Prescott Arizona is a charming city that once served as the capital of the old Arizona Territory. Unlike most of the other Arizona cities, Prescott maintains a fine collection of Victorian homes to go with its old courthouse and its truly historic Downtown District. The overall setting has led many to describe Prescott as very Midwestern even though it is situated in the Southwest, and part of the overall appeal is the small town atmosphere. More than 800 buildings in Prescott Arizona figure on the National Register of Historic Places, and thanks to this fact, walking tours can be very rewarding.
Whiskey Row Prescott
The history of Prescott starts back in 1863. This is when the Walker party discovered gold in the central Arizona mountains. Soon after gold was discovered, word got out and miners flocked to Prescott with hopes of striking it rich. By 1864, Prescott had become a verifiable town, and when Arizona was named a territory, it became the capital. Prescott eventually lost its capital status to Phoenix, but thanks to the mining industry, it remained an important Southwest settlement well into the 1900s. A few fires did some damage to the city in the early nineteenth century, with the courthouse falling victim. The buildings that were damaged were quickly restored, and to this day, Prescott boasts some of the best historic attractions in the state. The historical area of "Whiskey Row" is especially renowned for its old buildings, two of which have been home to hotels since the 1800s.
For those who are interested in the history of Prescott, the city is home to several small museums that are not to be missed. These museums include the Sharlot Hall Museum, the Smoki Museum, the Phippen Museum, and they Fort Whipple Museum. The Sharlot Hall Museum is an ideal place to learn about the territorial history of Prescott, and over at the Smoki Museum, Native American artifacts are on display. The Phippen Museum focuses on classic Western art, whereas the Fort Whipple Museum offers insight into Arizona's military past. Fort Whipple served as a U.S. Army post between the years of 1863 and 1922, and it was created in part to help protect the former Arizona Territory capital.
Making the rounds at the city's museums is one of the top things to do in Prescott, but it certainly isn't the only thing to do. Prescott Arizona is an upscale community that also features some good golf courses in and around town. Both the public and private golf courses in Prescott are attractive, and when you compare the cost of the public courses here to the cost of those in the Phoenix area, the rates are more than reasonable.
In addition to golfing, anyone looking for recreational things to do in Prescott can also go hiking and biking in the nearby Prescott National Forest, rent a canoe or kayak and glide across the lake at Watson Lake Park, or go birding in Willow Creek Park. Horseback riding is also an option, with guided tours being relatively easy to arrange. Exploring the nearby Granite Dells area is also worth considering on a Prescott vacation, as this area of jumbled boulders is quite stunning.
These are just some of the options for things do in Prescott, and since Phoenix is just 90 miles away, a side trip to the capital can always figure on the agenda. The old mining town of Jerome, the red rock city of Sedona, and the enticing city of Flagstaff are even closer to Prescott, only adding to the side trip possibilities, and it's possible to get to Grand Canyon National Park and back in a day.
There are plenty of good hotels in Prescott Arizona, and when it comes down to it, the city can make for a great Arizona travel base. The annual Prescott Arizona events calendar is a relatively full one, so it's a good idea to keep the city's events in mind when planning a visit. The city is known as the Christmas Capital of Arizona, so the holiday season can be an especially good time to visit, and it's worth noting that Prescott can claim the World's Oldest Rodeo. This weeklong rodeo goes back to 1888, with its last day falling on the 4th of July.