14 Things To Do In Prescott, Arizona: The Desert's Best!

things to do in prescott arizona

It is not often that the gateway to a national landmark rivals the landmark itself, in beauty and in dynamic attraction. Meet the exception: Prescott, Arizona, the gateway city to the Grand Canyon and home to its own assortment of attractions and adventures. Come visit Prescott, and discover the charms of middle Arizona. Keep reading this article to learn about the best things to do in Prescott, Arizona.

1. Admire the art exhibits at Phippen Museum

Phippen Museum (26180777175)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Scottb211 used under CC BY 2.0

Phippen Museum features a mix of permanent and seasonal exhibits that carry different themes. Paintings, artifacts, sculptures, and other pieces the museum curators put together look so beautiful that you end up staring at the thematic exhibits for hours, and you won’t even know it. One of the permanent exhibits that guests adore is the Western Heritage Gallery that looks interesting with a vintage carriage on display. But so does its cowboy-themed displays with thoughtful details. Go check out the museum’s website for its exhibit lineup next month.

Phippen Museum

Address: 4701 Highway 89 North, Prescott, Arizona 86301

Website: Phippen Museum

Opening hours: Sun: 1pm - 4pm; Tue - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Mon)

Price: From 5 USD

2. Climb rocks at Granite Mountain

Granite Mountain (20533549781)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Scottb211 used under CC BY 2.0

The imposing Granite Mountain stands 7,628 feet (2,325 meters) above the ground. Owing to its distinct granite boulders and cliffs, Granite Mountain, managed by Prescott National Forest, is easily one of the best places for rock climbing around Prescott. The rocks you’ll find here date back to the Proterozoic period, over 200 to 500 million years ago. What a fascinating experience it will be when you come close to these prehistoric boulders! If rock climbing is not your kind of adventure, consider camping or hiking when the weather is favorable in fall or spring. Check the park’s schedule first, as the operational hours can be seasonal.

Granite Mountain

Address: Yavapai County, Arizona, U.S.

Website: Granite Mountain

Price: From 5 USD

3. Visit an old US Army war post at Fort Whipple

Prescott-Fort Whipple-1872-Fort Whipple Museum
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Marine 69-71 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This cream-and-green museum has witnessed several events in history since its construction in 1864. It was first the base of the US Cavalry during the Indian Wars, later turned into the headquarters of the so-called voluntary “rough riders” during the Spanish-American War. It was sometime within this latter period that gold mining was at its peak, all thanks to Lt. Amiel Whipple, the man who helped discover and gained access to gold mines in the area. Then in World War II, the facility became a hospital for the injured. You’ll hear more of these war stories and see traces of the past when you visit the now lovely museum, Fort Whipple.

Fort Whipple

Address: Prescott, AZ 86301, United States

Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed from Sun - Wed)

4. Bike around the scenic lake of Lynx Creek Ruin Trailhead

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Albeit short in distance, Lynx Creek Ruin Trailhead offers plenty of sights to explore as it leads to an observation deck overlooking interesting Indian ruins. Picnic tables are available for families who want to linger a little longer. The 0.5-mile (1.6-kilometer) trail is relatively easy and safe for kids and dogs. Along the way, you’ll catch a view of the calm creek waters, creating a serene vibe and giving hikers a breather from the week’s hectic schedule. Vehicle parking comes at a fee, but you’re welcome to bring your bikes and cycle your way to the trail’s end and back.

Lynx Creek Ruin Trailhead

Address: Prescott, AZ 86303, United States

Website: Lynx Creek Ruin Trailhead

Opening hours: 12am - 12pm (daily)

Price: From 5 USD

5. Fly high in Verde Valley hot air balloon rides

Hot Air Balloon
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Witness the landscape of beautiful Prescott, Arizona beneath you, with the memory of a balloon ride, sure to last you for years to come. Choose from traditional packages or their renowned “Champagne Package”, where while riding the gentle Arizona winds, you will share quality champagne with quality company. This fully certified, FAA-regulated attraction offers the chance to gaze upon Prescott as few will ever see it.

Verde Valley Balloons

Address: 781 Airpark Way, STE A2, Cottonwood, AZ 86326

Price: from 159.00 USD

Opening Hours: 7am - 7pm

Contact: +1 (928) 399-9833

Website: Verde Valley Balloons

6. Drink and discuss at Superstition Meadery

The Super Bowl Sunday pre-game bottle sale starts at 11 am tomorrow...20% off all bottles of mead in the tasting room! #superstitionmeadery #mead

Posted by Superstition Meadery on Saturday, 4 February 2017

In less than four years, the Prescott Superstition Meadery has crafted over eighty distinct meads to perfection, as well as a distinct variety of hard ciders and fine wines. Downtown Prescott proudly presents this comfortable, urban setting, located in one of the top ten public spaces in all of America. With an exclusive tasting room brimming with unique flavors, complemented by tapas and live, local music, the Superstition Meadery in Prescott, Arizona promises to deliver on your definition of a good time!

Superstition Meadery

Address: 120 W Gurley St, Prescott, AZ 86301

Opening Hours: 11am - 10pm

Contact: +1 (928) 458-4256

Website: Superstition Meadery

7. Experience the finer things at Prescott Winery

Adobe guadalupe winery
Source: Photo by user Tomascastelazo used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Prescott Winery boasts the perfect wine for the perfect occasion. With locally recognized Droptop, Alias, and Heritage brands available for tasting and for purchase, this recently opened winery is only two blocks from Whiskey Row. It has quickly established itself as a premium outlet for wonderful afternoons accompanied by the finest of wines. Discover the joy of a relaxing afternoon with Prescott Winery!

Prescott Winery

Address: 216 N Alarcon St, Prescott, AZ 86301

Opening Hours: 2pm - 8pm

Contact: +1 (928) 350-8467

Website: Prescott Winery

8. Walk among history at the Sharlot Hall Museum

Source: Photo by user JERRYE & ROY ... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

History and culture are yours for the taking at the Sharlot Hall Museum, an open-air cultural and education center. On display is the formative history of Yavapai County, of which Prescott is a part. Opened in 1928 as the Old Governor’s Mansion Museum, the grounds of the museum includes the Iron Turbine Windmill and Fort Misery, as well as an onsite library for further historical reference. Walk among history at the Sharlot Museum, recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, a certified nugget of history.

Sharlot Hall Museum

Address: 415 W Gurley St, Prescott, AZ 86301

Price: from 9 USD

Opening Hours: 10am - 4pm

Contact: +1 (928) 445-3122

Near by Food: Casa Alvarez, Rosa’s Pizzeria, El Gato Azul

Website: Sharlot Hall Museum

9. Exotic animals await at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Out of Africa Wildlife Park
Source: Pixabay

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

See the world without ever leaving Prescott at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park! The public was first allowed access to the park in 2005, and since then, the sights and sounds indigenous to African landscapes have enticed locals and visitors, alike. Find sloths, rhinos, giraffes, wolves, tigers, and more in this wildlife exhibit, featuring a free tram service to ease your travel through this expansive park. The location also features a range of complementary, educational shows throughout the day. Find Africa in Arizona at the Out of Africa Wildlife Park!

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Address: Prescott National Forest, 3505 AZ-260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

Price: from 32.95 USD

Opening Hours: 9:30am - 5pm

Contact: +1 (928) 567-2840

Website: Out of Africa Wildlife Park

10. Find a retail oasis at the Prescott Gateway Mall

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Posted by Prescott Gateway Mall on Friday, 25 November 2016

Shop top brands at the Prescott Gateway Mall, a cool retail oasis during hot summer days. Recognized outlets such as Trader Joe’s, Barnes & Noble, Sears and more can be found in this expansive location, allowing for an affordable, dynamic shopping getaway. Make the most of your Prescott experience with the Gateway Mall, your ticket to a personalized shopping experience!

Prescott Gateway Mall

Address: 3280 Gateway Blvd, Prescott, AZ 86303

Opening Hours: 10am - 8pm (Monday - Thursday), 10am - 9pm (Friday & Saturday) and 11am - 6pm (Sunday)

Website: Prescott Gateway Mall

11. Conservatory efforts abound at the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

This evening, the park will be open until 8 pm, where you can visit with all of your favorite nocturnal and crepuscular...

Posted by Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary on Saturday, 25 June 2016

The Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary invites you to witness its species conservation efforts, without ever leaving Prescott. This non-profit organization remains dedicated to the preservation of animals in danger and aims to save animals through the education of the public as to their unique purpose and aesthetic value. Come visit unique species seldom found elsewhere on the planet, and witness the conservation efforts of one of Arizona’s leading animal sanctuaries.

Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary

Address: 1403 Heritage Park Rd, Prescott, AZ 86301

Price: from 10 USD (Adults, ages 13 - 64), 6 USD (Children, ages 3 - 12) and free-of-charge (Children, age 3 and under)

Opening Hours: 10am - 4pm

Contact: +1 (928) 778-4242

Website: Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary

12. Clear your mind with the clear waters of Watson Lake

Watson Lake 2
Source: Photo by user Benjamin Cody used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Slow life down to a gentle pace on the shores of Watson Lake, a locally appreciated location for relaxation and natural beauty. This reservoir has existed since the 1900s and is recognized as a city park with fishing opportunities, park benches, horseshoe pits, barbecue stations, trails for hiking, and campsites during summer months. The monumental rocks of Granite Dells lie just beyond the park, providing the ideal backdrop for the perfect evening.

Watson Lake

Address: Watson Lake, Prescott, AZ 86301

13. Discover Native American lore at the Smoki Museum

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Our museum will remain closed until sometime in February, when the numbers related to Covid allow us to reopen. And,...

Posted by Museum of Indigenous People on Wednesday, January 13, 2021

For a complete assortment of local Native American artifacts, visit the Prescott Smoki Museum! Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, this non-profit museum, besides its constantly changing Native American exhibits, hosts educational programs for locals and visitors alike. Open year-round to display its beads, native clothing, pottery and more, the Smoki Museum invites you to partake in folklore and tradition important to the local area.

Smoki Museum

Address: 147 N Arizona Ave, Prescott, AZ 86304

Price: from 7 USD (Adults), 6 USD (Seniors) and free-of-charge (Children)

Opening Hours: 10am - 4pm (Monday - Saturday) and 1pm - 4pm (Sunday)

Website: Smoki Museum

14. Glide above the roars with Predator Zip Lines

Zip line
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Subhashish Panigrahi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo is only for illustrative purposes

Take Prescott for a ride with Predator Zip Lines! Start as high as 75 feet (23 meters) above the ground, and zip above Prescott’s Out of Africa attraction! Spot unique species from high in the air, as you safely fly above animals otherwise found only in Africa. Experience the thrill of zip lining while you take in the view of Prescott beneath your feet, when you fly with Predator Zip Lines!

Predator Zip Lines

Address: Prescott National Forest, 3505 AZ-260, Camp Verde, AZ 86322

Opening Hours: 9:30am - 5pm

Contact: +1 (928) 567-9947

Website: Predator Zip Lines

Discover what the desert has to offer!

Prescott is an Arizonan experience in its own right. Rated in 2017 the happiest city in Arizona, Prescott has something for everyone to enjoy. From art to wine to adventure, your next outing is now one easy decision away. Take it from us: Prescott, Arizona is full of adventure!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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John Gallagher is a digital marketing consultant and writer from San Diego, California. When he isn't thoroughly enjoying the writing process or pretending he thoroughly enjoys the revision...Read more

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