Gilbert, Arizona, is a captivating place to go to and is Arizona’s best-kept secret. After I visited for the primary time, I used to be shocked to discover a fashionable and progressive metropolis with a pleasant small-town really feel.

Only a quick drive southeast of Phoenix, the historic district downtown reminds you of one thing from a street journey in an previous film with iconic signage and storefronts. 

Whereas town of Gilbert has that quaint small-town really feel, it’s large on actions and issues to see and do. With nearly 10 million sq. toes of retail and designated open house for leisure and recreation, life in Gilbert is prospering. 

The town may be 100 years previous, however it’s positioning itself to be a metropolis of the longer term, and it has already been labeled as among the finest locations to reside in America. Gilbert is not going to be a secret for lengthy. 

Let’s discover among the finest locations to go to if you end up in Gilbert. 

Uncover Gilbert hosted my go to. All opinions are my very own. 

[Gilbert Watertower]

Downtown Gilbert

The locals name the downtown space the Heritage District. It’s a enjoyable and vibrant place with a lot of neon lights at night time. It’s the coronary heart of the neighborhood.

That is the place you’ll find over 30 eating places. And locals seek advice from it as Scrumptious Gilbert for good purpose. 

The district options lively weekend markets, together with the favored Gilbert Farmers Market and the Hale Centre Theatre. You’ll discover a family-friendly setting, pet-friendly restaurant choices, and a vibrant nightlife within the downtown space. 

Professional Tip: Downtown Gilbert Heritage District is a good start line for almost any exercise, together with climbing and bicycling. The path system connects parks and sights all through the city with the Heritage District. 

Gilbert Central Path System

The favored Central Trail System has earned Gilbert the popularity of a “bicycle-friendly neighborhood.” Fifty-four miles of motorbike trails operating parallel to the canals and equestrian tracks make Gilbert a haven for the outdoorsy sorts. 

The Marathon, Santan Vista, and Heritage Trails make up the path system that runs from north to south connecting town’s parks and canal techniques. There are ingesting fountains, a number of pocket parks, fascinating monuments, ramadas, and different entertaining options that folks can see as they cycle by the paths.

Professional Tip: Make sure to take sunscreen when visiting Gilbert. Even within the winter, the solar is powerful. 

Water Tower Fountains

If you end up within the Heritage District, head to the Water Tower, which stands over the city. The Water Tower Plaza is beneath the tower and features a park with water options that embody a splash play space for teenagers, a pop-jet fountain, a water wall, and extra. You probably have kids with you once you go to, they may love this space as a spot to chill off on scorching Arizona days. There’s free admission for anybody needing to get moist. 

Professional Tip: Adults take pleasure in cooling off, too!

A sign for Liberty Market.
Robin O’Neal Smith

Liberty Market

Situated within the Outdated City, in a historic nook constructing, Liberty Market is a neat cafe open seven days every week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. After I visited, I loved their handmade pancakes with a aspect of bacon. They have been fantastic. 

They serve all types of salads, sandwiches, and soups for lunch, and there are a selection of choices for dinner. 

The distinctive factor in regards to the Liberty Market: It was once a grocery market. Inside, above the home windows, there are vintage grocery carts from the shop for adornment. 

Professional Tip: Don’t simply eat there; take a while to go searching. There’s a fascinating historical past throughout the market. 

Riparian Protect At Water Ranch

The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is a lake that was created in 1999 to protect worthwhile water sources and shield wildlife habitats. House to just about 300 species of bugs, birds, and animals, the 110-acre protect, together with seven water recharge basins, options climbing trails, vegetative zones, an observatory, and an precise paleontology dig web site. There are instructional packages and enjoyable leisure alternatives for all ages. 

Professional Tip: Make sure to take bottled water for those who plan to spend a lot time outside. The Arizona solar is scorching, and you could keep hydrated. 

Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory

Close to the Riparian Protect at Water Ranch is the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory (GRCO). The city of Gilbert owns the neighborhood observatory, and the Riparian Institute operates it. It’s open on Friday and Saturday evenings at dusk. They host Public Star Events, which embody viewings of the celebs and astronomy-related talks. Examine their web site for dates. 

The writer doing goat yoga.
Robin O’Neal Smith

Arizona Goat Yoga 

After I visited Gilbert, I attended an Arizona Goat Yoga session. It was hilarious and enjoyable. I had by no means completed a lot yoga, not to mention completed it with goats. What a hoot. You may examine my expertise in I Tried Goat Yoga At 59 And It Was More Laughter Than Oms.

What you could know is it’s a enjoyable expertise for all ages. You don’t should be in nice form; simply make sure you may get down in your knees and get again up. You want no yoga expertise. Be ready to have the goats get near you — and even stroll on prime of you — and have an excellent humorousness. 

The women who run Arizona Goat Yoga have a detailed bond with the goats and deal with them like their “youngsters.” (Pun supposed!) I promise you’ll take pleasure in this expertise.

Professional Tip: Put on snug clothes. You might find yourself with hoof prints in your garments. 

Hale Centre Theatre

You’ll find each Broadway and Off-Broadway reveals on the Hale Center Theatre. A family-orientated theater that lovers of drama will take pleasure in. You may take pleasure in reveals on the Hale Heart Theater Monday by Saturday. Examine their web site for efficiency info. 

TOPO building in Gilbert, AZ.
Robin O’Neal Smith

Prickly Pear Ice Cream At TOPO

When you are visiting, cease at TOPO for some scrumptious ice cream. You may’t miss it. TOPO is a small meals stand with an enormous beaver above it. I attempted the Prickly Pear with a chocolate coating. I had by no means had Prickly Pear ice cream, and it was very tasty. I extremely advocate a cease. There’s lovely paintings on the edges of the constructing to take pleasure in when you eat your ice cream.

Professional Tip: Bear in mind the cones are giant, and whether it is scorching outdoors, your ice cream will soften sooner than you’ll be able to eat it.

Freestone District Park

Freestone District Park consists of 88 acres of fantastically maintained landscapes that showcase varied outside sports activities and leisure actions. The family-friendly neighborhood park is dwelling to a mini amusement park with carnival rides and trains, a skate park, a playground for youngsters, picnic areas, athletic fields, and a leisure middle. Fishing can be obtainable. If the climate permits, the park is open one year of the yr. 

Professional Tip: Don’t neglect your sunscreen

The exterior of Agritopia.
Robin O’Neal Smith


This homestead, which has morphed right into a thriving neighborhood centered round an city farm, is called Agritopia.

Our go to to this village was enlightening. The deliberate neighborhood is surrounded by 11 acres of city farmland. When you are within the village, you are feeling like you’re out within the nation. The streets are tree-lined, and it feels homey. 

Inside the neighborhood, you’ll find locations to eat, store, work, and create. It’s a village that honors farming traditions and the easier lifetime of the previous. 

West Brewing Firm

Within the Barnone constructing at Agritopia, you’ll discover XII West Brewing of Gilbert. The brewery affords mouthwatering drafts and craft brews. The homeowners brew their beer offsite, so that you don’t see brewing tanks within the no-frills house. However the beer is scrumptious. A pizza firm is close by, so you’ll be able to seize some tasty pizza or snacks to take pleasure in along with your beer. 

Gilbert Farmers Market

Benefit from the Farmers Market positioned in downtown Gilbert close to the water tower on Saturdays. The market options native contemporary fruit and greens in addition to artisanal meals merchandise. 

You’ll find between 60 to 100 distributors promoting their merchandise from close by farms. The market’s mission is to advertise wholesome consuming, native sustainability, and inexperienced dwelling practices throughout the neighborhood and surrounding space. 

Gilbert Historic Museum

Highlighting the historical past of the city of Gilbert and the encircling space, the Gilbert Historical Museum is close to the southern finish of the Heritage District. The museum is within the unique Gilbert Elementary College in-built 1913 and is on the Register of Historic Locations. It homes a repository of artifacts, pictures, and paperwork, plus a present store. You may discover Gilbert’s previous, current, and future by an array of shows, displays, and displays that chronicle the city’s vibrant historical past.

A street view of Joe's Real BBQ.
Robin O’Neal Smith

Joe’s Actual BBQ

Gilbert is a foodie city with a lot of eating places to go to. I like to recommend a cease at 

Joe’s Real BBQ. It’s a cafeteria-style spot that serves conventional pulled pork, barbecued ribs, and chopped brisket. All are slowly smoked over pecan wooden until they’re falling-off-the-bone scrumptious. Meals is served in an off-the-cuff, relaxed setting in a brick constructing that dates again to 1929. Joe’s Actual BBQ exudes an ambiance of Arizona’s golden age of agriculture. 
Professional Tip: Make sure to attempt the house-made cobbler for dessert.

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