Sunset over Watson Lake Prescott by Melissa Byrne Photography

Things to Do in Prescott: A Local’s Guide

By: Melissa Byrne Portrait Photography

As a professional photographer who’s called Prescott, Arizona home since the sandbox days, I’ve spent years capturing the city’s beauty through the lens of my trusty camera. Now, it’s time I let you in on a little secret: Prescott is an absolute treasure trove of fun and adventure. Buckle up, folks, as we journey through the fantastic list of fun things to do in Prescott!

Welcome to Prescott Mural - downtown Prescott Image by Melissa Byrne Photography

More Than Just A Cool Name – Things to do in Downtown Prescott and Whiskey Row

Historic Bars and Pubs

As we begin our virtual tour, we first stroll through Prescott’s historic downtown. What’s not to love about a place named “Whiskey Row”? One step onto Whiskey Row and you’ll feel as if you’ve jumped into an old Western film, minus the tumbleweeds. This famous block is steeped in more history than a well-aged barrel of, you guessed it, whiskey.

Back in the Gold Rush days of the late 1800s, this place was a magnet for miners, gamblers, and gunslingers looking to blow off some steam. Picture it: cowboys clinking glasses in bustling saloons, chips flying at poker tables, and probably more than a few arguments settled in the street, Wild West-style. 

These days, Whiskey Row is a little less rowdy, but it’s got character in spades. With a street packed full of historic bars and pubs, you can still feel the echoes of its rollicking past. While there’s plenty of whiskey to sample, you’ll also find craft beers and wines from local vineyards.

Live Music

For the music lovers among you, let’s not forget the live music scene. Ranging from blues to rock to country, there’s usually something good strumming down the Row. Nothing beats the combo of a cool drink, fantastic tunes, and that lively, toe-tapping energy. So, why not shake off your worries and dance the night away? Who can resist the charm of those weathered, Western-style façades? As a photographer, I can tell you it’s a goldmine for capturing some fantastic vintage-style shots. And don’t be surprised if you stumble upon a lively street event – we do love our outdoor parties – like the New Year’s Eve Boot Drop. Think New York’s Ball Drop, but with a true Prescott flair – a glowing cowboy boot lowering to ring in the New Year! Grab your camera and catch this spectacle; it’s a sight that’d even make Times Square blush.

So, folks, when you’re wandering down Whiskey Row, remember: you’re not just stepping onto a street. You’re stepping back in time. Whether you’re drawn by the history, the photo opportunities, or simply the promise of a good ol’ whiskey, this iconic strip promises a rollicking good time. So come on down, and let’s raise a glass to the spirit of the Wild West!

The Prescott National Forest – Your Outdoor Playground

If the call of the wild is music to your ears, then the Prescott National Forest will feel like your own personal concert. The Prescott National Forest is home to an array of wildlife, towering Ponderosa pines, and sparkling lakes. Over a million acres of trails beckon hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and seekers of serene beauty. The towering Ponderosa Pines, abundant wildlife, and countless trails offer endless outdoor fun. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Add Thumb Butte – The Symbol of Prescott – to Your List of Things to Do!

Snow covers Thumb Butte in Prescott, Arizona Image by Melissa Byrne Photography

Let’s kick things off with Thumb Butte, a Prescott icon that’s no ordinary hill. Towering proudly over the city, this hiker’s haven is an absolute must-visit. Hit the trail, and as you wind your way upwards, soak in those jaw-dropping views. Trust me, even the most grueling uphill trek will feel worth it once you’re standing at the top, basking in the Arizona sunshine with a panorama that stretches as far as the eye can see. Feeling peckish after your climb? Look no further than the base of Thumb Butte where you’ll find picnic tables aplenty. Unpack your hamper and enjoy a well-earned feast amidst the rustling pines. Be sure to keep an eye out for the local wildlife too – you might even share your lunch spot with a deer!

Fishing in Prescott

Next stop, Lynx Lake. This beauty is pretty as a postcard, with pristine water surrounded by a theater of trees. Fancy some fishing? You’re in luck! Get your line wet and you might just reel in some trout, bass, or crappie. And remember, fish tales (the bigger, the better) are a must around the campfire later. Prescott’s crown jewel is none other than the Granite Mountain Wilderness. Now, I wouldn’t say it’s challenging, but let’s just call it… character-building? But hey, no pain, no gain, right? And trust me, the panoramic view from the top is the kind of “gain” that’ll have your Instagram followers green with envy!


Hummingbird seen while birdwatching in Prescott, AZ Image by Melissa Byrne Photography

Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane? Well, it’s definitely a bird. Many, in fact. Grab your binoculars because the bird-watching here is a hoot (pun fully intended). Keep your eyes peeled for everything from lovable hummingbirds to majestic eagles soaring high above. And if you manage to snap a photo of one? Well, that’s what we in the business call a “feather in your cap”.

Camping Spots in Prescott

The Fossil Creek Wilderness (no dinosaurs here, but we can dream, can’t we?) is a breathtaking spot where you can take a dip in the crystal-clear springs or hike around the waterfalls. Just remember to reserve a parking permit – this place is popular! If you fancy yourself as a bit of a lone wolf, then Manning Camp might be your scene. Pack some essentials, head up the trail, and spend the night at the historic ranger cabin. No Wi-Fi, no problem. Plus, the view from the fire lookout at the top is spectacular.

So there you have it, the Prescott National Forest, a.k.a the wilderness’ answer to Disneyland. There’s adventure, tranquility, and more photo ops than you can shake a selfie stick at. Whether you’re a hardcore outdoorsy type or just looking for a fun day trip, this place has got you covered. Now go forth and explore!

Prescott’s Great Lakes – Get Wet and Wild

Next up on our itinerary of things to do in Prescott is taking a dip – literally. Prescott’s lakes offer the perfect spot for an afternoon picnic, a casual fishing trip, or a thrilling kayaking adventure. And if you’re anything like me, catching that perfect sunset over the lake will have you reaching for your camera!

Goldwater Lake – Prescott, AZ

First up is Goldwater Lake, a delightful getaway hidden amidst a forest of towering pines. With its shimmering waters, you’ll find plenty of Instagram-worthy moments here. How about a leisurely paddleboat ride? Or maybe try your luck at the fishing pier – who knows, you could land the catch of the day! Don’t forget to explore the lakeside trail that weaves through the trees. It’s an easy, scenic walk that’s perfect for a romantic stroll or a family adventure. And when it’s time to refuel, there are picnic areas with barbecue grills waiting for you. Grill up some hot dogs or burgers and bask in the sun-dappled glory of Goldwater Lake.

Prescott’s Dynamic Duo – Willow and Watson Lakes

Sunset over Watson Lake Prescott by Melissa Byrne Photography

These two beautiful bodies of water, surrounded by distinctive granite boulders, will take your breath away. 

At Watson Lake, hiking is the name of the game. The Watson Lake Loop Trail will lead you around the water’s edge, through rugged rocks, and past spectacular views of the lake. Take a break and snap some photos of the remarkable rock formations and shimmering water – you won’t find views like these just anywhere!

Just a stone’s throw away, you’ll find Willow Lake. This beauty is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 200 species calling it home throughout the year. The lake’s loop trail is perfect for nature walks and offers numerous spots for picnicking.

So whether you’re looking to paddle, hike, fish, birdwatch or just kick back with a picnic under the Arizona sun, Prescott’s outdoor wonders have you covered. Grab your gear, gather your friends and family, and set out to make memories that will last a lifetime. Get ready for your own Prescott adventure!

Fun and Games: Teeing Off and Rounding the Bases in Prescott, AZ

What’s that sound, you ask? Why, that’s the crack of a bat and the satisfying thwack of a golf ball soaring through the air. Welcome, sports enthusiasts, to Prescott, Arizona! This beautiful city isn’t just filled with stunning landscapes and historic attractions; it’s also a paradise for those with a sporting spirit. Whether you’re a golfing guru or a softball superstar, you’re sure to find something that gets your adrenaline pumping. So, buckle up, sporty pals! It’s time to delve into the fun-filled world of sports in Prescott, AZ.

Golf in Prescott

Love golf? Well, you’re in luck because Prescott is the place to be. With an array of gorgeous golf courses surrounded by striking mountain views, playing golf here is as much a feast for the eyes as it is a challenge for your handicap.

Get ready to tee off at the public Antelope Hills Golf Courses, where you’ll find not one, but two championship 18-hole courses. Fancy testing your putting skills amidst towering pine trees and sparkling lakes? Then head on over to the private Prescott Lakes Golf & Country Club, or the Capital Canyon Club where the lush greens are as inviting as the menu in the clubhouse. Remember, the goal is to play the course, not the competition – or so we tell ourselves when that little white ball refuses to cooperate!

Prescott’s Softball Tradition

If you prefer to round the bases rather than the golf course, Prescott’s got you covered there, too. The city is home to a thriving softball community, with several leagues and tournaments that cater to players of all ages and skill levels. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a Babe Ruth or Jenny Finch to join in the fun. Prescott’s softball scene is all about the spirit of the game – think high fives, cheering on teammates, and of course, the sweet sound of a well-hit ball. Pioneer Park, with its well-maintained fields, is a hub for softball games, so why not grab a glove and get in on the action? Remember, in softball as in life, the key isn’t the will to win. It’s the will to prepare to win – and a good post-game BBQ doesn’t hurt either!

Prescott’s Latest Obsession: Pickleball

That’s right, the paddle sport that’s taken America by storm is alive and kicking right here in our very own backyard. Combining elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong, pickleball is a game that’s all about skill, strategy, and most importantly, having a blast!

In recent years, Prescott’s pickleball scene has exploded in popularity. Whether it’s because of the game’s social nature, its easy-to-learn rules, or the fact that it’s just downright fun, pickleball is fast becoming a go-to pastime for both young and old in Prescott. And where’s the best place to get in on the action, you ask? None other than near Pioneer Park! Located in close proximity to the park are several pickleball courts, perfect for both beginners and seasoned pros. These courts have become a hub of activity, with friendly games, competitive matches, and even tournaments taking place regularly. From the cheerful ‘thwack’ of the pickleball to the laughter and camaraderie of the players, these courts are a testament to the community spirit that defines Prescott.

So whether you’re a pickleball pro or an intrigued newbie, head down to the courts near Pioneer Park. It’s not just about the joy of the game here, but also about making connections, keeping active, and creating fun-filled memories. Pickleball in Prescott is more than just a game; it’s a way of life!

After The Sports Comes The Celebration

Now, whether you’ve spent the day perfecting your swing on the golf course or smacking home runs on the softball field, there’s no better way to wrap up the day than by kicking back with your buddies and reliving those epic sporting moments. Downtown Prescott is teeming with fun pubs and breweries, where you can toast to a day well-played. Sporting adventures in Prescott, AZ are about so much more than just the games themselves. They’re about the camaraderie, the challenge, the joy of being outdoors in a beautiful setting, and of course, the endless fun. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, dust off those golf clubs, polish that softball bat, and immerse yourself in the sporting spirit of Prescott!

That’s My List of Things to Do in Prescott – What’s on Your List?

As your local landscape and portrait photographer, I’ve had the privilege of capturing the beauty, the spirit, and the fun of Prescott through my lens. From the peak of Thumb Butte to the paddles swinging at the pickleball courts, every snapshot tells a story of the adventures and experiences that this vibrant city offers. So, whether you’re an avid golfer, a budding birdwatcher, a trail trekker, or a history buff, remember – Prescott is a canvas for your memories. Get out there, explore, and let the landscape, the city, and its people inspire you. After all, life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture good times, and if things don’t work out, just take another shot. Here’s to the fun-filled Prescott adventures that await you!

Melissa Byrne is a longtime resident of Prescott. You can view her portrait work here or her nature and outdoor work here.

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