Williams, Arizona, the “gateway to the Grand Canyon,” has deep roots in Native American, Old West, and Route 66 history. Founded in 1876, the town of Williams gets its name from the famous mountain man, “Old Bill Williams.” If you take a short 20-minute walk to Monument Park on the west side of the city, you can take a picture with a statute of Ol’ Bill.
THE OLD WEST
In the beginning, the town was the epitome of the Old West. Saloons lined Railroad Avenue and lumberjacks, cowboys, and railroad men would stop by to wet their whistle. Walk in the shoes of these pioneers and grab a drink at Sultana Bar. The saloon opened in 1912 and is located on the corner of Historic Route 66 and 3rd Street in downtown Williams.
In 1926, Williams became the home of Historic Route 66, leading to a boom in the local economy. Take a trip back in time by walking down Route 66, grab a milkshake at Cruisers, a former Route 66 gas station, and don’t forget to get a photo by the iconic Route 66 sign!
GATEWAY TO THE GRAND CANYON
The Santa Fe Railroad, built in 1901 and renamed the Grand Canyon Railway in 1989, connects Williams to the Grand Canyon via a scenic train route. The train runs every day and departs Williams from the Grand Canyon Railway Depot. Departure times vary based on the season, and the total train ride takes around 2 hours and 15 minutes. Buy your tickets online or at the depot to spend a day at the Grand Canyon.
Historic Downtown Williams is only a nine-minute walk (or a three-minute drive) from the Firelight. You can find parking all along shop fronts and next to restaurants along Railroad Avenue or Historic Route 66.
Visit the Williams town website to learn more about things to do in Historic Williams, AZ.