Italian-born Paolo Soleri first came to Scottsdale in 1947 to study architecture with Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1956 Soleri started the Cosanti Foundation to design energy- and space-efficient cities. At Cosanti (6433 E. Doubletree Ranch Rd. in Paradise Valley, look for the sign "Soleri" on the south side of the street, 480/948-6145, www.arcosanti.org, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun., 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., donations welcome) you can see some of Soleri's unique structures and learn about his ideas for making the world a better place. The gallery/gift shop sells books, a video, drawings, sculpture, and Soleri's famous windbells. You can often see the pouring of bronze to make bells 10a.m.-noon on weekdays. From central Scottsdale, go north five miles on Scottsdale Road, then turn left on Doubletree Ranch Road and continue one mile. You can also visit Soleri's town-in-the-making, Arcosanti, 65 miles north of Phoenix (see North of Downtown Phoenix).
Heard Museum North
This satellite of the Heard (The Summit at Scottsdale 32633 N. Scottsdale Rd., 480/488-9817, www.heard.org, noon-5 p.m. Sun., 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Mon.-Sat., except to 5 p.m. in summer, $5 adults, $4 seniors (55+), $2 students, free under 6) hosts two exhibitions annually, along with a good gift shop.
Cave Creek and Carefree
The adjacent towns of Cave Creek and Carefree lie in the foothills about 25 miles northwest of downtown Scottsdale and 30 miles north of downtown Phoenix. They fit well into a scenic drive between northern Scottsdale and northern Phoenix. Cave Creek has a good historical museum and Carefree features one of the world's largest sundials. You'll also find many art galleries and several restaurants. The Carefree/Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce (748 Easy Street, 480/488-3381, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon.-Fri., www.carefree-cavecreek.com), along with the sundial and many shops, is near the southeast corner of Tom Darlington and Cave Creek Roads. Maricopa County parks and the Tonto National Forest have scenic areas to explore nearby—see Valley of the Sun Recreation.
To reach Cave Creek and Carefree from Scottsdale, follow Scottsdale Road, which turns into Tom Darlington, north to its end. From Phoenix, drive north on Cave Creek Road, or take I-17 north to Carefree Highway/AZ 74 (Exit 223), and head east 10.2 miles.
Cave Creek Museum (corner of Skyline Dr. and Basin Rd. 480/488-2764, www.cavecreekmuseum.org, 1-4:30 p.m. Wed.-Sun., Oct.-May, $3 adult, $2 students and seniors 55+, free for kids under 12) offers a look at the region's past. The Archaeology Wing holds a fine collection of pottery, baskets, and other crafts from prehistoric and modern times. The Pioneer Wing displays aspects of early mining, ranching, and home life. Changing exhibits fill the central hall. Walk out back to see an early 1920s' tubercular cabin and a small church. There's a well-preserved mining arrastre (primitive tool to grind ore) in front. A gift shop offers books and crafts of Native Americans and the Southwest. Turn east on Skyline Drive or south on Basin Road from Cave Creek Road in Cave Creek.
On to East Scottsdale