100 miles N of Phoenix; 66 miles SW of Sedona; 87 miles SW of Flagstaff
Prescott, the former territorial capital, is an Arizona anomaly; it doesn't seem like the Southwest at all. With its stately courthouse on a tree-shaded square, its well-preserved historic downtown business district, and its old Victorian homes, Prescott wears the air of the quintessential small Midwestern town, the sort of place where the Broadway show The Music Man might have been staged. Prescott has just about everything a small town should have: an 1890s saloon (the Palace), an old cattlemen's hotel (the Hassayampa Inn), a burger shop (Kendall's), and a brewpub (the Prescott Brewing Company). Add to this several small museums, a couple of other historic hotels, the strange and beautiful landscape of the Granite Dells, and the nearby Prescott National Forest, and you have a town that appeals to visitors with a diverse range of interests.
The town's pioneer history dates from 1863, when the Walker party discovered gold in the mountains of central Arizona. Soon miners were flocking to the area to seek their own fortunes. A year later, Arizona became a U.S. territory, and the new town of Prescott, located right in the center of Arizona, was made the territorial capital. Prescott lost its statewide influence when the capital moved to Phoenix, but because of the importance of ranching and mining in central Arizona, Prescott continued to be a major regional town. Today Prescott has become an upscale retirement community, heralded as much for its historical heritage as for its mild year-round climate. In summer, Prescott is also a popular weekend getaway for Phoenicians; it is usually 20° cooler here than it is in Phoenix (and most winters even see some snow).