I am surprised that I have never written about Bisbee before, it is one of my favorite towns in Arizona, but alas, this is the first time! Bisbee is a former mining town in the mountains of Southeast Arizona, only about 30 minutes from where I’m living in Sierra Vista. It’s a great town for a weekend trip as there is a lot to see in this small but happening town.
Main Street in Bisbe (above) is full of antique and art shops. They are all in buildings that have been around forever, so it’s fun to look at the architecture too. You definitely have to look around for some local art, turquoise jewelry and all sorts of antiques. There are also some great local restaurants along Main St. For a nice date night, check out Cafe Roka; for casual dining there is the Bisbee Grill, Copper Queen Hotel’s bar and Santiago’s. For some good local beer check out Old Bisbee Brewing Company for 7 locally brewed beers. I really like the Belgian Whitbier, and they have free popcorn and a great patio. Yummmmy!
A must-do in Bisbee is the Copper Queen Mine Tour. You go into what was one of the most productive copper mines in full gear! Well, a stylish yellow slicker, hard hat and light. Make sure to bring a sweater because it’s cold in the mine! The tour is conducted by retired miners, so you’ll learn a whole lot about mining in general. I’ve done the tour a few times, once when I was a kid, and about a year ago, and each time I’ve learned something. It’s great fun, and look how cool you look:
The newest part of Bisbee we have discovered is just past the Lavender Pit Mine (pull over at the scenic view and look down, it’s HUGE and you can really see the damage that mining has done). It’s like stepping back in time to the 1960s, old cars are parked on the street and signs are still intact for gyms and gas stations, some still operating! We found it on a recent breakfast adventure to the Bisbee Breakfast Club, it’s amazing, go there! But go early, we went later, more of a brunch time, and they had run out of biscuits. I had the Carnitas Rancheros and they were delicious!
Another thing to check out before you head to Bisbee is what annual event is happening. Some famous ones are Brewery Gulch Daze over Labor Day and 1000 Stair Climb in October. The newest addition is Pirate’s Weekend, which we went to this year. It was the first annual so not a lot of people were dressed up, and more people seemed to be coming as we left after dinner (we are becoming old people and don’t stay out too late, blame James’ early work days). The highlights: scavenger hunt (starts and ends early), costume contests, bar crawls and rum tasting. We had a blast walking around dressed as pirates and saying “ARrrrrrgh,” as well as partaking in the various activities. There were some lulls in the middle of the day, but I think next year it’ll only be better.
Where to stay: I recommend the Copper Queen Hotel, it’s right in the middle of the main part of town (near Main Street), so you can walk to the bars, restaurants and shops, except for Bisbee Breakfast Club, that will be a quick drive down the highway. It was built by the mining company at the turn of the last century for the (at the time) booming town. It’s not only historic and beautifully crafted, but it’s also haunted. So if you’re into ghost stories, it’s the place for you. Honestly, it’s the only place I’ve stayed in town but there are other hotels.
Let me know if you check out Bisbee!