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things to do in gilbert az
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15 Fun Things to Do in Gilbert, AZ

In 1902, a rail line was being established between Phoenix and Florence — but a portion of land in between was privately owned. The Arizona Eastern Railway received the donation of right of way from the proprietor of this land, a Mr. William Gilbert, whose name was bestowed upon the town that eventually developed in the area. Today, Gilbert is a vibrant community filled with nature, nightlife, the arts and more. Whether you’re new in town or want to explore your hometown a bit more intimately, keep reading: we’ve curated the best and most popular things to do in “Kindness USA” (yep, that’s Gilbert’s official nickname)!
gilbert historical museum
1. Gilbert Historical Museum
HD South, home of the interactive Gilbert Historical Museum, offers visitors a chance to explore the city’s history up close and personal. The building is actually historic in and of itself and sits as a part of the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, you’ll find artifacts tracing back to the days when Gilbert was known as The Hay Capital of the World.
riparian preserve
2. Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch
If you’re wondering what “riparian” means, it’s an ecological term used to denote where fresh water meets the land. The Riparian Preserve in Gilbert, AZ is the living embodiment of this definition: a little bit of marsh here, a lot of vegetation there and vibrant wildlife everywhere (the Preserve is home to almost 300 species of birds), it’s a destination for mother nature-lovers and birdwatchers alike.
3. Chandler
About a 15-minute drive from the heart of Gilbert is Chandler, a city known for its parks and tranquil blue lake. 113 acres of fishing, hiking, horseback riding and other activities make it worth the drive from downtown. The lake itself spans five acres — and in the late afternoon, creates quite the romantic setting for casual strolls and picnicking throughout the park.
gilbert farmers market
4. Gilbert Farmers Market
There’s nothing quite like a freshly-picked organically-grown apple, carrot or sweet potato, the only thing coming close being the fresh jams, purees, loaves of bread and other dishes they’re put into! Coming to the Gilbert Farmers Market, you’ll find exactly these sorts of staples and treats: bring the kids and enjoy a healthy and delicious meal as a family.
downtown gilbert
5. Downtown Gilbert
Known by the locals as the Heritage District, downtown Gilbert is a must-visit for the shopping, dining and scenery. Two universities also call this place home, giving it a ‘college town’ feel. While the vibes are hip, it’s also walkable: paved pathways make the exploring rather easy and pedestrian-friendly.
6. Mesa
Like Chandler, Mesa is a few minutes’ drive from Gilbert, and like Chandler, the drive is worth it. If the pull of canyon-carved hills — complete with scenic hiking opportunities — isn’t enough to get you to lace up your traveling shoes, the town’s wide offerings of museums, stadiums and theaters might be more your beat.
7. TopGolf
A sports bar, a restaurant and golf bays all in one, TopGolf is an enticing draw for golfers — as well as those who have never touched a club in their life. Three stories of dining and entertainment, it’s like a sophisticated, golf-themed version of those arcades you loved as a kid, with the kind of buzz and excitement to make you lose track of time (in a good way).
water tower
8. Water Tower
While the water tower is what sticks out against the skyline in Gilbert, AZ, the hidden-from-view grassy plaza is what will keep you lingering during your visit. Concerts-in-the-park, vendors (such as food trucks), a children's play area and more create a laidback and fun vibe for the whole family here.
hale center theater
9. Hale Centre Theatre
A staple in the community, the Hale Theatre puts on productions of Broadway plays and shows designed to entertain all ages. At a 350 seating capacity, the venue brings a cozy, intimate feel, which is heightened by the arena style seating surrounding the stage. Take the kids to see a musical for a day — or enroll them in the theater-offered drama classes for a week or more!
10. Barbecue
Whether you’re craving ribs, brisket, pulled pork, steak, fish or veggies, it’s all on the menu in any of Gilbert’s foodie-loving BBQ establishments, like the famous Joe's Farm Grill, in Heritage District and beyond. On the western end of the BBQ trail that lines the South, you can taste influences from Texas and Kansas City styles of searing and firing from AZ’s neighbors to the east — along with rubs, spices and sauces unique to the locally owned restaurants in Gilbert itself.
11. Scottsdale
If you’re spending an extended length of time in Gilbert, consider taking a day to venture out to Scottsdale, about a 30-minute drive from the city. There, you’ll find a mix between urban delights (The food! The art galleries! The shopping centers!) and a nature-lover’s paradise (miles and miles of hiking trails as far as the eye can see line rolling hills with scenic, panoramic views).
hiking trails
12. Hiking Trails
The miles and miles of hiking trails, though, isn’t just limited to Scottsdale; Gilbert is also home to traversable mountain ranges, buttes and bluffs for all skill levels. You can even get in a dose of adventurous ascension at the Riparian Preserve, which has an elevation gain of about 27 feet defined by a two-mile trail.
recreation centers
13. Recreation Centers
A fitting example of the comfortable, family-oriented vibe Gilbert presents, the many recreation centers dotting the city offer opportunities of learning, exercising, outdoor activities and more for all ages. Take advantage of the local programs, gym space for basketball courts and volleyball and other sports, and facilities to meet and connect with other Gilbert residents — and get a taste of “small town feel” in the big city.
mini golf
14. Mini Golf
A favorite of Gilbertians, mini golf makes the perfect team outing, date night or casual Saturday morning — and Gilbert has more than one location for exploring and practicing your tee shots. Grab lunch and get in a few holes, or stop by in the evening for a full round as you marvel the color-infused scenery and whimsical architecture.
living spaces design center
After mini golfing, hiking, eating, learning and journeying out into Scottsdale, Mesa and Chandler, you might feel it’s time to enjoy home. When you’re ready to explore new design concepts and decor ideas to make home base feel as cozy, comfortable and you as possible, check out the Design Center in Living Spaces!

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