If you’ve never heard of Litchfield Park, Arizona, you wouldn’t be alone. It’s a small town nestled within the sprawling city of Phoenix-metro. With only a population a little over 6,000 people and claiming only 3 square miles, wondering what to do in Litchfield Park might seem a bit strange. But I think this little town is a great getaway within Phoenix; the perfect place to spend a relaxed weekend. You can get a small-town experience without leaving the city, and you can even escape back to a former era of development and design in Phoenix. This guide will tell you my honest thoughts on where to stay, what to eat, and what to expect to do while you are visiting.
History of Litchfield Park
The history of human habitation in the area of Phoenix is very ancient. Native American peoples were living and thriving in the Valley of the Sun for thousands of years. But colonial American claims to the land that the town now sits on were submitted in 1910. Initially, it was thought that the area would be a great place to grow citrus, but due to the demands of WWI, the area was bought up by Paul Litchfield for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in 1916 as space to grow cotton. A company town was eventually built, and was given the name Litchfield Park in 1926. The town wasn’t officially incorporated as a city until 1987.
Paul Litchfield was pivotal in the history and development of the Phoenix-metro area, in particular, Luke Field. His winter home, Rancho La Loma, was built within the bounds of what is now Litchfield Park, and eventually, these historic buildings will be restored and opened to the public. At that point, Rancho La Loma will be a must-include on any itinerary considering what to do in Litchfield Park.
Where to Stay
The Wigwam Resort is an essential part of any trip to Litchfield Park. What we now know as Wigwam Resort, was once the “Organization House” which was built to lodge visiting Goodyear executives when Litchfield Park was a company town. Now it is a unique and historic hotel that captures the special history and character of Arizona. Although I wasn’t 100% satisfied with my stay here, I can still say that this resort is an essential element of any list of what to do in Litchfield Park.
While I consider Wigwam to be the heart of a weekend away, and I fully encourage people to stay there and support this historic lodging location, I do have some concerns. First, while I think Wigwam can be affordable for a resort, particularly in the summer, directly post-COVID, I think certain things were lacking.
But before that, here is what I loved about Wigwam. (1) The staff was AMAZING. Everyone that I dealt with while staying at the resort were warm, professional, and so accommodating. (2) The property is beautiful, has great amenities, and is very calming. Even in the heat of summer, I loved visiting.
However, when I visited, I was given two rooms with several issues. When I got to my first room, I found that the shear curtains that allow me to get natural light into my room without letting people see inside were half missing on all windows with curtains. As a solo female traveler, I believe privacy is absolutely essential and so I could only open half of the light blocking curtains. There was also heavy wear and tear on the furniture and a strange smell.
When I called and asked to move, the staff were extremely understanding and helpful. But the second room that I received also had broken curtains missing the privacy/light allowing curtains. I did confirm that other rooms had full curtain sets while walking the property. So, this was very disappointing. I also noted some outdoor damage to buildings, and I hope Wigwam can make some investments to get all their rooms fixed up soon.
What to Eat
Papa Paul’s Brick Over Pizza and Pasta
I’m Italian, and I make Italian food all the time- homemade pizza, bread, sauce, you name it. So, I actually prefer to avoid Italian food while traveling except in special circumstances. Even so, Papa Paul’s attracted me because of its good reviews and very welcoming, modern atmosphere. I was not disappointed.
While one of the hostesses seemed a little thrown off by me coming in solo (not sure why), I had a great experience. The waitress who helped me was very attentive, which was welcomed as I often find I get a little neglected while traveling alone.
I ordered a red sangria and a charcuterie board and enjoyed each. The sangria had a little more flavor depth than I am accustomed to in a sangria. I really enjoyed that, along with the fresh fruit garnishes. The charcuterie board also had a very nice variety of high-quality meats, cheeses, veggies and fruits. I do wish there were a few more savory crackers or bread as I’ve seen in some pictures of the board, but overall, I really enjoyed it.
Ribbons Tea House
I love love love tea! So, when I found out that there was a tea house in tiny little Litchfield Park, I had to go. Even more so, because the reviews for Ribbons Tea House were great. They did not lead me astray. When I came in, I was welcomed and walked through the menu and the process they use for making their milk teas (which I adore).
I ended up ordering a Jasmine milk tea and a slice of matcha and blueberry bibingka cake. The milk tea was on par with the best milk tea that I have had elsewhere, and I really appreciated being able to modify the sweetness. And I had never had bibingka cake before, but Ribbons’ was moist, fluffy, and very tasty. The mix of bitter matcha and sweet blueberry was perfect.
The one thing I will say about Ribbons is that their current hours are limited. So, be sure the plan to make sure that you can visit!
What to Do in Litchfield Park
There isn’t a whole lot to do in Litchfield Park, proper, but that is what I am going to limit this post to. If you’d like to get the whole experience, prepare yourself for a very relaxed weekend.
Hang Out At Wigwam
If you are staying at the resort, there are a ton of amenities to take advantage of. This includes a very beautiful pool with a slide that’s perfect for kids. They also have cabanas and pool-side food available. There is also a spa on-site, along with tennis courts and a golf course.
If you aren’t staying at the resort, there are several on-site restaurants to enjoy. The Wigwam Bar had CBD mocktails that were really tasty. This is a great spot if you just want to get something small to eat while enjoying the resort atmosphere. Litchfield’s and Red’s Bar and Grill are other options for full meals.
Walk the Neighborhood
Litchfield Park has some beautiful little nooks and crannies that make it perfect for walks. There are some lovely churches with beautiful southwestern motifs. And Tierra Verde Lake Park is a great place to go for a walk. I thought all this was particularly amazing at sunset and sunrise. Walking the town is also a great way to enjoy the peaceful neighborhoods and palm-lined roads. Both harken back to older developments in Phoenix with unique ranch homes and white-painted citrus trees as well.
Enjoy the Eats of Litchfield Park
Whether you are passing through, live nearby, or are planning a weekend in this little pocket of Phoenix-metro, be sure to include some good eats on your list of what to do in Litchfield Park. Ribbons Tea was my absolutely favorite and had great milk tea and desserts. Papa Paul’s was a great place for a solo or romantic meal. And Wigwam has CDB mocktails to enjoy.
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