Prescott is a city in Arizona, and the county seat of Yavapai County.
Prescott (pronounced "PRES-kut") was the first (and third) Territorial Capital before Phoenix was chosen as the final site, and is home to the world's oldest rodeo, as well as the famous Whiskey Row. Prescott, unlike much of Arizona, has clear seasonal changes and is very temperate. Warm summers, cold winters, and a monsoon season that generally starts at the beginning of July and lasts until September. Its elevation is 5,368 feet (1,636 m), which is about the same as Denver.
- 1 Prescott Visitor Center, 117 W Goodwin St (across from Courthouse Plaza), ☏ , toll-free: . M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa Su 10AM-2PM. Housed in a historic building which was once the city jail and firehouse.
Great Lakes Airlines offers flights from Los Angeles, Denver, Moab, Kingman, and Page into Prescott Municipal Airport [dead link] (PRC IATA). The airport is about 20 minutes from the city, however, and you'll either need to arrange a taxi or rent a car at the airport. Only Hertz has rentals available at the airport, though Enterprise, Avis, and others all have locations in Prescott.
- 1 Arizona Shuttle, 740 N Montezuma St, ☏ , toll-free: . Between 6:15AM and midnight, it has hourly departures from the Phoenix airport to Prescott. One way: $37 (adults), $27 (children).
- 2 Fly-U Shuttle, 3250 Gateway Blvd Ste 1236 (in the Prescott Gateway Mall), ☏ . One way $35.
Prescott is at the junction of State Route 89, with access from the north from I-40, and State Routes 89A and 69, with access from the south and east by I-17.
Prescott Dial-a-Ride offers round-the-clock dial-a-ride service within the Prescott area for a fare of $3 cover plus $2.25 per mile, with discounts for seniors.
If staying in downtown Prescott, it's fairly easy to see the most important parts of the town on foot. However, Prescott also has a lot of taxi services, in large part due to the presence of Whiskey Row.
For those with a more adventurous side, ATV rentals are available near downtown. Scooters, bicycles, golf carts, and other conveyances are also available for those who'd like to get around a little more quickly.
- 1 Fort Whipple Museum, 500 N Hwy 89, Bldg 11 (on the VA Hospital Campus), ☏ . Th-Sa 10AM-4PM, closed on major holidays. Operated by the Sharlot Hall Museum, this small museum is housed in a former military officer's quarters, with displays of artifacts and history about the fort and hospital. Donation.
- 2 The Phippen Museum of Western Art, 4701 N Hwy 89, ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su 1PM-4PM. Named after local artist George Phippen, this museum hosts exhibits of western art. $7 (adults), $6 (seniors/AAA members), $5 (students), free (children under 12).
- 3 Sharlot Hall Museum, 415 W Gurley St, ☏ . May-Sep M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-4PM; Oct-Apr M-Sa 10AM-4PM, Su noon-4PM. Housed in the former Territorial Governor’s Mansion, this museum has exhibits illustrating the early history in the area of Native Americans and settlers. Its library and archives are open to the public, and it hosts numerous public festivals and lectures. There is also a gift shop onsite. $7 (adults), $6 (seniors/military), $3 (children 13-17), free (children under 12).
- 4 Smoki Museum of American Indian Art and Culture, 147 N Arizona Ave, ☏ , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. M–Sa 10AM–4PM, Su 1PM–4PM; closed on major holidays. Rotating exhibits illustrated history and culture of regional Native American tribes. This plucky trove of local archaeology has a fascinating history. The "Smoki" name was invented by local settlers, not natives, as a made-up tribe which put on annual shows with appropriated Hopi rituals. From this, the archaeology grew, and the museum was founded in 1935. Look for the small room in the back, the "Smoki People Exhibit". $7 (adults), $6 (seniors), $5 (students), free (children under 12).
- 5 Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary, 1403 Heritage Park Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . Daily 9AM-5PM (summer), 10AM-4PM (winter). A non-profit wildlife sanctuary dedicated to the protection of native and exotic animals. $8 (adults), $5 (children 3-12), free (children under 3).
- Look for the time line etched in the sidewalk in the town plaza, and in front of the library.
- Make sure you've got a hat and a bottle of water, then starting at the plaza, walk the streets of this Old West town finding key points in the locally available book, Historic Prescott. You can also join a free walking tour, originating at the Prescott Chamber of Commerce on the corner of Goodwin St. and Montezuma St every Friday or Saturday morning at 9AM. The tour lasts approximately 2 hours.
- 1 Highlands Center for Natural History, 1375 S Walker Rd (near Lynx Lake), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily Apr-Sep 7AM-7PM, Oct-Mar 8AM-6PM. Offers programs for children and families, including lectures, workshops, and summer day camps, with three miles of hiking trails. Free.
- 2 Hike Thumb Butte. The paved trail is 1.5 miles round trip. At the top of the steep trail enjoy the best views in town. Beyond the trail is a protected breeding area for peregrine falcons.
- 3 [dead link] Watson Lake Park, 3101 Watson Lake Rd (off of Hwy 89). Summer daily 6AM-10PM, winter daily 7AM-sunset. Centered around an artificial reservoir within the Granite Dells, an area of pre-Cambrian granite bedrock which has been eroded into unusual formations. The park offers opportunities for hiking, rock climbing, boating, and fishing, as well as overnight camping in the summer. Canoes and kayaks can be rented onsite from Prescott Outdoors (tel. 928-925-1410, $10-$20/hr, $50-$75/day). $2 parking.
- [dead link] Mile-High Trail System, Trails Division, 824 E Gurley St (information), ☏ . An extensive network of trails now covering some 48 miles is being developed, with the goal of eventually encircling all of Prescott. Trails include those of the Rails-to-Trails projects, chosen trails within Prescott National Forest, and urban trails running through downtown. A helpful map overview listing all trails, as well as maps for individual trails, can be downloaded from the website.
Festivals and events
- 4 Prescott Highland Games, Watson Lake Park, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. May. A two-day annual festival with Scottish food, bagpipe music, and various contests. Advance tickets can be purchased online. $16 (adults), $13 (seniors/students/military), $8 (children 6-12), free (children under 5).
- 5 Prescott Frontier Days (World's Oldest Rodeo), 840 Rodeo Dr, ☏ (tickets), (information), toll-free: (tickets), (information), fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. First week of July. Prescott is home to the longest running annual rodeo, on or about every Independence Day weekend. In 2013 they celebrated their 126th anniversary. Tickets go on sale in November. Book well in advance, especially for your hotel. Most hotels will be sold out throughout the weekend, with the remaining rooms going for nearly $300 a night, even at lower-end establishments. Also amateur photographers should take note that no cameras with detachable lenses, regardless of how small, are permitted past the gate. $20-$25.
- Prescott Indian Art Market (PIAM), 415 W Gurley St (Sharlot Hall Museum). Mid-July. One of the best Native American markets in the southwest, featuring traditional and contemporary art, including jewelry, ceramics, sculpture, baskets, and blankets. Participants are selected by an all-Indian jury to ensure the highest artistic quality.
- 6 Arizona Cowboy Poetry Gathering, 1100 East Sheldon St (Yavapai College Campus), ✉ email@example.com. August. An annual festival with local and national figures.
Check out the Indian-made jewelry in the small local shops around town.
Drop into a local bookstore and check out the local authors, who write on everything from smirking to exotic recipes.
- 1 Esoji Japanese Restaurant, 220 W Gurley St, ☏ . Authentic Japanese restaurant and sushi bar in Prescott. Enjoy well-prepared Japanese cuisine and good sushi in a friendly setting. The lively chef-owner is from Hiroshima and lived/worked in New York for 30 years before opening this place.
- 2 [dead link] Gurley Street Grill, 230 W Gurley St, ☏ . Located in the historic downtown area of Prescott, this bar and grill serves up various styles of food so there is something to please every palate. The atmosphere is relaxed and comfortable. Private banquet rooms are available upstairs for larger groups. $5-16.
- 3 Murphy's Restaurant, 201 N Cortez St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-10PM. Good food and service in a great, old building. After you order, take a walk around and browse the old photos and remnants of the general that was once housed in the building. Have the hostess show you the ledger for the local townspeople of the day.
- 4 Raven Café, 142 N Cortez St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 7:30AM-11PM, F Sa 7:30AM-12AM, Su 8AM-3PM. Relaxed, hip atmosphere. Serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a special Sunday brunch menu. Check out their event calendar to see when live music and movie nights are happening. $5-20.
- 1 Whiskey Row. Prescott's historic "Whiskey Row" deserves a visit if only to say you were there. There are five bars/pubs on Whiskey Row: Matt's Saloon (country western), Hooligan's Pub (hard rock), The Palace Restaurant & Saloon (Arizona's oldest saloon and home to a less-than-spectacular steakhouse), Jersey Lilly Saloon (upstairs from the Palace and with the only balcony on Whiskey Row), and Moctezuma's Bar (more of a local place, but hosting a pool table and a small dance floor). The Bird Cage Saloon (not to be confused with the famous Bird Cage Theater in Tombstone burned down in early 2012. However, there are many other fine drinking establishments throughout the city center that are worthy of mention.
- 2 Donna's Hut, 444 W Goodwin St, ☏ . The quintessential dive. A scary caged smoking area suggests that nicotine must really be very addicting.
- 3 Prescott Brewing Company, 130 W Gurley St, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 11AM-. Fine ales brewed on site and a friendly atmosphere combine to make PBC an excellent pub. There is no outside area so it is best enjoyed on a cool winter's eve.
- 4 The Raven Cafe, 142 N Cortez St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. M-Th 7:30AM-11PM, F Sa 7:30AM-midnight, Su 8AM-3PM. The place to hang for the hip, younger crowd as well as the small group of Prescott progressives. All kinds of fine ales and lagers as well as a well-stoked wine cellar. A new outside roof-top area will open soon. $5-20.
There are dozens of hotels and motels in and around Prescott. When booking, be sure to check the hotel's location and proximity to the local attractions. There are many hotels within a short walk of the downtown area, but most are independent properties with no national presence (the only exception being the SpringHill Suites by Marriott on Sheldon St.) Most "brand name" properties are located closer to the mall, which is a couple of miles from the Courthouse Square and Whiskey Row. The budget motels are just south of Yavapai Community College on Sheldon Street (Hwy 89).
- 1 Forest Villas Hotel Prescott, 3645 Lee Circle, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 62 resort lodging accommodations some with panoramic views. Has an outdoor pool, fitness center, onsite bar, and free Wi-Fi. $95-218/night.
- 2 Hassayampa Inn, 122 E Gurley St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ email@example.com. This historic hotel has hosted the likes of Georgia O'Keeffe, D.H. Lawrence, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, and Will Rogers, and is widely believed to be haunted. Pets accepted for no extra charge, free wi-fi, restaurant onsite. $84+/night.
- 3 Hotel St. Michael, 205 W Gurley St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. This hotel has had many distinguished guests over the years, including President Theodore Roosevelt, writer Zane Grey, and Senator Barry Goldwater. As it is located right on Whiskey Row it can get fairly noisy at night. Breakfast included. $99+/night.
- 4 Hotel Vendome, 230 South Cortez St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Operating since 1917, with free breakfast and wi-fi. $84+/night.
- 5 Prescott Inn & Suites Conference Center, 4499 E Hwy 69, ☏ , toll-free: . Free breakfast and wi-fi, gym, and pool. $99+/night.
- 6 Prescott Resort & Conference Center, 1500 Hwy 69, ☏ , toll-free: . 160 renovated guestrooms featuring modern amenities and designed inspired by the Yavapai Tribe.
- 7 Hilltop Campground, ☏ . Open April - October, with picnic tables and grill rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. No hookups, trailers up to 40'. No reservations, first come, first served. $18/night.
- 8 Lynx Campground, ☏ . Open April - October, with picnic tables and grill rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. No hookups, trailers up to 40'. Reservations can be made online. $18/night.
- 9 Point of Rocks RV Campground, 3025 N Hwy 89, ☏ . Granite rock formations, piñon pines and cottonwood trees on most sites. Full hookups with 30 amp service.
- 10 [dead link] Watson Lake Campground, ☏ , (reservations). Check-in: noon, check-out: noon. Open April–October, Th-M nights only. Dry camping only, showers and toilets available (for campers only). Reservations can be made by phone or at the Parks and Recreation (824 E Gurley St) at least 7 days in advance. Camping rules [dead link] and campground map [dead link] can be downloaded; for park description see listing above. $15/night.
- 11 White Spar Campground, ☏ . Within an 10-minute drive of Prescott and a short distance from Hwy 89. Open year-round, with drinking water from May–October. Picnic tables, grills, vault toilets. No hookups, trailers under 40'. First come, first served. $14/night (water), $10/night (no water).
- 12 Yavapai Campground, ☏ . Open year-round, with picnic tables and grills, compost toilets and drinking water. No hookups, trailers under 40'. First come, first served. $18/night.
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