10 Things to do in Prescott

By local contributor
Scott McGinty

Once the territorial capital of Arizona, Prescott (pictured above; photo by Ken Lund) is a small town with a grand history. You can make the drive from Scottsdale to Prescott in just about two hours, which will leave you plenty of time to explore these town highlights: 

Whiskey RowWhiskey Row is the premier nightlife destination in Prescott. Think Nashville, but cozier and more customer-centric. Live music from dozens of venues fills the street, and you’ll hear everything from country (the predominant music on the scene) to blues and Jazz. You’ll also find a variety of excellent restaurants and plenty of great people watching along Whiskey Row.

Prescott Courthouse Plaza: Prescott boasts a lively town square where residents and tourists gather for good times and special events like concerts and holiday light festivals. Be sure to check the schedule of events to see what’s going on during your visit.

Sharlot Hall Museum: Located on four acres in downtown Prescott, the Sharlot Hall Museum is home to the restored territorial Governor’s Mansion, which was built in 1864. The museum features seven historic buildings, compelling exhibits and lush gardens, which serve as the setting for numerous public festivals throughout the year.

Boutiques, Antiques & Art: You’ll find nearly 60 quaint boutiques, antique shops and fine art galleries in Prescott, most of which are in the downtown district. 

Phippen Museum: Explore the Phippen’s extensive collection of Western art from the likes of Olaf Weigehorst, Joe Beeler, George Phippen and other renowned artists. If you’re in town over Memorial Day weekend, check out the museum’s Western Art Show & Sale in the Courthouse Plaza.

Smoki Museum: In addition to exhibits documenting the early history of regional Native American tribes, the museum also hosts the annual Navajo Rug and Indian Art Auction every March.

Mile-High Trail System: Prescott’s Mile-High Trail System contains approximately 68 miles of hiking and biking paths. Local favorites include the Prescott Circle, Watson Lake and Butte Creek trails.

Hassayampa Inn: Since opening in 1927, the historic Hassayampa Inn has hosted celebrities including Georgia O’Keefe, D.H. Lawrence, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Tom Mix and Will Rogers. Known as the “Grand Jewel of Prescott,” the Hassayampa Inn continues to welcome guests with plush modern amenities, top-tier service and, if you believe the rumors, a harmless ghost or two.

Granite Dells: Surrounding Prescott’s Watson Lake, the Granite Dells consist of exposed bedrock, large boulders and unusual rock formations. Hiking and bouldering are popular activities in the Dells, which are just as scenic when viewed from a kayak on Watson Lake.