Cave Creek and Carefree are two communities located next to each other in the northern metro Phoenix area. Even though many confuse the two they feel as different as night and day yet both are small, quaint, and charming with cute stores and restaurants and saloons and both worth a visit.
Carefree is both geographically and population wise smaller than Cave Creek and a bit more upscale and expensive (housing). Sundial Plaza is in the center of town in Carefree and has a lovely desert garden, a small open air concert area, a fountain, and of course, the infamous large Sundial which is advertised as the third largest in the world. Like anything, I am sure that is debatable. A delightful area to visit and grab a bite to eat and wander around.
A bit to the west of Carefree is Cave Creek which is known for being more of a cowboy town and is “perfectly uncivilized”. Saloons, cowboy boots, pulled pork, motorcycles, and country music abound. A fun place to soak up the atmosphere.
Just south of Cave Creek and Carefree is North Scottsdale which is full of restaurants and shopping areas. One cute shopping area is The Quarter which is designed to feel like a European town with small narrow streets and a variety of alfresco dining. All parking is in parking garages as opposed to parking lots. The palm trees are lit up at night and the area is a beautiful place to dine and walk around in the evenings.