Sedona, AZ, is surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet. Beautiful red rock formations invite you to explore them on foot, by bike and from scenic overlooks while driving around in your car. Visit Sedona’s museums to learn about the art and history of the area, sample delicious wines along the Verde Valley Wine Trail, and dine at great restaurants. Best things to do in Sedona, Arizona, with kids include: Oak Creek Canyon, Palatki Ruins and the Sedona Heritage Museum.
1.Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon
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Visiting Oak Creek Canyon can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a whole day. The canyon is considered a smaller cousin of the Grand Canyon, but it is no less spectacular and it's a free Sedona attraction to visit. Start at Oak Creek Canyon Vista for a magnificent birds-eye view of the canyon down the road.
You can enjoy the canyon vista from your car on one of many overlooks, but you will have much more fun if you park at one of the picnic areas and visit the numerous swimming holes filled with crystal clear water or stretch your legs on a walk down one of the many hiking trails. Midgely Bridge has an unforgettable view, and it’s one of the best places for photos. Oak Creek Canyon is one of the best things to do in Sedona, Arizona.
2.Sedona Star Gazing
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You feel magic in Sedona wherever you go, but contemplating distant galaxies while sitting in the dark surrounded by vibrant red rocks is an otherworldly experience. If you are looking for best things to do at night, stargazing is a fun activity. Sedona has little light pollution and more than 300 clear days. Furthermore, the high altitudes make the area truly fantastic for watching stars. Evening Sky Tours give you the opportunity to see galaxies, planets, star clusters, constellations by using custom built and state-of-the-art telescopes.
On certain nights, you will be able to see Saturn and its rings. Experienced professional astronomers will be there to help you make sense of what you are seeing, and they are always happy to point you in the right direction. Kids in particular will love every minute of this experience. The groups are small with a maximum 12 people, so you will get the full attention of your guides. (Phone: 928-853-9778)
3.Palatki Heritage Site
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Palatki Ruins are a designated World Heritage Site, and they provide a unique perspective on the culture of ancient inhabitants. They are the largest cliff dwellings in Red Rock country and a cool place to visit on your romantic weekend trip. The Palatki site is filled with cliff dwellings, pictographs, and petroglyphs created by the Southern Sinagua people. Archeologists believe that this ancient Indian tribe inhabited the Sedona and Verde Valley area from 500 AD to about 1425 AD.
They mysteriously left the area, although their departure was probably influenced by enemy tribes or because of prolonged drought.
Be prepared to do some hiking; there are three trails at Palatki. One takes you up to the Sinagua cliff dwellings, one to the other dwellings, and a third to the alcoves that shelter the painted symbols. The trails are a quarter of a mile long and not too difficult if you are reasonably fit. The area next to the cliff dwellings is limited to ten visitors at a time.
4.Devil's Bridge Trail
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Hiking up the trail is the best way to experience the majesty of Devil’s Bridge, the largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area. This popular hike is suitable for casual hikers who are concerned they are not being fit enough for some of the more challenging hikes, but it also has options for more adventurous nature lovers. The trail from the first trail marker is fairly easy, and it is lined with lovely juniper and prickly pear cactus.
Once you reach the trailhead at the elevation of 4,600 feet, there are about 400 feet of rough climbing that will get your heart racing. However, once you reach the end, you will realize the hard work was worth it: the view will leave you even more breathless than the climb.
5. Verde Valley Wine Trail
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If you like to explore on your own, then you will really appreciate the Verde Valley Wine Trail. Just be sure to bring someone who is willing to be the designated driver, because you will be tasting a lot of wine. Along the trail, you will visit five wineries and six tasting rooms: Cottonwood, Jerome, Sedona, Clarkdale, and Cornville. Each winery is unique and produces its own completely distinct wines.
Enjoy sampling their wines and driving through the magnificent red rock canyon, full of lush greenery and rich in history. In the heart of the Verde Valley lies the small, charming town of Cottonwood, surrounded by old cottonwoods, jagged mountains, mesas, and buttes. Located high above the desert heat but not high enough for Arizona High Country cold, Cottonwood has ideal conditions for producing excellent wine grapes.
6.SaltRock Southwest Kitchen, Sedona, AZ
© SaltRock Southwest Kitchen
If you are looking for date night ideas while in Sedona, spend an evening on the SaltRock restaurant’s outdoor patio indulging yourself with their fabulous Smoked Trout Pate, sipping a margarita, and appreciating the view of the magnificent Sedona red rocks. If it happens to be snowing or raining, not to worry – their dining room is just as beautiful. The room is full of light and features contemporary and understated décor, allowing the natural view and their fabulous food to shine.
Chef Massimo De Francesca takes Southwest cuisine to the next level, combining Southwestern traditions with modern California flavors and techniques. He uses fresh seasonal ingredients from Arizona’s Verde Valley to create treats such as Braised Lamb Tostada with Smoked goat cheese, epazote, and tomatillo-apple salsa. Their drinks menu features agave-based drinks, meaning that you have the chance to try some really interesting margaritas. Read more
100 Amara Lane, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-340-8803
7.Sedona Heritage Museum
© Sedona Heritage Museum
The Sedona Heritage Museum is located on a preserved homestead that was once the property of the Jordan family but today serves as a historic park. The Sedona Historical Society, the owner of the museum, works together with the community to preserve the history of Sedona. The Museum is focused on the work and lifestyles of the Sedona pioneers, from 1876 to today.
There are 3,000 artifacts, about 30,000 old photographs, more than 300 audio and video history tapes, and a research library containing more than 500 volumes of documents, books, and clippings. There are two hands-on programs for school kids: they can embark on a scavenger hunt or dig through the Museum's activity book.
735 Jordan Road, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-7038
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8.Sedona Arts Center
© Sedona Arts Center
Sedona's first art center, called "Canyon Kiva," was established in 1958 in the old Jordan Apple Packing Barn that is now known as the Art Barn. Renamed Sedona Arts Center in 1961, it became, as it is today, the hub of the community's social and creative life. The Center was greatly expanded with the addition of a new building that houses the community theatre, an art gallery, and a classroom space.
The Arts Center emphasizes the important education, as evidenced by their modern School of the Arts and numerous visual art exhibitions. The gallery has the largest selection of artwork by Sedona artists in the country.
15 Art Barn Road, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-3809
9.Wine Tours of Sedona
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Wine Tours of Sedona offer you the exciting opportunity to visit some of the best wineries in Northern Arizona. The tours are completely private and customizable. You choose where you want to go, and knowledgeable guide Jim Reich, who knows the area, its history, and its wines, will accompany you. The car is enclosed and air-conditioned, protecting you from the heat and the red dust for which the area is famous.
You can choose any of their regular tours, from the three-hour-long Arizona Estate Vineyard Tasting Experience to the ten-hour-long Bachelorette Special. Several tours even include a one-hour massage. For an additional fee, you can visit a restaurant along the way, or you can ask Jim to organize a picnic.
10.Heartline Cafe, Sedona, AZ
© Heartline Cafe
Tucked below Thunder Mountain in West Sedona lies Heartline Café, a restaurant with a few pleasant surprises. One is an exquisite secret garden, the perfect place for a romantic lunch. You will find dishes made from carefully selected ingredients, many of which are organic and gluten-free, and that have been creating using a farm-to-table philosophy.
The flavors are blended to perfection and dishes are so beautifully presented that they look like art. Heartline Café has an extensive wine list, but you might want to try their beer Blue Moon, a Belgian White made by their own brewmaster Keith Villa.
1610 West State Route 89A, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-3365
11.Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano
© Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante
Located in a beautiful Italianate villa surrounded by a luscious garden, Dahl&DiLuca is a romantic Italian restaurant known for its elegance and old world charm. It’s the kind of place where you will want to wear your best dress or tie, even if it isn’t specifically required. Refined European décor and the grotto-like rock walls provide just the right setting for the traditional Italian food, homemade pastas, and some excellent Italian wines.
Chef Lisa Dahl uses freshest ingredients for her nightly specials, adhering to a farm-to-table practice by working with local producers and growers. Try her pasta, which is fast becoming legendary. Frequent live music provided by a pianist on a baby grand in the corner of the dining room add to the intimate ambience.
2321 State Rte 89A, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-5219
12.Sedona AZ: Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village
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Tlaquepaque is Sedona's famous Arts & Crafts Village. Flowering vines cover stucco walls, cobble-stoned walkways lead to bubbling cool fountains, and entryways offer glimpses of beautiful art within. The Village is located on the banks of Oak Creek and shaded by the old sycamore trees.
Enjoy strolling through more than 40 unique shops and colorful galleries where you will see one-of-a kind art pieces in all mediums, from Western bronze sculptures, traditional ceramics, breathtakingly beautiful blown glass, Southwestern fine art paintings, weavings, photographs, decorative arts, fine jewelry, designer silk, and leather wear, among other wares. The Village was envisioned as an art colony, so you still might get a glimpse of a sculptor working with complete focus on his piece of stone or metal.
336 State Route 179, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-4838
© Creekside Sedona
Creekside Sedona is an American bistro-style restaurant with two patios and a charming, well-lit dining room. Nearby, a picturesque creek runs through the magnificent Oak Creek Canyon, providing guests with a spectacular vista. The view is only matched by Chef Mercer Mohr’s delicious fare. He sources his ingredients locally, using organic produce and products whenever possible.
The menu changes weekly, but popular signature dishes are always available. Most of the fare is comfort food that has been infused with the Chef Mohr’s personal touches. Breakfasts at Creekside are also legendary. You can also enjoy one of their special cocktails on a separate patio by the creek.
Creekside Plaza, 251 Arizona 179 B7, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-1705
14.Sedona Red Rock Tours
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Sedona Red Rock Tours will take you on a tour of Sedona vortexes and offer you a unique, first-hand experience with vortex energy. A vortex is a place near or on an interesting rock or rock formation where people feel a beneficial source of energy. Sedona is famous for its many well-known and celebrated vortexes. Sedona Red Rock Tours Company is authorized by the US Forest Service to take you directly to the vortex sites where the spiritual energy fields work their magic. You will be picked up in an air-conditioned vehicle and taken on one of their many tours.
Depending on your choice, tours take from 90 minutes to four hours. You will be guided by trained guides who will tell you anecdotes about each site you visit, their history, and what people have experienced there in the past. You will do a lot of hiking, so bring good shoes. The tour will provide the rest: water, snacks, sunscreen, and even rain gear and blankets when necessary.
Next read: Best Restaurants in Sedona
15.Picazzo's, Sedona, AZ
If you are a pizza lover but gluten-intolerant, finding a pizza you can safely eat and enjoy becomes something of a life. Picazzo’s, an organic Italian restaurant, is the solution to your problem, and what they have to offer will thrill you. This lively, spacious, and welcoming establishment is proud to have not only an extensive gluten-free menu, but also to have gluten-free beer that goes wonderfully with your pizza.
They take health very seriously at Picazzo’s. Restaurant staff and managers try to make sure that everything they offer is fresh, organic, non-GMO, antibiotics-, nitrates-, and hormones-free. They support the “farm-to-plate” movement and source their ingredients locally whenever available. Picazzo’s also features an entire menu for people with food allergies and intolerances. You can happily order your Pizza Putanesca without gluten, eggs, peanuts, or shellfish – you will only find delicious goodness from the oven. They also have more than 40 vegetarian and vegan dishes.
1855 W. Highway 89A, Sedona, Arizona, Phone: 928-282-4140
16.Sedona AZ: Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park
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On your trip to Sedona, you will hear a lot about vortexes and spiritual energy. One of the most visited spots for seekers of peace and enlightenment are 36-foot tall Amitabha Stupa and the surrounding Peace Park. Charming cacti, juniper pine, and the red rocks surround the stupa, a consecrated Buddhist shrine set in a stunningly beautiful part of West Sedona. Stupas are a very old form of sacred architecture, built to inspire peace and prosperity.
People come from all over the world to see a rare stupa outside of the Asian Buddhist countries, and they spend time near the stupa meditating, praying, and experiencing peace. The stupa sits on fourteen-acre Peace Park, which is considered auspiciously sacred because of its location between Chimney Rock and Thunder Mountain.
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17.Northern Light Balloon Expeditions
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Watching the sunrise over the red rocks around Sedona from a hot air balloon is an amazing experience. You can see for miles around you as you hover in total silence above the majestic natural rock formations and see the world as the birds see it. The flight lasts one to three hours and ends with a delicious Champagne breakfast picnic in the area where the balloon lands. Northern Light Balloon Company is the oldest company of its kind in Sedona, with several smaller balloons that fit up to seven people and one larger balloon that can accommodate up to 12 passengers. (Phone: 928-282-2274)
25 Best Things to Do in Sedona, Arizona
- Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon, Photo: Courtesy of mtkitchn - Fotolia.com
- Sedona Star Gazing, Photo: Courtesy of Flat Nine Photo - Fotolia.com
- Palatki Heritage Site , Photo: Courtesy of megasquib - Fotolia.com
- Devil's Bridge Trail, Photo: Courtesy of brizardh - Fotolia.com
- Verde Valley Wine Trail , Photo: Courtesy of Ardy Photo - Fotolia.com
- SaltRock Southwest Kitchen, Sedona, AZ, Photo: SaltRock Southwest Kitchen
- Sedona Heritage Museum , Photo: Sedona Heritage Museum
- Sedona Arts Center, Photo: Sedona Arts Center
- Wine Tours of Sedona , Photo: Courtesy of chiyacat - Fotolia.com
- Heartline Cafe, Sedona, AZ, Photo: Heartline Cafe
- Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante Italiano, Photo: Dahl & Di Luca Ristorante
- Sedona AZ: Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village , Photo: Courtesy of Alexey Stiop - Fotolia.com
- Creekside Sedona, Photo: Creekside Sedona
- Sedona Red Rock Tours, Photo: Courtesy of km johnson - Fotolia.com
- Picazzo's, Sedona, AZ, Photo: Picazzo's
- Sedona AZ: Amitabha Stupa & Peace Park , Photo: Courtesy of sam antonio photo - Fotolia.com
- Northern Light Balloon Expeditions , Photo: Courtesy of jon manjeot - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Alexey Stiop - Fotolia.com