This small town in northern Arizona draws millions of visitors every year because of its natural beauty, arts scene, and spiritual significance. Sedona lies in the colorful red rock country, with sections of desert and forests. There are also beautiful canyons and streams. The varied landscapes afford multiple opportunities for sightseeing, recreation, and adventure. The following is a review of the top things to do in Sedona.
Explore Oak Creek Canyon, Montezuma Castle and More
Awesome wild country surrounds Sedona. You can take tours or do your own exploring. Bizarre (and sometimes comical) limestone formations abound, including buttes, mesas, cliffs, and spires. In the mountains and ponderosa pine forests, you can admire the views and perhaps get a glimpse of wildlife.
Be sure to make time for a scenic drive down into Oak Creek Canyon, a gorgeous abyss lined with cottonwood and sycamore trees. Other natural attractions worth checking out are the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a replica of a Mexican village in a cliff 200 feet above a canyon floor; Montezuma Castle and Walnut Canyon, national monuments featuring ancient cliff dwellings; and the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument.
Nearby is the mountain town of Jerome, which contains the Mine Museum, art galleries, and wineries. The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is just 110 miles from Sedona.
Hike Fish and More at the Red Rock and Slide Rocks State Parks
This area’s natural diversity provides an array of outdoor opportunities across nearly 2 million acres of public land. The sandstone expanses are a paradise for mountain bikers. You can rent electric bikes, as well as Jeeps and Segways.
In the Coconino National Forest, the Red Rock and Slide Rocks state parks, and four national monuments, the options include hiking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, rafting, and kayaking. You can even snow ski in the winter.
This community of fewer than 11,000 people is not known for its nightlife, but there are plenty of fun things to do after the sun goes down. The Sedona Performing Arts Center, a glistening modern structure, hosts musical, dancing, and theatrical productions.
The Mary D. Fisher Theatre shows independent, foreign, and documentary movies; and is the site of an annual international film festival. The Blazin’ M Ranch Western Dinner Theater promises an ‘Old West experience,” involving a barbecue chicken and ribs supper followed by live cowboy music. The Cliff Castle Casino Hotel has slot machines, blackjack tables, an electronic roulette wheel, video poker, and a poker room.
Shop and Dine in Uptown Sedona
Souvenir hunters and antique collectors love searching for treasures to buy in Sedona. Many of the boutiques sell one-of-a-kind items. In addition to the arts and crafts shops, there are stores offering clothing, shoes, and accessories; antiques and gifts; health and healing products; metaphysical crystal and vortex items; gems, minerals, and jewelry; and furniture and home décor.
Five primary shopping and dining districts include the popular Uptown Sedona, with its stores and outdoor plazas. Don’t miss the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village, a re-created traditional Mexican town in a sycamore grove along Oak Creek, where you can watch artisans make their creations.
Restaurants serve Southwest, Mexican, Japanese, and traditional American dishes. You can get fish from Oak Creek, beef from area ranches, and local fruits and vegetables. There are also pizza parlors, dessert and sweets boutiques, and coffee and tea shops.
Sedona has a pair of wineries, and other such establishments are found just outside town. Tours are available. You may also want to visit the Oak Creek Brewing Co. Sedona offers a number of bars and cantinas.
Visit the Sedona Heritage Museum
This National Historic Place consists of a restored stone and wood house, a tool shed, and a tractor shed. Additional buildings are the Schuerman Homestead House, the Tenthouse (a replica of a 19th century portable home), a telegraph office that appeared in two John Wayne films, and a research library.
Permanent exhibits are displayed in four sections: Early Settlers, Ranchers and Cowboys, Orchard Industry, Movies Made in Sedona, and Sedona Schnebly (for whom the town is named). The site is within the Jordan Historical Park, a green space in the uptown area where you can stroll on walking paths and have a picnic beneath shade trees.
Enjoy Sedona’s Healing, Spas and Wellness Centers
New Agers believe this picturesque community is a “spiritual vortex,” a center of “earth energy.” The area was sacred to the indigenous people, as well. “Spiritual” and “mystical” tours of the supposedly magical sites are available.
Psychics, aura readers, and spiritual healers are among the mental-wellness practitioners who set up shop in town. For more information, contact the Sedona Metaphysical Spiritual Society. There are also yoga studios, spas with hot mineral-water baths, massage parlors, salons, and hypnotherapists.
Arts and Crafts
More than 80 art galleries line the streets in several shopping districts, including a popular area known as Gallery Row.
Shops sell paintings, sculptures, jewelry, photography, stained glass, ceramics, wood carvings, and Native American weavings and kachina dolls. You can get a map of the boutiques and design your own walking tour.