Things to do in Prescott Arizona: The ULTIMATE Visitors Guide (Updated 2020)

Like an oasis in the desert comes Prescott, Arizona. Many of the things to do in Prescott are seasonal due to the city’s geography and climate. Those who enjoy the great outdoors, and can handle temperature extremes, will enjoy visiting the area.

Prescott is a historically significant city. In western times, Prescott was the designated capital of Arizona for two separate stints. Prescott also has links to the Earp family and Doc Holliday. It is a significant area for Native Americans. The federally recognized Yavapai-Prescott Tribe has less than 200 people enrolled today.

Granite Dells Prescott
Image Credit: Flickr

Today Prescott is a modern city catering to nearly 40,000 people. Dominating the local economy is service industries. Health Care and social help is the largest employer in the city, followed by retail and educational services.

Prescott is a fun city to visit, full of unique things to do. It is time to explore some of those things now.

Things to do in Prescott infographic

 

Things to do in Prescott: Food, Wine, and Spirits

Vacation Vine Food and Wine

Del Rio Springs Vineyard Tasting Room

You will need to bring your own snacks here, but the wine makes the trip worthwhile. The Del Rio Springs Vineyard is in the Black Mesa Basin in North East, Arizona. The new tasting room in the Old Firehouse Plaza in Prescott features a rotating mix of select wines.

  • Pinot Noir
  • Zinfandel
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Chardonnay
  • Dolce Bianco

Groups can reserve the tasting room for private sessions of up to 25 people. The tasting room is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday. Also, a special happy hour offered on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

You can find more details on opening times and wine selection via the Del Rio Springs Vineyard website and Facebook page.

 

Superstition Meadery

I know what you’re thinking. What on earth is Mead? Well, Mead is a fermented beverage traditionally made from honey, water, and yeast. It was the drink of choice for peasants in medieval times. It is the oldest fermented beverage known to man.

In Prescott, Superstition Meadery has brought this forgotten beverage into the 21st century.

Superstition Meadery is located on Prescott, Arizona’s historic courthouse square. Here, they lovingly craft award-winning meads and hard cider. The Tapas menu keeps guests well-fed, and the entertainment comes in the form of live music.

Talk about unique! I have been traveling the world for over 20 years and have not anything else like this. It is a simple tasting room, yes, but the flavor of the various mead varieties mixed with the tapas on offer sets it apart.

I enjoyed it here and I’m sure you will. Check out their website and Facebook page for opening times and more details.

Things to do in Prescott: Arts and Culture

Vacation Vine Arts and Culture

Sharlot Hall Museum

If Prescott’s history interests you will learn much about it here. Sharlot Hall Museum is the historical, educational, and cultural center of Prescott.

The goal here is to promote an appreciation of historical, social, and natural aspects of Arizona, with emphasis on the Central Highlands.

Founded in 1928, they named the Museum after its founder, Sharlot Mabridth Hall.  The Museum contains four inviting acres of exhibits, galleries, gardens, and historic buildings, including the 1864 Territorial Governor’s Mansion.

The exhibits on-site include “Skyviews”, which is a pictorial and photographic history of the City of Prescott. Also featured is a Native American display titled “The Baskets Keep Talking”. They focus this exhibition on the Yavapai-Prescott Indian tribe’s history and culture.

Check out the website and Facebook page for opening times and tour details.

Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery

A group of local artists founded the Arts Prescott Gallery in 1994. This dedicated group showcases quality arts and crafts and the works of themselves and their colleges.

The cooperative gallery is owned and operated by local artists. Many of these were among the original founding artists of the gallery.

What I love the most about this place is its authenticity. It is uniquely Prescott and most of the art works here are inspired by the local surrounds.

The gallery offers a warm and friendly atmosphere for guests. The work here is fresh and exciting. Art lovers will find something special to bring home with them at a reasonable price. Plus, you will enjoy a very pleasant afternoon.

The Prescott Cooperative Gallery is open daily. Check their website and Facebook page for more details.

Things to do in Prescott: Family Friendly

Vacation Vine Family Friendly

Heritage Park Zoo

Who doesn’t love a great zoo? Heritage Park Zoo sits on ten acres of land north of Prescott.  It overlooks the picturesque Willow Lake. The sanctuary has many great drawcards, including;

  • a covered picnic pavilion;
  • a children’s playground;
  • interactive animal experiences;

An awesome feature of this zoo is the large, naturally landscaped enclosures for the animals. These enclosures have paths that allow visitors to get an up-close view of the animals.

One of the most interesting exhibits, and one which is unique to the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, is the Tarantula Grotto. (I’m not a spider lover, this scared the Cr@p out of me)

This is a great place to bring the kids and get a host of holiday photos. Family members of all ages will have a blast here. Check out the Heritage Park Zoo website and Facebook page for more details.

Watson Lake Park

For families looking to camp overnight, Watson Lake is the perfect spot. This beautiful lake is just four miles away from the Prescott CBD. The Lake is also one of two reservoirs at Granite Dells. Purchased by the City of Prescott in 1997, who turned it into recreational land.

In addition the large, grassed areas around the Lake are perfect for families to unwind and relax. They do not permit swimming in the Lake, however, there are many activities that are including fishing, boating, kayaking, and canoeing.

The Granite Dells are the perfect spot for hiking and rock climbing. Watson Lake has plenty of mod cons to keep camping families happy. These include showers, Fish cleaning stations, restrooms, and barbecue grills.

Pull up the RV and enjoy some peace and quiet here. You can find more details regarding regulations for Watson lake on the City of Prescott’s website.

Things to do in Prescott: Sights and Landmarks

Sights and Landmarks

Bucky O’Neill Monument/Courthouse Plaza

This is known locally as the Rough Rider Monument. Created by Solon Borglum in 1907, the monument honors the fighting men of the Spanish-American war of 1898.

Find out more about the Spanish-American war here.

You can find the monument in Prescott’s famous Courthouse Plaza. The Plaza itself is also worth exploring.

They recognize this Plaza as one of the Great Public Spaces in America. The classical Courthouse structure has been a focal point of Prescott since its early days. It is also one of 11 buildings in the Plaza listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A great place to stop and relax after a long day of shopping. Bring the camera with you, it’s also a great place to take some holiday snaps.

Mount Union Lookout

The lookout is the highest vantage point of the nearby Prescott National Forest. It sits at near 8000 feet above sea level and provides uninterrupted views of the entire City of Prescott.

Hiking to the location is an option, it’s safer than driving there. Once arriving at the summit the payoff is the incredible view. Visitors have taken here many awesome snaps of the surrounding landscape here.

Pack the camera, put on the Go-Pro, and the hiking boots and head for the summit. It’s worthwhile putting in the effort.

Things to do in Prescott: Bars and Restaurants

Vacation Vine Bars and Restaurants

Whiskey Row

You will find the historic and entertaining Whiskey Row on Montezuma Street, just off the Courthouse Plaza. It has been an attraction for visitors to Prescott for over 150 years.

In frontier times, Whiskey Row was the home of many famous saloons. Legend has it that at one point, 40 saloons all stood next to each other on Whiskey Row. In 1877, a serious fire ravaged the original buildings. This was the first of three serious fires that gutted the area around the turn of the century.

The Palace Restaurant and Saloon is the most famous bar along Whiskey Row. It officially opened in 1877. As a result, it is the oldest business in the state of Arizona. Famous regulars in its early days included Wyatt and Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday. Virgil Earp was a constable in Prescott during this era.

This history in this precinct is undeniable, but the modern-day Whiskey Row is full of awesome entertainment. You won’t just get a history lesson here, you will be well-fed and won’t go thirsty either.

Check out a list of bars and restaurants in Whiskey Row here.

Prescott Brewing Company

Being an Aussie, I can appreciate an old-fashioned pub. That sums up Prescott Brewing Company perfectly. The atmosphere in this place is exactly that kind of style. Therefore, it feels warm, fun, and inviting from the first second you enter.

Operating in Prescott since 1994, the pub is casual and offers great food and entertainment.

On the brewing side of the business, Prescott Brewing Company offers seven different ales to choose from. The originals were the Liquid Amber ale and Ponderosa IPA. They have since added a Chocolate Porter, Lodgepole Light, Manzanita Red, Palepricot, and a Christmas City ale. Find more details on each brew here.

The menu options are typical pub-style food. As a result, burgers, nachos, steak, and ribs are all popular choices. You will not leave hungry.

Check out their website and Facebook page for details on upcoming promotions.

Things to do in Prescott: Getting back to Nature

Getting back to Nature

Lynx Lake Recreation Area

If you love getting back to nature, the Lynx Lake Recreational Area is perfect for you. Located just 7 miles south of the City, this campground is very popular during the summer holidays and for good reason.

There are 35 campsites in the Lynx campgrounds. In addition, each site has its own picnic table, steel fire ring, and an established tent pad. Several of the campsites are suitable for people with disabilities.

Wildlife here is plentiful. During your stay, you will probably encounter deer, osprey, great blue heron, bald eagle, mountain lion, and several species of snakes, lizards, and birds.

From the campgrounds, you will be less than a quarter-mile to the amazing Lake. The lake offers a boat ramp and plenty of great fishing. There are several walking trails in the area for hikers and Mountain bike riders. The area is also perfect for horseback riding and other water sports.

You can find details on how to book a camping spot here.

Prescott Peavine National Recreation Trail

This trail begins just south of Lake Watson and is great for an easy stroll on a mild summer afternoon. Along the trail, there are great views of Lake Watson and the Granite Dells.

The trail is quite wide and flat. Therefore, it is perfect for walking, bikes, and horses. The elevation in the area is just 5,200 feet, which is no concern for hikers of any experience level.

In addition, this is a great trail for spotting wildlife and enjoying the plentiful sunshine. The trail itself runs for just over 5 miles and has many lesser-used tracks running from it.

You can find more details about the Prescott Peavine Recreational Trail here.

 

Things to do in Prescott: Shop till you Drop

Shop till you Drop

Van Gogh’s Ear Gallery

Historic Whiskey Row is more than just bars and restaurants. This is one of the more unique art galleries anywhere in the United States and offers plenty of great souvenirs to take home.

Since opening in 2003 the Van Gogh Ear Gallery has received rave reviews and a cultlike following from locals and visitors. It has also won several local industry awards and recently won niche retailer of the year.

Over 70 artists display their work in this Gallery. They produce more than simple paintings and sculptures. Shoppers looking for a unique gift for a loved one or a one of a kind reminder of their stay in Prescott won’t be disappointed.

Check out their website and Facebook page for details on opening times and upcoming events.

Prescott Gateway Mall

This Mall had a shaky start to its life and was almost blocked from construction by residents. After they dropped the lawsuits, construction began here in 2001 with the Prescott Gateway Mall finally opened in 2002.

It’s fair to say the initial objections have given way to praise. This is a great mall, offering an awesome shopping experience for visitors. Everything you need is under one roof.

Anchor stores here are JC Penney, Dillard’s, and Sears. In addition, there are over 80 specialty shops and restaurants on-site. Without a doubt, this Mall has become the shopping mecca for Prescott.

It’s easy to reach with its locations serviced by public transport. There is also an awesome parking lot that can fill up quickly.

Details, shop listings, and opening times can all be found on the Mall’s Facebook page.

Vacation Vine “Wild Card Selection”

Vacation Vine Wildcard

Goldwater Lake

Prescott offers some of the best nature-based experiences anywhere in the world. Lake Watson is very popular and rightly so. However, this lesser-known lake is worth checking out.

Located roughly 4 miles south of Prescott, this nature reserve offers water sports, hiking, and birdwatching opportunities that are the equal of Lake Watson.

A paddle here is the best way to see the sights. If you forgot to load up the canoe, Prescott outdoors offers rentals at great prices.

The Lake area also offers several walking trails protected by pine trees offering shade for walkers. I loved it here and I’m sure you will too.

You can find seasonal details and via the City of Prescott website. 

Things to do in Prescott: Conclusion

Prescott is a fun city. A short break here is great for recharging the batteries while enjoying all the mod cons you would expect from a modern city. Here you can enjoy a casino weekend away with a group of friends or take a nature-based break enjoying some awesome walking trails.

In conclusion, Prescott Arizona is full of surprises. Come find out for yourself.

Happy Holidaying!

 

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