I spent an afternoon in Scottsdale, Arizona's most elite neighborhood, where homes cost up to $50 million. It felt like a private small town.

Mansions off of a winding road on a mountain dotted with bushes and cacti in DC Ranch in Scottsdale
Business Insider's reporter took a tour of Scottsdale, Arizona's most expensive neighborhood — DC Ranch.

  • DC Ranch is the priciest neighborhood in Scottsdale, Arizona, with an average home price of $3.3 million.

  • The sprawling 4,400-acre community includes four villages of mansions, condos, and businesses.

  • I got an exclusive tour of the neighborhood and thought it felt like a small town.

The most expensive neighborhood in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a sprawling, 4,400-acre community with four villages packed with mansions, condos, and businesses lining the McDowell Mountains.

Known as DC Ranch, the neighborhood has an average listing price of $3.5 million, according to Realtor.com. It's also where Scottsdale's most expensive home on the market — priced at $54 million — is located.

I recently got a private tour of the exclusive, mostly gated neighborhood.

To me, it felt like a private little town against a desert backdrop.

DC Ranch is in North Scottsdale.

A satellite map of Arizona with an arrow pointing to DC Ranch in Scottsdale.
DC Ranch is north of Phoenix and Downtown Scottsdale.

Roughly 30 minutes by car from downtown Scottsdale's shops, businesses, and amenities and 40 minutes from Phoenix, North Scottsdale is known for its large mansions and suburban mountain views.

Within the four villages at DC Ranch, there are 26 neighborhoods.

A street lined with luxury homes in front of a mountain with blue skies in the background in Scottsdale
A street in one of the DC Ranch villages.

According to the company's website, DC Ranch started as a cattle ranch in the 1900s. In 1997, the first home in the now-residential area was finished. Today, DC Ranch has 2,800 homes and 7,000 residents.

I got an exclusive tour. My guide drove me to each village, stopping for photos along the way.

A shady neighborhood is seen from the passenger window of a car with the author visible in the side mirror on the left
The author takes a tour of DC Ranch by car.

When I arrived at DC Ranch, I hopped in an SUV with my tour guide, senior communications manager Elizabeth Dankert. We drove through all four villages so I could get a closer look at the custom homes, shops, restaurants, pools, golf clubs, and other amenities enjoyed by residents.

The tour began at Market Street, a walkable area with shops, businesses, and restaurants.

A sidewalk lines with boxy gray shops on the right and with trees on the left
Businesses line Market Street in Scottsdale.

Market Street is a public area on the edge of DC Ranch. It's a walkable complex with real estate and financial offices, shops, and restaurants. While anyone can peruse Market Street, it's especially convenient for residents with stores like Safeway.

Market Street is on the edge of Desert Camp Village.

A street sign at a stoplight says Desert Camp drive with cacti, trees, and blue skies in the background
DC Ranch's Desert Camp Village.

Residents of Desert Camp can walk to the commercial area of Market Street.

The village on the west side of DC Ranch includes a mix of condos, townhouses, and single-family homes, as well as a community center.

Desert Camp homes sold for an average of $1.2 million in 2023, according to my guide.

Adobe houses behind a courtyard garden filled with cacti and trees
A shaded street in Desert Camp.

Desert Camp is the most affordable village in DC Ranch. Its oldest homes were built in the 1990s, according to the community's website.

Just north of Desert Camp is Country Club Village, where homes sold for an average of $3 million in 2023.

Foliage and cacti inn front of a golf course in front of homes in front of a mountain range
A golf course in Scottsdale's DC Ranch neighborhood.

Farm, ranch, and Spanish-style homes in Country Club Village line a pristine, private golf course dotted with cacti.

Desert Parks is at the southern end of the community.

Gates open into a neighborhood with adobe houses shaded by bushes and thin trees
A gate leads to a street in Desert Parks Village.

Desert Parks Village is full of gated neighborhoods lined with single-family homes and luxury apartments.

Here, homes sold for $1.5 million on average in 2023.

gates open up to a park with trees and bushes lining a bath leading to a playground with a yellow slide
A park in the DC Ranch village.

Desert Parks is home to Spanish and Western-style houses and bungalows. The area is also dense with small parks and shaded areas.

Parts of this village are walkable.

A complex with adobe buildings and lush greenery with mountains and clear, blue skies in the background
DC Ranch Crossing in Desert Parks Village.

Aside from its suburban streets, Desert Parks has businesses on walkable roads. One area, DC Ranch Crossing, has shops, restaurants, and doctors' offices.

The eastern section of the community is Silverleaf Village, where homes sold for an average of $5.5 million in 2023.

A sidewalk next to a street liked with bushes, trees, and flowers. There's a portion of  a tan house on the left
A street in Silverleaf Village.

Silverleaf is the most expensive village in DC Ranch, with homes costing up to $54 million.

The village also has a 50,000-square-foot clubhouse with a spa, pools, and restaurants. Like in the Country Club Village, there's also a golf course.

The village borders Copper Ridge School for kids from kindergarten to eighth grade.

A sign of locations under a shaded tree to the right of a street with mountains in the background.
A road in DC Ranch leads to Copper Ridge School.

On our way to Silverleaf, we passed Copper Ridge School, where many DC Ranch students can walk or bike to class. According to the neighborhood's website, a pedestrian underpass leads from Silverleaf to the school.

The architecture in Silverleaf is reminiscent of Europe.

A stone house with a gate and mountains visible through the bars
A European-style home in Silverleaf Village.

The homes in Silverleaf are unlike any others I saw in DC Ranch. Driving down each street, I felt like I'd been transported to Europe.

According to the neighborhood's website, these properties have Spanish and Mediterranean Revival Estate architectures. And many of them showcase vibrant gardens and landscaping.

And the higher up we drove, the bigger the mansions got.

Mansions on a mountain dotted with bushes and cacti
Mansions in Silverleaf.

As we headed up the mountain, I noticed the Silverleaf homes were even more expansive.

At the top, estates had multiple buildings. We stopped, and I got out of the car. I thought of Italian castles and Greek villas as I wandered the hilly street on foot and marveled at the grand houses.

Many homes up here are still under construction.

A mansion under construction against a mountain dotted with cacti
A mansion being built in Silverleaf.

DC Ranch is still growing. From luxury apartment buildings to gigantic Silverleaf homes, there's more high-end housing in the works.

Looking down at DC Ranch, I wondered what it would be like to live there.

Mega mansions in the desert in Scottsdale with mountains in the background
A view of DC Ranch from the top of Silverleaf.

DC Ranch may be a slight trek from the action in downtown Scottsdale and Phoenix, but to me, it felt like a community that could provide for itself. With so many amenities, shops, and restaurants, I thought residents wouldn't have to leave DC Ranch to fulfill their needs.

And with views like this, I'm not sure I'd ever want to.

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