Once the “Hay Capital of the World,” Gilbert is now among the best places to live in America — according to Money Magazine’s 2020 rankings — and it’s easy to see why. This up-and-coming city, southeast of downtown Phoenix, has been creating a buzz across social media and beyond, thanks to recent growth. Whether you find yourself wandering the reimagined Heritage District or exploring outdoor experiences, you’re sure to encounter overall trendy vibes.
Downtown Gilbert, formally known as the Heritage District, is home base for your next visit. From here, you’re in close proximity to more than 30 restaurants, a variety of eclectic retail shops and boutiques, murals and other public art installations, performing arts venues and the city's historical museum. The Farm at Agritopia brings the processes of growing and harvesting to an urban setting. In addition to the photo ops, restaurants, a community garden, U-Picks, classes and seasonal events await you here. Agritopia is also home to Barnone, a small collective of local boutiques and eateries, housed in an old barn.
Gilbert’s food scene is booming. There aren’t enough meals to keep us ahead of this renaissance, so we’ve narrowed down a few highlights for you:
Try a free-range buffalo burger at The Gilbert House, a quaint spot located in The Farmhouses Village — a collection of women-owned businesses that celebrate and preserve the area’s farming roots. If you’re more of a traditionalist (or localvore), check out Arizona Wilderness Brewing’s Gilbert Brewpub for a handcrafted burger and a pint, both of which showcase locally grown ingredients — from Arizona grass-fed beef to Yavapai Apache-grown Sonora Wheat. If you’re the kind of foodie who follows expert recommendations, pay a visit to James Beard Award-nominated chef Gio Osso at Nico Heirloom Kitchen, where his lasagna al forno with cotto ham and béchamel was featured by Food Network.
Step a little further off the beaten path for a Sonoran Desert experience on the trails or near the water. San Tan Mountain Regional Park, home to mountains by the same name, encompasses over 10,000 acres and eight miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Alternatively, you’ll find 4.5 miles of trails that lead to various vegetative zones, gardens, a paleontology dig site and an observatory within Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch. Nearly 300 species of birds, insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals call this 110-acre preserve, and its seven water basins, home throughout the year.