Prescott Arizona, More Than Just Whiskey Row

Written by on January 21, 2009 in AZ Cities, Dining, Lodging - 1 Comment

The 100 block of South Montezuma Street in Prescott Arizona has long been known as Whiskey Row, thanks to the numerous saloons and pleasure houses that once lined the street. So popular was Whiskey Row that when a fire in 1900 wiped out the entire block, new brick and mortar construction started within hours of the last embers dying. Legend has it that the patrons of the Palace Saloon loved the grand wooden bar so much that they took it apart and ran the pieces to safety when the fire broke out.
Cowboys, lawmen, outlaws, miners, ranchers and more rubbed elbows here in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Even the Earps and Doc Holliday spent some time enjoying the bounty of Whiskey Row. Though Whiskey Row may have put Prescott on the map with famous places like Jersey Lily’s, the Hotel St. Michael and the Bird Cage, there is more to Whiskey Row and to Prescott these days than just bar hopping.

Whiskey Row makes up one side of the square around the Courthouse Plaza — a place where locals and guests alike stroll along broad sidewalks and enjoy the year-around mild weather. Plenty of boutique shops, art galleries and gourmet restaurants share space with the famous saloons. With over 500 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, the Old West has stayed alive in Prescott.

Nestled in a valley surrounded by the peaks of the Juniper, Santa Maria, Sierra Prieta and Bradshaw Mountains, Prescott has hundreds of great places to get out and enjoy hiking, biking, camping, fishing, lake sports and much more. Nearly half of the 1.25 million acres of Tonto National Forest lies just to the west of Prescott. The other half of the forest lies east of Prescott and takes in the Black Hills, Mingus Mountain, Black Mesa and the headwaters of the Verde River. So break out your hiking shoes and enjoy the natural beauty that abounds in Prescott.

The best thing to do when you first arrive in Prescott is stop at the Chamber Of Commerce Visitor’s Center, where you can get great maps, brochures, and information about the area. The staff at the Visitor’s Center is very knowledgeable about the town and its history and its fun to let them tell you a few old stories while you browse the brochures of all the things to see and do in Prescott. For instance, did you know that the large building you can see high up on a hill overlooking the Courthouse Plaza used to be the old hospital/sanitarium for injured silver and gold miners. Today, the building is a retirement home, but not just anyone can live there. You have to prove that you have lived in Prescott for 35 years or more before they will let you in the door!

Top 5 Places to Visit In Prescott:

  • Sharlot Hall Museum — Founded by historian and poet Sharlot M. Hall in 1928, the Museum today explores the rich diversity of regional heritage through festivals, living history events, outdoor theater performances, changing exhibits and more.
  • Phippen Museum — a really neat little fine arts museum with great exhibits and educational programs.
  • Smoki Museum — a museum dedicated to the historic and prehistoric Native American culture of the Southwest and features the largest collection of Kate Cory oil paintings in the United States.
  • Prescott Rodeo and Frontier Days — Prescott Rodeo claims being the “World’s Oldest Rodeo,” which takes place end of June and beginning of July each year. You can enjoy the rodeo as well as parades, street dances, great food and much more during these festivities.
  • Whiskey Row — Go ahead, indulge in a saloon and restaurant crawl along this famous stretch of Prescott. Just make sure to book a room in downtown Prescott so you have some place to walk to at the end of the night.

Other attractions in the area include:
Verde Canyon Railroad
Tuzigoot National Monument

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