Scottsdale, Arizona has a population of 203,293 (as of 2008), making it the sixth-largest city in Arizona. Located in the Sonoran Desert east of Phoenix and west of the McDowell Mountains, Scottsdale cultivates its position as a golfing, shopping and arts center for the region. The city also associates itself with the old west, claiming to be "The West's Most Western Town." Residents and individuals moving to Scottsdale enjoy the favorable climate and excellent lifestyle in this affluent area.
Scottsdale has a reputation as a wealthy city, with an economic focus on such areas as tourism, high-tech research and medicine. The biggest industry for employment is tourism, with 39 percent of all Scottsdale workers employed by hotels, resorts and other tourist facilities. The biggest companies, in terms of employee numbers are the Scottsdale Healthcare Group, the Mayo Clinic, General Dynamics-Decision Systems and the Scottsdale Unified School District. While many of Scottsdale's residents commute to Phoenix for work, the area surrounding the airport, called Scottsdale Airpark, is also a major regional center for industry and employment.
In 1888, a U.S. Army chaplain, Winfield Scott, arrived in the Salt River Valley and purchased the land that would become Scottsdale. Scott recruited settlers from the east for his settlement, focusing on educated people interested in the agricultural and health benefits offered by Scottsdale's climate. The town grew slowly over its first decades as both a market town and as a draw for a writing and arts culture. The construction of nearby dams increased access to irrigation and ranching possibilities, which in turn brought more people to the city. World War II saw the opening of the Thunderbird II Airfield and the establishment of a prisoner of war camp. In the post-war period, Scottsdale cultivated an identity as an "old west" town even as it grew into a city (incorporated in 1951 with a population of 2000). The expansion of Phoenix and the increased availability of automobiles caused a population boom in Scottsdale, which reached 10,000 by 1960, 68,000 by 1970, 88,000 by 1980, 130,000 by 1990 and 202,000 in 2000-making Scottsdale a very popular moving destination.
Scottsdale is a major golfing, arts and upscale shopping center for the southwest. The area in and around the city boasts over 200 golf courses; where many professional golfers live. The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a stop on the PGA Tour, is held in Scottsdale on the last weekend in January and has the consistently-highest attendance of any tour stop. The arts in Scottsdale are represented by several museums and performing centers, including the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, the Heard Museum North Scottsdale, the Scottsdale Historical Museum and the Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre. Downtown and Southbridge are the two main shopping centers for the city, featuring the only Barney's New York in Arizona. Most air travel to Scottsdale is via Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport, with only corporate and private planes allowed at the Scottsdale Airport. Valley Metro provides bus service in Scottsdale and the greater Phoenix area, and there is a free trolley service with stops in Old Town, the Arts District, the Fifth Avenue Shops, Scottsdale Fashion Square, the Waterfront and Southbridge.