Originally founded in 1987 as the tourism arm of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, Experience Scottsdale became a standalone organization in 2001. The organization has more than 40 full- and part-time employees, along with a volunteer board of directors composed of local hospitality and tourism industry leaders.
No exploration of Old Town Scottsdale is complete without a stop at the Sugar Bowl, an ice cream parlor and restaurant with a colorful exterior that’s hard to miss. If you think it looks like something from the 1950s, that’s because it is— it was founded in 1958 by the Huntress family, who still own it, and its look and menu have remained virtually unchanged. If it seems out of place here, that’s because the neighborhood now has strict rules to give businesses a consistent look, but the Sugar Bowl is exempt— it’s such a local favorite that it’s been granted historical status.
The spacious, bright pink interior includes an authentic 1950s soda fountain seats 10, and tables for about 100 guests. The menu features deli fare as well as an impressive variety of ice cream, shakes, malts, sundaes, and old-fashioned “Camelback Sodas” made with ice cream and soda water.
If you’re not from here but the Sugar Bowl seems familiar, that may be because it was frequently featured in "Family Circus," the classic cartoon by Arizona native Bill Keane, beginning in the 1960s. You can find “Family Circus” merchandise in the “fiesta” section of the restaurant, which also features a small arcade for kids.
Cover image: Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons.