Allow me to introduce you to Savanna! Today she is taking us on a tour of an old Arizona mining town called Bisbee.
Welcome to Bisbee, Arizona an old mining town with an eclectic feel. This cute little artsy town is lined with old buildings, antique shops, local restaurants, bars and saloons. It has become one of my favorite places to go with my husband for date nights, and also a place where I take my friends when they are visiting.
Back in the early 1900s, this was a booming mining town and the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco! The Bisbee mines operated for almost 100 years mining gold, silver, lead, zinc and 8,032,352,000 lbs of copper!
Today, Bisbee is famous for the numerous stairs found throughout the city. They host the annual Bisbee 1,000 Stair Climb where people from all over come to run or walk a 4.5 mile outdoor course with 9 stair cases (over 1,000 steps) and windy roads. Bisbee is also home to one of the nation’s oldest ballfields Warren Ballpark, Arizona’s first golf course Turquoise Valley, and the state’s first community library the Copper Queen.
What to Do:
Take a Tour of the Queen Mine
Cost: $14 for Adults, $6.50 children age 6-12 years. Call for tour times.
Take a ride 1,500 feet into the old Queen Mine during the tour and learn about the history of mining in Bisbee. While wearing a hard hat, vest and miner’s headlamp you’ll be able to see into the lives of the miners during the 1900s. I’ve taken this tour twice now and have learned new things each time. The tour lasts about an hour and tour guides are great and will answer all of your questions!
Walk through their many shops and galleries
With over 30 local shops and 10 art galleries to browse through you’ll have plenty to see! I could take all day looking through the shops, antiques and art galleries. For a list of all the shops and galleries visit Discover Bisbee.
Take a hike up Bisbee’s many steps
One of my favorite things to do in Bisbee is to walk around and explore. The city of downtown Bisbee is nestled in some hills so there are many buildings on different levels of the hills, that is why there are so many stairs! If you just walk around you can go up and down many different stair cases and see the many parts of Bisbee. Or if you’d like to participate in the Bisbee 1,000 stair climb and go through the 4.5 mile course you can register for next year’s race on October 16th, 2021. Registration is open now, and they do sell out. (You can also find the map of the course on their website and do the course on your own).
Stay in the Historic Copper Queen Hotel
The Copper Queen Hotel which opened in 1902, is Arizona’s longest continuously operating hotel. It holds 48 Victorian-styled rooms with private bath in each, and no two rooms are exactly the same. It is legend that there are three ghosts who reside in the hotel, a man with long hair and a beard wearing a top hat and black cape, a woman named Julia Lowell (who has a room in the hotel), and a little boy who sometimes moves objects in guest’s rooms. The hotel lobby has a book where guests can write down their ghostly experiences they encountered in the hotel, and I have read through some of these. I have been inside the hotel, but never stayed there so I personally have not seen or felt any spiritual activity. If you’d rather stay away from ghosts, simply ask for one of the rooms that aren’t haunted.
Take some photos
From the old buildings, red brick, artsy buildings, paintings, stairs, and desert scenery, there are many opportunities for photos in this city. This is a great spot for photographers to take photos, a place for a photo shoot or even just get some Instagram photos. I like taking photos for my Instagram account here because of all the different backgrounds I can find!
What to Eat:
There are many places to eat in Bisbee! This is not a complete list, but I will just go through some of my favorites!
Breakfast/Brunch – Bisbee Breakfast Club ($$)
You have to go to Bisbee Breakfast Club! This restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch from 7am-3pm every day. Although this is not located in downtown Bisbee, it is right down the road (5 minute drive) in the old town of Lowell. I have not had anything I did not like from this place (breakfast or lunch). Their pancakes and their biscuits and gravy are huge and delicious. Their burgers and fries are amazing, and their stuffed avocado with chicken salad is great (if you’re looking for something a little healthier). The service is great and the atmosphere is really cool because it is located in an old car dealership building. Expect a wait on the weekends, this is a very popular spot!
Mexican Food – Santiago’s ($$)
Santiago’s has delicious and authentic Sonoran style Mexican food. Their salsa is some of the best I’ve had (and I am Mexican and grew up in Arizona). Ask for their house margarita and you won’t be disappointed. My personal favorite dish here is their Chili Rellenos and my Husband’s is the Philemon Chimichanga with either shredded beef or pork.
Pizza – Screaming Banshee ($$)
Screaming Banshee is located across from Cochise County Courthouse and the famous Copper Man Statue in a small building that looks like it could have been an old gas station. Their wood fired pizza is delicious and so are their appetizers. They also have great pasta and salads, local beers, wine and mixed drinks. My personal favorites are the screamin’ dip which is an appetizer consisting of a melty cheesy pizza type dip, and their “Spicy Mutha Chicken” buffalo chicken pizza. Expect a wait on the weekends because the restaurant is pretty small.
American – Bisbee’s Table ($$)
If you want an option that is great for everyone’s tastes, go to the Bisbee Table. It has a perfect central location in downtown Bisbee and has everything from appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, pizza, fish, steaks, and pasta. My favorites to order here are their truffle fries and their spicy diablo pasta, but everything I have ordered here has been great. They also have local beers and great mixed drinks.
Bisbee has Brewery Gulch, which back in the day was home of nearly 50 saloons and was considered one of the liveliest places in the west! Today, the brewery gulch still exists and is home to a few bars (some original and some new). Many of them have live music on the weekends (which is my favorite). This is not a complete list, but some of the most historic or best options in my opinion.
If you’re looking for really good drinks, have them at the restaurants I listed above. Most of the nightlife in Bisbee is Dive bars with average drinks.
Saint Elmo Bar ($) – Brewery Gulch
One of the most well known and popular bars is Saint Elmo’s. It is the longest continually operating bar in Arizona, which opened in 1902! This is definitely a dive and the crowds here can be very different with a mix of locals, bikers, and tourists. They have live music on Saturday nights and karaoke on Fridays. This place can get pretty rowdy on the weekends and pretty dead on weeknights. Not one of my favorite spots in town, but you should at least pop in for a cheap drink, and maybe stick around for the live music.
The Stock Exchange Saloon ($) – Brewery Gulch
Also a dive bar, I like this place because of the history. The Muheim building was built in 1905 and housed the Bewery Saloon which was one of the most popular bars in the Gulch at the time. In 1914 the “Nobel Experiment” was enforced that banned all alcohol sales and terminated liquor licenses in Arizona and the saloon closed its doors. The brokerage firm of Duey and Overlock (formerly located on the second floor), relocated their offices to the main floor and a stock board was installed in place of the bar, working with E.F. Hutton offices in Manhattan, the New York Stock Exchange in Arizona was created!
Now the bar is called the stock exchange because it really used to be a stock exchange, and the stock board is still intact inside today. This place normally has live music on Saturdays and doesn’t get too rowdy.
Old Bisbee Brewing Company ($) – Brewery Gulch
If you’re looking for more of laid back vibe while you enjoy some local brews, go to Bisbee Brewing Company. They have an indoor area and a great patio area with misters to sit back and relax. They typically have 5 different beers to choose from including their Classic Pilsner, Copper City Ale, Double Hopped IPA, Mayan Stout and Salut! (a gluten free option).
Copper City Saloon ($) – Above Brewery Gulch
Another dive bar that has live music on Saturday nights with more of a country saloon style feel inside. Just another option to look at if you’re looking to watch live music!
Bisbee Social Club ($$) – By the Bisbee Grand Hotel
This place is brand new and I am excited about it because it is a Speakeasy! To enter look for the stairs leading down to the Bisbee Social Club sign and Red light just passed the Bisbee Grand Hotel. The atmosphere in here is really nice with low lighting, a fish tank, and industrial and modern fixtures. They also have a stage/dance floor area where they host live music on the weekends. I can see my husband and I going back here for the live music and atmosphere!
Where to Stay:
There are many options for where to stay that are all locally owned and operated.
The most popular hotels to stay at include:
– Copper Queen Hotel
– Bisbee Grand
– Copper City Inn
There are also many guest houses that are available to stay in, for a complete list, go to Discover Bisbee.
About the Author:
Savanna grew up in a small town with dreams of traveling the world. After graduating from the University of Arizona, she landed a job where she gets to travel a lot as a full time computer specialist. On the side, she is a teacher and choreographer of dance and a new travel blogger. She is a big researcher and always makes the most out of her work and personal trips, even when she only has a short amount of time to see the cities she travels to. She found herself with so many photos and stories to share as well as the go-to girl for travel recommendations, so she decided to create her travel blog Swift-n-Savvy: Tips and Tricks for Quick Trips!
If you’re in need of travel guides especially when you will be short on time, her blog is a great resource! Her blog shows the must see sites, and the best eats of well known travel cities, as well as places you may have never even thought of! Although this blog focuses on travel, she also shares her favorite quick and easy recipes and various lifestyle posts.