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If you’re looking for some fun things to do in Cottonwood, Arizona, you’ve come to the right place! This charming town in the heart of Verde Valley is home to a variety of family-friendly attractions that are sure to please everyone in your group.
From historical sites, Verde Valley wine tours, to outdoor adventures, Cottonwood has something for everyone. Shopping in historic old town Cottonwood was my favorite thing to do.
Where is Cottonwood?
Cottonwood is located to the northeast of Prescott and southwest of the red rocks of Sedona and on the Verde River. Its lower elevation (ranging from 3,300 to 3,900 feet above sea level) makes it a great location for your next Arizona adventure. It is 8 minutes to Verde Canyon Railroad, 20 minutes to Camp Verde, 9 minutes to Africa Wildlife Park, 21 minutes to Jerome Ghost Town, and 33 minutes to Oak Creek Canyon.
Cottonwood has a pleasant temperature and is close to various natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Tuzigoot National Monument, and the historic mining communities of Clark.
Let’s take a look at some of the best things that this town has to offer. Pack your bags and get ready for some fun!
Things to do in Cottonwood
Table of contents
- Where is Cottonwood?
- Where to Stay in Cottonwood
- Verde Valley Wine Trail
- Wine Tasting Rooms
- Dead Horse Ranch State Park
- Old Town Cottonwood
- Cottonwood Farmers Market
- Antique shops
- Cottonwood Art Studio
- Gift Shops
- Verde River
- Mingus Mountain
- Clemenceau Heritage Museum
- Blazin’ M Ranch
- Explore the Jail Trail
- Riverfront Park
- Cottonwood Center for the Arts
- Things to do Near the City of Cottonwood
Where to Stay in Cottonwood
There are so many neat places to stay in Cottonwood. As I went there during peak season, and I am local, I opted for a budget-friendly hotel, The Best Western Cottonwood. It’s a good location next to restaurants and just 20 minutes away from Sedona.
If you want to be close to Old Town Cottonwood It is better to stay on North Main Street to be close to everything and experience lots of historic landmarks.
These are other places to recommend for lodging:
Iron Horse Inn
The Iron Horse Inn was constructed as a motor court by Eden’s relatives who ran the timber business that still operates the property today. They offer breakfast packages and wine packages with your room as an option. You will want to hang out in their picturesque courtyard.
The Tavern Hotel is a one-of-a-kind Euro Style Hotel with 41 beautiful guestrooms and two luxury penthouses in Old Town Cottonwood.
The hotel was built in 1925 as a grocery store and became an important part of Old Town Cottonwood’s social life. The magnificent structure was saved and the hotel was rebuilt in 2011.
They offer 5 special packages.
The Cottonwood Hotel
The Cottonwood Hotel is the perfect place to stay when you want to be in the heart of everything. This historic hotel has been completely renovated and offers all the modern amenities that you expect, but with a vintage feel.
American legions such as John Wayne, Gail Russell, and Mae West stayed at the boutique inn, along with renowned ‘Roaring Twenties’ spiritualist lecturers, psychics, bootlegger kings, and prohibition-era gangsters.
The Cottonwood Hotel was also used for movies, including using famous actors and actresses like Elvis Presley, Burt Lancaster, ‘Liz Scott, and Jon Cryer. Some of the rooms feature classic films.
Verde Valley Wine Trail
The Verde Valley Wine Trail is one of the most popular things to do in Cottonwood.
The Verde Valley Wine Trail is a great through Arizona’s beautiful Northern region. The area is rich in history, beauty, and the creation of fine Arizona wines, making it an excellent destination for wine enthusiasts.
Visit 10 stops on the Verde Valley Wine Trail and get your Passport stamped, then return it or upload it to be eligible for the quarterly drawing.
Wine Tasting Rooms
Cottonwood is located in the ‘heart’ of Arizona and the heart of wine country. You can find tastings at some of the local wineries as well as at many of the restaurants in town. There are also a few wine bars where you can enjoy a glass or two.
Pillsbury Wine Company North
Pillsbury Wine Company North is a great place to start your wine tasting tour. They offer a wide variety of Arizona wines, as well as some from other parts of the world.
The Cellar Door
The Cellar Door is a cozy little wine bar located in Old Town Cottonwood. They have an extensive list of wines and an amazing menu including Artisan Cheese & Charcuterie Boards.
Arizona Stronghold Vineyards
Step into the Arizona Stronghold Vineyards tasting room and let the skilled staff take you on a tour of Arizona’s diverse wine regions.
You might relax on the peaceful garden patio at or enjoy a drink in their cozy tasting room. The cost of taste flights at Arizona Stronghold is $12 for five different wines. Archive Club Members receive complimentary tastings!
Burning Tree Cellars
Burning Tree Cellars is a small boutique that focuses on quality versus quantity. Sometimes they have pop-up events and release parties. You will find an inviting atmosphere to relax and enjoy award winning Arizona wines.
Winery 101 is a great place to learn about the wine-making process. If you check out their events page, you will see that they have a Saturday Sippin’ with live music event. They offer a wine club with benefits also.
Merkin Vineyards Osteria & Wine Bar
The Merkin Vineyards Osteria & Wine Bar is a great place to enjoy a meal and some wine. You can order small plates or full entrees. All of of their wines are made by MJ & Jennifer Keenan, Tim White And the Cellar Team using fruit from their 110 Acres Of Estate Vineyards In both The Verde Valley and Willcox, AZ.
Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Old Town Cottonwood
This historic district is full of charming shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms. Be sure to check out the Old Town Cottonwood website for a full list of businesses and events.
Cottonwood Farmers Market
The Cottonwood Farmers Market is open every Wednesday 4-8pm. You can find fresh produce, prepared foods, artisan goods, and live music.
Cottonwood is home to several antique shops, including the Cottonwood Country Club, which features a variety of vintage and antique items.
Larry’s Antique Shop
Larry’s Antique Shop is a great place to find unique treasures. There are so many interesting items, especially in the back area. There are so many old items that speak so much history, it’s chilling!
Papillon Too is a great place to find gifts, home decor, and fashion accessories.
Cottonwood Art Studio
The Cottonwood Art Studio is a great place to take a painting or pottery class. They also have a gallery where you can purchase local art.
Cottonwood is known to have fun, eclectic shops on the main street. We go there just to walk up and down and window shop after a nice meal.
Shabby Chic Boutique
The Shabby Chic Boutique is a great place to find unique gifts. From vintage lip balm to honey, there’s a gift for every personality.
The Hippie Emporium
The Hippie Emporium is a great place to find vintage clothing and gifts.
The Cats Meow is a fun shop and has an eclectic selection of clothing, accessories, and treasures. It’s also a pet sitting service in Cottonwood!
Desert Dancer is a great place to find homemade soaps,gifts, and essential oils.
High Spirits Gifts & Gallery
High Spirits Gifts & Gallery is a great place to find local art, jewelry, and more.
These are the best places to eat in Cottonwood. (my opinion).
Bing’s Burger Station
Bing’s Burger Station is a great place to get a delicious burger and milkshake. Bing’s is located in an early 1940s service station and Inside you will notice a functioning garage door over the entrance to the patio. Bing’s Burger Station is my favorite place to eat!
Just grab a menu and check off what you would like and give it to the cashier. It’s very family friendly, as it is a family owned restaurant.
Pizzeria Bocce is a feast for the senses with great food and drink. You can smell the aroma of pizza cooking in the wood-burning oven. This Pizzeria is an interior designer’s dream. The floor is made of black and white marble, two huge historic photographs, complex mosaic tiles, bespoke ironwork, a stone patio with fiery torches, and of course the namesake bocce ball court on the patio beside the stream.
The Colt Grill
The Colt Grill is a great place to get burgers and fries. But if you want something decadent, try the Pulled Pork Sandwich. It’s one of their specialties from the smoker.
Crema Craft Kitchen and Bar
Crema is a great place to get coffee and pastries. They have a walk up coffee bar outside which is convenient as the restaurant is very busy and narrow when you walk in. Inside is very pretty with a modern flare. The bar is made out of an old storage unit.
They also have a breakfast and lunch menu with sandwiches and salads, however, brunch is served all day. They are famous for their Haunted Bloody (haunted hamburger recipe) made with prairie vodka, house-made bloody mary mix, garnished with delicious bits.
If you are looking for their delicious baked goods, get there early – every time I go, they are sold out of everything.
We waited an hour on Mother’s Day to be seated, but it was well worth it.
Old Town Red Rooster Cafe
The Old Town Red Rooster Cafe is a great place to get breakfast or lunch, with a fresh spin on comfort food. They have a wide variety of menu items, including omelets, pancakes, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
The Bacon Fig Gorgonzola Burger is to die for! It has bacon and house made fig jam and was so delicious! The quesadilla is also good, especially if you bring kids, as they can be picky.
The Tavern Grille
The Tavern Grille is a great place to get American food. They have a wide variety of menu items, including appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees. They also offer specialty cocktails, draft beer, bottled beer, and wine.
The Grille is housed in a historic theater that was originally constructed as the Rialto Theatre in 1923. It was the longest-surviving single-screen theater in the United States until it burned down in December 1998. The Tavern Grille reopened in December 2005 with charred concrete walls that now frame the dining area.
The Verde River runs right through Cottonwood and provides ample opportunity for horseback riding, hiking, and fishing. The scenery is beautiful, so be sure to take your camera!
If you’re looking for a little adventure, be sure to check out Mingus Mountain. It’s a mountain in the Black Hills range of Arizona, located in the United States. It’s located in the Prescott National Forest, which is crossed by State Route 89A about halfway between Cottonwood and Prescott. This is a great place for hiking, picnicking, bird watching, and camping.
Clemenceau Heritage Museum
The Clemenceau Heritage Museum is a great place to learn about the history of Cottonwood and attend some fun events.
Blazin’ M Ranch
The Blazin’ M Ranch is a great place to go for a cowboy-themed dinner and a show. They have live music and a variety of entertainment and an evening of western activities. Don’t forget to get your pictures taken at the Old-tyme photo studio. Book your dinner ahead of time.
Explore the Jail Trail
A stroll beneath the “Gateway to the Verde River” archway to walk along the Jail Trail isn’t complete unless you go on a trip to Old Town Cottonwood.
The easy walk begins at a rustic old jail building now home to a millinery store, where passengers disembark from the site. The route continues along the river bank through River Front Park and Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
The Riverfront Park is Cottonwood’s largest park. It has an 18-tee Disc Golf Course, Skateboard park, a dog park, a five-court horseshoe pit, two sand volleyball courts, 2 play apparatus for kids, and a designated dog area.
Cottonwood Center for the Arts
The Cottonwood Center for the Arts is a great place to see some amazing art. They have a wide variety of exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, photography, and more. They also offer classes and workshops for all levels.
Things to do Near the City of Cottonwood
There are tons of things to do by the heart of the Verde Valley.
Arizona Copper Art Museum
The Arizona Copper Art Museum is a great place to see some amazing art. They have a wide variety of exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, and pottery.
Tuzigoot National Monument
The Tuzigoot National Monument is a great place to learn about the history of the area. The monument includes a pueblo that was built by the Sinagua people between about 1000 and 1400 AD.
Verde Canyon Railroad
The Verde Canyon Railroad is a great way to see the area. It’s a scenic train ride that takes you through the canyon.
Take a 3.5-hour train ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad through the untouched and unspoiled Verde Valley.
With luxury class seats, you’ll be treated to hors d’oeuvres, Champagne, and unobstructed views of Arizona’s geological marvels, wildlife, and archaeological treasures of the ancient Sinagua people who once inhabited the region.
Sedona is just 20 minutes away and worth the drive! It’s a great place to go for some shopping, dining, and sightseeing. Check out the shops, restaurants, and art galleries at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village. There are plenty of things to do, including dining in an igloo, hiking, cycling, golfing, and more.
The Pueblo Ruins are a great place to learn about the history of the area. The ruins include a pueblo that was built by the Sinagua people between about 1000 and 1400 AD.
Montezuma Castle National Monument
The Montezuma Castle National Monument is a great place to learn about the history of the area. The monument includes a castle that was built by the Sinagua people between about 1000 and 1400 AD.
Stay in a Safari Tent in Camp Verde
Enjoy some luxury camping while staying in a Safari Tent. These luxury safari tents offer all the amenities of home, plus the fun of camping in the great outdoors. You’ll love waking up to the sounds of nature.
So there you have it! Some of the best things to do in Cottonwood, Arizona. What are you waiting for? Come on down and check out this great town!