Free Things To Do in Sedona
- #3View all PhotosfreeThe Vortexes#3 in Sedona3.6 miles to city centerNatural Wonders, Free, HikingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND3.6 miles to city centerNatural Wonders, Free, HikingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Sedona's visitors often hear talk of vortexes – cyclones of energy that come directly from the earth that can be felt by those in their presence. These vortexes are represented by the uniquely shaped rock formations believed to emit energy.
Although all of Sedona is believed to be a vortex, there are four primary vortexes in the city, each radiating its own particular energy. Vortexes are categorized as either "feminine" (energy entering the earth) or "masculine" (energy leaving the earth). The Airport Vortex, along Route 89A just west of the intersection of routes 89A and 179 (the "Y") is said to produce a masculine energy, strengthening one's self-confidence and motivation. Meanwhile, the Cathedral Rock Vortex near Red Rock State Park fosters feminine aspects like goodness, patience and compassion. The Boynton Canyon Vortex, northwest of the "Y" along Dry Creek Road, offers a balance between masculine and feminine energies. And the Bell Rock Vortex, south of the "Y" along Route 179, offers a combination of the three: masculinity, femininity and balance. Many recent visitors can't say enough about Bell Rock's beauty, but there are also many smaller, more subtle vortexes found throughout the area.
- #4View all Photos#4 in Sedona7.5 miles to city centerFree, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND7.5 miles to city centerFree, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
The 7.5-mile Red Rock Scenic Byway, which starts after you take exit 298 off Interstate 17, has plenty to see and do. In fact, it's often referred to as a "museum without walls." Highlights include sightseeing, hiking, biking and even golfing. There are also two vortexes to check out, Bell Rock and Cathedral Rock in the Village of Oak Creek (also called Big Park). The village also offers restaurants, galleries and other shops to visit. Coconino National Forest is another popular place to stop, with many scenic overlooks.
You can stop off at the Red Rock Ranger District Visitor Center to pick up maps and get advice on trails and other activities in the region. Recent byway visitors gush about how beautiful the scenery is and can't recommend it enough. Others warn that you may get distracted by the gorgeous scenery, so plan to make use of the many lookout points to safely admire the byway.
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If you only have time for one cultural site, the Chapel of the Holy Cross should be it. This stunning church – designed by sculptor Marguerite Brunswig Staude (a student of architect Frank Lloyd Wright) in the 1950s – protrudes from the red cliffs less than 4 miles south of Sedona's "Y" intersection. The main stained-glass window is held together by a giant cross and overlooks the Verde Valley.
While many recent visitors rave about the spectacular views, most say the site's peaceful atmosphere is the central reason to stop by. Reviewers also warned of limited parking and heavy midday crowds – plan a morning visit for a more tranquil experience. Others said it makes for a nice stop along the Red Rock Scenic Byway (the chapel is located at the byway's north end). Keep in mind that several of the best tours in Sedona make stops here.
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When you need a break from the trails, swap out those hiking boots for something more fetching and head to the Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village (pronounced Tel-AH-ki-PAH-ki). Perched at the intersection of routes 89A and 179, this sizable outdoor shopping center was designed in the style of a traditional Mexican village. The complex was built on a former sycamore grove, and special care was given to maintain the existing trees. As a result many of the village's structures are built around the sycamores, making way for interesting architecture and forgiving shade. The stucco walls house a variety of art galleries, New Age shops selling modern art and glassware, and restaurants, while the cobblestone streets and mosaic fountains provide a charming, old-fashioned atmosphere.
Many travelers highly recommend spending a few hours perusing Tlaquepaque and checking out the local handmade jewelry, food, music and especially the art. Though many felt the wares sold here were too high-priced, reviewers still suggested a visit for the restaurants and architecture. Many of the best tours in Sedona stop here.
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