Nestled in the central mountains of Arizona, Prescott enjoys temperate weather throughout the year (but can receive an occasional snowfall!). The natural beauty of mountains and lakes, along with miles of forested trails, make the city a natural destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Prescott is over 5,000 feet above sea level, making breathing difficult for some visitors. The city, with a population of about 43,000, ranks second in Arizona for quality of life, right behind Tempe.
Gold was discovered in Prescott in the late 1800s, bringing the city national attention. The city was briefly the capital of the Arizona Territory, until it lost that designation to Tucson. Prescott is now the largest city and the county seat of Yavapai County.
The Yavapai-Prescott Indians have lived in the area for thousands of years, and their reservation is located partially within the borders of Prescott. Two casinos and a hotel are on reservation land near the city. The Yavapai people are known for their intricate basket designs, and their handicrafts are sold at various locations.
Prescott is pronounced presk-it, with the second syllable rhyming with the second syllable in biscuit. Historians say that the town was named after the Boston native William Hickling Prescott, and that the town name acquired his Boston accent.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Prescott is sparsely populated, with a number of attractive residential neighborhoods. The city is committed to the preservation of historical residences, working with homeowners to aid in their efforts to preserve the homes.
Whiskey Row is a historical street that once boasted over 40 saloons in one block. In 1900 the entire block was destroyed by a fire but was quickly rebuilt into a strip of brick and masonry buildings. The area is a still a popular nightspot, although with significantly fewer bars than during its heyday.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The primary industry in Prescott is tourism. Top employers include county government offices and educational institutions.
The median household income in the city is approximately $37,000.
- Yavapai College's main campus in Prescott is one of the few community colleges that offer campus housing.
- Prescott College, a four-year liberal arts college, offers unique majors in environmentally-based disciplines alongside its more traditional areas of study.
- The western campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world's leading institution of higher learning institution that specializes in aviation and aerospace.
- Northern Arizona University and Old Dominion University both have distance-learning campuses in Prescott.
- Northcentral University is an online university that offers many undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
- The Phippen Museum educates visitors about the unique heritage, history, legends, and influence of American Western art. Artists of the American West created everything in the collection.
- Resembling an Indian pueblo, the Smoki Museum has collections of prehistoric and contemporary pottery, jewelry, and stone artifacts. It also houses collections of basketry and photographs.
- Sharlot Hall Museum provides guests with a look at Prescott's past, including a rustic pine cabin that was the first territorial governor's mansion.
- Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary houses native and exotic animals in natural habitats.
- Fort Whipple Museum provides visitors a glimpse into the military and medical history of the Arizona Territory between 1864 and 1924.
- Golfing is a popular Prescott pastime, and there are six golf courses within city limits. Golfing fees are considerably lower from October through March.
- There are over 450 miles of hiking and equestrian trails, covering a wide range of landscapes.
- Guided horseback rides are available through Granite Mountain Stables.
- The varied terrain in Prescott is perfect for mountain biking. Different trails are available to suit a variety of skill levels.
- The mountains and buttes are ideal for rock climbing.
- Calm lakes provide kayaking and sailing opportunities.
- Frontier Days, held in June, features the world's oldest rodeo, which has been held continuously since 1888, and was the first formal cowboy competition in the United States. Frontier Days also includes parades, a dance, and a fine arts and crafts show.
- The Navajo Rug and Indian Art Auction, which occurs in July, features vintage and contemporary weavings. This event provides an excellent opportunity to learn about Native American art.
- The Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering occurs each August. The event gives men and women who have been part of the working cowboy environment and workplace the opportunity to share their poetry and music.
- December visitors get to see the world's largest gingerbread village, created by amateur and professional bakers.
- Ernest A. Love Field, Prescott's small municipal airport, provides daily commercial flights. It is also the flight-training center for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
- Several highways pass through Prescott, making it an easy destination to reach by car.
Prescott's local newspapers are the Daily Courier and the Prescott Valley Tribune.