February 14, 2018
25+ Best Things to Do in Prescott and Beyond
Prescott may be a small town, but it’s big on options for entertaining friends or family. Below, we’re sharing our top 25 picks for fun in and around Prescott, many of which are free. Whether you enjoy hiking or haunted inns, shopping or boating, we have options for every age and interest all within minutes of Talking Rock.
Whiskey Row is packed full of Prescott’s colorful history. This street is named Whiskey Row because of the large number of saloons frequented by the gold rush culture of settlers, cowboys, prospectors, gamblers and outlaws. A fire in 1900 destroyed the entire block and, when reconstructed, there were an inordinate number of bars (40!) rebuilt in the area.
Today, Prescott celebrates the history of Whiskey Row with annual shoot out events. Visitors love to wander up and down the block, dropping by the art galleries, candy shops, and of course, its famous saloons. The Palace may be the most well-known and historic saloon in the area, and THE bar where Doc Holliday and the Earps drank and played poker.
Address: South Montezuma and Gurley streets, Prescott, next to Courthouse Square. Approximately 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
The Smoki Museum, built in 1935, collects and displays artifacts and promotes Indian art and culture. The museum is home to objects from tribes such as the Hopi and the Apache, as well as their forebears dating back to the prehistoric Anasazi. Visitors will find painted pottery, intricately woven baskets, kachina dolls, jewelry made from stone and bone, ancient arrowheads and petroglyphs.
Address: 147 N. Arizona Ave., Prescott, 928-445-1230. Approximately 20 miles, or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Gorgeous Lynx Lake is a favorite local escape that offers camping, boating and fishing – with boat rentals, picnic tables and grills available. Hike the easy two-m
ile Lakeshore Trail or hit the Lynx Creek Ruin archaeological site or the Salida Gulch trailhead. Rainbow trout are stocked, plus the lake contains largemouth bass and crappie. Only boats with electric motors are allowed.
Address: Lynx Lake Recreation Area, 4505 East Forest Service Road, Prescott. Approximately 35 miles or 40 minutes from Talking Rock.
Elks Opera House Theatre
The Prescott Elks Theatre and Performing Arts Center is a classically designed turn of the century opera house, completed in 1905 and listed on the National Register of Historical Places. It’s been remodeled with every effort made to save and restore the original construction where possible. The mission of the Center is to enhance the community of Prescott by providing space for practice, rehearsal and training of the performing arts. The Center offers a wide variety of live performances, movies and classes, which are listed on the websites main page, along with ticket information.
Address: 117 E Gurley Street, Prescott, 928-777-1370. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Rumor has it that Lynx Creek has a few flakes of gold left over from the old prospecting days. Several miles of Lynx
Creek have been withdrawn from mineral claim, meaning that these areas are open to recreational prospecting. You can’t use mechanical mining equipment such as suction dredges, drywashers or sluice boxes, but you can buy an $8 gold pan with ridges from Amazon.com and you’re on your way! You’re sure to find some gold-colored rock chips that you can take home and claim to others that you’ve discovered gold in them thar hills.
Address: Need more specific directions? See if you can find an old-time prospector at one of the Prescott bars! Lynx Creek Gold Pan Day Area on S. Lynx Creek Road is 25 miles or 40 minutes from Talking Rock.
Thumb Butte Trail
Thumb Butte Trail, is an easy 1.75-mile round trip hike with a 600-foot elevation gain and a fantastic panoramic view of the countryside. It can be seen from downtown Prescott. The loop around Thumb Butte is the most heavily traveled trail in Prescott National Forest, averaging more than 3,000 visitors a month. About an hour and a half for a leisurely walk around the butte, but if you tackle the summit, add another hour.
Address: From downtown Prescott, travel west on Gurley Street (becomes Thumb Butte Road) for 3.4 miles to the Thumb Butte Picnic Area, on the right. The trail begins
just across the road from the picnic area. Approximately 20 miles or 32 minutes.
*We’ve listed other great nearby hiking or biking trails here: https://talkingrockaz.com/whats-happening/9-top-prescott-trails-hike-run-bike/.
Hassayampa Inn’s Haunted Fourth Floor – The historic
Hassayampa Inn takes you back to 1927, with beautiful painted ceilings, stained glass and early 20th century furniture. It’s been renovated and upgraded, but the bar still takes you back a century or two every time you sit down.
The Inn is, in fact, rumored to be haunted by a young bride, Faith, who died on her honeymoon shortly after the Inn opened. Faith wanders throughout the inn, making her presence known in the kitchen and hallways wearing a pink gown and turning on lights, faucets and even burners on the stove. Faith’s favorite place to be is the Grand Balcony Suite, 426, where she died. The living staff and guests have come to accept he
r as another special part of the hotel.
Address: 122 E Gurley St., Prescott, 928-778-9434. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Courthouse Plaza, is the place to be for all sorts of outdoor events, from art shows to concerts to poetry readings to holiday celebrations. The Yavapai Courthouse at the center of the plaza was named one of the Ten Great Public Spaces of 2008 by the American Planning Association. Barry Goldwater announced his candidacy for president in 196
4 from the courthouse steps.
The Plaza is a great place to relax and picnic, while viewing statues of figures from Prescott history. Don’t miss the bronze equestrian memorial statue honoring members of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders who gathered at the plaza in 1898 before heading to San Antonio at the onset of the Spanish-American War. Cowboy at Rest is another equestrian statue and Early Rodeo depicts a horse rearing up while the rider hangs on.
Address: 120 S. Cortez St., Prescott, 928-777-112. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Sledding off of Walker Road
Although Prescott doesn’t receive a great amount of snow, Phoenicians know Prescott is one of the closest and easiest places for a quick trip to play in the snow. Winter visitors can head out to Walker Road where there are several pull-offs that allow for great sledding opportunities. Bring the sleds and gloves, stock up on snacks and drinks, and create some memories!
Address: 155 Walker Road, Prescott. Approximately 25 miles or 35 minutes from Talking Rock.
Prescott Brewing Company
Prescott Brewery is an early pioneer of the microbrewing industry in Arizona and has been voted in the top 10 every year since 2000. Located right in the middle of all the action for the dozens of events that take place right outside on Prescott’s hometown Courthouse Plaza, it’s a casual, yet professional, dining experience with a large and varied menu. They also sell beer to go.
Address: 130 West Gurley Street, Prescott, 928-771-2795. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
When in Prescott, you owe it to yourself to visit Watson Lake—there’s no other placed like it! Photographers, fishermen, hikers and campers love the beautiful views. Explore the unique granite rock formations that surround the lake, either by renting a kayak or a canoe, or hiking the Peavine or Iron King Trails.
During the summer months, campsites, picnic tables, grills, fish cleaning stations and a boat ramp are all available to guests.
Address: About 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock. From Courthouse Plaza, drive east on Gurley Street about a mile to the junction of Arizona 69 and Arizona 89. Bear north on Arizona 89 about 2.3 miles, then turn right on Prescott Lakes Parkway. Proceed 0.3 mile, then turn left onto Sundog Ranch Road and look for the parking area on your left.
The Heritage Park Zoo
Who doesn’t love an up-close and personal look at tigers, jaguars,
black bears, mountain lions and assorted creepy-crawlies? Heritage Park Zoo op
ened 15 years ago as a home for animals rescued from the wild or from inappropriate captive situations. They’re displayed in natural habitats, making a visit educational and fun. Bring a picnic and let the kids unwind on the playground.
Address: 3 Heritage Park Road, Prescott, 928-778-4242. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
The first tasting room to join the city’s array of attractions, Prescott Winery is an easy walk from Whiskey Row, located just a few blocks east of the downtown square. Set in a small, charming house, visitors can enjoy wine either inside or on the patio in an inviting and comfortable environment. Many of the wines are named in celebration of the city, such as One Fifty – a 2012 white blend – commemorating Prescott’s 150th birthday in 2014.
Address: 216 N Alarcon St, Prescott, Prescott, 928-350-8467. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Cuppers Coffee Bistro
Known as the premier coffee and gelato destination in Northern Arizona, Cuppers first opened its doors in January 2006, and since then has won many awards for Best Coffee and Best Coffee House in the Prescott area. What started out as a little coffeehouse in a small Victorian home in historic Prescott has grown into a major coffeehouse-cafe enjoyed by many. They offer combos and crepes, grilled melts and sandwiches, plus delicious salads and soups.
Address: The Shops at Prescott Gateway, 258 Lee Blvd., Prescott, 928-515-2446. Approximately 25 miles or 35 minutes from Talking Rock.
Prescott Farmers Market
We can smell the melons from here! For the freshest food available, the Prescott Farmers Market is the place to shop. The Market is all about supporting and expanding local agriculture, cultivating a healthy community and increasing access to affordable local food. The Prescott winter market is at the YMCA Pendelton Center during November through April; the Prescott summer market is at Yavapai College from May through October.
Address: YMCA Pendelton Center, 930 Division Street, Prescott; Yavapai College, 1100 E. Sheldon St., Prescott. The YMCA Center is approximately 16 miles or 25 minutes from Talking Rock. Yavapai College is 22 miles or 33 minutes from Talking Rock.
Sharlot Hall Museum
Sharlot Hall, born in 1870, was a writer who expressed her fascination with Arizona frontier life through prose and poetry. The hardships of ranch life, and particularly of ranch women, were a frequent theme in her writing. The museum houses many permanent exhibits about the rich cultural history of Arizona and Yavapai County. Annual festivals, “Living History” interpreters and a Territorial Rose Garden add to the charm of the museum and bring history to life.
Address: 415 W Gurley St, Prescott. Approximately 17 miles or 27 minutes from Talking Rock.
Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery
Love art? This gallery is owned and operated by area artists. Explore a wide range of arts that include paintings, photographs, weaving, pottery, ceramics, baskets, sculpture, jewelry and glasswork. It’s a relaxed and friendly atmosphere in the middle of historic Whiskey Row on the downtown square in Prescott.
Address: 134 S Montezuma St, Prescott, 928-776-7717. Approximately 25 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Prescott Center for the Arts
The Prescott Center for the Arts, originally a church, provides an extensive array of opportunities for local talent young and old to exhibit their skills on stage and in the gallery. It offers rotating art exhibits plus theatre productions. The mainstage season traditionally runs from September to June and presents six to seven community theatre productions, including a Christmas show and variety of musical and dramatic offerings. There’s a popular summer arts program. Access the list of upcoming shows and buy tickets here:
Address: 208 North Marina Street, Prescott, 928-445-3286.
Mike Fann Community Skate Park
Skaters! Test your abilities with your bikes and skateboards. Designed for all skill levels, this facility was made possible through a major fundraising project.
It’s a non-supervised facility for skateboards, in-line skates and bikes. No motorized vehicles or scooters, no unicycles or tricycles. Protective equipment should be used at all times.
Address: E. Willis Street and S. Arizona Avenue, inside Ken Lindley Park. Approximately 18 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
The Highlands Center for Natural History
Enjoy the beauty of nature in a variety of ways, from educational programs for all ages including youth nature camps, school field trips, and community programs, to natural history classes for beginning and expert nature study. The Center offers events such as Wander the Wild and Shakespeare in the Pines, that combine excellence in the arts with the beauty of Nature. Casual visitors can explore demonstration gardens, interactive learning stations, a forest play area, and guided walks. Their three-mile nature trail system is a gateway to Lynx Creek and other Prescott National Forest trails and is open to the public year-round. Plan to spend some time here!
Address: 1375 S. Walker Road, Prescott. Approximately 25 miles or 35 minutes from Talking Rock.
Goldwater Lake is a great lake for canoeists and kayakers, with the additional attraction of horseshoe pits, a playground, a volleyball net and a large ramada. It’s often used for large and small family reunions.
There’s an easy trail that surrounds the lake, great for smaller children or those looking for a relaxing, rather than challenging, hike. Like fishing? The Arizona Game and Fish Department stocks the lake with rainbow trout every few weeks during the summer months.
Address: 2900 S. Goldwater Lake Road, Prescott, 928-777-1550. Approximately 25 miles or 35 minutes from Talking Rock.
Stroll up, down and around Courthouse Plaza for a most unique shopping experience! You’ll find boutiques, galleries, thrift shops, antiques stores and more. There’s Hop Sing Trading Co. for women’s clothing, the Galloping Goose for artwork, pottery and gift items and LeFebvre’s Boutique with gifts, jewelry, toys and homemade goods. Fancy That! has accessories for you and your home. There’s also Prescott Gateway Mall a little further out.
Address: Streets around Courthouse Plaza (S. Montezuma and Gurley Streets). Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Follow in the footsteps of old-time cowboys by hiking the Peavine Trail, the route of the old Santa Fe, Prescott and Phoenix Railway that leads through riparian areas to the Granite Dells, above Watson Lake. The dells once were an outlaw hideout. The trail begins just south of Watson Lake. It’s about 10.4 miles round trip, so, as always, take lots of drinking water.
Address: See map at link. Approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
Bucky’s and Yavapai Casino
Sometimes it’s nice to let loose and try your luck at some games and slot machines. Bucky’s offers a wide variety of play from new games to old favorites. Bucky’s Casino is adjacent to the Prescott Resort and Conference Center, while the Yavapai is a short distance away. Both offer slots, table games, dining and entertainment. You can’t lose!
Address: Bucky’s Casino/Prescott Resort is 500 E. Highway 69 Prescott, and Yavapai Casino is 1505 E. Highway 69. Both casinos are approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
The Kalusa Miniature Airplane Collection
This is a delight, whether you are an airplane fanatic or not. It’s the world’s largest to-scale collection of miniature airplane models, built by John W. Kalusa, an aerial photographer and mechanic in World War II. It’s housed at the Hazy Library at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott and is comprised of 5,825 pre-flight, private, commercial, military, and rocket aircraft models. In 2003, the Kalusa Miniature Aircraft Collection was inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest collection of handmade airplanes in the world. Library hours listed here: https://hazylibrary.erau.edu/about-library/hours/
Address: 3700 Willow Creek Road, Prescott. Approximately 18 miles or 25 minutes from Talking Rock.
Encouraging youngsters to start thinking about college? Explore the campuses of Yavapai College, Prescott College and Embry Riddle Prescott. Even if you are not a student there are still many ways to enjoy the campuses around Prescott. Yavapai has an Art Gallery and Sculpture Garden. Prescott College has nearby Butte Creek, and an Art Gallery with the historic Sante Fe Railroad Bridge next to it. Embry Riddle has a Green Space near the library that’s perfect for reading, relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.
Addresses: Yavapai College is located at 1100 E Sheldon St, Prescott; Prescott College is 220 Grove Ave, Prescott; and Embry Riddle is 3700 Willow Creek Rd, Prescott. All three colleges are approximately 20 miles or 30 minutes from Talking Rock.
If you love Prescott, but like your independence, visit Talking Rock. http://184.108.40.206
Thirty minutes outside of Prescott, this private master-planned community offers a variety of home sites including custom builds, on the golf course and ready to move in options.