Bisbee, Arizona is commonly known to be a ghost town. Once a gold mine of trade and metals, the people of Bisbee have collected the history of the place and made it a town worth visiting and experiencing. The city is also a creative respite for many artists and musicians.
Historic sites, fresh mountain air, charming streets, and exceptional galleries have brought this little town back to life. Bisbee is also a popular day trip from cities like Tucson and Tombstone, which are a short drive away.
So, if you are wondering about taking a trip back in time to this old ghost town, this guide will take you through the absolute best things to do in Bisbee, Arizona.
1. Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum
Bisbee, Arizona began as a mining town in 1880. Throughout its time, the land around Bisbee produced copper, gold, and silver. Photographs, artifacts, tools, and other everyday objects help preserve the memory of thousands of miners and their lifestyles in the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum. The museum is located in downtown Bisbee. A permanent exhibition called “Bisbee: Urban Outpost on the Frontier” is a must-see. Other exhibits showcase the area’s art and history.
2. Old Bisbee Brewing Company
The art of beer making is old, but some cities have kept this art alive for generations. Old Bisbee Brewing Company is one such place. The variety of drinks found here is exceptional. You will find a wide range of multiple colored, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Located at the end of Brewery Avenue, this place has also been a local favorite for years.
3. Old Bisbee Ghost Tour
If getting spooked is your idea of fun, check out the old Bisbee Ghost Tour throughout the narrow lanes and dark valleys of the old Bisbee town. The tour through these long-dead places helps you live the essence of the old days. For an area that was once awash in money, there is no doubt that some significant and historically-important events occurred here. You will hear and experience the story of a man with enormous debt, a lady that was only interested in married men, and other notorious local legends.
4. Golf Cart Tour of the City
If you are short on time and can’t explore the whole city, you can always opt for the Golf Cart Tour of Bisbee, Arizona. The tour starts from the Bisbee tourism center and takes you to the city’s historical and most significant areas. During the tour, you’ll learn about important historical places and where to find the best food and drinks in town.
5. Copper Queen Mine
After getting a glimpse of the mining history from the museums, you might want to visit the places where the actual operations used to happen. Copper Queen Mine was the most productive mine at the end of the 20th century. However, most of the place has been cleared to make the tourist visit more comfortable and efficient. However, some of the trollies, tracks, old lanterns, and caves were left intact to give you a sneak peek of the old days. This place revolutionized the history of Bisbee and mining in Arizona and made everyone involved wealthy.
6. The Lavender Pits
Another vast pit tells the tale of mining in the city. You can witness it at the end of your tour of Copper Queen Mine. You will also see the intelligence of the miners who made belts in the giant pit to extract the copper in quantity and quality. The massive hole was a great idea, and many other gems, crystals, and stones were excavated here during the mining process. Unfortunately, the pit closed at the end of the 20th century as copper prices dropped, and there was no demand for other crystals during those times. For those who love to collect crystals, this lavender pit is heaven.
7. Sam Poe Gallery
In a city where everyone was either miners or traders, you may be surprised to know that some creative minds brought art to this forgotten town. The Sam Poe Gallery has been the place in Bisbee to give a refreshing outlook on the city and offer you a unique perspective on art and craft. Everything in this gallery is magnificent, and you can spend hours in front of the paintings, trying to find the meaning behind the art. The gallery director and organizer will be there at your service to give you more information and the history of the art. After the mines, it can be a rejuvenating experience.
8. Finders, Keepers, Antiques, and Collectibles
You can have a part of Bisbee with you as a souvenir, but it won’t be from any old gift shop. Instead, check out Finders, Keepers, Antiques, and Collectibles, the designated place in Bisbee known for its collectibles. Here you will find jewelry, antique pieces, home décor pieces, regional jewelry, and the turquoise gem that this place is famous for.
9. Belleza Fine Art Gallery
Yes, in the old town of miners, there is a small space for fine arts and the best collection you can expect. Belleza Fine Art Gallery is a trip through the colorful dimension of the beauty in the world. Many artists are featured in this gallery, including David Berridge, Gerald Becker, Mary Martin, and Sandra Mears.
The gallery is located on Bisbee’s main street and is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm.
10. The Bisbee Séance Room
Rendezvous with old souls with the help of an Ouija board for an unforgettable experience in Bisbee, Arizona. A talented magician takes you back in time and introduces you to some of Bisbee’s oldest and, well deceased, residents in his one-hour show. This is an authentic experience in Bisbee at the Bisbee Séance Room, a place to experience more than just a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.
11. Stroll Down Erie Street
When you visit Erie Street, you’ll feel like you’re on a film set. You will find the old billboards, banners, rotting cars, shops, old ads, the gas pump, and the old bus parked there. Everything is preserved and left the way it once was when this town was a lively, productive place for miners and workers. No wonder these parts are of sentimental value to the region, and thus locals have left it the way it once was. It is like traveling back in time, or like time has frozen at that moment.
12. Copper Queen Post Office
The last place worth visiting on your trip through Bisbee, Arizona is the Copper Queen Post Office. The post office that served thousands of miners and their families is still standing tall, telling the tale of all the letters that were once sent and received through it. The post office is functional and can still serve you the way it once did the establishing residents of this town.
Bisbee, Arizona: Final Thoughts
Bisbee is a fantastic destination for travelers seeking a getaway from major cities of Arizona like Phoenix and Tucson. From historic buildings to present-day art galleries to mountainous landscapes, this quaint town is a lovely destination to follow in the footprints of old times.