Downtown Prescott boasts over 500 historic buildings, none very distant from the lovely county courthouse and grounds that define the center of town. Walking around the central part of Prescott is a tour past many lovely Victorian houses with glimpses of Arizona buttes and hills in the background. Prescott is flat enough to be easily walkable with just enough topography for some decent views.
Much of the charm you find around you stems from the fact that Prescott was the original territorial capital of Arizona from 1863-1867 and again, after a sweaty interlude in Tuscon, from 1877 and 1889. With the completion of the southern transcontinental railraod in 1881 it would not be long until the capital was finally moved to Phoenix, just off the line, in 1889.
Based on my experience in Prescott I'd recommend the following list of state capitals and former capital cities as a pretty nice US itinerary for the historically inclined.
After breakfast at the Dinner Bell or a tour of Sharlot Hall museum you should descend to Granite Creek and wander north. Who knows what will you will find in this overgrown corridor? My son and his friend found numerous mysterious objects hanging from trees or submerged in the stream.
"Who left them here?"
"What does it mean?"
"Is it art?"
You have to love a community that does something creative for the fun of it without having to put up a placard telling you what it all means. With no signage it means whatever I imagine it to mean or perhaps nothing at all! The imaginative process doesn't end when the artist finishes for heaven's sake! It just moves over to the viewer.
Favorite thing: One of the ways you can tell the quality of a town in Arizona is by the quality of their water sellers. With an average humidity of 9% you need to drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. People selling water on the sidewalk is a normal part of life in this state. In Prescott we found this well dressed young man outside his father's store selling bottles of water for 50 cents each. He was doing a community service more than making money. Contrast this with the tatooed 30 year old selling bottles for $1.50 in Tempe and you'll know what I mean when I say Prescott is a 'Norman Rockwell' kind of town.
Prescott has some of the coolest ancient sites to go to. There are lots of places to hike to, and you can see all sorts of of ancient rock pictures.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of Prescott is the 4th of July celebration from a few years back. There was a huge water-balloon fight that the whole town was in on. Going down the main street with water-balloons coming at me and squirt-guns shooting was so much fun. I wish that they would do it again.
Take all the dirt roads you can drive on. There you will find the most beautiful sights to behold.
Fondest memory: I have missed the lack of humidity since returning home from my visit to Prescott. So much so that I have chosen to move from Maryland to Prescott, Arizona (August 2000). Here in Prescott 90 degree temperatures feel like 80 degrees; in Maryland, 90 degree temperatures feel like 110 degrees. If you have a sinus problem in your home state, you won't have it in Prescott. My sinus's gave me breather while visiting this state. When the plane crossed the time zone change my sinus's began clogging my head almost immediately!
Favorite thing: During the monsoon season here, the sun and rainclouds compete for their place in the sky, and the result: a rainbow. Sometimes you'll be lucky to see a double rainbow.