Gilbert, in the southeastern corner of the Metro Phoenix area, is home to a vibrant community dedicated to maintaining and creating culture. Incorporated in July 1920, its 100-year anniversary is right around the corner on July 6. Check out these unique places in Gilbert to celebrate its centennial!
Agritopia, a planned community in Gilbert, focuses on cultivating a harmonious relationship with nature. Stroll through the Farm’s pathways and take in the crops and natural beauty. The Farm, which is certified organic, is home to citrus, dates, stone fruits, and olives and the Community Garden, cared for by residents, is home to a variety of vegetables. Additionally, nearby on the Agritopia property are a handful of eateries where chefs serve fresh and delicious meals and Barnone, a space where local craftsmen sell quality goods.
Gilbert’s downtown area, known as the Heritage District, is the place to be in Gilbert. The Heritage District gives off a hip, timeless vibe and its restaurant scene is impressive. With cuisines from all around the world, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a family-friendly dinner or going bar crawling, and it’s all located in an easily-walkable area! For a family-oriented vibe, check out Joe’s Real BBQ for mouth-watering brisket or Joyride Taco House for inspired Mexican food. Adults might want to explore the White Rabbit Bar, which evokes a 1920’s speakeasy, has a hidden entrance, and requires a password to enter. Please note that restaurants have updated hours and service based on COVID-19 guidelines, so grabbing takeout from one of these restaurants is a great way to enjoy while social distancing!
At the southern end of the Heritage District is the Gilbert Historical Museum. The museum is housed in the original 1913 Gilbert Elementary School building, which is the only building in Gilbert on the National Register of Historic Places. Inside, visitors see and learn about old farming tools and machines and discover the city’s history. There is also an extensive model train exhibit, plus a continually-running live quilting bee. Admission is $3-$6. It is currently open Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Masks/facial coverings and social distancing are required.
The Riparian Preserve performs double-duty and functions as both a water management facility and a wildlife habitat. Several miles of trails wind their way between seven water basins in this 110-acre park, so feel free to bring your bike or go for a walk. Nearly 300 species of birds live in the Riparian Preserve, in addition to an array of other wildlife. Boardwalks and viewing blinds are in place to give visitors a better view of the birds. The park is home to gardens, a fishing lake, and the Rotary Centennial Observatory. You can also have a picnic by one of the water basins or on several grassy areas throughout the preserve.
Art is important to the Gilbert community, as evidenced by the handful of art galleries and murals sprinkled around town. Located in the Heritage District, Art Intersection exhibits fine art photography from a range of personalities, including those who are well-established and those who are just starting out. The gallery also offers many classes for amateurs and professionals in its darkroom and digital lab. It is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Masks/facial coverings and social distancing are required.