2017 Scottsdale Arts Festival: Details and Tips For Attending

Acclaimed Festival in Downtown Scottsdale

© Judy Hedding

Thousands of people will converge on the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall for a three day festival packed with entertainment, art, crafts, interactive activities, artist demonstrations, and more. Springtime in Scottsdale means it's time for the Scottsdale Arts Festival, with more than 170 artists who work in painting, sculpture, glass, ceramics, jewelry, photography and many other media.

What is the Scottsdale Arts Festival?

The Scottsdale Arts Festival is held each March. As Scottsdale's oldest arts festival (it began in 1971), the Festival draws 25,000 visitors in a weekend and is routinely ranked as one of the best art festivals in the nation. Proceeds from the Scottsdale Arts Festival help support the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts' education and community outreach programs.

When is it?

Friday, March 10, 2017: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 11, 2017: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sunday, March 12, 2017: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where is it?

The Festival takes place at the Scottsdale Civic Center Mall, which is located in Old Town Scottsdale next to the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

Parking at the Scottsdale Arts Festival

Free parking is available:
1 - in the garage located west of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and directly behind Los Olivos restaurant on Wells Fargo Avenue.
2 - at the Old Town Parking Corral at East Second Street and Brown Avenue
3 - in the library parking garage located on Drinkwater Boulevard at East Second Street.

The Downtown Scottsdale Trolley will also get you there. There will be extended hours for the trolley service. Because there will be Spring Training games at Scottsdale Stadium during all three days of the festival, there will be extra trolleys in service.

How do I get tickets and how much are they?

You can get tickets at the gate on the day of the event or in advance, online.
Adults: $10 for each day
Two-Day Pass: $15
Students: $5 (not available online)
Children 12 and under: free
Members of the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts and Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art: free

Are discounts available?

Not that I know of. During the Festival, admission will be free to Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA).

Special this year!

Los Trompos: six of the brightly colored, interactive “spinning-top” sculptures created by award-winning Mexican artists and designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena will be on the festival grounds.

Stop by the giant games garden offering Jenga, Connect 4, Checkers, Bag Toss and Yard Dice.

Visit the Community Art Studio and meet local artists. Watch them paint, sculpt, weave and draw. Explore a studio space, and participate in art projects, including a community mural, a community fiber art installation, jewelry making, paper hat making.

The Soundbite food truck, a collaboration between Short Leash Hotdogs and Friends of Public Radio KJZZ, will make its Festival debut. The interactive vehicle combines food and sound with a drop-down stage for live entertainment and a state-of-the-art recording studio. Soundbite will feature programming in partnership with KJZZ 91.5 FM throughout Festival weekend.

The Deep Eddy Hideaway will feature Deep Eddy vodka samples on Saturday and Sunday (noon to 4 p.m.) along with giveaways and games. Deep Eddy’s new orange-flavored vodka will make its Arizona debut at the Festival.

On Saturday and Sunday, festival attendees may enjoy a glass of wine from Trinity Oaks while painting their own interpretation of the LOVE sculpture with personal instruction from a professional art teacher ($25 per person; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; limited seating).

Scottsdale Public Art’s guided walking tour of Old Town Scottsdale will be led by Scottsdale Public Art Director Donna Isaac and Curator of Collections and Exhibitions Wendy Raisanen. The tour starts at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (SMoCA) at 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 11. The tour lasts approximately 75 minutes and covers about 3/4 of a mile. Tickets ($15) available online or by calling 480-499-TKTS (8587).

What else should I know?

This is a rain or shine event. No pets are allowed. There will be nearly 170 artist/vendor booths, live music on two stages, artist demonstrations, food trucks and more.

More than 20 Arizona bands and performers will provide continuous live music and entertainment on two stages, including blues, country/folk, jazz, R&B, rock and much more. Check the schedule to see who will perform.

Works of art are available for purchase directly from the artists and through the Festival’s online art auction.

Tips For Visiting the Scottsdale Arts Festival

  • Pets are not permitted at the Scottsdale Arts Festival.
  • The environment here is prettier than many arts festivals, since this one doesn't take place in the street. The Scottsdale Mall has grass, water, and flowers.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. Not all walking surfaces are paved or flat. There are some grassy mounds to navigate if you want to see all the booths.
  • You won't see tacky crafts here. This is a juried show. There are affordable pieces, and some that will set you back thousands of dollars. The quality of the work here is high.
  • There are four entrances to the Scottsdale Art Festival:
    Gate 1 is inside the main (west) entrance of Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts at 7380 E. Second Street
    Gate 2 is on the west side of the Saguaro Hotel
    Gate 3 is on 75th Street, east of Drinkwater Blvd. and South of 1st Avenue
    Gate 4 is in front of the Scottsdale Public Library
  • The Trolley stops by Gate 2 (the entrance to Civic Center Park, by the Saguaro Hotel) and on Second Street by Gate 1 (by Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts). 
  • On days when there is another event in downtown Scottsdale, such as a baseball game at Scottsdale Stadium, parking can be a challenge and traffic is worse than usual. Leave extra time, bring your patience, and check the trolley map for locations of the shuttle parking lots.
  • If you get there early, the best parking is in the lot at the Scottsdale Public Library. It's covered parking.
  • There are food concessions at the Scottsdale Arts Festival, as well as bars with alcoholic beverages.
  • There are two stages of entertainment at the Scottsdale Arts Festival, and there's someone performing there basically all the time.
  • Need a rest? There are benches, and block walls, and grassy places to sit a spell.
  • Visit the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art while you are there, and stop in the Museum Store.
  • There aren't a lot of port-a-potties for the number of people that are there, so go when you have the opportunity! You can also find restrooms inside the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art and at the amphitheater.
  • Scottsdale Arts Festival photo gallery.

What if I have more questions?

For more information, visit the Scottsdale Arts Festival online.

All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.

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