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Payson’s beginnings as a settlement are far humbler than its natural beginnings. Established as a town in 1884, it was named after Senator Levi Joseph Payson—under whose influence the first post office was established. Shortly thereafter the “world's oldest continuous” rodeo was held, which has been held annually since. An elevation of 5,000 feet lends a mild climate to Payson, allowing for outdoor activities through the seasons. Snow in the winter makes way for cross-country skiing and snowboarding while warm springs, summers and falls bring swimming, fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, and the like. The world’s largest ponderosa pine tree stands are found in the Tonto National Forest, rim lakes sparkling nearby and streams flow with trout.
Much like its neighbor in Cave Creek, the Payson area is rife with natural formations of rock and water. This gives way to a splendid exploration of Payson's trails and lakes. There are also educational opportunities for the whole family.
Payson possesses a surprising variety of cuisine for a smaller town. The town impresses with steaks, Mexican, New American, and even Thai restaurants. Choose from a succulent selection below.
Quite a few of Payson's cafes are nestled along Beeline Highway or along the creeks of the Mogollon Rim. Choose from cafes and diners. Small town smiles accompany homemade meals in Payson.
While Payson may not have an extensive bar scene, there are a wealth of nightlife venues in the surrounding areas of Phoenix, Scottsdale, and even Pine. Expect an Old West feel with many of Payson's bars. Saloons are a common theme.
More antiques than high fashion, Payson's shopping options are between art galleries, crafts, and collectibles. Much of it is made by local artists from the Rim, giving visitors the unique opportunity to take a part of Payson home with them. Take home something from each of the selections below.
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