This past week, my mom and brother came to Arizona for the first time ever, and spent the weekend with me in good ol' Prescott. I figured that a two-three day time frame is what many people visiting the area face, and so I created a quick weekend guide that (I think) hits some of the best places in Prescott! Of course, check out to see if we have any special events going on in town, as well as deals with accommodations, but I have heard great things from people who stay at the Motor Lodge or Heritage House, and there is a hostel in town for a lower cost option!
And please remember, that this is entirely based off of my opinions and experiences, so take it with a grain of salt, and pave your own path!
8:00 AM -- Breakfast at Cupper's Coffee House on Cortez Street! If you're a coffee person like me, try out their cold brew, but if you like tea I highly recommend the Tibetan Chai.
8:45 AM -- Drove out to Thumb Butte (approx. 5-10 minutes from downtown) for the quintessential hike of Prescott. It's about an hour round trip I would say, and when you come up to the trail head you'll notice that there is a fork in the road. Truthfully, these are both ends of the trail, and the left one up is much steeper (i.e. initially difficult) than the right one, so it's really a pick your poison kind of thing! It's gorgeous from the top regardless though.
10:30 AM -- Headed to Prescott College (approx. 5 minutes from Thumb Butte) for a tour of the school. My family really hadn't seen it until my mom and brother came here, and I can honestly say they were head over heels for our campus, from the incredible amount of sustainable features to the level of activity going on, even in the summer time. (This part is especially important if you're a prospective student looking at this, because you can get a $250 Visit Grant for taking a tour, with the added bonus of falling in love with the school like I did.)
12:00 PM -- Lunch at the Crossroads Cafe! It's the dining option located on campus, and so it was an easy, convenient and yummy decision for us.
1:00 PM -- Drove out to the Granite Dells (approx. 10-15 minutes from downtown), for the hike nicknamed "Below the Dam," that begins off of Granite Dells Road.I think doing this hike is the easiest way to convince anyone that Prescott is really, really rad. For whatever reason, I always kind of feel like a dinosaur there, just because there are these HUGE granite boulders towering everywhere and these little spurts of vegetation that grow between them. I don't know, it's just very Jurassic Park/Land Before Time to me, and I love it. As any 8 year old would be, my little brother was running ahead of us because of all his excitement. Both him and my mother said it was their favorite part of the trip.
As a fair warning, it is a longer hike, and so make sure you bring plenty of water, sunscreen and maybe a snack! It's not necessarily super strenuous, but it can be dexterously challenging at some parts, so just mind your footing. There are also tons and tons of bolted rock climbing routes set up in the area (many by the Prescott College instructor Kevin Keith), and so a stop at The Hike Shack or Manzanita Outfitters in town would be able to supply you with a guide to the routes, as well as trad climbing and bouldering in the area.
4:00 PM -- So after this massive hike, I dropped my family off at their hotel, and I went home, for all of us to take a quick shower and nap before dinner.
7:00 PM -- All refreshed, we walked to Taj Mahal on Montezuma Street for some exotic cuisine with a couple of my closest friends. The food there is some of the most delicious in town, and even my super picky brother couldn't resist trying some rice and chicken in sauce. I recommend the shrimp or fish masala with naan!
8:30 PM -- Walked back to my house for some evening tea and to recap the day we had. First day success, they loved it here!
Saturday:7:30 AM -- Breakfast at Sweet Potato Cafe (approx. 5 minute drive from downtown), which if you don't try out their amazing sweet potato pancakes or sweet potato bread served with cinnamon butter, what's the point of going? This breakfast is quite filling, too!
8:30 AM -- We then parked in downtown, and did a morning walkabout the square, learning a little bit about the history and looking at the different shops. Most weekends in the summer there are art and craft vendors in the square, or some sort of special event! This summer, we celebrated the sesquicentennial of Prescott (150 year birthday), commemorated the anniversary of the 19 firefighters lost in the tragic Yarnell fire, and had several 4th of July parades during the same weekend as the World's Oldest Rodeo. We're a very proud and spirited town!
9:30 AM -- Next, we headed to the Yavapai College campus for the weekly farmer's market. During the winter, it is actually on the Prescott College campus. There are tons of local, organic produce sold by farmers, as well as many homemade jams and jelly, and for whatever reason, people love bringing their dogs to these kinds of things, so I was in heaven just petting everyone's pup. My mom got me this phenomenal pomegranate jelly made in Snowflake, AZ, which is really delicious with almond butter on a rice cake.
10:15 AM -- Drove to the Lynx Lake Ruins Trailhead (approx 15-20 minute drive from downtown). The entire Lynx Lake Recreation Area is gorgeous and has an incredible amount of trails for hiking, mountain biking, or horse riding, but I decided on this one for the educational aspect of the ruins. While to most it will look like a pile of rocks, it's actually just authentically the ruins of a nomadic tribe long ago that have never been touched. Another really awesome reason this short/easy hike (only 1.5 miles round trip) is worth it, is because at the top you get a beautiful view of the different water sheds coming together, as well as the various mountains and valleys that surround Prescott. We also did the neighboring trail, another short, beautiful hike through the riparian area.
|(From a different time hiking the ruins trail, with friends. Pretty sure it was in February--check out the gorgeous weather!)|
3:00 PM -- After a satisfying win by the Dutch, and lunch to boot, we decided to go on a nice mountain drive to the awesome town of Jerome (approx. 1 hour from Prescott). It's such a rad, artsy kind of place rich in mining history, and my mom loved it all. We spent some time just walking around and poking about the different shops, saw an old sliding jail and other historical elements left outside, and just enjoyed the afternoon there.
5:00 PM -- Then, I made an executive decision that they simply just had to SEE Sedona, because, well, it's Sedona and I had never seen anything so beautiful. But, it was getting late and by the time we would get there it would be close to 6, and then by the time we got back to Prescott it would be getting close to 8, and so we decided to just drive through. It was so worth it. The actual town of Sedona, Arizona is incredibly touristy and has capitalized on the hippie vibe deal too much, but even that cannot take away from the gorgeous-beyond-belief red rocks and spires that just surround and engulf you.
In my opinion, the best way to enjoy Sedona (or anywhere, really) is by hiking it, but we just didn't have time. We did stop at a trail head though, just to get some shots of the sunshine poking through the ominous thunder clouds rolling in.
7:30 PM -- Back in Prescott, we headed to The Raven (on Cortez Street) for dinner, where my exhausted brother ate a cheeseburger the size of his head, and my mom and I enjoyed some live music. Somehow The Raven always manages to have live music every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night without fail. We then parted ways for the last time, because they had a flight very early the next morning and needed to get down to Phoenix. They said they loved their time here, and were sure to come back.
And they have to because...
...they still haven't seen the Grand Canyon!
It's about a 3.5-4 hour drive from Prescott to the South Rim, and if you're feeling extra ambitious you can drive a bonus 4-5 hours to the North Rim, which will have less people but there and back you'll be in a car for basically an entire day. Either way, it's worth it.
|With my best friend, almost a year ago, on the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon (South Rim). No editing done to this photo, it's really this beautiful.|
So there ya go! If you ever pop into Prescott, Arizona for a weekend, I hope that you'll check out some of the places I mentioned on here! Every day I spend in this town, and state, I find new places and things to love, and I hope you will find that, too.
(All pictures are mine.)