Sometimes the additions to my Top 100 AZ Bucket List surprise even me!
I never thought about going to Williams, AZ, until we actually went there. We were on a four-day weekend trip, me my sister and my two little nieces who are 3 and 5. Sightseeing, we spent two nights in Prescott. Then we ventured north, because our plan was to head to Bearizona and maybe the Grand Canyon Deer Park, too, if we had time.
Well, we spent almost three hours at Bearizona and loved it, didn’t get to the deer park, BUT: an amazing surprise is that Historic Williams, Arizona, on the old Route 66, is a hidden gem!
My sister and I, being Arizona natives, like road trips in our home state and love to discover “off-the-beaten path” small towns and big surprises. We love Flagstaff, Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City/Laughlin, for example. Also, big fans of Tucson and Ajo.
So, pulling into Williams, we couldn’t help but smile at the quaint Route 66 charm we found immediately. We were hungry from the road, so we stopped at Jessica’s family restaurant, right by the police station. The menu had an unexpected mix of Greek, Mediterranean and American foods. The service was a little slow, but we didn’t mind, because we appreciated the welcome family vibe. And they had good coffee, which is important to me, because I often need to take shifts as driver on these family road trips.
Later at night, we came back downtown to find a place for dinner. There were so many selections–we were almost overwhelmed. We were staying at the Grand Canyon Railroad hotel, and it looked like they had a nice big restaurant and good bar, but we still wanted to see what else was out there. There’s a giant beer hall called Grand Canyon Brewing Company that looked promising. But we weren’t sure they’d love kids, so we drove back down the main drag. Being night owls, we were impressed with all the cute shops and restaurants that were still open at 8 p.m. We settled on Cruiser’s Route 66 Cafe, because there was live music outside and no wait for a booth. Again, the service was kind of slow, but we chalked it up to small town life. Our waitress was really nice and friendly, brought crayons and kids’ menus for the girls to color on, and didn’t lose her cool when my niece spilled a whole cup of water across the table. The quality of food was pretty good, too.
Later we walked around the shops some more. There’s an eclectic mix of local AZ souvenirs, antiques, clothing and more. We learned that if we had gotten downtown earlier in the evening, there are live cowboy soot-outs and other reenactments at certain locals. So much to do and so much of it is walkable from the little local hotels–we definitely will be returning to Williams for more family adventures.