacamole prepared tableside.
Scottsdale Contemporary Month takes place October 21-November 21, 2018, while Canal Convergence takes place November 9-18. For even more travel planning tips, visit Experience Scottsdale and book directly with Hotel Valley Ho for the special offers and packages.
Lori A. May is a Seattle-based travel writer. Follow her on Twitter at @loriamay.
A portion of the author’s itinerary was coordinated by Experience Scottsdale.