10 Best Things To Do In Old Town
Cottonwood AZ offers an interesting and lively scene whose distinctive character is matched with the desert to the south and the high mountains to the north. The Verde River flows nearby, providing ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, and kayaking. And the arts scene is growing in this small town, with galleries and studios popping up all over. Verde Valley Wine Trail is a must do for wine lovers. There are 10 wineries on the trail, each offering wine tastings and some with food options as well. The scenery along the way is beautiful, and it’s a great way to spend a day or afternoon.
Plus the city hall building offered free electric vehicle chargers.
Although Cottonwood is best known to visitors from nearby Red Rock in Sedona, it is full of charm. The two begin in the historic district and extend along the river banks to Clarkdale and the nearby historic towns Jerome. It may first come to Cottonwood due to its proximity to red rock but don’t expect much to happen when you want to stay because of the relaxed and excellent restaurants & bars. If you’re looking for a unique place to experience the Southwest, Cottonwood is worth a visit.
We recently spent a month nearby in Camp Verde, Arizona. about 25 minutes from Cottonwood. We quickly found out that Sedona was very crowded and it was very hard to find parking on the weekends. We really like the Old Town Cottonwood because it has a small town feel and not crowded like Sedona. Cottonwood has plenty of RV parks. Next time we come to this area we will definitely stay in the town of Cottonwood.
The historic Old Town Cottonwood is known for its vibrant Main Street walking district, lined with over 60 businesses including restaurants and cafes, old town merchants, top wineries, antique stores, boutiques, hotels, live music, and more.
For those wanting to sleep with history, there is the Cottonwood Hotel (circa 1925) on 930 N. Main. It is the oldest hotel in Cottonwood and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The five-unit hotel is proud of its famous guests, including Mae West, John Wayne, Gail Russell and Elvis Presley, who shot films in the area.
Here are my 10 Best Things To Do In Old Town Cottonwood AZ
1. Explore the banks of the Verde River.
Beginning 100 miles north of the City of Phoenix, the Verde flows 200 miles through the rural Verde Valley communities of Clarkdale, Cottonwood, and Camp Verde, ending just north of Phoenix where it joins the Salt River.
The Verde River flows near Cottonwood, along the river is a perfect spot for fishing, tubing, swimming, and kayaking. Swimming is allowed anywhere along the river although there is no lifeguard on duty and swimming is at your own risk. The river is also a perfect spot for birding, with hundreds of different species of birds calling the area home.
2. Discover the historic Old Town Cottonwood.
Old Town Cottonwood has a lot of charm and history. Historic Old Town Cottonwood is a town within a town, with its own quaint character and colorful 20th century Old West past.
It is home to a charming historic district full of eclectic shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The district is located at the junction of two major rivers, making it the perfect place to explore the natural beauty of Arizona.
3. Explore the arts scene in Cottonwood.
Cottonwood is quickly becoming known as a hotspot for artists, with galleries and studios popping up all over town. If you’re looking to soak up some culture while in Arizona, be sure to check out the local arts scene in Cottonwood.
4. Enjoy the wine tasting rooms.
With its close proximity to Sedona, it’s no surprise that Cottonwood is home to some excellent wineries. Be sure to sample some of the local wine tastings while in town. The Verde Valley Wine Trail invites wine enthusiasts to experience a destination rich in history, beauty, and the production of exquisite Arizona wines.
Take a Northern Arizona Wine Country Tour.
Start your self-guided wine tasting tour with popular Arizona wines right here in Old Town, downtown Cottonwood, part of the Verde Valley Wine Tasting Trail.
Just a few doors from the historic Cottonwood Hotel is:
Arizona Stronghold , 1023 N. Main St., Old Town Cottonwood, vineyards tasting room (music every Friday)
Burning Tree Cellars, 1040 N. Main St., Old Town Cottonwood (music every Friday & Saturday)
Pillsbury Wine Company… 1012 N. Main St., Old Town Cottonwood. Chocolate pairing is a must! Music every Friday & Saturday
Fire Mountain Wine 1010 N. Main St. , Old Town Cottonwood…Sweet Box Chocolate Pairing and weekend music2
MERKIN… Merkin Wine Tasting & Osteria, 1001 N. Main
5. Visit Clarkdale and Jerome.
Two nearby historic towns filled with unique character and charm. Just a few miles down the road from Cottonwood, you’ll find the historic towns of Clarkdale and Jerome. These two towns are full of unique character and charm, and are well worth a visit. Jerome called the “Wickedest Town in the West, is a ghost town that’s been restored and is now a popular tourist destination. Located near the top of Cleopatra Hill between Prescott and Flagstaff is the historic copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona (pictures below).
Jerome has lots of wine tastings, local shops and restaurants. Our favorite restaurants are the Haunted Hamburger and The Clinkscale.
6. Visit Tuzigoot National Monument.
Just a short drive from Cottonwood, you’ll find Tuzigoot National Monument. Tuzigoot was built on a ridge above the river, providing access to a diversity of ecosystems. This monument is dedicated to the ruins of an ancient Sinagua village, and is a fascinating place to walk through and explore. They also have a gift shop.
7. Eat at the local restaurants.
Old Town Cottonwood is home to a wide variety of local restaurants, with something for everyone. Be sure to check out some of the local favorites while in town.
Some of our favorites include Pizzeria Booce (wood-fired pizza in a fun and casual setting, gelato and craft cocktails), Crema Craft Kitchen & Bar(great spot for breakfast and lunch. I had shrimp tacos & a Bloody Mary) and Fojol Bros (Vegetarian Indian cuisine & hard kombucha, pictures on the right).
8. Visit Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park is a beautiful park located just outside of Cottonwood. The park offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation, including camping, hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
9. Take The Mingus Mountain Scenic Road.
For an amazing scenic drive, be sure to take the Mingus Mountain Scenic Road. This road winds its way up Mingus Mountain, providing stunning views of the surrounding area. The road is a popular spot for hiking and mountain biking, and is definitely worth a visit.
10. Visit Sedona and enjoy its world-famous red rocks.
If you’re looking for some amazing red rock views, be sure to check out Sedona. This town is world-famous for its stunning red rocks, and is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Arizona. With its close proximity to Cottonwood, Sedona is easy to get to and is well worth a visit.
Our favorite hike in Sedona is the Devil’s Bridge Trail. This route adds 2.1 miles one-way of moderately easy rolling trail with fantastic views. The route is approximately 2.9 miles from the trailhead to the bridge which visitors can also walk across with incredible views.
Another favorite thing to do in Sedona is to rent a UTV for half a day. They have some amazing off-road trails, here are three of my favorites.
- Cliffhanger – 5.5 miles one-way.
- Diamondback Gulch – 6 mile loop.
- Outlaw – 10.5 mile loop.
There you have it, my 10 favorite things to do in Old Cottonwood AZ. Be sure to check out all these great spots when you’re in town. Thanks for reading!
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