Best Things to Do in Gilbert: Nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Gilbert has a fascinating history and a vibrant arts and culture scene. Known as the “Hay Capital of the World”, it used to be an agricultural town in the 1900s.
The town also has a rich railroad history which can be seen in its numerous historic sites.
Whether you’re an adventure junkie, a nature lover, or a history buff, the town offers something for everyone.
From stargazing at the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory, enjoying nature walks at Riparian Preserve, and cafe hopping at the Heritage District to shopping in SanTan Village, there are endless recreational activities to enjoy here.
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Planning a trip to this charming town this weekend?
Let’s help you curate the best itinerary with our list of the best things to do in Gilbert, Arizona: –
Go birding at Riparian Preserve #1
With seven artificial lakes, a dinosaur fossil pit, and a desert landscape, Riparian Preserve offers a tranquil escape into nature.
Get your binoculars along as there are around 200 species of birds and animals in this beautiful sanctuary.
Go for a nature walk, relax by the lake, or enjoy nature photography, there are many activities to keep you engaged. If you’re visiting on any third Saturday, you can also join the free Friends of Audubon Arizona Family Bird Walk.
Visiting with kids?
You’ll also find a playground here.
Wish to stay overnight?
There are three campsites as well as several picnic areas and bathrooms here.
Enjoy a show at the Hale Center Theater #2
If you’re a theatre fan, this is a must-have on your itinerary.
With chairs placed in a round design, it offers an intimate theatre experience and has seating for 350 people.
It is owned and run by the Hale family and hosts a variety of shows including the popular “The Little Mermaid”.
Make sure you book your tickets beforehand to save a spot. It is one of the best things to do in Gilbert, AZ.
Golf at Western Skies Golf Club #3
Offering stunning views of the Superstition Mountains and the surrounding desert landscapes, this scenic golf club is perfect for a fun match.
The 18-hole golf course with a 6700-yard layout draws beginners and pros alike.
There’s also an on-site shop where you can get golfing equipment and apparel. When hunger strikes, head to the on-site restaurant Mulligan’s Grill for a delectable meal with a stunning view.
Play volleyball at Freestone Park #4
Located on E. Juniper Road and spread over 120 acres, Freestone Park offers a host of outdoor recreational activities.
From playing sports like volleyball, softball, basketball, and tennis to enjoying a ride on the miniature train and hopping on the Ferris Wheel, there are plenty of activities to enjoy here for a fun outing.
There’s even a lake area where you can fish. Just ensure you have your fishing license.
If your idea of a perfect outing is relishing your favourite snacks in scenic surroundings, you can also cook something on the barbeque grills in the park.
Satiate your hunger pangs in Downtown Gilbert #5
With a host of cafes and restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, Downtown Gilbert is a treasure trove for foodies.
From Mexican to Italian, and French delicacies, there is an array of options to satiate your cravings.
Relish Asian fusion dishes at Clever Koi or enjoy smoked meats at Joe’s Real BBQ, whatever your preference is, chances are, you’ll find it here.
If you’re in the mood for grabbing something on the go, there are numerous food trucks for a quick and hearty meal.
Live music sessions are held here by the locals and a Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays, perfect for buying some fresh produce including homemade sauces and freshly baked breads.
Go on a shopping spree at SanTan Village #6
This open-air shopping complex is another popular attraction in the city. Home to around fifty stores featuring numerous top brands it offers everything you need in one place.
When hunger strikes, head to one of the many restaurants and bars to relish a delectable meal.
Many local musicians perform here and the place also hosts various interactive events.
Visiting with kids?
There’s a children’s splash pad and play area to keep the little ones engaged. Couple that with complimentary Wi-Fi.
Watch butterflies at Discovery District Park #7
Sprawled over 48 acres, this park is so named because fossils were discovered from a Columbian Mammoth near the site.
Watch these colourful creatures fluttering around in the butterfly garden. You’ll also find multi-use trails, basketball, and volleyball courts here.
Visiting as a family?
The kids will love exploring the playground that features a rock-climbing structure.
The park is also home to two beautiful ponds and is known for its fishing programs.
Enjoy stargazing at Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory #8
There’s something special about gazing at the vast expanse of the night sky. If the thought of it fills you with excitement, head to this public observatory.
You can look through a high-powered telescope at the stars and appreciate their mesmerizing beauty.
If astronomy interests you, join their SkyWatch program that takes place every second Friday.
You can also book a personal viewing session.
Spend an artsy evening at Art Intersection #9
An initiative by local businesses, Art Intersection allows you to tap into your creative side.
There are various art events held throughout the year for all ages.
Be it exhibits of sculptures and paintings or music, theatre, and dance performances, there’s something here for every taste.
You’ll find a variety of performances and creations by local artists.
Bike around Morrison Ranch #10
Bike around the tranquil tree-lined streets of this master-planned community as you soak in its beautiful surroundings.
It is also the largest dairy and cropland business in the city. Owned by the Morrison family, it features four huge silos.
There are several programs such as the Youth Fishing Day and Fall Festival held here that bring the community together.
Delve into the town’s past at the Historical Museum #11
Housed in a building that used to be a school in the 20th century, the museum offers a peek into Gilbert’s fascinating history.
You’ll find many impressive artefacts, archives, and memorabilia from the past here.
There are nine exhibit rooms along with a 100-year-old classroom and a military exhibit where you can learn about Arizona’s role in World War II and much more.
Kids will especially like to witness the train models from the time of World War II.
They offer many educational programs for an engaging learning experience.
Want something to remember your visit by?
Get a souvenir from the gift shop.
Another notable mention is St. Anne’s Roman Catholic Church which features stunning architecture and houses a full-size replica of Michelangelo’s La Pieta.
So, start with the one that attracts you the most, and get ready for an unforgettable weekend!
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Q. What is Gilbert Arizona known for?
The city is known for its rich agricultural past and as the “Hay Capital of the World”. It is also famous for its Central Trail System.
Q. Does Gilbert AZ have a downtown area?
Gilbert’s Downtown area is known as the Heritage District. It features plenty of restaurants and shops.
Q. Is Gilbert AZ a good place to live?
With its lush natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, beautiful parks, a plethora of outdoor recreational activities, and a low crime rate, Gilbert is a great place to live in.