A Taliesin West tour is the only way to see the Taliesin West grounds in Scottsdale, Arizona. Taliesin West is a current architecture school founded by Frank Lloyd Wright in the Arizona desert in 1933. The school moved back and forth between Arizona and Wisconsin with the seasons and semi permanent structures are still used for student housing, dotting the Taliesin West grounds in Scottsdale today.
Any tourist wishing to visit, must be on a Taliesin West tour. Once when tickets were sold out I tried to sneak in for a few peeks but it was a no-go. No freebies here. There are a few different Taliesin West tours but I took the main tour which runs every 30-90 minutes. There is also a cool tour on the weekends where you get to see the students’ tiny houses sometimes built by themselves.
The main building of the school houses Frank Lloyd Wright’s former studio, student workrooms, dining hall, meeting rooms, and a living room. A few of Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife’s rooms remain as well including the bathroom. Everything has been redone over the years as needed but are kept in a similar aesthetically comparable style.
Most of the tour is outside except for the piano/living room, theatre, and designed-for-amazing-acoustics small stage.
Tuesday and Wednesdays are discount days at Taliesin West so if you can, take the tour one of those two days of the week. When you buy online it brings the price down from $34 to $28. It is still an expensive tour but every little discount helps!
The piano room and the chairs in there are awesome! Everyone looks like they should have a cocktail in hand in this room.
There are gardens or at least as much of a garden as you can have in the desert in Arizona.
Visiting the spring is a good time to see the flowers blooming. While the pollen count was ridiculous and everyone was sneezing, it was really pretty.
Once a month, Taliesin West students and faculty hold a black tie dinner in keeping with the tradition from when Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife were here. Usually outside, and the students take turns serving the dinner and being served.
Was the tour worth the money? Maybe. If you are an architecture buff, then for sure you should do this tour and probably some of the other ones here. But I wouldn’t tell most people to run out and come here. Kids will be really bored. I enjoyed it because some of my good friends are architects and I have heard them talk the talk for years but not $28 dollars worth of fun for me.
A word of warning: Obviously you are out in the desert and there is no air conditioning really since the Taliesin West tour is mostly outside in the hot sun. Take your tour early or late in the day! When my Taliesin West tour was over at 1:30pm it was 106 degrees in April!
Reader Question: Are you an architecture buff? Have you been to any of the home Frank Lloyd Wright designed?