Vibrant murals, rich history, and stunning surroundings are the crown jewels to the home of the Copper Queen Mine– Bisbee, Arizona. Walk a mile underground in the shoes of the miners, or walk a mile up a collection of winding staircases following the famous Bisbee 1000 race. No matter where your feet take you, you’ll be sure to find something unique and beautiful in Bisbee!
This story was created in partnership with Discover Bisbee.
Stair Climbs and Art Gallery Alleys
The steep canyon that Bisbee is tucked into creates an interesting network of staircases, alleyways, winding streets, and colorful homes that climb the hillsides. Throughout these different parts of town you will be pleasantly surprised coming across bright and eccentric murals and alleyway art galleries. It’s worth taking the time to wander this labyrinth of stairs and streets just to find the hidden gems of artwork.
The large collections of stairs in Bisbee aren’t just for getting you from one street to the next; they’ve been linked together to create an unusual race called the Bisbee 1000. In this physical fitness challenge, happening the third weekend of October for the last 30 years, runners will climb nine different staircases, totaling over 1000 steps over 4.5 miles. You can find the route on the official race website if you want to follow along, even if it’s only one of the nine sets of stairs!
As a former mining town, Bisbee has a long and interesting history, and they have taken care to make sure it’s accessible and inviting to all visitors. The Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum is a great place to start when learning about the evolution of the town. There are informative and even some interactive exhibits that show what life was like not only for the miners, but for their families and other community members as well. They also have a stunning display of some of the more dazzling discoveries from the mine. The emerald green, deep blue, turquoise, and purple rocks and gems that make up this collection are truly stunning, some even boasting the reputation of being in the Smithsonian!
Photos by Kirk Rasmussen
When you’ve finished learning about the history of Bisbee, experience the real thing by taking a tour deep under the Mule Mountains in the Copper Queen Mine. Led by a former miner, this family friendly adventure brings you into the shafts and shows you the evolution of tools and techniques used in mines, past and present. It’s a great opportunity to shed light on a world that few get to see, but that we all benefit from in some way.
Unique Eats and Antiques
In addition to the wealth of historical artifacts and assortment of artworks, Bisbee boasts a variety of lively restaurants and quirky shops. While you’re strolling the streets, you have to stop in at least one of the many antique stores. These collections of curiosities will give you another glimpse of the lives, interests, and treasures of the people around Bisbee. From suede leather jackets and well-loved cowboy boots, to collections of 50’s records and copper forged wall art, you’re sure to come away with something.
Bisbee has a variety of fun restaurants and breweries that are also worth checking out! Contessa’s Cantina has the best Mexican food around, Screaming Banshee Pizza has creative pies and ample outdoor seating, Thuy’s Noodle Shop shakes it up from the standard fare, and Bisbee’s Table offers upscale versions of your all American favorites (the Frickin’ Chicken sandwich is a must!) Once you’ve had your fill of delicious dining, head over to the Old Bisbee Brewing Company for a flight or Electric Brewing for more unique flavors.
When you’ve reached the end of your night, rest your head in one of the many accommodating stays. The Gym Club Suites is a close walk to main street and has ample space to host a family, it’s like having your own apartment in town! The Inn at Castle Rock is another option, right on the main street, with a view of the colorful light strung across downtown from the multistoried balconies.
We’ll be back, Bisbee!
Between the sights, experiences, and dining opportunities, Bisbee will have something to stimulate all of your senses. In addition to the memories you’re bound to make, save space in your suitcase too, because you will want to bring at least one souvenir home with you (we ended up with several!) This hidden gem of a town is a place we’ve been telling our friends about and we’re sure that you will too!