Prescott has a lot going for it, including outdoor recreation options -- hiking, mountain biking and kayaking -- and a great summer climate for desert visitors. Prescott's temperatures are typically 20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.
The Yavapai County Courthouse Plaza is the city's focal point. Days start with dog walkers and others circling the plaza at dawn. Weekend nights end with revelers bar-hopping on Whiskey Row -- Montzeuma Street -- west of the courthouse.
Visitors can count on a variety of festivals and music on the square virtually every summer weekend.
Prescott's Frontier Days includes an Independence Day parade and its rodeo that started in 1888. It's one of the world's oldest rodeos.
Established in 1864, Prescott was the original capital of the Arizona Territory and has a rich history full of tales of brawling miners and cowboys in raucous saloons. The Territorial capital moved to Tucson in 1867 and then back to Prescott in 1877. Phoenix has been the capital since 1889.
Around 1900, Prescott had 47 saloons on Montezuma Street -- better known as Whiskey Row. The frontier town lost 25 of those saloons and five hotels when the block went up in flames in July 1900, according to Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble.
The story goes that Palace Saloon patrons rescued the Brunswick back bar and its booze, carried it to the Courthouse Plaza, where they resumed drinking while firefighters battled the blaze.
The Palace remains a mainstay of Whiskey Row and it's been a movie set for several films, including Junior Bonner (1972) with Steve McQueen and directed by Sam Peckinpah, Wanda Nevada (1979) with Peter Fonda and Brooke Shields, and Billy Jack (1971) with Tom Laughlin.
Prescott's Montezuma Street has other worthy drinking establishments including Matt's Saloon, a lively cowboy bar, Jersey Lil's, and a rebuilt Bird Cage Saloon. The Bird Cage back bar was also rescued and refurbished from a 2012 fire that destroyed two buildings on the Row.
Prescott serves mead, craft beers
Just off Whiskey Row is the Superstition Meadery, 120 W. Gurley Street. It's an award-winning maker of mead, described as the oldest fermented beverage made of honey and water.
Prescott's craft breweries include the Lazy G Brewhouse, which opened in 2019 south of Whiskey Row at 220 W. Leroux St. The brewpub is on a site next to Granite Creek that was a trailer park starting in 1945.
Phoenix-based Wren House Brewing Co. has a Prairie Patio beer garden adjacent to its brewery at the Prescott Regional Airport. The patio is a seasonal operation that will reopen in the spring of 2023.
A great stop for lunch or happy hour is Park Plaza Liquor & Deli, 402 W. Goodwin St., a few blocks west of Whiskey Row. It's in a former Safeway supermarket with aisles and aisles of liquor and
wine, along with a craft beer and wine bar, cigars and a menu of delicious sandwiches, salads and wood-fired pizzas.
Outdoor enthusiasts can pedal to a variety of mountain bike trails
surrounding Prescott. Watson Lake is an ideal paddling spot for kayakers. Thumb Butte is a nice day hike. Campers can set up for the night at the Prescott National Forest's White Spar Campground on the edge of town along State Route 89.
Prescott shares its history at 5 museums
One of the town's prominent cultural attractions is the Sharlot Hall Museum. It includes Arizona's original Governor's Mansion, other historic homes and displays on frontier Arizona.
Phippen Museum, on SR 89 on the north edge of town, features Western art. The Museum of Indigenous People is in historic rock buildings at 147 N. Arizona Ave.
Fort Whipple has a museum in an historic home that's adjacent to the modern VA hospital here.
Whiskey Row has its own museum -- the Western Heritage Center.
Finally, Yavapai College and the Elks Theater attract a steady lineup of entertainment for Prescottonians.
Bunk in an historic hotel or motor lodge
Stay overnight at one of Prescott's historic hotels, including the elegant 1927 Hassayampa Inn, 1917 Hotel Vendome and 1901 Hotel St. Michael. All are within walking distance of the Courthouse Plaza.
Prescott also has two vintage motor courts -- the 1946 Apache Lodge and 1937 Motor Lodge.
Jerome is 45 minutes away: http://www.ontheroadarizona.com/jerome.html