5 Eclectic Cities in Arizona to Explore
Experience the Old West, trendy restaurants, art and history in these fantastic Arizona getaways.
Arizona’s cities and towns have a treasure trove of experiences just waiting for you to discover. Visit Phoenix or Tucson for exciting restaurants, shows and museums. For an Old West experience, head to Tombstone or Prescott. If you’re seeking an artistic experience, plan to explore Bisbee. This is just a sampling of what Arizona has on offer.
The beautiful city of Phoenix is situated in a multi-city metropolitan area that’s known as the Valley of the Sun. Here, you’ll find a mix of urban sophistication and outstanding scenery. Enjoy a relaxing day at one of the many high-end spa resorts, where you’ll be pampered like royalty. For an adventure, go for a hike in gorgeous South Mountain Park, home to native desert vegetation, elephant trees and Chuckwallas (large lizards). Take a trail to the top of Dobbins Lookout for a breathtaking view over the landmarks of Phoenix. Check out the Musical Instrument Museum, which houses over 15,000 musical instruments and objects from nearly 200 countries. View performance outfits of Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Taylor Swift and galleries housing player pianos, antique charter horns, the world’s largest sousaphone and orchestral music boxes. Book ahead to catch a live music performance in the theater.
A rock formation in front of Saguaro cacti and mountains in South Mountain Park
Scenic Tucson sits amidst the Sonoran Desert and is surrounded by four majestic mountain ranges. Once the settlement of the Hohokam tribe in A.D. 600, Tucson was eventually populated by the Spanish during the Presidio period in the late 1700s. Today, historic architecture is preserved throughout the city. One example is the Rialto, one of Tucson’s first movie theaters which now hosts live music shows by popular musicians. Spend a day at the Tucson Museum of Art to explore collections of Modern, Contemporary, American Indian, American West, Latin American and Asian art styles. Be sure to sign up for a food tour to sample a mouthwatering array of Mexican dishes.
A view of the Rialto, lit up at night
Located in southeastern Arizona, Tombstone was once a mining town, and is filled with deep ties to the Old West. Visit the O.K. Corral, where reenactors reproduce the famous gun fight between Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the Clanton-McLaury gang. Take a stroll down Allen Street to find saloons, restaurants, shops and an old courthouse where shootouts are recreated. Find out more about the town’s mining history on a tour with Good Enough Mine Tours, where you’ll follow your guide through one of the 25 active silver mines and see original 1879 artifacts, structures, rocks and minerals along the way.
Horse-drawn carriages along Allen Street
Also located in southeastern Arizona and founded during the mining boom of the 1880s, Bisbee experienced a sharp population decline when the mines closed, but the warm climate and picturesque scenery began attracting artists and hippies in the 1960s. Their influence is apparent as you stroll down Main Street with its free-spirited mix of art, history and music filling galleries and boutiques. You’ll also find coffee shops and live theater within Victorian-style buildings mixed with Art Deco stylings. For nightlife, go on a pub crawl through historic Brewery Gulch, a place that was once home to 50 saloons.
Historical buildings sit within the Mule Mountains in Bisbee
Located in central Arizona, Prescott is a town known for its historic saloons and live music. For Wild West-themed nightlife, head to Whisky Row, an area filled with historic bars and saloons where famous outlaws and cowboys, such as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday spent time. Be sure to visit the Palace Saloon, built in 1901 and the oldest building in Prescott. During the day, head downtown to check out the Sharlot Hall Museum, where you’ll see seven historic buildings, beautiful gardens, a collection of rare books and historical photographs. The city is surrounded by the Prescott National Forest, where you can explore more than 600 kilometers of hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking trails.
An aerial view of downtown Prescott
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