I may be in the minority not having lived in a super liberal, progressive place, but I think like a pp said, it is what you make of it. I live in Gilbert and work in downtown Scottsdale and although there are a lot of shopping developments, resorts, etc, Scottsdale is a very nice city.
Approx 1/3 of the city is preserved open space (The MCdowell Sonoran Preserve) and if you're into hiking, biking, and appreciating the Sonoran Desert, this is pretty impressive.
And of course, there are meetup groups that are more crunchy and I believe there's one in Scottsdale too. I babywear a lot and no one has ever looked at me funny.
There's a great railroad park - McCormick-Stillman - which is inexpensive and fun for kids of all ages. There are lots and lots of art festivals that take place in the downtown area and most of them have really neat kids areas that are free or very inexpensive.
Seasonally, there are cool performances with Native American Tribes (it's called Native Trails) and the performances take place at the Civic Center Mall - another great outdoor space in the downtown area. I have taken the kids there a lot just to let them run around and play while I enjoy the great weather.
You are more likely to find Chandler, Gilbert and Mesa more family oriented overall, but I wouldn't knock Scottsdale too much.
Now if you are the kind of person that notices every mall, every luxury car, every golf course, etc and the materialism bugs you, it might not be the best choice, but if you aren't afraid to reach out to other moms in the area, other crunchy moms online who are there, and even visit the Visitors Bureau to get more local info, I think you can certainly make the best of it.
My little ones aren't in school yet so education-wise I don't have firsthand experience although Arizona is often looked down upon as far as that goes.
Anyway, feel free to pm me if you want other info. And if you move here, I'm always up for a get together