Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Gilbert, AZ

  • Published 2023/03/08

Gilbert is a quaint little town in 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 was powered by the construction of the Eastern and Consolidated Canals on the one hand and Roosevelt Dam on the other.

Gilbert is currently in the top 100 most significant and 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.

Interested to know more about this stunning city?

Here are the 20 best things to do in Gilbert, Arizona:

Learn the Rich History of Gilbert at theGilbert Historical Museum

Exterior of Gilbert Historical Museum

User:Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

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

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

Signage of Gilbert Historical Museum

Scotwriter21, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

There is also a train exhibit that depicts the railroad and train models precisely 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.

Feel Sporty at Topgolf

The field of Topgolf


Since its opening, Topgolf has quickly become one of Gilbert’s most popular sports venues.

This interactive golf venue offers a variety of activities for both beginners and experienced players alike.

Golfers can hit micro-chipped balls at targets on the massive driving range, participate in various games and competitions, or relax with friends over delicious food and drinks.

A person playing golf at Topgolf

Around the World Photos /

Beyond golf, there are plenty of things to do – a rooftop terrace overlooks the range while live DJs keep the atmosphere upbeat.

Guests can enjoy pool tables, shuffleboards, ping pong tables, and indoor games.

There’s even a virtual reality game room for those looking for something different!

Take a Look at the Richness of theRiparian Preserve

The waters of Riparian Preserve

Albert Barr /

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.

A heron at Riparian Preserve

Christopher M Hall /

Its other attractions are a dinosaur fossil dig pit and an elaborate children’s playground.

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

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

Turtles at Riparian Preserve

Landscapes N’ Such Photo /

Wander around the John Allen Park

John Allen Park, located in the heart of downtown Gilbert, is quickly becoming a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The park gives you a wide range of amenities, whether looking for an afternoon picnic or a perfect spot to spend some time outdoors.

It is surrounded by restaurants, shops, and other entertainment options and features a large children’s play area with various fun activities for kids to enjoy.

Visitors can take advantage of the playgrounds and lighted volleyball courts – perfect for some friendly competition.

Picnic tables and benches are scattered throughout the park so you can enjoy your al fresco-style lunch.

If you want to reconnect with nature, several walking trails wind through the area.

Eat Like a King at Mulligan’s Grill

A bar and grill restaurant 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 favorite 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.

Watch a Play atHale Center Theater

Exterior of 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 with a more intimate experience and allows better interaction with the play.

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

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

Feel Artistic at Art Intersection

Home to an array of cultures and art, Gilbert is no stranger to artistic expression.

The town’s local businesses have created a unique experience for visitors and locals by creating the Art Intersection.

Art Intersection’s mission is to create a series of events that provide a platform for the creative community in Gilbert to express themselves and share their talents.

It offers various activities for all ages and interests, from traditional displays of fine art, including paintings and sculptures, to interactive exhibits that combine music, theater, dance, and more.

Visitors can explore performances by local performers or check out one-of-a-kind creations from local artists while they wander through the streetscape.

Explore the Streets of Downtown Gilbert

Buildings along Downtown Gilbert

Cavan-Images /

Before striking it off your list because Downtown Gilbert seems to be made of only 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.

Street scene at Downtown Gilbert

Cavan-Images /

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.

Aerial view of Downtown Gilbert

Matt Gush /

Keep Healthy and Exercise at Alta Climbing and Fitness

Alta Climbing and Fitness is a premier rock climbing gym that offers various activities for all skill levels.

It has quickly become a well-known venue for climbers – from beginners to experts alike.

Alta Climbing and Fitness offers more than just traditional rock climbing.

The facility features a full-body workout area with weights, cardio machines, and even yoga classes!

Whether you’re looking to test your physical limits through bouldering or want to participate in one of their many fitness classes, Alta has something for everyone.

Visit the Gilbert Riparian Observatory

Exterior of the Gilbert Riparian Observatory

Chip_427 /

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 happily 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, a lecture series about astronomy.

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

Showcase Your Skills at Western Skies Golf Club

Western Skies Golf Club is a golfer’s paradise in the East Valley’s heart.

The 18-hole course offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for all types of golfers.

It is perfect for any avid golfer, whether you want to practice your drive or compete at a higher level with fellow members.

The wide-open fairways and lush greens make Western Skies an enjoyable place to play.

The setting is peaceful, surrounded by views of the Superstition Mountains and captivating desert landscapes.

Furthermore, Western Skies Golf Club features an on-site pro shop with all your golfing essentials, including clubs, apparel, and equipment.

Have Fun at Freestone Park

Aeriel view of Freestone Park

Badger13 /

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 engage in the park’s amphitheater, 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.

A heron near the waters of Freestone Park

DanVanPelt /

Pay a Visit to theDiscovery District Park

The Discovery District Park received its name after discovering fossils from a Columbian Mammoth(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 eight 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.

Drop by the 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 experience the loss that America suffered emotionally.

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.

Have a Picnic at 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, creating 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 several picnic spots, pocket parks, and a few fascinating monuments.

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

Go Shopping at SanTan Village

A trail at 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 top brands like Dillard’s and Nordstrom Rack among its 50 stores.

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

However, this is not all.

Food court at SanTan Village

Cygnusloop99, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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

Some mall amenities 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!

Shops at SanTan Village

Cygnusloop99, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Eat Healthily at Joe’s Farm Grill

Signage of Joe’s Farm Grill

Aaron Burr from Gilbert, AZ, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Joe’s Farm Grill has become 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.

Exterior of Joe’s Farm Grill

Aaron Burr from Gilbert, AZ, US, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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 favorites, 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 giant trees.

Unwind at Morrison Ranch

One of Gilbert’s premier destinations, AZ, is a master-planned community initially 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 neighborhoods and taking in the sights and sounds of the residential community.

Take a Moment of Silence atSt. Anne Roman Catholic Parish

Our carefully curated list ends with an ode to spirituality.

St. Anne Roman Catholic Parish serves to unite the various multicultural 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 pretty big, with a 220-seating capacity.

It also houses one of eight exact replicas of Michelangelo’s Pieta in the world, attracting tourists from 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.

Final Thoughts

Gilbert is an excellent destination for travelers of all ages, whether you want to explore the local culture or nature.

It has something for everyone, from shopping and dining to outdoor recreation and family-friendly attractions.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the great restaurants and shopping while you’re here.

So if you’re looking for an exciting vacation spot, don’t miss out on Gilbert, Arizona.

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