I finally made it to Bisbee, AZ! This was the third time I had planned a trip there, but the first time I actually made it. The weather was a bit cool, but the trip WAS worth it!
Bisbee is a turn of the century mining city in the Mule Mountains of southeast Arizona. It has a rich history in mining and offers a taste of the past for today’s world.
Getting There: The Drive
I left the Phoenix area Saturday morning. Normally it would only be about a 3.5-hour drive, but… I stopped a few times along the way!
NOTE: you can get directions to Bisbee, AZ from your location by clicking on the “Show the Way” link to the right. As well as see photos along the way in the map!
With no set itinerary and no prescribed time to follow, I managed a few other little detours along the way.
The first stop was in Tucson, about lunchtime. I pulled into a gas station off the highway and asked where the best local Mexican restaurant was. I was given two options that happened to be across the street from one other. I opted for Guillermo’s Restaurant! I enjoyed some chips and salsa and a chicken enchilada then was back on the road.
Next, I saw a sign for Colossal Cave and had to make another detour! I didn’t want to wait 45 minutes to take the tour so I chose a nice scenic walk, drank some water, bought a souvenir, and enjoyed some sunshine on the balcony before loading back up in the car to head further down the road.
Well, it wasn’t my first time in Tombstone, but when passing through you have to stop and take a walk down the historic main street! So I did… and got some yummy fudge for a snack!
Next stop, you guessed it, Bisbee! It was only about 25 miles further south, which made me wonder why I hadn’t been there before! But either way, I was finally here!
Food & Lodging in Bisbee
You will definitely not find a shortage of places to eat, drink, be merry, and sleep in Bisbee! This cool little town has a large selection of turn-of-the-century hotels, motels, and vacation rentals.
Copper Queen Hotel
One of the toughest decisions I made on this trip was which awesome looking hotel to stay at. I ended up choosing to stay at the Copper Queen Hotel, and I’m glad I did! This was a one-stop-shop for my stay; a cute room that reminded me of my Grandma’s house (even had a real key to the door!), a saloon with live music, a restaurant for breakfast with free coffee to go (lunch & dinner too if you want), and multiple sitting areas!
I had a room on the third floor (310), so there was easy balcony access! I did enjoy the sunrise Sunday morning from the balcony with my free cup of coffee made to order!
Did I mention that there is a ledger with ‘ghostly’ sightings and phenomena from guests at the front desk, be sure to ask to see it when you check in! I was told that room 410 is rather active. I didn’t have any unusual experiences, but that doesn’t mean you won’t…
- Comfortable Bed
- Amazing History
- Great Service
- A little pricey
Within a very short walk of the Copper Queen Hotel is Bisbee’s Table, an “Eatery serving an eclectic mix of comfort food in a casual space filled with photos of old Bisbee.”
I ordered a Thai salad with Salmon to eat and a cocktail, both were delicious! I managed to finish my drink, but only about half of the salad…
The service was excellent as well! When I was first seated, the table was rather wobbly, so the waitress quickly folded a coaster and stuck it under the table leg… problem solved! She was also accommodating when the drink I ordered (first time trying) was just a bit to lime-flavored for my liking. She quickly took it back and brought me another one! She definitely earned her tip!
- The atmosphere
- The food (& the drink)
- The service
- I was only there once!
Things To Do: At least what I did
There are a ton of things to do in Bisbee (catch the mining reference?)!
I spent some time just walking the streets and getting lost. Fortunately, though, I always seemed to end up back in the same place, the Main St. and Howell area. There are a lot of hills, tight one-way roads, and a sidewalk between a building and the street.
There were several places, shops, and attractions I wasn’t able to see on this trip, so I guess I will just have to go back!
But here’s a couple things I did do:
The Lavender Pit is named after Harrison Lavender, the then-manager that took the Copper Queen Branch of Phelps Dodge from underground to an open pit mine in 1951. Today, it is a 950-foot deep pit covering 300 acres and attracts visitors from all over. It’s not the Grand Canyon, but it is impressive to see!
The Lavender Pit is obviously fenced off so you don’t fall into this gaping hole in the earth, but there are some photo ‘windows’ in the fence. You can see some of the photos I took in the Photo Gallery at the end of this post.
You can also find a WWII Memorial at the location!
Copper Queen Mine Tour
One of the coolest things I did in Bisbee was spending the $13 for a tour of the Queen Mine. For about an hour or so we were educated on what it was like to be a miner back in the mid-1900s by someone that actually worked in that mine (his picture is even on the wall as the last crew to work underground)!
The tour started off with all of us getting a vest, a light, a hard hat, and a mining ID badge as we “brassed in”. After gearing up we loaded up on a mining trolly and proceeded underground, 1500 feet into the side of the mountain to be exact.
There were a couple of stops where we were shown mining tools and the mining process was explained. Bennie did an awesome job making us feel like we were on our first day of work as a miner.
I would say that this is a “must do” attraction when you visit Bisbee!
And yes, we “brassed out” as we were leaving the mine!