There are few cities in the western United States whose heritage and look embody the “Wild West” more than Prescott, Arizona. Walking down Prescott’s Whiskey Row, once the home of 40 saloons, you can almost feel the presence of the notorious Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday who frequented there. Prescott’s western pedigree is such that True West Magazine ranked it as the most authentic western town in America.
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But there is a lot more to Prescott than the ghosts of the wild, wild west. Located in Yavapai County, a little over an hour and a half drive from Phoenix, Prescott is a wonderful place to live. Almost everyone agrees. Read More...
This city is a great place for both young, growing families and retirees. In fact, 34% of Prescott’s population is of retirement age. The home security company Secure Choices ranked Prescott as the safest city for retirees back in 2018. Not much has changed since then. Prescott’s resort-like feel is particularly attractive to those in retirement.
What also makes it such a desirable place is its great climate and the fact that it is located smack dab in the middle of the state. You can go anywhere in Arizona pretty easily from Prescott.
And for families with children, Prescott’s schools are excellent. According to Zillow, the online real estate portal, one school in Prescott achieved a “10” or a perfect score. Nine other schools, a few just outside the city limits, received an impressive “9”. Prescott is also home to one of the top Engineering schools in the nation.
The neighborhood ranking firm, Niche, found that most of those asked in an informal survey, thought Prescott was a really good place to live. While the cost of living is slightly higher in Prescott than the national average, its crime rate is very low. There are also plenty of stores, boutiques and great restaurants in town that will lighten your wallet, and if you’re not careful, expand your waistline.
This is a far cry from the early days when Prescott’s most numerous business establishments were saloons and gambling dens, and the most popular items to buy were shovels for mining, oats for your horse, and bullets for your Colt six-shooter.
When gold was discovered in 1864 outside of Prescott, the rush was on. Thousands of prospectors flooded the area in search of riches. That same year, Prescott became the territorial capital of Arizona.
Before gold was discovered, Prescott was nothing more than an unimpressive hitching post of a town with a few scattered buildings. Almost overnight, fine buildings sprung up; banks, dry goods stores, hotels, and saloons.
Like moths attracted to light, all sorts of shady characters flocked to this gold rush town. Soon, the saloons were packed and gambling became the most popular pastime. Law and order was in short supply.
Pistol packing outlaws often got out of control after a bad hand in poker and one too many shots of whiskey, and bullets started to fly.
Before Wyatt Earp and his friend Doc Holiday had their infamous shootout at the OK Corral in Tombstone, they stopped in Prescott.
Uncommon was an event that took place on Prescott’s Whiskey Row some years later. During a massive fire that swept through Whiskey Row, customers of the Palace Saloon hauled out and saved the saloon’s expensive, hand-carved 24-foot long bar. Then they sat it down across the street and continued drinking as the area burned.
You’d expect nothing less.
Thankfully, today in Prescott there are a lot of things to do other than drinking yourself blind or losing a month’s salary at the poker table.
There are plenty of things to keep you busy in Prescott. From museum tours to wilderness hiking trails. Prescott’s historic downtown area has retained much of its frontier feel with old homes, government buildings and saloons.
Hanging out on Whiskey Row, once the saloon capital of Arizona, is fun and exciting. There are many places in the area to eat, drink, and enjoy music. There’s also a number of historic and western art museums. One of the weirdest looking is the Smoki Museum which contains a fine collection of Native American art. Downtown, the Sharlot Hall Museum has many historical items from the early days when Prescott was a small and rowdy cowboy town. At the Phippen Museum you will find some fine examples of Western art.
During the July 4th holiday, there’s Frontier Days which features the oldest rodeo in America. Founded in1888, this event with its “Cowboy Contests” has exciting roping, bull riding, steer wrestling exhibitions.
If watching cowboys getting thrown from the back of angry bulls isn’t your thing, Prescott National Forest may be. This gigantic wilderness is full of wildlife hiking trails and beautiful woodlands. It remains one of America’s most unspoiled tributes to nature.
Watson Lake is another beautiful place with its sky-blue waters and small rocky islands that jet out from below the surface. You can kayak, canoe, fish, and hike here, but swimming is not allowed.
If you want to take a dip, there are plenty of homes for sale in Prescott with backyard pools.
With pools or not, like most of the rest of the country, Prescott is a home seller’s market, meaning there are more home buyers than there are homes for sale. The number of homes on the market is significantly lower than normal.
But those that are for sale now include some pretty cool places. What’s better than owning a ranch in America’s most authentic Western town?
No matter what your budget might be it's important to have someone to help through an unfamiliar housing market. After all, with over 200 homes for sale in Prescott it’s hard to sift through them without some professional guidance.
You should consider contacting Arizona Network Realty, because they know the Prescott market better than almost any real estate broker in the area. They can help you sort out the gems from the lemons.
Check out their website or give them a call if you are thinking of buying a home in Prescott, AZ.
Then tell your friends you’ll be moving to the “Saloon Capital of Arizona”. Show Less...
Last updated - February 15, 2023
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