Located in southeastern Arizona, Tombstone is a historic city that was founded by prospector Ed Schieffelin in 1877. It is known for its mining and Wild West history and the 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. While visiting historic attractions may fill most of your time in this city, there are many other things to see and do during a visit to this city. Here are the 20 best things to do in Tombstone, AZ.
20. Go to the Benson Arts and Historical Society Museum
For art enthusiasts, one of the top Tombstone attractions is the Benson Arts and Historical Society Museum. It is located on South San Pedro Street in a town called Benson that is close to Tombstone, and the society’s volunteers run it. There are plenty of interesting exhibits to see during a visit to the museum. Some examples include a carriage that was once used as the old-time equivalent of a school bus and an antique sewing machine. It is free to enter the museum, so it is a good option for those on a budget. However, the society welcomes donations as these are used for the museum’s upkeep.
19. Enjoy the Interactive Activities at Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium
The Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium is located just outside Tombstone at the University of Arizona. It is one of the best attractions to visit if you are visiting the area with children, although there is something to interest all ages at this venue. The Flandrau Science Center is full of activities and exhibits, many of which are interactive, about science, the natural world, and space. One of the highlights of a visit to this attraction is the planetarium. After visiting the science center, visitors are welcome to walk freely around the university campus’s grounds.
18. Take a Stroll in San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area
If you are a fan of the outdoors, then one of the best places to visit during your stay in Tombstone, AZ, is the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area. It is located where the Sonoran Desert and the San Pedro River Meet, and it is full of plants and animals. It is particularly well known for being home to hundreds of species of birds, so it is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Some of the birds are migratory waterfowl and wading birds that only live in the park at certain times of the year. There are plenty of trails to explore within the park.
17. Go to the Wyatt Earp Museum and Gallery
The Crazy Tourist lists the Wyatt Earp Museum and Gallery as one of the best things to do in Tombstone, AZ. It is the former home of Wyatt Earp, who is famous for his involvement in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. He lived in this house with his common-law wife, Mattie, and it is where she died of a drug overdose. The town’s medical examiner ruled her death a suicide. The house is now a museum that contains memorabilia relating to the life of Wyatt Earp. There are also some historical artifacts for sale.
16. Dine at Crystal Palace Saloon and Restaurant
Originally, the Crystal Palace Saloon and Restaurant was the Golden Eagle Brewing Company founded in 1879. It sits on the corner of 5th Street and Allen Street, and it was one of the first saloons in Tombstone. Not only is it one of the city’s landmarks, but it is also one of the best places to eat in Tombstone. It is open for both lunch and dinner, and there is live entertainment every Friday and Saturday.
15. Fun Night at Big Nose Kate’s Saloon
Another fantastic place to dine out is Big Nose Kate Saloon. The menu at this venue boasts both Mexican and Southern American fare. However, a night out at this establishment is not just about the food, as there is also entertainment in the form of Wild West re-enactments and country music. It is also a hotel with 16 rooms and is one of Tombstone’s best places to stay.
14. Take the Tombstone Trolley Tour
A fun way to see the sights of Tombstone and learn about its history is to take the Tombstone Trolley Tour. The tour includes visits to many of the city’s top attractions, and the conductors on the trolley have a wealth of knowledge about the area. Alternatively, take the Gunfighter and Ghost Tour, which is an excellent activity for the evenings.
13. Learn About the Area’s Mining History at Tin Cup Mining Company
The Tin Cup Mining Company was established during the boom of the silver rush. It is now an important part of the city’s mining history. People can visit the mines to learn more about the lives of those who worked there, including how some of the miners died while on the job.
12. Sample Wine at Silver Strike Winery
Not everything in Tombstone is about the Wild West and the mining industry, as there are many activities to suit diverse tastes and interests. One example is the Silver Strike Winery, which is on historic Allen Street. It is a locally-owned company that consists of a fully operating winery, a tasting room, and a lounge area. They produce wine using locally-grown grapes. It is open daily for tastings and to buy the products.
11. Visit the Historic Gleeson Jail
Gleeson is a ghost town close to Tombstone that was founded in the 1870s and attracted miners and cowboys, and it became a frontier settlement. The first jail built in Gleeson was constructed from wood and tin, but it was ruined when the inmates lifted off the tin roof to escape. A new jail was built from concrete in 1910, and it consisted of two cells connected by a cage. In 2008, the jail was completely renovated, and it is now an attraction for tourists to visit. Two of the most famous inmates of the prison are murderer Luther Price and Mexican outlaw Francisco Chavez.
10. Have Fun at the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park
One of the most fun attractions in Tombstone is the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park, and it is also one of the best family-oriented attractions in the city. There are various Wild West-themed rides, along with attractions, shows, gunfight re-enactments, stunt shows, mini-golf, a shooting gallery, an Old Time PhotoShop, and a Pan for Gold attraction. The park also has several bars and restaurants.
9. Go to The Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper and Museum
The Tombstone Epitaph was founded in 1880, which makes it the oldest continuously published newspaper in Arizona. They produce a monthly publication that has content relating to the history and culture of the Old West. There is a museum at the newspaper’s publishing house that showcases the history of the paper. Visitors can see exhibits that show how the newspaper was originally printed using a Washington hand press.
8. Visit Boothill Graveyard
A visit to Boothill Graveyard gives a real insight into the history of the outlaws that once lived in Tombstone. It is a small graveyard that has been used since 1883 to bury outlaws. The graveyard was given its name because many of the men were buried still wearing their boots. Some of the notable people buried in the cemetery include the McLaury brothers, Jack Dunlop, China Mary (Mrs. Ah Lum), Marshall Fred White, Billy Clanton, and Jack’ Three-Fingered Jack’ Dunlop. There is also a separate Jewish cemetery nearby.
7. Enjoy Allen Street
Allen Street is the main business and tourist district of Tombstone. It is home to some of the city’s top attractions, including the Bird Cage Theater and the O.K. Corral. Three blocks of boardwalks are lined with bars, shops, restaurants, saloons, and shops. It is the place to head if you want to pick up some souvenirs and where you will find some of Tombstone’s best places to eat.
6. Go to Rose Tree Museum and Bookstore
The Rose Tree Museum and Bookstore is one block from Allen Street, and it is a historic home and former boarding house. It is dedicated to the Robertson-Macia family, who is one of the oldest families in the city. The house was a family home for six generations but is now open to visitors as a museum. It contains memorabilia and artifacts relating to the family’s early days in Tombstone. Alongside the historical collections, there are dioramas of the Lucky Cuss Mine and the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. There is also a bookshop on-site that specializes in books about the history and culture of the area.
5. Take Part in a Tombstone Walking Tour
One of the best ways to familiarize yourself with Tombstone and its attractions is to take the Tombstone Walking Tour, which lasts for 90 minutes. An experienced and knowledgeable guide takes you around the city, and it includes a visit to the site of the most famous gunfight in the old west history as well as passing by some of the most important landmarks in the city. It is a great activity to choose at the beginning of your vacation, as it will give you an overall insight in the city and an idea of which attractions you would like to visit.
4. See the Bird Cage Theater
The Bird Cage Theater is a historic landmark in Tombstone that was once the city’s main entertainment venue. The theater closed its doors in 1982 when the silver mining boom ended. While its doors were still open, it was visited by many famous people, and it had a reputation for being one of the wickedest theaters between New Orleans and San Francisco. Now, the theater, bar, and lounge are no longer in use, but it is open to visitors for tours. It is alleged that the theater is haunted, so many of the tours involve paranormal phenomena. Even if you are not a believer in the afterlife, it is still a fun tour and an opportunity to see the preserved theater.
3. Watch the O.K. Corral Re-Enactment
The Gunfight at O.K. Corral is probably the most famous gunfight of all time. The fight between the Earps brothers and the Clanton-McLaury gang took place in 1881, and it left three men dead and three wounded. Although the fight only lasted 30 seconds, it has inspired novelists and filmmakers ever since. One of the most popular attractions in Tombstone is watching the re-enactments of the fight that regularly take place on the site of the real event, which was just down the road from the O.K Corral.
2. Take the Good Enough Mine Underground Tour
Ed Schieffelin owned the Good Enough Mine, and it was one of the 25 silver mines located in the Tombstone Mining District. Visitors to the mine can go on a guided tour that educates them about how the mines worked when they first opened in 1879 and about the process of hard rock silver mining in the 19th-century. The hour-long tour also covers the rocks and minerals that were mined in this location and takes a look at historic rock formations.
1. Visit Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park
According to Vacation Idea, the best thing to do in Tombstone, AZ, is to visit Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. The main feature of the park is the Cochise County courthouse, which was built in 1882. The two-story structure is unusual because it is built in the shape of a Roman cross. In the past, the courthouse housed a jail, the courtrooms, and the sheriff, treasurer, and recorder offices. It is now a museum that is filled with exhibits and artifacts relating to the history of the courthouse and other aspects of Tombstone’s history. On the grounds surrounding the courthouse, there are several picnic areas and a gift shop.