Prescott, Arizona, a hidden gem nestled in the beautiful landscapes of the American Southwest, is a city rich in history, natural beauty, and a vibrant arts scene. Known as “Everybody’s Hometown,” Prescott offers a diverse range of activities and attractions that cater to all interests. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, outdoor adventurer, or art lover, Prescott has something to offer. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the top things to do in Prescott, Arizona.
- Discover Historic Downtown Prescott:
Prescott’s historic downtown area is a testament to its rich heritage. Stroll along Whiskey Row, a street lined with saloons and shops, and immerse yourself in the city’s Wild West past. Visit the famous Palace Saloon, Arizona’s oldest bar, and enjoy live music and delicious refreshments. Explore the Sharlot Hall Museum, showcasing exhibits on regional history and Native American culture. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic Courthouse Plaza, surrounded by charming boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes.
- Explore the Outdoors:
Prescott’s natural surroundings offer an abundance of outdoor activities. Embark on a hiking adventure through Prescott National Forest, home to miles of scenic trails with breathtaking views. Thumb Butte, Granite Mountain, and Watson Lake are popular hiking destinations. If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, head to the Highlands Center for Natural History, where you can explore nature trails and learn about the diverse flora and fauna of the region.
- Embrace the Arts and Culture Scene:
Prescott boasts a thriving arts community, with numerous galleries, theaters, and museums. Visit the Phippen Museum, dedicated to Western art, showcasing paintings and sculptures that capture the essence of the American West. The Smoki Museum offers a fascinating insight into the culture and traditions of Native American tribes. Catch a performance at the historic Elks Opera House, which hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and ballets throughout the year.
- Engage in Festivals and Events:
Prescott hosts a vibrant calendar of events and festivals that celebrate the city’s unique spirit. The World’s Oldest Rodeo, held annually since 1888, attracts visitors from all over the country. Prescott’s Frontier Days Parade, a grand procession through downtown, showcases colorful floats and marching bands. The Prescott Film Festival and the Prescott Jazz Summit are other notable events that draw art enthusiasts from far and wide.
- Experience Local Cuisine and Shopping:
Indulge in the local culinary delights of Prescott by exploring its charming restaurants and cafes. From cozy bistros to upscale eateries, the city offers a wide range of cuisines to satisfy every palate. For a taste of the Old West, visit one of the many Western-themed steakhouses in town. Don’t forget to browse the boutiques and antique shops in search of unique souvenirs, handmade crafts, and Native American artwork.
- Visit the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary:
Animal lovers shouldn’t miss the opportunity to explore the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. This wildlife sanctuary is home to a variety of rescued animals, including big cats, reptiles, birds, and more. Take a guided tour to learn about the animals, their habitats, and conservation efforts. The sanctuary also offers interactive experiences, such as feeding giraffes or petting a porcupine.
- Take a Scenic Drive on the Prescott Circle Trail:
For those who prefer a leisurely drive, the Prescott Circle Trail is a must-visit. This 54-mile scenic loop encircles the city, showcasing the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Enjoy breathtaking views of mountains, forests, and valleys as you drive along the well-maintained roads. You can make stops along the way to hike, have a picnic, or simply soak in the tranquility of nature.
- Explore the Smoki and Watson Lakes:
Prescott is blessed with stunning lakes that offer recreational opportunities. Visit Watson Lake, a picturesque reservoir known for its unique granite boulders and crystal-clear waters. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the lake, or enjoy a picnic by the shoreline. Smoki Lake, located adjacent to Watson Lake, is another serene spot where you can relax, fish, or hike along the surrounding trails.
- Attend a Western Heritage Presentation:
Prescott’s Western heritage is celebrated through captivating presentations and reenactments. Experience the Old West come to life at the Smoki Museum’s Indian Art & Navajo Rug Auction, where you can witness traditional dances, storytelling, and authentic Native American artwork. The Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo also showcases thrilling rodeo events, including bull riding, barrel racing, and roping competitions.
- Take a Day Trip to Jerome:
Located just a short drive from Prescott, the historic mining town of Jerome is worth exploring. Nestled on a mountainside, this unique town offers stunning views, charming shops, art galleries, and intriguing historical sites. Walk along the streets to admire the preserved Victorian-era buildings and learn about Jerome’s fascinating past. Don’t forget to visit the Jerome State Historic Park and the Mine Museum to delve deeper into the town’s mining history.
- Enjoy Outdoor Recreation at Lynx Lake:
Lynx Lake, situated in Prescott National Forest, is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts. Engage in a variety of activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, or picnicking amidst the scenic beauty of the lake. Rent a boat or kayak to explore the tranquil waters, or hike the surrounding trails for a chance to spot wildlife and enjoy panoramic views.
Prescott, Arizona, offers an abundance of activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. Whether you’re exploring wildlife sanctuaries, driving scenic loops, immersing yourself in Western heritage, or taking day trips to nearby towns, Prescott provides endless opportunities for adventure and relaxation. Embrace the charm and natural beauty of this delightful city and create lasting memories as you discover all the wonderful things it has to offer.