History doesn’t have to be boring. Not in Gilbert, anyway. If you’re visiting the Gilbert area, you can spend the day wandering through the Heritage District discovering what made Gilbert great, beginning in the early 1900s. If you have more time, you can even explore communities like Chandler, Mesa, and Tempe, each of which is rich in their own cultural heritage.
1.5 hours – Located in the heart of Gilbert, the Heritage District, the Gilbert Historical Museum was built in 1913 and was once Gilbert’s only elementary school. The entire family will enjoy seeing how the past meets the new west. Imagine back in the day when Gilbert was known as the Hay Shipping Capital of the World. Now, open your eyes and see the present neon signs and how they integrate with the historical buildings throughout this area. The Gilbert Historical Museum has also recently adopted a new multi-generational program that makes learning about the past or learning a new skill even more fun with experts in the field. Programs range from storytelling, history and science cafés, gardening, and art workshops. Beginning in September, these programs will be available for everyone to enjoy. Visit www.gilberthistoricalmuseum.org for times and event details.
30 to 60 minutes — The Art Intersection and Gallery 4 will entice the artist in each of us to come out and explore. The Art Intersection is a space for learning, creating, and exhibiting art. You will find two galleries, a fully equipped photographic darkroom and processing lab, a state-of-the-art digital imaging lab, and a large classroom. On display are cameras and equipment from the past. You will find various artists on display with art to admire and some to be purchased. Learn – Create – Exhibit. Want to learn more? Visit www.artintersection.com. Gallery 4 invites the viewer to engage in reflection and conversation regarding social, environmental, and cultural topics. Mediums of photography, painting, mixed media, and the spoken word can all be explored.
2 hours – Every other Saturday beginning in October and continuing through the middle of March. Looking for unique jewelry, paintings, ceramic, woodworking, or just want to stroll with every member of your family including your four-legged ones while enjoying live music. Come to the Gilbert Art Walk, located in the Heritage District, starting at Water Tower Park. www.gilbertartwalk.com
30 minutes — Home to an 8’ piece of girder from the North Tower of the World Trade Center, you can reflect and pause in a shaded park area. Touch a piece of history of our nation. Read the names of the 2,996 people lost in the September 11, 2001 attacks. A tree-shaded park and several benches around the memorial provide a sanctuary of reflection.
14 stops — Timing of this tour truly depends on how fast or relaxed you would like to be while enjoying it. The Heritage District application found in the Apple app store is free and can be downloaded to enjoy any time. There are 14 stops which will take you from South of Elliott Road and North on Gilbert Road to the Western Canal (approximately 0.5 miles). Relax and stroll down Gilbert Road in the Heritage District. Hungry and/or thirsty? Not a problem. You will find a wide variety of options. Gilbert’s Heritage District is known as a Foodie’s delight. #DeliciousGilbert
2 to 3 hours — Hale Centre Theatre has been offering performances in Gilbert since 2003. It is one of only five theatres across three states owned and operated by family members. This theatre in the rounds is dedicated to providing patrons with the finest theatrical experience and the promise of delivering fun and affordable entertainment. www.haletheatrearizona.com
15 minutes — Gilbert looked vastly different 100 years ago. You can view a piece of history for yourself. The World War 1 era mural is painted on the south-facing wall of the American Legion Merrill Mitchell Post 39. This, along with a plaque explaining the significance, a pocket park respite from the hustle and bustle, plus a map of other historical sites can all be found here.
Timing/duration depends on performance — A concert hall and a theatre for smaller performances can be found at the Higley Center. The schedule of events and performances can be found at www.higleycenter.com.
2 hours — Home to the Actor’s Youth Theatre whose mission is to “educate, entertain, and enrich the lives of individuals in the community,” and Tuscany Company Theatre. Shows vary, but each performance demonstrates creativity of performers and designers looking to exhibit their talents. Visit www.tuscanytheatre.com for more information.
1 to 2 hours — The stars are out and shining bright. The Rotary Centennial Observatory is located at Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. The 16” diameter Meade, Richey-Cretien scope is state-of-the-art and is open to the public as well as for groups. Visit www.evaconline.org to request times or visit the Observatory calendar on the Town of Gilbert’s website for open times and events.
1 to 2 hours — Agritopia is a community where you can enjoy a meal, savor a treat with a coffee drink, stroll through a farm, and walk the tree-lined streets to do a little shopping. Joe Johnston, Agritopia’s owner, is a legend in Gilbert. Joe’s family bought the farmland in 1960. His family home is now Joe’s Farm Grill. Joe and his family have managed the evolution of the farm to make it what it is today and they executing on plans of what it will become in the future. Visit www.agritopia.com for details.
Time varies — Barnone is a community for skilled craftsmen who make and sell their handcrafted goods. Visitors can meet 12 different skilled artisans in areas such as woodworkers, winemakers, restaurateurs, and more. When you visit Agritopia, don’t miss this part of the tour. Details are online at www.barnoneaz.com. The Coffee Shop at Agritopia has earned awards and has won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. You have to stop by and have a treat! Learn more at www.thecoffeeshopaz.com. Overall, the entire Agritopia experience will leave you relaxed and appreciative of a different time.