13 Must-Do’s in Prescott, Arizona

Updated: Mar 9

Prescott may be a small community in North Central Arizona, often overlooked thanks to more popular regional destinations like Flagstaff, Williams, and Sedona. Although Prescott neither offers the spectacular red rock scenery of Sedona, nor Flagstaff’s close proximity to the Grand Canyon and other natural wonders, Prescott does offer variety of its’ own great amenities. a charming downtown, a laid-back old west ambiance, great local restaurants & shops, and one among the state’s most spectacular holiday light displays are some of the aspects which set Prescott aside from other Northern Arizona towns. Here are 19 fun things to try and do if you find yourself visiting “Everybody’s Hometown,” a slogan which was given to Prescott because supposedly every tourist can find something that reminds them of home here.


1. Hike Thumb Butte



Thumb Butte is the most scenic & rewarding hike amongst the handfuls of trails available within the gorgeous Prescott National Forest. Prescott draws variety of fitness enthusiasts during the hotter season thanks to the plentiful hiking & mountain biking opportunities available within this high altitude forest. Diverse scenery including ponderosa pines & desert plants, the chance to ascertain various wildlife (black bears frequent the area), and a pleasant challenging climb with unending overviews of the town and surrounding forests, make Thumb Butte the right choice for visitors trying to find a moderate picturesque trail. trip the trail comes in at about 2 miles (with a steep 0.7 mile climb), and an elevation gain of about 1000 (5000-6000 ft).


2. Stroll around historic downtown


Prescott’s old-fashioned, Wild West downtown may be a favorite amongst Arizona locals. On any given weekend, you're sure to run into Phoenix & Tucson residents visiting for the day. Featuring the gorgeous Yavapai county seat because the centerpiece, a row of old time saloons (Whiskey Row), unique western and cowboy themed shops, and western themed museums and art galleries, it’s quite different atmosphere than the other downtown you'll find across the state. Many of Prescott’s buildings go back to the 1800’s, with a couple earning an area on the National Register of Historic Places. The Palace saloon opened back in 1877, making it the oldest in Arizona.


Plenty of local restaurants and shops will keep you busy for several hours. additionally , weekends throughout the year you'll find all kinds of events happening nearby the courthouse grounds. Must try restaurants include Papa’s Italian and Rosa’s Pizzeria. Whiskers Barkery is one among the highest pet shops within the area, so if you're looking to treat your furry friends you want to plan for a stop (the peacock feathers are a true hit with the cats!). If you wish history museums, inspect the Sharlot Hall Museum.


3. Leisurely stroll around beautiful Willow Lake


Willow Lake is one among 3 lakes within the Prescott region. This one may be a particularly nice option for any day trippers because it is found adjacent to the zoo, so you'll combine both activities for a pleasant little spring or summer outing in nature. The trail round the lake is about 6 miles and completely flat, making it a pleasant choice for a non-strenuous stroll. due to the flat terrain, biking is another fun option, especially for those folks preferring flat trails as against mountain biking. Birdwatching may be a popular hobby here, also as boating and kayaking. Pack with a picnic lunch and luxuriate in the beautiful desert scenery!


4. Visit the Heritage Park Zoo


Although quite small and a touch pricey, this non profit zoo is deserve a visit for the great walkability, pretty views of the encompassing lake and desert (bonus – on a transparent day you'll see the San Francisco Peaks in Flagstaff), and convenient proximity to Willow Lake. Overall, an hour approximately strolling around Heritage Park may be a good way to spend a spring or summer afternoon in Prescott. And make certain to see out the annual Zoo Lights festival if your planning a vacation visit!


5. Treat yourself to dinner at an incredible local Italian restaurant


Prescott is home to the simplest selection of Italian restaurants within the northern portion of the state. Sadly, more touristy areas like Sedona, Williams, and Flagstaff offer only a few choices in terms of Italian dining, and most are overly touristy and overpriced. Prescott’s Italian restaurant scene as compared feels more authentic with an excellent local vibe that you simply don't find in these more touristy Arizona towns. Rosa’s Pizzeria and Papa’s Italian both feature delicious food and an active ambiance. Both of those restaurants are popular downtown hotspots so make a reservation to avoid a lengthy wait!


6. Bike the Peavine National Recreational Trail


The Peavine is one among the few remaining rail trails in Arizona. While these former railroads-converted-into-bike paths are very fashionable within the Eastern US, unfortunately they're few and much between within the Western states. For anyone who enjoys a pleasant leisurely bike ride along a paved path as against a rough mountain biking adventure (although there are many mountain biking opportunities within the Prescott National Forest for those interested!), the Peavine is for you! Prescott’s gorgeous 5.5 mile out-and-back trail isn't limited solely to bikers as joggers and walkers also will find the trail peaceful and picturesque. It’s far and away the simplest place in town for a scenic end of the day – and excellent for marathon training!


7. Buy unique Southwestern style decor


Downtown Prescott is loaded with all kinds of touristy shops, with endless Southwest themed knick knacks and Native American art and pottery to feast your eyes on. many cute Southwestern/cacti themed ornaments and decor to refill on for later use as birthday and yuletide gifts! Prescott offers the foremost diverse shopping scene in N. Arizona and you'll find many unusual shops like those selling western wear and random Wild West cowboy style trinkets. you'll easily stroll around for an hour or 2 enjoying of these unique shops as against nearby Flagstaff whose downtown offers next to zilch in terms of shopping.


8. Savor a homemade quiche & cup of Joe at Cuppers


Cuppers is one among just a couple of local non-chain coffee shops within the Prescott area. Unfortunately, Prescott doesn't offer a large local coffee scene, but luckily the few available are pretty decent. Cuppers offers 2 locations – one near the mall within the Trader Joe’s plaza and another nicer location downtown which features a comfortable outdoor patio and indoor seating inside an enthralling historic house. Offering fresh pastries and homemade quiche daily, Cuppers doubles as an excellent place to grab a top quality espresso and delicious light breakfast before exploring downtown or hitting nearby trails.


9. Kayak Lynx Lake


Lynx Lake is another gorgeous lake within the Prescott region. Surrounded by tall ponderosas within the Prescott National Forest, Lynx is one among the foremost beautiful places in town for summer recreation. And thanks to the attractive cooler summer temps at this elevation (5500 feet), Lynx is extremely fashionable Phoenix locals looking to flee the recent desert summer heat. this suggests you want to get here early to make sure your required boat rental! Kayaks, canoes, paddleboats, and row boats are all available for rental, although nothing beats kayaking as you'll get during a great upper body workout, additionally to enjoying the picturesque scenery. After your boating adventures, take a stroll round the beautiful Lakeshore path or refuel with a German inspired lunch at the Lynx Lake Cafe.


10. Brunch at Bistro St. Michael


Bistro St. Michael inside the historic Hotel St. Michael is one among the higher downtown dining choices thanks to the attractive location adjacent to the courthouse within the heart of downtown. If you're lucky enough to attain a bench , you'll be ready to enjoy some prime people watching opportunities. While you savor an excellent breakfast entree (try the Quiche of the Day), you'll sit back and luxuriate in the local flavor. Or better yet, plan for a dinner during the city’s beautiful annual Christmas event, where the courthouse grounds are adorned with over 1,000,000 lights.


11. Pop into an old-fashioned saloon on historic Whiskey Row


Whiskey Row may be a name given to a block lately 1800’s saloons in downtown Prescott. Although the block was once home to quite 40 saloons, only a couple of still remain including The Palace which is Arizona’s oldest saloon (opened back in 1877). Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday all frequented The Palace. If you're curious about the history of the Wild West , you'll just want to see out one among these old time saloons.


12. Take a stroll along the Granite Creek trail


From several points in town, you'll access a picturesque trail which runs along Granite Creek. This multi use trail is brief and straightforward (about 1.5 miles total) and zip too spectacular – just an excellent place to figure off some calories after a meal. And, if your like better to keep off your feet, several restaurants have nice views of the creek including El Gato Azul and bell Cafe.


13. Treat yourself to an espresso at Black Dog Coffee


Black Dog Coffee is your best bet for top quality espresso drinks in Prescott. This cozy local shop features a great selection of espresso drinks, along side an outsized menu of specialty loose leaf teas (60+ to settle on from). a little selection of homemade treats is there to tempt you if you would like a touch pick me up snack after hiking. Attached to the cafe may be a cute little antique/vintage shop where you'll buy all kinds of unique household knick knacks or simply stroll around while you're expecting your drink to be prepared. Love the gorgeous handmade cards!




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