One of the best perks of living in Arizona is how much access we have to American history. Arizona is a fantastic place that is loaded with places where can be entertained, educated, and interact with the history of the Southwest, and we are privileged to be able to touch base with our history any time we want. If you’ve been wondering what life was like in the Old West, or want to take some visiting guests out for a real Western experience, be sure to consider one of these terrific places in Arizona where you can reconnect with the past.
One of the most oft-visited places in the United States, Tombstone is packed with a fascinating history that is bound to delight even the most discerning visitor. The site of the legendary “wild west” shootout at the OK Corral between the Earp brother, Doc Holliday, and the Cowboy posse has been drawing in visitors from all around the world for decades, and the thrills have not stopped for a single day.
A day trip to the town is full of reenactments, costumes, street fights, saloon follies, and a lifetime of memories from a real-life place that made its mark on the American southwest.
Museum of the West, Scottsdale
A celebration of art, history, and the ingenuity of American spirit breaking out into the Western unknown, the Museum of the West is a must-see attraction whether you live in Arizona or are just passing through. A true testament to the lives, places, and innovations that helped create the Southwest that we know today, the museum features regular gallery exhibitions and events that highlight the cultural and heritage impact of the West and those who made it what it is today.
Bisbee Mining and Historic Museum, Bisbee
Bisbee is one of the most well-known mining towns in the Southwest, and it is a unique and important piece of history that you can visit. Starting as silver, copper, turquoise, and gold mining town back in 1880, Bisbee is the town that provided a rich supply of much-needed copper for the World War I war effort.
Today you can explore the mining town of Bisbee (which officially stopped mining copper in 1975) and see what mining was like for the original townsfolk as well as explore the Bisbee Museum and learn all about the role Bisbee played in the development of Arizona.
Goldfield Ghost Town, Apache Junction
Goldfield is the place to go if you’re interested in a real West ghost town experience. Though it is a tiny town, Goldfield, nestled between the Superstition and Goldfield Mountains, was originally a gold town and is home to the infamous Lost Dutchman Mine, the heretofore still unfound legendary treasure.
Once the town’s gold supply dried up in 1898, prospectors and their families were quick to skip town, leaving behind a preserved Old West town that has now become a must-see ghost town. Today, visitors can enjoy mine tours, horse-drawn carriages, period-authentic shops, and the narrow-gauge railroad tour.
Trail Dust Town, Tucson
Full of authentic Southwestern charm and hilarious stage shows, visiting Trail Dust Town is like taking a quick walk through history to see what life was like in Tucson during the 1800s. Cowboys and cowgirls, jails, old-time candy shops, a train ride, and historic buildings will keep visitors of all ages entertained for hours.
Trail Dust Town is also home to Pinnacle Peak, one Tucson’s premier steak houses (and that’s saying a lot for a steak town!).