The first time we rolled into downtown Prescott, we thought we’d been transported back in time. The courthouse square is right out of a movie.
We fell in love with the romance of the old west that the town represented.
There’s a bar on a block named “Whiskey Row” in which Doc Holiday actually drank whiskey with the Earp brothers. Wyatt Earp shot some outlaw Texans right up the road.
Prescott was founded in 1864 as the Territorial Capital of Arizona, after gold was discovered in the nearby mountains in 1863.
Between the mining, the railroad, Indians, and the cowboys, the history of Prescott is rich with history.
We fell in love with the city and continued to visit it for over 20 years before we finally had to the chance to move here.
It’s not 1864 any more.
We had to find places to eat, buy gas, and do all of the normal things that people do these days.
We learned the main highways and streets to be able to get around.
The 69 comes in from the east, goes directly into downtown, where it turns into Gurley St., one of the four streets around the courthouse.
The 89, comes in from the southwest, goes directly into downtown, where it turns into Montezuma St., another of the courthouse streets, and meets Gurley St.
The 89 turns right at that intersection and goes east along Gurley St. until there’s a freeway style intersection that takes it north and out of town.
Off to the east is Prescott Valley, founded in 1966. It’s been built up and now has a larger population than Prescott.
Between the 2 cities is a lot of new commercial development. Car dealers, strip malls, a normal mall, Walmart, Target, and Home Depot can all be found here.
From downtown and the courthouse square, you can go north and east, to Miller Valley Road, or Willow Creek Road to find more commercial establishments.
Most of the residential area is directly north of downtown, and to the west, up into the foothills of the mountains.
There are many grocery stores around.
If you’re coming from California, you should know that our Fry’s Grocery store is the same as California’s Ralph’s. Both owned by Kroger.
Safeway also has a few stores here, if you prefer them.
There is a Sprouts, which has a similar selection to Whole Foods. There’s also a Trader Joe’s. (I couldn’t live here without a Trader Joe’s.)
If you need clothes, there is a Dillard’s department store, as well as JC Penney, and a Sears. The mall has gone through some tough times, like most malls have, but it’s been sold and the new owners are supposed to be developing it.
There’s a strip mall with a Target, Home Depot, Office Deport, and various other stores for other needs.
Best Buy has electronics. There are lot of sporting goods stores. You can find almost anything you want.
For the things that are not available, there are two options.
First, the Internet is your best friend. I am regularly buying things online and having them delivered.
Second, Phoenix is 90 minutes away.
As the fifth largest city in the United States, it offers anything you can possibly imagine.
The shopping malls in Scottsdale can rival any stores in Los Angeles.
Lots of people are retiring here, and their big concern, and mine, is medical support.
There are a lot of doctors and clinics around town. Some specialists might only be available in Phoenix, but most procedures can be accommodated here.
We have a large hospital, the Yavapai Regional Medical Center West, located just north of downtown. There is also a Yavapai Regional Medical Center East, located in Prescott Valley.
They work together to support the entire region with great medical service.
There are about 45,000 people living in Prescott. Their median age is 57, which is 20 years older than all the rest of Arizona. Median income is about $52,000 per year.
I’ve always thought of the culture as a mixture of old hippies and hard edge cowboys.
There are a lot of people who were born and raised here, but it seems like everywhere you go, you’ll run into someone from out of state, and that state is usually California.
That causes a couple of things. When people from California move here, they usually bring their money, and sometimes they bring their politics.
There can be hard feelings when people move here and bring more money than the people who live here have.
Nothing you can do about that.
Prescott is fairly conservative politically. People in Prescott are VERY nice. Most people here get along with everyone else.
There is, however, a push back against new people moving here and trying to change the political climate.
Again, everyone gets along, with mutual respect, but you should be aware of what other people might believe.
Most people just want to be left alone to do what they want, and most people do just that.
There’s more room for people here, so we don’t bump into each other so often.
Prescott is a place where you can be free. The laws here seem to be much less restrictive than in California. It’s much more rural here than in the big city.
If you’re looking for freedom and comfort, this is the place to relax.
Food and Entertainment
There are some great restaurants in town.
There are too many to make a list, but if you drive around, or search through Yelp, you’ll find something that will satisfy you.
There are always new ones opening up and other closing, so you’ll have to do some research to find what you want.
While we don’t have all of the large venues of bigger cities, we do have the Prescott Elks Theater, which has live shows regularly. It’s a historic theater that was recently renovated and restored to it’s former glory.
The Yavapai College Performing Arts Center is larger venue and also has live shows for most of the year.
There are various smaller theaters around town.
Because Prescott is surrounded by the Bradshaw Mountains, there is plenty to do outdoors.
There are plenty of hiking and biking trails. Prescott is a center for off road biking with the Whiskey Off-Road race drawing cyclists from around the world.
The Peavine Trail is a favorite walk next to Watson Lake and the dells.
If you like driving off road in a Jeep or UTV or a quad, there are miles of roads and trails south and west of town.
Look up the drive to Crown King and enjoy a full day of beautiful views from dirt roads.
I can personally tell you that there are miles and miles of dirt roads out here in the mountains that are fun to drive.
No place is perfect, so you have to make a choice based on what you are looking for.
If you want all of the comforts and conveniences of the big city, maybe Prescott is not for you.
If you’re willing to rely on yourself a bit more, and enjoy a bit more freedom as a result, then maybe this is where you want to be.
You probably won’t get a high paying job like you could in Silicon Valley.
You won’t have an ocean view from your house here.
You will be able to relax and get away from the high pressure life in the city.
You can have horses on your property and enough room to ride them.
You can drive for 30 minutes and be in the middle of wilderness.
You can spread out and relax.
They say that Prescott is everybody’s hometown.
After living here for a while, it will be your hometown too.