City Snapshot: Cottonwood, AZ

Cottonwood, heart of the Verde Valley and hub of the Arizona wine industry, is nestled in an emerald valley near the base of Mingus Mountain. Once the best kept secret in northern Arizona; now the word is out about this thriving community with its great Old Town District. Established in 1879 and named after a circle of Cottonwood trees used as a camp by the first settlers, Cottonwood was initially an agricultural and grazing area supplying food to the United Verde Mining Camp and the garrison at Fort Verde. Striving to be free of restrictions and prejudices of the nearby "company" towns, Cottonwood attracted many entrepreneurs and incorporated in November 1960.

Now Cottonwood attracts thousands of visitors each year with natural destinations including the Verde River, Dead Horse Ranch State Park, national monuments and Old Town Cottonwood with its historic charm. Eclectic wine tasting rooms serve award-winning wines produced right here in the Verde Valley.

The city hosts regular events each year, including the Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza, Rhythm & Ribs music and barbeque competition, a motorcycle event Thunder Valley Rally and Walkin' On Main. Other events include the Brian Mickelsen Memorial Marathon, Verde Valley Fair, Verde River Days, Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival, Farmers Market Jamboree, and the annual Chocolate Walk and Christmas Tree lighting.

In the 1920s Cottonwood was known as the "biggest little town in Arizona." One of the lesser known facts about Cottonwood is it was once the bootleg capital of Arizona. Speakeasies lined Old Town Main Street and although tunnels that once provided access to nefarious activities have long ago been sealed, many of the structures remain. The colorful history is ever present.

Galleries, shops, restaurants, olive oil and salsa tasting businesses, wine tasting rooms and the Cottonwood Hotel and Tavern Hotel line Main Street, providing a wonderful ambience in the Old Town historic district.

Located between Sedona and Jerome, the city of Cottonwood is the geographic and economic heart of the Verde Valley with an array of businesses, transit system, a major hospital and numerous medical facilities, and a state of the art Recreation Center. The multi-generational Recreation Center has fitness equipment, dance studio, indoor leisure pool, community events hall, gymnasium, climbing wall, and an electronic game room. This facility attracts visitors from throughout the Verde Valley and is an economic attraction for those looking to relocate. A separate outdoor pool is an AlA officially sanctioned venue for state swim meets.

Residents and visitors may enjoy an Equestrian Center, skate park, Verde Valley Fairgrounds, Riverfront Park, Dead Horse Ranch State Park and the Clemenceau Museum. Cottonwood is a diverse, growing community nestled in the beautiful upper desert. We invite you to come and explore the many exciting benefits provided by Cottonwood and the Verde Valley. To learn more, visit

League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ  85007
Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874

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