Wickenburg isn’t very big but it retains the ambiance of an old town and it has been a ‘must see’ on each of our Arizona trips. It’s about an hour north of Phoenix so a good place to run up to for lunch and a little shopping.
The town is on the northern edge of the Sonoran Desert just below Arizona’s mountainous country. The population is around 7,000 and temperatures average in the mid 60’s to the low 80’s from January through April. Perfect for sightseeing.
The gold rush brought people into the area in the mid 1800’s. Henry Wickenburg, a German immigrant, discovered the Vulture Mine where over $30 million in gold has been mined. Tourism has been big over the years and in the 1950’s and 60’s Wickenburg presented itself as the “Dude Ranch Capital of the World.
Of course a trip to Wickenburg wouldn’t be complete without stopping at Nana’s for lunch. It seems to be a favorite of both locals and tourists.
Again about an hour drive, this time east, we took in the Mesa Market and swap meet. We had heard a lot about it with the “You Have to See It” comments. It is huge, really huge and of course we got lost. Thankfully Karen noted that the sides are even and odd numbered or we might still be there.
It is impossible to see in one day. Trust me here, I don’t care how fast a shopper or even a walker you are, you aren’t going to begin to cover this place in one day. It’s all undercover with a single breezeway covering a mile of shopping lanes. January is off season so the market is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. At the recommendation of a friend we went on Friday and it wasn’t busy. I’ve seen pictures though and even as large as it is, it can be crowded. Something like our Farmers Market in Seattle on a weekend.
Arizona was a great place to visit in January. Karen, Sugar and I were all bemoaning coming back so soon when we hit the cold wet Pacific Northwest.