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things to do in sedona arizona

20 Best Things To Do In Sedona - Arizona - Bucket List Video Guide

Published on December 31, 2018 by Our Roving Reporter

20 Best Things To Do In Sedona - Arizona

 

Sedona, also known as the “Red Rock Country” is set amidst stunning red rock mountain ranges, canyons, and buttes. It is unarguably one of Arizona’s most beautiful travel destinations. The sights to see in Sedona are uniquely Arizonian and they are nothing less than stunning. Sedona is also known as a spiritual center, mostly due to its energy vortexes. This city certainly has a distinct vibe that attracts visitors with various interests.

The city boasts of marvelous natural areas and picturesque drives to Native American culture, galleries, sacred sites, architectures, and ruins. Some of the best things to do in Sedona will not cost much. And a lot of them are free, like hiking, mountain biking, and stargazing. You would have to bring your own equipment for the activities, though. Sedona is also a designated Dark Sky Community. Some tourists and visitors see Sedona on a day trip from nearby Phoenix, but staying in this city is definitely worth it.

If you plan to travel to Sedona, Arizona, here is our list of the 10 best things to see and do in the city:

Things To Do In Sedona - No 1

See Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock is an iconic tourist spot in town, and arguably one of the state’s most gorgeous sights. You can see the gorgeous red rock all the way from Highway 179 as you drive fro, Oak Creek Village into Sedona, or from other back routes available. The most classic view is from Red Rock Crossing Park, at the Crescent Moon Picnic Site. Should you wish to climb up this truly astonishing rock formation, a hiking trail will lead you up to the saddle, where you will be greeted by a remarkable 360 view of the places below. Cathedral Rock is also the location on an energy vortex.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 2

Shop in Uptown Sedona

 

Uptown Sedona is a quaint little old town in the city, where you will find boutiques, tourist shops, restaurants, cafes, and art galleries. This place runs along Highway 89A, starting where Highway 179 ends. You will cross Uptown Sedona if you are driving up Oak Creek Canyon towards Flagstaff.  There aren’t a lot to see here, but the establishments in this town include almost everything from craft and jewelry stores to crystal shops, and casual restaurants, and cafes. So even though they fall short of natural wonders that this town is famous for, they make up for it with the impressive craftsmanship of their artisans.

Uptown Sedona is also an ideal place if you are thinking of staying there for a little while longer. If you stay at a hotel in Uptown, you can appreciate the place more by walking to dinner and strolling down to Tlaquepaque to look through fascinating shops, restaurants, or sign up for day tours that begin from the main street.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 3

Enjoy Oak Creek Canyon

This spectacular natural wonder is just an upstream from Sedona, towards nearby Flagstaff. Oak Creek Canyon boasts of amazing rock formations, forests and cliff walls that line the scenic road, Highway 89A, that follows Oak Creek before climbing up the canyon along a panoramic length of winding road with switchbacks. The steep hills and sharp corners make this road hazardous for night time driving. One of the highlights of this attraction is Slide Rock State Park. Aside from that, you will also find breathtaking hiking trails along this route that will make you want to lie low from technology and connect with nature even more. One of the top hiking paths here is the West Fork Trail.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 4

Take the Jeep Tours

The Jeep Tour is one of the most exciting things to do in Sedona, Arizona. This tour allows you to see and explore places in the town that you couldn’t do on foot and without an off-road vehicle. The jeep would also take you to spots and areas that you didn’t think was possible in a jeep. One of the most popular tours, The Broken Arrow Jeep Tour takes 2 full hours of off-road adventures through rough terrain and see some of the landmark rock formations that made Sedona a one of a kind town in Arizona. These jeeps are open-air jeeps that are iconic in their own right. Brace yourself for a bumpy ride, though. The assigned drivers are also the tour guides because they are knowledgeable to share the history and interesting geology of the place.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 5

Bring Your Bike to the Mountain Biking Trails

If you love biking, then you probably know by now that Sedona is one of the best mountain biking spots in the entire country. The trails in this town are exceptional and they provide a bit of something for every biker pro or novice. Except for several snowy days, you can pretty much enjoy the town’s terrain with your mountain bike. Trails wind their paths through the impressive mountain panoramic view, on dirt, and along spots of slickrock. A few of these trails lead across popular attractions like Cathedral Rock, Doe Mesa, and Bell Rock.

There are also bike repair shops in the area, along with bike rental shops and maps. One of the best trails here is Over the Edge Sports in the western part of Sedona. The biking trails are marked and ranked on the maps according to level of difficulty.

Make sure that you have your camera with you too, because the mountain trails on Sedona offer some of the best views in town.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 6

Visit the Energy Vortexes

Sedona is also famous for its energy vortexes that are found in natural locations around the town. What is an energy vortex, you ask? These are presumably the centers of energy that can inspire healing, spirituality, and self-awareness. There are also vortexes with different properties; some are masculine vortexes, feminine, or balanced vortexes. Some of the most accessible vortexes are found near the threshold of the Boynton Canyon hike and Enchantment Resort; nearby an overlook at the side of the road; on Cathedral Rock, and Airport Mesa. Airport Mesa and Boynton Canyon vortexes are two of the locations that are easiest to reach.
There are available tours where tourists and guests can learn more about the vortexes in a 2.5-hour trip.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 7

See Bell Rock

Bell Rock, a natural rock formation closely resembling a—well—bell, is one of the most popular attraction in Sedona. This formation is located just south of Sedona, in the Oak Creek village. It is actually one of the first sites you will see if you came from down south. Bell Rock is easily accessible off the road, and this is a popular spot for tourists. You can park and take a quick look, walk up near it, or even do a brief hike along the structure. If you brought your mountain bike, an easy ride can make you appreciate the area more.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 8

Hike to Boynton Canyon

One of the most famous attractions in Sedona, Boynton Canyon, is a favorite among tourists for a string of reasons. One of which is the Boynton Canyon hiking trail. This 6 mile trail offers a panoramic view of the canyon walls, verdant vegetation, and beautiful pine trees at the far end. One more reason why people go to Boynton Canyon is because of the energy vortex that’s located at the start of the canyon. The vortex found here is one of the most accessible ones, and it doesn’t require strenuous hiking or perilously walking along the edge of a cliff to see.

If vortexes don’t interest you, though, you could still come to the canyon to enjoy some of the most breathtaking views in Arizona.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 9

See the The Grand Canyon

Any list of the top things to see and do in Sedona or Arizona won’t be complete until you have rested your eyes on the iconic and famous Grand Canyon. From Sedona, The Grand Canyon is just a 2.5 hour drive and it takes you up across the spectacular Oak Creek Canyon to Flagstaff. From that point, you can do a loop, driving across Highwway180 through Humpreys Peak to the Grand Canyon. You can spend the day awing at the beautiful red rock formations, or take a flight to get a better panoramic view of this natural wonder and even into it. To finish the loop, follow the Rim Road to Cameron and return via Highway89. Not only will this offer a magnificent scenery east of the canyon, but it will also give you the best and fastest route.

 

Things To Do In Sedona - No 10

Visit the Palatki Ruins

The Palatki Heritage Site is a well-preserved and maintained ruin site and one of the biggest Sinagua villages in Arizona. Palatki was populated by the Sinagua around 800 years ago. However, their rock art suggests that cultures inhabited this site 3000-5000 years earlier. There are two paths at the Palatki Heritage Site: one that takes guests to the Sinagua cliff dwellings, and the second trail takes them to the rock art alcoves. It is best to call first before going here to ensure that you have a spot on the day trip. A volunteer guide will show the guests around the site and give details about the history and rich tapestry of culture that the Sinagua people had.

A short drive from the heritage site takes guests to the Honanki Cliff Dwellings. This spot was occupied from 1130-1280AD, and initially contained around 60 rooms and an unidentified number of pictographs. These cliff dwellings show how exceptional the Sinagua people are in terms of architecture and arts.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 11

Stargaze

The town of Sedona is nothing short of magical, from its energy vortexes, the stunning geography, and even the stars in its skies. Indeed, you feel magic in Sedona, regardless of where you look—even up. Seeing beautiful red rocks with big and bright stars in the sky is another otherworldly experience that’s offered by Sedona. This town has very little light pollution and mostly clear days, which make this quaint town in Arizona the ideal place for watching stars. Its high altitude is also advantageous for star-lovers. There are stargazing tours offered by Evening Sky Tours in Sedona, Arizona; they provide the chance to see star clusters, galaxies, planets, stars, and constellations using their state-of-the-art telescopes.

If you are lucky, you will also able to see Saturn and its rings, and you will be guided by professional astronomers and help you make sense of what you are seeing. (Phone: 928-853-9778)

Things To Do In Sedona - No 12

Enjoy Wine at  Verde Valley

Exploring on your own has probably never been this fun. If you prefer not to have tour guides around, then it is almost a guarantee that you would enjoy the Verde Valley Wine Trail. However, make sure you bring a designated driver because you will be sampling a lot of wines. Along the wine trail, there are 5 wineries and 6 tasting rooms to visit: Jerome, Cottonwood, Sedona, Clarkdale, and Cornville. Those are wineries unique in their own right, and produce their own different wine that’s uniquely theirs. On this trip, you will enjoy sampling wines and driving through stunning red rock valley, with verdant greenery, and rich history. In the heart of Sedona is the quaint little Cottonwood, where it is high enough to produce exceptional wine grapes.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 13

Dine at  SaltRock Southwest Kitchen

A lot of things are magical in Sedona, and food isn’t an exception. Enjoy a magical date night with your date as you feast on Smoked Trout Pate in SaltRock Restaurant’s outdoor patio, while marveling at the spectacular Sedona red rocks. If it’s raining, though, their dining room is just as spectacular.

Their chef, Chef Massimo De Francesca fuses Southwest cuisine with contemporary California flavors and styles. He only uses the best and freshest seasonal ingredients from Verde Valley to whip up succulent dishes like Braised Lamb Tostada with smoked goat cheese and salsa, among many others.

100 Amara Lane, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-340-8803

Things To Do In Sedona - No 14

Learn at Sedona Heritage Museum

 

Sedona Heritage Museum is situated on a well-preserved farmhouse that was initially the property of the Jordan Family, but now functions as a historic park. The present owner of the museum, The Sedona Heritage Museum, collaborates with the community to preserve Sedona’s rich and colorful history. This museum is focused on featuring the work and lifestyles of the Sedona pioneers from 1876 to present. They showcase 3,000 artifacts, around 30,000 old photographs, over 300 audio and video historic tapes, and a library containing over 500 volumes of documents, books, and clippings.

735 Jordan Road, Phone: 928-282-7038

Things To Do In Sedona - No 15

Meditate at  Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park

Sedona is the ultimate place in Arizona for spiritual energy and self-awareness. A lot of spots in Sedona are visited for enlightenment, but one of the most visited spots are the 36-foot tall Amitabha Stupa and the Peace Park Surrounding it. Layers of lovely cacti, juniper pine, and the Arizona red rocks envelope the stupa, a sacred Buddhist shrine situated in a gorgeous spot of West Sedona.

People from all over the world visit here to see an unusual stupa outside of Asian Buddhist countries. They spend most of the time off their visit here to meditate, reflect, and experience an existential kind of peace. This structure perches on 14-acre Peace Park, which is considered sacred because of its proximity between Chimney Rock and Thunder Mountain. 877-788-7229

Things To Do In Sedona - No 16

Join the Northern Light Balloon Expedition

Watching the sunrise over the Sedona red rocks is an amazing experience, but watching the sunrise from a hot air balloon? That has got to be an experience of a lifetime. You can see a panoramic view of Sedona as you hover in total serenity and peace above the spectacular rock formations. The hot air balloon expedition lasts one to three hours, and concludes with a lovely Champagne breakfast picnic where the balloons land. The oldest hot air balloon in here is Northern Light Balloon Company, and they have several smaller balloons that can fit 7 people, and one larger balloon that can fit up to 12 passengers. (Phone: 928-282-2274)

 

Things To Do In Sedona - No 17

Get Creative at Sedona Arts Center

Canyon Kiva, the first art center of Sedona, was founded in 1957 right in the old Jordan Apple Packing Barn, now known as the Art Barn. In 1961, it was renamed Sedona Arts Center, as it became the heart of the Sedonian community’s creative life. Sedona Arts Center was expanded with the additional new building that is for the Community Theater, classroom space, and art gallery.
Sedona Arts Center stresses on the importance of education, which is proven by their contemporary School of the Arts and several visual art presentations. This gallery has the biggest selection of artworks and masterpieces by Sedona artists in the country. 15 Art Barn Road, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-3809

Things To Do In Sedona - No 18

Appreciate art at Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village

The folks in Sedona take their art seriously. And why wouldn’t they, when they are surrounded by amazing natural and man-made masterpieces? This place has a frequently visited art and crafts village, the Tlaquepaque. Beautiful flowering vines envelope stucco walls, rustic cobble-stoned walkways lead to stunning water fountains and entryways that lead to amazing Sedonian art within.

Aside from visual art, you will also enjoy strolling through over 40 shops and colorful galleries that feature unique masterpieces in different mediums: bronze sculptures, beautiful blown glass, traditional China ceramics, and Southern fine art weaving and paintings.
336 State Route 179, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-4838

Things To Do In Sedona - No 19

Pray at the Chapel of the Holy Cross

The most spectacular sight of Sedona can be accessed through a quick drive up to the Chapel of the Holy Cross. It is a magnificent man-made wonder that shows the one-of-a-kind architectural skills of the people who designed and built it. It is the most unique church in the country, since no other church was constructed between two huge red rocks. The church is not open for regular services, but people can come here to meditate, pray, or light a candle for a loved one. The breathtaking view inside and out of the church is a combination of both natural and man-made wonder in this part of the country.

Things To Do In Sedona - No 20

Enjoy a Prickly Pear Ice Cream

Sedona, as much as the town is brimming with art, beauty, and magic, is also loaded with all kinds of indulgences and stuff to spoil yourself with, like high-end shops, comfort style restaurants, and ice cream shops! The best one to try is Black Cow Café, a quaint local shop that features homemade ice cream,, pasties, apple pie, and specialty drinks.

There are a ton of ice cream flavors available, but you should definitely try the Prickly Pear Ice Cream. It is a southwestern specialty that is just pure bliss. Pair it with their also homemade waffle for a truly fantastic ice cream experience.

 

At a glance, Sedona might seem like it doesn't offer a lot more than red rocks. However, if one would visit this town in  Arizona, he or she would truly see what wonders, magic, vortexes, art, and beauty really happens behind the curtain of glorious red rocks that this town is famous for.

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