12 Things To Do in Gilbert, Arizona

Last Updated on February 9, 2024 by Emily Johnson


Nestled in the southeast valley of the Phoenix metropolitan area, Gilbert is a thriving and family-friendly town with lots to see and do. Once a small agricultural community, Gilbert has transformed into a popular suburb, drawing new residents with its excellent schools, beautiful parks and array of community events.

While the city offers a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Phoenix, there are still plenty of attractions and activities to fill your days and nights. From cultural sites and historical landmarks to shops and eateries, sports and recreation, Gilbert has something for visitors of all ages and interests. The city seamlessly blends small town charm with modern amenities and diverse entertainment options.

If you’re planning a trip or looking for things to do in the Gilbert area, here are 12 attractions and activities not to miss:

Explore Downtown Gilbert

Downtown Gilbert offers a quaint, pedestrian-friendly core where you can shop, dine out and take in the local history. Must-see stops include the Gilbert Heritage District, home to a number of preserved historical buildings like the Gilbert Elementary School built in 1913.

Grab a bite to eat at one of many restaurants housed in charming historic bungalows. Or visit the Gilbert Historical Museum to learn all about the town’s agricultural beginnings. Don’t forget to check out the many public art installations scattered around downtown too.

Tour Agritopia

Dubbed “America’s most innovative neighborhood” by TIME Magazine, Agritopia is a master-planned community built on principles of environmental sustainability and urban agriculture. Stroll through the 16-acre property to see residential homes co-existing with urban farm plots and community gardens.

Sample organic produce while connecting with your food source. The heart of Agritopia also boasts a few eateries using ingredients sourced right from the community gardens, like craft pizza joint Joe’s Farm Grill.

See the Ballet Under the Stars

From March through May, head to downtown Gilbert on Saturday evenings for a beautiful display of dance and music at the Ballet Under the Stars series.

Watch talented performers leap, twirl and dance against the backdrop of the open air amphitheater at the Southeast Regional Library Park. Bring a blanket and snacks and settle in for these free shows held every spring.

Scale Active Vertical World Indoor Rock Climbing Walls

Hone your rock climbing skills on more than 400 routes up curved walls, cracks, overhangs and roofs. The massive 25,000-square-foot facility at Active Vertical World caters to all experience levels with auto belays and harnesses sized for kids.

Sign up for daily passes or monthly memberships for access to bouldering areas, lead walls with bolted routes and a variety of master classes covering climbing techniques and safety.

Ride the Carousel at Riparian Preserve

On Saturdays between December and February, visit the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch for a ride on Arizona’s only solar-powered carousel.

This charming carousel was hand-carved and painted featuring desert creatures like Gila monsters, scorpions and tortoises in place of traditional horses. Enjoy unlimited rides for just $2 a person while taking in nice views of the lush riparian preserve.

Explore Annual Festivals

Throughout the year Gilbert hosts several family-friendly festivals like the popular Gilbert Days in November and Riparian Festival held every February. Downtown Gilbert especially comes alive during these lively celebrations that feature carnival rides, food vendors, arts and crafts booths as well as musical acts and entertainment on multiple stages.

Don’t miss the annual Cookie Festival held each December – a sweet celebration all about showcasing cookie makers and bakers from across Arizona.

Catch a Concert at Hinkle Family Fun Center

Check out the outdoor amphitheater at family fun park Hinkle for local and national music acts during spring and fall. Previous performers have included O-Town, Spin Doctors and Everclear.

Before the show, entertain the whole group with a round of mini-golf, arcade games and amusement park rides. The venue also hosts Movie Nights Under the Stars allowing you to catch classic flicks on the big screen.

Browse the Gilbert Farmers Market

On Saturday mornings, head over to Gilbert Farmers Market located in downtown Gilbert for the freshest local produce picked straight from Arizona fields and orchards. As you walk the open-air market, discover an array of vendors selling seasonal fruits and vegetables, artisanal breads, honey, jams and salsas.

Many farmers even sell heritage grains like Sonoran white wheat and colored corn once grown by ancestral tribes. Cap off your trip with an empanada or crepe from the global street food section.

Tour Schnepf Farms

This family-owned and operated farm located on 240 acres lets you pick your own fresh fruits and vegetables in season or buy directly from their harvest. From late September through October, wander through seven-acre corn maze and pick the perfect pumpkin for Halloween.

Other key events held on these agritourism grounds include the annual Peach Festival in June and Chili & Chowder Cook-Off in late fall. Don’t forget to snap a selfie with Clyde the World’s Largest Peanut – standing at over 14 feet tall!

Pig Out at Joe’s Real BBQ

Belly up to a counter seat at the original Joe’s Real BBQ for melt-in-your-mouth brisket smoked low and slow for up to 18 hours. The renowned family-owned joint smokes all meats daily over fragrant pecan wood.

Along with tender cuts of meat like ribs and pulled pork, you’ll also find classic comfort food sides like baked beans and coleslaw. If there’s a wait at the Gilbert location, hit their second shop Joe’s Real BBQ at Agritopia nearby.

Play a Round of Golf

With nearly a dozen pristine golf courses in Gilbert, you’re sure to find lush greens and beautiful vistas perfect for working on your swing. Choices for golf abound including private country clubs like Trilogy Golf Club at Power Ranch or daily-fee style courses like Western Skies Golf Course and Kokopelli Golf Club.

Many retirees and snowbirds also favor resort-style stay and play developments like Val Vista Lakes or Las Sendas community.

Conclusion


Known for its strong sense of community, rich heritage and family focus, Gilbert offers visitors and residents access to natural spaces, a charming small town vibe, sports and recreation, arts and culture, diverse cuisine, annual events and all the conveniences of city living. Whether planning a quick day trip or extended stay, discover all that awaits in this vibrant suburb located just southeast of Phoenix.

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