20 Things To Do In Gilbert

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A major suburb of the Phoenix Metro Area, Gilbert is an Arizona travel destination teeming with culture, history, nightlife and the great outdoors. Gilbert lies just 22 miles (35 km) outside downtown Phoenix and is not too far removed from Scottsdale and Glendale either, placing it within a short drive from attractions such as the Desert Botanical Garden, the Arizona State Capitol and the Phoenix Art Museum.

There’s plenty to keep visitors entertained and enthralled in Gilbert too, such as stopping by Water Tower Plaza or taking in the energy of the Heritage District, making Gilbert a destination surrounded by some of the Southwest’s top entertainment options and cultural attractions.

Gilbert, Arizona

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20 Things To Do In Gilbert

1- Take A Stroll Through The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch

Formally established on October 9, 1999, the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is a 110-acre (45 ha) stretch of protected land that serves as an oasis for the region’s native plant and animal life.

The park is situated just down the road from Gilbert’s downtown district and boasts a large wetland preserve which provides refuge for hundreds of species of native and migratory birds, reptiles and amphibians.

Some 4.5 miles (7.2 km) of hiking pathways make taking in and enjoying the park’s stunning scenery and diverse wildlife a seamless process that’s ideally paired with the park’s intuitive educational programs.

The Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch is at 2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234.

2- Catch a Show At The Hale Centre Theatre

Steeped in history, the Hale Centre Theatre in downtown Gilbert is recognised as the longest-running, privately owned and operated theatre company in the United States.

The theatre was founded in 1947 in a small building in Glendale, California by Salt Lake City couple Nathan and Ruth Hale, with the theatre company expanding considerably over the following decades into the cities of Orem, Sandy and Gilbert.

The theatre company has won several awards in the 21st century and features 2 state-of-the-art stages under one roof where travellers can enjoy some of the best theatrical productions in the southwest.

The Hale Centre Theatre is at 50 W Page Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85233.

3- Go Shopping And Dining At SanTan Village

SanTan Village is a large 1.2 million-square-foot (111,000 m2) open-air shopping venue situated right in the heart of downtown Gilbert that’s home to designer outlets and some of Gilbert’s tastiest restaurants.

The venue was completed in 2007 and is set to form the centrepiece of what is to become a 500-acre (202 ha) retail, entertainment, dining and hotel district in downtown Gilbert once all current developments are finalised.

Stores such as Sephora, Macy’s, Nordstrom Rack and Lululemon are but a few of the many household names which shoppers can expect to find at the SanTan Village.

The SanTan Village is at 2218 E Williams Field Rd, Suite 235, Gilbert, AZ 85295.

4- Explore The Heritage District

Downtown Gilbert, better known as the Heritage District, is the unequivocal heartbeat of the town, home to Gilbert’s top tourist attractions, historical landmarks and entertainment options.

The Heritage District is fairly compact compared to other downtown areas, covering an area of about 192 acres (77 ha), making it ideal for taking in all the sights and sounds whilst exploring on foot.

Among the Heritage District’s top attractions is Gilbert’s line-up of exciting and lively bars and cafes, the town’s architecture and the unmissable Water Tower, downtown Gilbert’s biggest landmark.

5- Tour The Gilbert Historical Museum

Formed in 1982, the Gilbert Historical Museum is a downtown Gilbert staple when it comes to discovering the town’s history and culture.

The museum is housed inside the HD SOUTH building, better known as the old Gilbert Elementary School, which dates back to 1913 and is a National Register of Historic Places-listed attraction in its own right.

Not only is the museum the only NRHP landmark in Gilbert, but its impressive collection of artefacts and exhibits spread out across a series of galleries makes the Gilbert Historical Museum among the leading cultural institutions to visit in the town.

The Gilbert Historical Museum is at 10 S Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

6- Plan A Trip To The World-Class Desert Botanical Garden

Different Types Of Prickly Pear Cacti In A Botanical Garden
Visiting the Botanical Garden is one of the things to do in Gilbert, AZ today.

The Desert Botanical Garden, about a 17-mile (27 km) journey from Gilbert, is a world-class 55-acre (22 ha) outdoor institution that boasts an assortment of flowers, trees and cacti sourced locally from Arizona and across the world.

Established by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937 and moved to its current location in 1939, the garden is home to some 50,000 individual plants across thousands of common and endangered species.

Among the gardens’ most popular attractions are its population of cacti and agave, its Baja California, Australian and South America collections, and its open-air music concerts held during the spring and fall seasons.

The Desert Botanical Garden is at 1201 N Galvin Pkwy, Phoenix, AZ 85008.

7- Explore The Night Sky At The Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory

on the grounds of the Riparian Preserve, the Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory is a unique Gilbert attraction that allows the public to experience the starry Arizona night sky like never before.

The observatory was opened by the Gilbert Rotary Club in 2005 to mark its 100th anniversary and features a 16-inch (41 cm) modified Ritchey–Chrétien telescope.

Public viewings take place every Friday and Saturday evening from sunset to 9.30 p.m., with visitors also able to explore the observatory’s on-site library and museum.

The Gilbert Rotary Centennial Observatory is at 2757 E Guadalupe Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234.

8- Take In The Native Biodiversity At Usery Mountain Regional Park

Tucson Arizona Desert In Saguaro Cactuses
Exploring Usery Mountain Regional Park is one of the things to do in Gilbert, Az.

Spanning an area of more than 3,640 acres (1,473 ha) along the Goldfield Mountains’ western edge, the Usery Mountain Regional Park is an outdoor playground that has several hiking trails, native Sonoran Desert flora and a bunch of outdoor activities.

The park was formed in 1967 and was named after local 19th-century legend King Usery, a cattleman and highwayman who built a reputation as a colourful and no-nonsense character during the 1880s and 1890s.

Among the park’s biggest attractions are the eye-catching Pass Mountain, the park’s horseback riding trails, the Wind Cave and the park’s sweeping views of the entire Phoenix Metro Area.

9- See The Impressive Gilbert Arizona Temple

Measuring 85,000 square feet (7,897 m2), the Gilbert Arizona Temple is the largest temple ever constructed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is as much an unmissable landmark as it is an important house of worship.

The temple boasts a 195-foot-tall (59 m) spire, enough to make it one of the tallest structures in the Phoenix East Valley region, and was designed by Architekton’s Gregory B. Lambright.

Officially dedicated in 2014 following a construction period that started in 2010, the temple is free to visit and is truly a sight to behold in downtown Gilbert.

The Gilbert Arizona Temple is at 3301 S Greenfield Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85297.

10- Go Swinging And Dining At Topgolf

A true entertainment staple in virtually every major city in the United States, Topgolf combines golfing with food to create a light-hearted experience that’s suitable for the entire family.

Topgolf, conveniently situated in Gilbert’s SanTan Village, first opened its doors in 2014 and has since developed into one of the East Valley’s liveliest venues come sundown.

The venue’s tasty meals, sports bar, climate-controlled hitting bays and plethora of HDTVs make golfing a whole new sport that’s suitable for experienced hitters as well as complete newbies.

Topgolf is at 1689 S Santan Village Pkwy, Gilbert, AZ 85295.

11- Spend An Afternoon At Mother Nature’s Farm

The family-owned and operated Mother Nature’s Farm has been a Gilbert staple since Sam and Edie Kelsall first began cultivating the property after they purchased it in 1968.

Mother Nature’s Farm as it is today didn’t take shape until 1991 when hayrides and pumpkin sales were added to the farm’s offerings, and by 1997, the farm featured a 40-acre (16 ha) pumpkin patch and an on-site shop.

Today, the farm has developed into one of Gilbert’s most popular outdoor attractions and treats travellers to a quintessential farm experience right in the backyard of one of Phoenix’s largest suburbs.

Mother Nature’s Farm is at 1663 E Baseline Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85233.

12- Stop By The Freestone District Park

First opened to the public in 1988, the Freestone District Park was the newly established town of Gilbert’s first major district park and initially spanned an area of about 65 acres (26 ha).

The park has grown considerably since then and today features 88 acres (36 ha) of playgrounds, fields, walking pathways, 2 man-made freshwater lakes and even an amusement park, which visitors can enjoy for free.

The Freestone District Park is at 1045 E Juniper Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85234.

13- Catch A Hollywood Classic At The Regal Gilbert

The premier destination in town for catching the latest Hollywood blockbusters or enjoying a familiar classic, the Regal Gilbert is a 14-screen cinema right in the heart of the town’s downtown district.

Opened in 2001, the cinema is beloved for its upscale amenities such as comfy “king-sized” reclining seats and jam-packed concession stands.

Reopened in 2021 following a 14-month-long closure due to the COVID pandemic, the theatre is once again a lively destination in town and a must if you’re a film buff.

The Regal Gilbert is at 1012 S. Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

14- Experience A Slice Of Rural Arizona At Agritopia Farm

Touting itself as an urban farm for the local community, Agritopia got its start way in 1960 when Jim and Virginia Johnston purchased a plot of land to grow wheat and cotton.

Agritopia’s transformation into the outdoor attraction it is today didn’t start until the late 1990s when Gilbert’s rapid expansion meant that the Johnstons had to change the way the farm operated.

Since then, the farm has developed into a popular attraction in eastern Gilbert that’s spawned a flourishing surrounding residential neighbourhood in addition to its attractions and natural beauty.

Agritopia Farm is at 3000 E Ray Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85296.

15- Bounce About At Altitude Trampoline Park

Altitude Trampoline Park is a 35,000-square-foot (3,252 m2) indoor play zone where visitors can bounce around a series of trampolines and foam pits to relieve some stress and energy.

The venue opened in 2019 and is part of a chain of trampoline parks with locations in most major cities in the United States.

Among Altitude Trampoline Parks’ most notable attractions include trampoline dodgeball, ziplines, rock climbing, reaction walls and trapeze swings, perfect for a family-friendly afternoon visit.

Altitude Trampoline Park is at 701 N Gilbert Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234.

16- Shop Farm-Fresh Produce At The Gilbert Farmers Market

Organic Bio Products From Farmers Market
Shopping at the Gilbert Farmers Market is one of the things to do in Gilbert, AZ this weekend.

About 100 vendors set up shop in the Gilbert Farmers Market every Saturday morning between 7 am and 12 pm, making it the largest open-air market in the town of Gilbert.

The market takes place during summer, fall and spring, and was first organised in October 2010 with fewer than 30 vendors.

Food trucks, live entertainment and family-friendly festivities combine with farm fresh produce and homemade treats to create a vibrant shopping experience in downtown Gilbert that’s completely free to enjoy.

The Gilbert Farmers Market is at 222 N Ash St, Gilbert, AZ 85234.

17- Explore The Expansive Southeast Regional Library

Boasting a collection of more than 170,000 books, manuscripts and other forms of media, the 66,000-square-foot (6,132 m2) Southeast Regional Library is among the leading cultural institutions in Gilbert.

The library first opened its doors to the Gilbert public in 1999 and has since developed a reputation as a high-tech research venue where visitors of all ages can learn valuable skills such as programming and web development.

The Southeast Regional Library is at 775 N Greenfield Rd, Gilbert, AZ 85234.

18- Stop By Water Tower Plaza

Home to Gilbert’s famous Water Tower, the Water Tower Plaza is a busy downtown destination due to its central location and plethora of activities.

The compact park was formed in 2008 and covers an area of about 0.7 acres (0.3 ha), and serves as the centrepiece of Gilbert’s Heritage District.

Among the park/plaza’s most popular attractions are its splash pad, the Gilbert Water Tower and the nearby Adobe Pump House, formerly Gilbert’s first jail.

Water Tower Plaza is at 45 W Page Ave, Gilbert, AZ 85233.

19- Golf Like Never Before At Imagine 3D Mini Golf

Imagine 3D Mini Golf is an indoor, 18-hole miniature golf course that uses black lighting and eye-catching 3D art to create a unique mini golfing experience in Gilbert.

Opened in 2019, Imagine 3D Mini Golf is among the more recent venues to join the East Valley region’s already long list of attractions and is situated just a short 2.6-mile (4 km) drive north of downtown Gilbert.

The venue’s unique and colourful interior coupled with the 3D glasses golfers are required to wear whilst playing creates a light-hearted and family-friendly golfing experience that’s among the top activities to partake in in Gilbert.

Imagine 3D Mini Golf is at 785 W Warner Rd Suite A107, Gilbert, AZ 85233.

20- Plan A Day Trip To Downtown Phoenix

3 Cities & Nature Tour. Shop, Art, History, Food. Scottsdale, Phoenix, & Tempe
Exploring downtown Phoenix is one of the things to do from Gilbert, AZ today.

Arguably Gilbert’s biggest draw as a travel destination is its proximity to Phoenix, Arizona’s largest city and the 5th most populated city in the United States.

Gilbert is situated about 22 miles (35 km) southeast of downtown Phoenix, a district that’s nationally renowned for its vibrant nightlife, award-winning dining scene and world-class cultural landmarks.

Whilst downtown Phoenix is littered with far too many landmarks and attractions to take in during one trip, be sure not to miss out on stopping by the Phoenix Art Museum, Roosevelt Row, Chase Field and CityScape Phoenix.

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Mark Westwood is a Seattle-based writer who writes for various online blogs and travel websites. In 2017, he went on a 12-month road trip across the USA visiting many iconic landmarks and small towns along the way. Having explored over 20 countries, his favourite places to date are along the west coast of the USA but he is happiest anywhere where there are mountains and ocean.