16 Best Things to Do in Gilbert, AZ

Gilbert, AZ
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Gilbert is a quaint little town of Maricopa County in the middle of the deserts of Arizona.

It is located southeast of Phoenix and has featured twelfth on the most livable US town list.

Famously known as the “Hay Capital of the World” during the early 1900s, it was primarily an agricultural town.

Gilbert powered by the construction of the Eastern and Consolidated Canals on the one hand and Roosevelt Dam on the other.

Gilbert currently holds a position in the top 100 largest and most prosperous towns.

The town’s blend of modern and historic has given rise to a diverse range of attractions that allures tourists all year round.

We have listed some of the best things to do while you are vacationing in Gilbert, Arizona.

Riparian Preserve

Riparian Preserve
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This scenic area at Water Ranch is one of Gilbert’s primary tourist attractions, with its man-made lakes and carefully maintained landscape.

The Preserve has been designed to simulate Arizona’s deserts, complete with seven man-made lakes, and, as a result, has attracted a large population of birds.

Home to over 200 species of birds and animals, Riparian Preserve has become a haven for wildlife enthusiasts.

Among its other attractions, there is a dinosaur fossil dig pit and an elaborate children’s playground.

You can spend a lazy day strolling and birdwatching through the picturesque grounds or basking in the afternoon sun.

However, if you feel a little adventurous, you can also camp out at one of the three campsites in the Preserve.

Mulligan’s Grill

A bar and grill restaurant located at the Western Skies Golf Club, Mulligan’s Grill is famous for its delectable range of truly American dishes.

Although you don’t need to be a golfer to enjoy a quiet Sunday brunch at Mulligan’s Grill, you always have the option to play one round of golf.

Spend a luxurious morning enjoying their all-time favourite Green Chile Bacon Burger or Green Chile and Mushroom Burger Wrap served with crispy, homemade chips on the side.

Your day at Mulligan’s Grill will be filled with great food, beverages, and excellent service.

They also have 14 HDTVs, so you can be sure not to miss a big game.

Hale Center Theater

Hale Center Theater
Cygnusloop99, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hale Theater is one of the five longest-running, privately-owned theatres in the US run by the Hale family.

In the past, it has hosted evergreen plays like “Mary Poppins” and “The Little Mermaid”.

The theatre buff in you will enjoy watching a play or a musical seated in one of the 350 chairs, all arranged around the stage in a circle.

This arrangement provides the audience a more intimate experience and allows better interaction with the play.

You can spend an evening with your family bedazzled by the spectacular performance in the Hale Center Theater.

The tickets are readily available online, so ensure that you book them prior.

Downtown Gilbert

Downtown Gilbert
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Before striking it off your list because Downtown Gilbert seems only to be made of a few residential blocks, think again.

This place is, in fact, a foodie’s paradise with several dine-ins and takeaways that offer everything from local cuisine to Mexican, Italian, and even French!

However, the most exciting thing that Downtown Gilbert has to offer is the Farmer’s Market on Sundays.

Here, hundreds of vendors and small businesses congregate to sell their goods.

You will get everything from organic farm produces to freshly baked bread, homemade sauces, and seasonal vegetables and fruits.

There are also an array of food trucks to choose from while enjoying live music played by the locals.

Gilbert Riparian Observatory

Gilbert Riparian Observatory
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If astronomy interests you, the Gilbert Riparian Observatory is the place to be.

It is a public observatory first built in 2006, and its high-powered telescope will enable you to examine the skies closely.

The staff and the volunteers are friendly and will be happy to help you handle the equipment and answer your astronomy questions.

In addition, you can gear up for an educational experience with their SkyWatch program every second Friday of a month, which is a lecture series about astronomy.

You can also book a session of private viewing for your family for a more personalized experience.

Freestone Park

Aeriel view of Freestone Park
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Located in a busy junction of E.Juniper Road, you will find something for everyone in Freestone Park.

The 120 acres establishment offers a carnival experience to its visitors, complete with a festive carousel, a Ferris wheel, and a miniature train.

While these are mainly for children, adults can spend an engaging time in the park’s amphitheatre, softball fields, tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts.

The park also has a lake area of 5 acres using reclaimed water, where you can spend a day fishing if you have a valid fishing license.

You can also have a relaxing barbecue session with your family while enjoying the park’s beautiful natural scenery.

Discovery District Park

The Discovery District Park received its name after the discovery of fossils from a Columbian Mammoth(which was later named ‘Tuskers’ by popular choice) near the park site.

Apart from this, the 48-acre park is famous for its fishing programs where participants can fish from its two well-stocked ponds.

Discovery District park also has a playground with a climbing rock, basketball, and volleyball courts, complete with 8 multi-use trails that you can use for walking, jogging, or biking.

Additionally, the park boasts a butterfly garden where you can admire and study the beautiful creatures flying all around you.

Gilbert Historical Museum

Gilbert Historical Museum
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The only museum in Gilbert, AZ, the Gilbert Historical Museum was originally an elementary school during the early 1900s.

It has carefully collected and preserved archives, memorabilia, and artifacts that provide the visitor a comprehensive account of the town’s rich history.

Among its 9 exhibit rooms are a meticulously maintained 100-year-old classroom and a military exhibit.

The latter celebrates Gilbert residents who served in the two World Wars and the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

There is also a train exhibit that depicts the railroad and train models exactly as it was during the Second World War.

Apart from the above attractions, you can also visit the museum to attend the several educational programs they offer, which will be an excellent experience for you and your family.

9/11 Memorial

The 9/11 Memorial is one of the most notable structures in the entire city of Gilbert, AZ.

A steel girder beam of 8 feet(2.44 meters) that once made up the North Tower of the World Trade Center is featured in the memorial.

Before installation, the beam was transported all over Gilbert, allowing residents to emotionally experience the loss that America suffered.

Four granite structures surround the beam, inscribed with the names of all the victims of 9/11.

The structure is a jarring reminder of the massacre and an emblem of humanity’s strength to heal from such a massive tragedy.

You can pay a visit to the memorial to learn about the lives lost and spend a quiet day paying your respect to the martyrs.

Gilbert Central Trail System

Reputed to be a “bicycle-friendly community”, the Gilbert Central Trail System features 54 miles(ca.87 km) of trails running along canals and horse riding tracks.

The trails are known for their scenic beauty, making for a serene bike-ride experience.

Three trails constitute the trail system- the Marathon, Santan Vista, and Heritage Trail- all running from north to south, connecting the canal systems and parks of Gilbert, AZ.

However, do not think that these trails are the only feature the Trail System offers.

It also boasts of several picnic spots and pocket parks along with a few fascinating monuments.

These attractions are visible if you cycle through the trails around the park.

Heritage Square

The Heritage Square, located at the Water Tower Plaza, was created as a memorial to the original 1927 water tower that was the primary water source of Gilbert.

As this water tower was renovated and renamed the Water Tower Plaza, the area beneath it was transformed into a water park.

This amusement park is an extraordinary addition to the town of Gilbert, attracting tourists from far and wide.

Keep yourself entertained by the numerous water sports available in the park, including a pop-jet fountain, a water-wall, and a huge water-spraying ball.

Beat the heat by immersing yourself in these activities.

There is also a splash play area to keep your kids entertained.

SanTan Village

SanTan Village
Cygnusloop99, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

An open-air shopping complex, SanTan Village is the mall that you have only dreamed of.

It has everything under one roof, featuring some top brands like Dillard’s and Nordstrom Rack among its 50 stores.

After a fun day of shopping, treat yourself at the various restaurants and bars offering top-class service, including Grimaldi’s Pizza and Thirsty Lion.

However, this is not all.

The plaza also has local musicians playing all year round and turning SanTan into a bustling hub of activities.

Some amenities of the mall include free Wi-Fi, a children’s splash pad, and a play area.

Apart from shopping till you drop, you can also participate in several interactive events that SanTan Village hosts to have a fun-filled day!

The SunDust Gallery Paint and Pottery Party Studio was first established in 2009 with the intention of giving space to the local artists for showcasing their art.

The gallery features tasteful artworks, art supplies, collectibles, and oddities that you can purchase to support the artists.

However, apart from that, you can paint a masterpiece or sculpt pots in their storefront gallery, stocked to meet your requirements.

It also offers several art classes and programs to choose from for both old and young, irrespectively.

So spend a creative day learning to make art with other artistic people like yourself.

Joe’s Farm Grill

Joe’s Farm Grill
Aaron Burr from Gilbert, AZ, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Joe’s Farm Grill has shot to fame as a town landmark after appearing on “Diners, Drive-ins, and Drives”.

The dine-in was originally a country residence that has been turned into a burger stand with a 60s era vibe.

They claim to serve “common food done uncommonly well” and mean it.

The food cooked here is made with local and fresh farm produce, including all-natural beef for their burgers and trans-fat free oil.

Grab a bite from their choicest list of burgers or farm favourites, and be sure to be blown away by the exquisite taste.

The farm is also famous for its country setting, and you can spend a day in the spacious ranch-style restaurant among the large trees.

Morrison Ranch

One of Gilbert's premier destinations, AZ, is a master-planned community originally owned by the Morrison family in the South East of Phoenix.

It has become famous for the four giant silos that draw in tourists from war and wide.

Morrison Ranch is a 3000- acre community notable for its living conditions and serene landscape that makes for ideal living conditions.

It is also noteworthy for being the largest dairy farm and cropland business in Gilbert.

Further, you don’t need to be a Ranch resident to take part in their community programs like the Youth Fishing Day or Fall Festival.

Enjoy an eventful day walking around the tree-lined, peaceful neighbourhoods and taking in the sights and sounds of the residential community.

St.Anne’s Roman Catholic Church

Our carefully curated list ends with an ode to spirituality.

The Roman Catholic Church of St.Anne serves to unite the various multi-cultural communities within Gilbert in terms of prayer and devotion.

First built in 1936 by a group of volunteers and renovated in 1943 when it became St.Anne Parish, it is the largest registered congregation in the United States.

The church is fairly big with a 220 seating capacity.

It also houses one of eight exact replicas of Michelangelo's Pieta in the world, and this attracts tourists from all around the world.

In addition, you can attend one of the daily masses conducted by Father Sergio.

Finally, if you are visiting on a Sunday, you can enjoy a sumptuous and moderately priced breakfast offered by the church.