1. Explore historic downtown
Various, , 86301
Prescott is home to one of Arizona's most charming downtown neighborhoods. Asides from gorgeous Victorian architecture that you will not find anywhere else in the state, the downtown is also a prime place for dining, shopping, and events. The historic Yavapai Country Courthouse is the stunning centerpiece, and even more spectacular during the holidays. Notable sights of interest downtown include Whiskey Row (a line of historic saloons), 2 museums, and great local restaurants and shops.
Dining in the historic Hotel St. Michael is a must! Other nice choices include Rosa's Pizzeria, Papa's Italian, and Cupper's Coffeehouse. You can do just about anything downtown, from olive oil tastings, to trying out some cowboy themed apparel, to stopping by for a drink in an old-fashioned saloon. A stop in specialty pet shop Whiskers Barkery is definitely a must for pet lovers.
2. Take a bike ride along the Peavine Trail
Hwy 89A at Side Road, , 86301
Prescott's milder season, preferably the fall when temps have cooled down and the weather is mostly dry, is the perfect time to check out the gorgeous Peavine National Recreational Trail. This 5.5 mile path is one of the few remaining rail trails in the state, and also one of the easiest in the area, and hence, a good choice for those who prefer flat bike paths over rough mountain biking adventures.
Along the way, you will take in gorgeous views of Watson Lake and the Granite Dells rock formations. It is definitely the most scenic bike trail you will find in Arizona. Enjoy the rare flat terrain which is popular with all different types of exercisers including long distance runners and walkers. It's a beautiful area for any type of recreational activity.
3. Kayak on Lynx Lake
Lynx Lake Store Rd, , 86301
Lynx Lake is one of several scenic lakes in the region. Lynx is a particularly picturesque choice for summer recreation as the shores are surrounded by beautiful ponderosa pines. Although paddle boarding, peddle boats, and electric row boat rentals are all fun ways to explore the water, nothing beats a day kayaking. Kayaking, you will be treated to wonderful views along with an excellent upper body workout. Don't worry if you do not own your own kayak - rentals are available by the hour.
Other amenities at Lynx Lake include a German style lakefront cafe, picnicking tables, and a beautiful 2 mile lakefront trail.
4. Stroll around the Heritage Park Zoo
1403 Heritage Park Rd, , 86301
Prescott's Zoo is a tiny one, although quite affordable (just 12 bucks a person), and home to a surprising variety of animals despite its' small size and cheap price. You can easily stroll the zoo several times in under an hour. The grounds are nicely laid out and landscaped, making it a laid-back, pretty place to visit on a nice spring or fall day. The best time to visit is during the annual Wild Light's celebration, where the zoo is festively decorated for the season.
5. Try out a local restaurant
Various, , 86301
As you drive into Prescott, you will immediately notice an abundance of familiar chains lining both sides of the highway. At this point, you may be asking yourself why so many people rave about the area. However, if you venture into the downtown area, you will find that local restaurants dominate the food scene. Italian, steakhouses, pubs, coffeehouses...you will find a large variety of interesting cuisine to try out.
Rosa's Pizzeria is a nice casual pizza restaurant to check out. Cupper's Coffeehouses is the perfect choice if you are seeking a light breakfast and great espresso drink. Other great local finds include Papa's Italian, El Gato, Bistro St. Michael, and Prescott Brewing Company. Half the fun of visiting a new city is trying out a new restaurant, and with an abundance of quality choices, Prescott is no exception.
6. Enjoy endless recreation at Watson Lake
Hwy 89A at Side Road, , 86301
Watson Lake is a gorgeous and quiet Prescott Lake, which is perfect for all types of activities throughout the year, including boating, hiking, biking, and photography. Simply taking a stroll along the Peavine trail will treat your eyes to some of the most spectacular views. Whether boating during the hot summer season, biking in the crisp fall air, or taking a nice leisurely spring jog, Watson Lake is your year-round recreation destination.
7. Enjoy seasonal fun in "Arizona's Christmas City"
Various, , 86301
Prescott bills itself as "Arizona's Christmas City." When comparing the range of festivities and seasonal spirit here with other Arizona towns, it really is not hard to see why. With a whole lineup of events including the grand lighting of a million plus lights at Courthouse Square, a colorful holiday parade, Zoo Lights, a fantastic drive thru light show, holiday plays, horse drawn sleigh rides, and more, it's easy to see why Prescott was chosen as the holiday capital of Arizona.
The lovely Victorian architecture, chilly winter temps, a slight chance of snow, and great holiday spirit all combine to enhance the holiday ambiance in a state not to known to be a Christmas destination.
8. Hike Thumb Butte
2600 Thumb Butte Rd, , 86301
Thumb Butte is Prescott's trademark hike. If you only have time for one hike, then let it be beautiful Thumb Butte. This challenging, yet very scenic hike takes you through a variety of diverse landscapes, with gorgeous overlooks of the mountains and city on the way up to keep you motivated. The climb will surely give you a major workout, however, it's so worth it for the stunning views and quiet trek into nature.
9. Relax with a cup of coffee in the quiet Wild Iris Courtyard
124 S Granite Street, , 86303
Wild Iris is the best place in Prescott for a relaxing cup of coffee in a beautiful setting. This local gem offers a gorgeous garden patio with beautiful landscaping, lots of shade, and relaxing water fountains. Plus, it's conveniently located downtown nearby other attractions. Start your morning off on a good note with a relaxing break in the courtyard with a specialty espresso drink, French Press, or regular cup of joe before exploring the rest of the beautiful downtown.
10. Spend the morning exploring the Constellation trail network
5761 AZ-89, , 86301
Prescott's Constellation Trails network is one of the most scenic, shortest, and easiest in town. Mostly flat with a total distance of just under 3 miles, it's the perfect hiking option for anyone looking to keep it short and/or easy without sacrificing the views. There are lots of great views of the rock formations here and it's pretty quiet without as much foot traffic as other trails. Be aware that there is not much shade here, so this trail is better suited for a spring or fall hike.