Prescott, Arizona, is the perfect weekend getaway from Phoenix. There is a wide range of recreational options here, such as hiking, camping, and boating. In addition to being near Prescott National Forest, the area is excellent for hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers.
In addition to the numerous things to do in Prescott, the city somehow radiates a friendly atmosphere that will instantly charm anyone visiting.
There are plenty of small companies offering day tours to see the breathtaking area. You’re never too far away from a place with souvenirs, classy dining, or a desert hike. Prescott offers numerous outdoor activities, including golf, kayaking, fishing, breweries, restaurants, and countless historical landmarks for visitors.
With its historical attractions and recreational opportunities, Prescott is an ideal spot for a family vacation. In addition, with many old saloons remaining in the area and other relics of the gold rush, the town has a rich pioneer history. As a result, Prescott offers plenty to do, whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or want to get into some trouble.
Also, did you know that Prescott, Arizona, was the former territorial capital of the state of Arizona? Didn’t you? I had no idea either! Now that you are about to explore this fantastic city, here are some of the best things to do in Prescott, Arizona, where you can learn more about the town’s history while having a fabulous time. Have fun out there!
Table of Contents
The 10 Top Things To Do In Prescott
Tour The Historic Downtown/Courthouse Plaza
120 S Cortez St, Prescott // +19284452000
Prescott Courthouse Plaza is centered downtown and easy to find. Many shops in the area have been around for over 100 years. There are clothing stores, bakeries, two bookstores, a comic book store, and others that local business owners operate. The streets surrounding this area can provide great entertainment for families. In addition, there are numerous restaurants found on the plaza itself or within walking distance.
The number of historically significant homes and buildings in the downtown area has been called “the best sandbox in North America” for its high concentration of historic buildings. Therefore, during the restoration process, much attention is given to historical accuracy.
A large number of the original pieces remain, which are accessible by appointment.
Visit Watson Lake
I highly recommend visiting Watson Lake if you are planning a trip to Prescott. It is one of the most visually stunning parts of the city.
I suggest visiting the lake during sunrise or sunset when the dark blue water glistens and blends with the sun’s rays reflecting on it. Have your cameras close to you so that you can capture a glimpse of a fairytale here.
The dark granite hills and boulders that line the lake and small islands that poke out in the middle provide a striking contrast to its deep blue water. The water is so deep that people have been sailing to these islands for years.
Although I did not sail myself, I still enjoyed slowly taking in the beautiful Granite Dells from a kayak. Visitors can decide between hiking, rock climbing, fishing, day picnicking, canoeing, or overnight camping during the summer months. It is a perfect all-day getaway only four miles away from Prescott, easily accessible from Highway 89.
Due to its popularity, reservations are highly recommended.
Learn About Local Folklore At Sharlot Hall Museum
415 W Gurley St, Prescott // +19284453122
Rich in history and a treasure trove of local folklore, the Sharlot Hall Museum is an open-air museum located in the heart of Prescott, Arizona. As the home base of Yavapai County tourism, the museum and its grounds provide scholars with a one-stop destination for a wealth of information about this northern Arizona area.
The Sharlot Hall Museum is a fantastic place to visit. Here you can learn about the history of Yavapai County or simply enjoy the history of the town. Or you can munch on popcorn while watching local cowboy movies projected on a big screen. The museum has been operating since 1981 and has grown every year. If you are looking for things to do in Prescott for the whole family, this is one of them.
Visitors can take guided tours of the museum daily or take self-guided tours at any time. Further, the museum store features themed rooms with a wide variety of gifts, toys, and souvenirs.
Chill Out At Lynx Lake Recreation Area
Lynx Lake Store Rd, Prescott // +19284438000
Lynx Lake is a recreation area located in the cool pine forests near Prescott, offering plenty of activities, such as mountain biking, fishing, hiking, camping, and more.
You can take non-motorized and lower-horsepower motorized boats onto the lake, and you can rent canoes and paddleboats during the summer months.
The property includes shaded picnic areas, a swimming beach, two campgrounds with rental tent cabins, and a barbecue grill theater. I loved this place because you can go hiking in some parts where it is very peaceful.
On Lynx Creek, there is a gold panning area for recreational use. Both hiking and mountain biking are allowed on several trails. In addition to tent and RV campsites, there are different campground options for those planning to stay overnight.
You can enjoy the fresh air and have faith that no one will bother you when you decide to spend a carefree weekend at the lake and dive into all the fun activities Prescott has to offer.
Visit The Smoki Museum
147 N Arizona Ave, Prescott // +19284451230
The Smoki Museum is yet another fantastic place to visit in Prescott. It is stunning, and there are a ton of interesting artifacts to see. If you are only spending a few days in Prescott, I strongly recommend this museum as your first stop. It is not very large so that you won’t have trouble going through it all in a few hours.
As part of their Native American cultural events, such as their Storytellers at the Smoki gatherings, the Smoki Museum brings local storytellers to tell indigenous folktales and other stories while guests enjoy treats.
I enjoyed the Smoki Culture Exhibit the best, which contained Native American artifacts. It was amazing to learn about the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, and other tribes who lived in this area many centuries ago.
Hike The Prescott National Forest
Prescott, AZ 86301, United States // +19284438000
In north-central Arizona, the Prescott National Forest covers the Pine-Strawberry, Chino Valley, and Prescott regions. It stretches on 1.25 million acres of forest managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The National Forest is divided into eight wilderness areas.
This forest is a unique place, and I highly recommend you visit and hike up Granite Mountain and Lake Sycamore while you are here.
The absolute best thing to do in Prescott is hiking in the Prescott National Forest. With over 870,000 acres, there are numerous options. You can spend one day hiking a trail, and not see anyone else on the trail, and admire the beautiful pine tree vistas.
Or you could camp at a state-run campground and enjoy unforgettable stargazing. The options range from primitive backcountry camping to developed campgrounds with sites accommodating RVs and trailers. Because of the elevation, you can hike at any time without worrying about being too hot or cold. If you want to escape the heat of Phoenix, taking a break in the National Forest is a must in your top things to do in Prescott.
Enjoy A Beer At Prescott Brewing Company
130 W Gurley St Ste A, Prescott // +19287712795
While there are plenty of mountain and lake activities to keep you busy, Prescott Brewing Company offers something a little bit different.
The brewpub has been serving up beer and pub fare in the town of Prescott for twenty years, and visitors rave about this family-run restaurant that uses fresh ingredients and makes everything from scratch.
Prescott’s brewpub has served food ranging from huge appetizers, sandwiches, and salads, with fourteen different craft beers on tap. Right outside the doorstep, guests can enjoy concerts, festivals, and parades during the summertime.
Almost everything in the restaurant’s kitchen is made from scratch. I opted for the 12-ounce beer sampler, which provided me with opportunities to try lots of different beers from their selection. The staff was all dressed in cute historical outfits, which only adds to the picturesque dining experience.
Visit The Arts Prescott Cooperative Gallery
134 S Montezuma St, Prescott // +19287767717
One of the many top things to do in Prescott is to visit the Arts Prescot Cooperative Gallery. Here, you’ll find hundreds of art pieces from various mediums and a lot of talented artists. The co-op has been open for more than twenty years, making it one of the oldest arts organizations in Arizona.
The gallery showcases different artists every month and has a goal of helping to spread the arts throughout the community. It was founded by local artists back in 1994.
The art on display is not only for show but for sale as well. So anyone can stop by the gallery and enjoy seeing or buying a piece of work that some local artist has created.
This beautiful gallery is conveniently located in downtown Prescott, offering high-quality art in a friendly and relaxed ambiance. Visitors can also purchase original artwork at affordable prices and host regular receptions with special guests.
Watch A Show at Prescott Elks Theater
117 E Gurley St # 115, Prescott // +19287771370
The Elks Opera House was a great place to see a show. The view of the stage was amazing, with comfortable leg space and attending friendly staff. The theatre is restored beautifully, and it won’t disappoint anyone looking to check out historical places in Prescott.
Elks Theatre has various venues designed to meet their specific needs. The building used to be an opera theatre, and, knowing this, you can tell that the interior is gorgeous. The first thing you’ll notice are chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and the beautiful stage.
Plaques decorate the walls depicting the performances held on the stage, and the lobby has been overhauled with a rustic flair.
This venue’s acoustics are excellent, and its upgraded audio system delivers an incredible sound experience for music fans. You’ll find seating for over 1,000 people, including a balcony that offers open bench seating.
This venue is perfect for any concert goer or theatre lover – no matter what the performance is.
Visit The Fort Whipple Museum
Prescott, AZ 86301, United States // +19284453122
If you are a history enthusiast looking for things to do in Prescott and to be amused, this museum is an exciting place to stop and explore. It’s named after General Amiel Weeks Whipple, the first commander of the Department of Arizona.
Whipple Museum includes a gallery filled with display pieces and a wide range of photographs that depicts the history of Fort Whipple and Prescott.
The Fort Whipple Museum occupies a 1909 military officer’s quarters on the Veterans Affairs Hospital campus in the late 19th century.
Fort Whipple Museum recounts the history of Fort Whipple’s founding in 1864 through the present day when it operated as a modern hospital.
On display are items such as Army weapons, maps, photos, and stories from soldiers from the fort. A guided tour is free, but it must be scheduled beforehand.
Wrapping Up The Top Things To Do In Prescott, Arizona
Prescott, Arizona, is a city that will amaze everyone, which makes it a great weekend trip or vacation getaway. This city has quite an exciting atmosphere with a mix of college students, retirees, outdoor enthusiasts, and Old West fans.
Approximately 300 days of sunshine per year are the main reason why so many guests flock to this area to spend their vacations. The city boasts some of the most beautiful views in all of Arizona, and you will never run out of things to do in Prescott. You can be as busy or relaxed as you like while here in Arizona.
Visiting other destinations in Arizona? Check out our other delicious guides:
Igor Jovanovski is an aspiring digital nomad, travel blogger and graphic designer who really loves food. He also has a creative side, and he works as a freelance graphic designer in his spare time. He has traveled across Europe quite a few times since he was young and recently started his mission to visit every country in the world! Igor’s favorite thing about traveling is the way he gets to know new people, food, places and cultures.
This exciting experience helps him create his own stories and make memories that will last forever