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5 Enjoyable and Quirky Issues to do in Tombstone, Arizona

Did you ever watch the HBO Sequence Westworld? It was this weird drama set in a futuristic “amusement park” within the American west the place guests are in a position to act out their violent fantasies towards very reasonable trying robots. Sound unusual? So is entering into real-life western city of Tombstone, Arizona, particularly throughout its annual “Helldorado Days” competition.

That was my first introduction to Tombstone. I used to be on a day journey from Tucson and decided to seek out the very best issues to do in Tombstone and had no concept what I used to be strolling into. Ever since seeing the 1993 film Tombstone, with its star-studded solid, this small city has been on my checklist of locations to go to in Arizona.

I didn’t know what to anticipate, however for the reason that occasions depicted within the film are based mostly on historic details, I believed it might be an authentically preserved Western city. I’ve been itching to swing by the doorways of an old school saloon and stroll down the boardwalk previous the storefronts of the principle avenue, so I used to be recreation for a flashback to the wild west.

Things to do in Tombstone AZ gunfight at the OK corral
Gunfight on the OK Corral

What Are Helldorado Days?

Driving into city, I arrived into the bizarro world that’s historic downtown Tombstone throughout Helldorado days. The extensive, dusty foremost avenue lined with outlets and eating places seemed simply as I had imagined. Instantly, I used to be stunned by the variety of individuals strolling round in full on Western gear — robes, parasols, overcoats, vests, boots and oh the hats! It was like I walked right into a Western model of ComicCon or onto the set of a film!

It was so complicated at first — had been they paid re-enactors, like if you go to Colonial Williamsburg and “townspeople” stroll round having deep conversations straight from the 1700s? Have been they actors from the assorted gunfight reveals taking a break? Or did individuals truly dress as much as go to Tombstone? I lastly observed the “Helldorado Days” banner hanging throughout the road and stopped at a sales space promoting t-shirts to get the low down.

Tombstone re-enactors

Helldorado Days is the largest annual occasion in Tombstone, held on the third Friday, Saturday and Sunday in October. There are such a lot of issues to do in Tombstone AZ throughout Helldorado Days together with gunfight re-enactment reveals, avenue leisure, vogue reveals, carriage rides, and even a parade. So whereas the competition made the city further crowded, it truly ended up being a good time to go to Tombstone. Should you can’t make it for Helldorado, the city additionally hosts quite a lot of annual occasions and festivals, together with the Tombstone Vigilante Days.

And all these individuals in costume strolling round? Reality was, it was a mixture of all the things. The gunfight reveals had been in full swing with loads of actors coming from throughout the nation to carry out. Different teams of musicians, gunfighters, saloon ladies, cowboys, story tellers, and dancers congregate in Tombstone for Helldorado Days.

There have been even individuals who had traveled throughout the US to principally cosplay within the Outdated West. (Hmm, might Westworld truly be a factor sometime?) What was clear was that everybody was there to have a superb time. And even in the event you aren’t there for Helldorado Days, there may be nonetheless loads to do in Tombstone.

So Why is Tombstone, AZ Well-known?

Covered wagon pulled by horses in Tombstone AZ

Tombstone, Arizona is known for its historical past as a mining city and for the notorious gunfight between lawman and a gaggle of outlaws on the O.Ok. Corral that occurred in 1881, one of the well-known occasions within the historical past of the American Outdated West.

The lawmen, together with Wyatt Earp, his brothers Virgil and Morgan Earp, and their pal Doc Holliday, had been deputized to implement a ban on carrying firearms within the city limits. The outlaws, who included the Clanton and McLaury brothers, had been recognized for his or her involvement in cattle rustling and different legal actions.

The 2 teams encountered one another in a vacant lot close to the O.Ok. Corral, and a short however intense gunfight ensued. The precise sequence of occasions and who fired first remains to be a matter of debate, however the final result was that three of the outlaws had been killed and the Earps and Holliday emerged unhurt.

The gunfight on the O.Ok. Corral grew to become well-known in widespread tradition as an emblem of the lawlessness and violence of the Outdated West, and the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday grew to become legendary figures.

Right this moment, Tombstone is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot that gives the chance to step again in time and expertise the Outdated West. It has been referred to as one of many high issues to do in Arizona with households and included on AZ bucket lists.

Along with its historic significance, Tombstone can be situated in a ravishing a part of Arizona, surrounded by scenic desert landscapes and near points of interest corresponding to Kartchner Caverns State Park and the Chiricahua Nationwide Monument.

Greatest Issues to do in Tombstone Arizona

These are the very best issues to do in Tombstone in case you have a day or extra to spend on the town.

O.Ok. Corral

OK Corral gunfight site

On the O.Ok. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, you’ll be able to expertise a reenactment of the well-known gunfight that occurred there in 1881. The reenactment is carried out by actors in interval costumes and with interval weapons, and goals to recreate the occasions of that day as precisely as potential.

After all, the O.Ok. Corral isn’t the one present on the town in the case of gunfight re-enactments — you’ll be able to take your choose. However many will choose to see the place the legendary Earp Brothers and Doc Holliday took their stand towards the “Cowboys” gang of outlaws. The well-known gunfight is reenacted every day at 11 am, 1 pm, and three pm (however instances are topic to vary so verify earlier than you go).

Every present lasts about half-hour. It’s essential to purchase your tickets on the reward store on the day of the efficiency, however get there early and get your tickets 2-3 hours prematurely, particularly on the weekends, to make sure a seat. Go away time to go to the reveals earlier than the gunfight present as a result of they get very crowded afterwards.

Along with the gunfight reenactment, you’ll be able to discover the historic website, which features a museum and reveals on the historical past of the city and the Outdated West. The museum options artifacts and memorabilia from the gunfight and the lives of the well-known figures concerned, together with Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. There’s additionally a Histogram, which is a large-scale rotating diorama narrated by none apart from Vincent Worth.

There are additionally dwell demonstrations of Outdated West abilities and crafts, corresponding to gunsmithing, leatherworking, and blacksmithing.

Outdated Tombstone Western City

Old Tombstone gunfight show

The Outdated Tombstone Western Theme Park is designed to offer guests a enjoyable and immersive expertise of the Outdated West. It’s arrange as a mini amusement park with a carnival-like environment.

One of many foremost points of interest of the Outdated Tombstone Western Theme Park is the gunfight reveals, which recreate the well-known shootout on the O.Ok. Corral and different Outdated West shootouts. The reveals are carried out by actors in interval costumes and are billed to be each entertaining and academic.

I did take within the gunfight present right here, since they declare it’s the “greatest on the town.” It was a bit like watching a vaudeville present with some actually campy appearing and no actual historic context, however hey, the individuals within the viewers appeared to get pleasure from it. Simply know what you’re getting your self in for and in case you are on the lookout for historic accuracy, perhaps attempt the OK Corral as an alternative and go right here for amusing.

The park additionally incorporates a vary of rides and actions, together with a classic carousel, a practice journey by the park, and a mine tour that takes guests by a simulated underground mine. You’ll be able to pan for gold, observe your purpose at a taking pictures gallery and even play mini-golf. How that goes collectively I don’t know however it should make the youngsters joyful.

There are additionally interactive reveals that permit guests to study Outdated West historical past and tradition, together with shows on cowboy life, Native American tradition, and mining. In addition they provide a mix ticket with a trolley tour. Friday and Saturday nights the trolley tour covers Tombstone’s most haunted landmarks, together with the Boothill Graveyard, Tombstone’s haunted hot-spot, on a ghost tour.

The Chuckwagon restaurant on-site can be a great spot to seize some grub (aka lunch.)

Outdated Tombstone Stage Coach Tour

Tombstone stage coach

When you have ever needed to journey in a stage coach, right here is your likelihood. Outdated Tombstone Excursions provides historic excursions by stagecoach or coated wagon from 9 am till 5 pm every day (no reservations required.) The excursions are operated by a fourth era native of Tombstone and the corporate has been conducting historic excursions all through Tombstone’s Historic District for twenty seven years.

Outdated Butterfield Stage Coach additionally provides a 20-minute narrated tour round Outdated Tombstone. The tour is known as after the Butterfield Overland Mail Firm, which operated a stagecoach line within the mid-1800s that ran by Tombstone.

The tour takes guests on a journey in a duplicate stagecoach that’s pulled by a workforce of mules, simply as it might have been within the Outdated West. The tour follows the identical route as the unique stagecoach line, which took passengers from Tucson to Tombstone and past, carrying mail and different items.

Old Butterfield stage coach tour

Tombstone Mine Excursions

One factor that sounded actually attention-grabbing to me however I didn’t have time to do it was an underground tour. Since Tombstone was corresponding to affluent mining city It could be enjoyable to go underground and see what it’s like in an actual mine (particularly for all these Minecraft followers.)

The realm round Tombstone was wealthy in silver deposits, which led to a mining growth that started within the mid-1870s and continued for a number of a long time. Among the most vital mines within the Tombstone space included the Robust Nut, the Fortunate Cuss, and the Goodenough mines. These mines employed 1000’s of employees and produced tens of millions of {dollars} value of silver ore, which was transported by rail to processing amenities in different components of the nation.

You’ll be able to study this mining historical past by visiting the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, which options reveals and shows on the historical past of mining within the space. However a enjoyable approach to be taught extra is with the Goodenough Mine Tour.

This tour takes you down into the underground tunnels, that are accessed by a 100-foot vertical shaft. The tour lasts roughly half-hour and covers the tunnels, stopes, and drifts, to show in regards to the historical past and know-how of mining throughout the Outdated West period.

Take pleasure in City

Tombstone shops

It’s essential to go away your self time to essentially benefit from the city. Allen Road has been preserved to mirror life within the Eighteen Eighties. Lots of the authentic buildings burned down in fires however they’ve been rebuilt in that very same Outdated West type. In case you are visiting within the afternoon, there may be normally a free gunfight on the street at 1 pm.

When you have children in tow, the Crystal Palace Saloon (initially the Golden Eagle Brewing Firm) or Huge Nostril Kate’s Saloon is perhaps a bit of rowdy (not less than it seemed it to me throughout Helldorado Days), however the outlets are fascinating. That is the place you can see your subsequent Halloween costume, robe for a masquerade, or only a nice cowboy hat! The clothes is nice high quality and selection. You could even wish to splurge on a few of these Oldtyme Images to recollect the journey.

When you have extra time, there are numerous different historic websites to discover in Tombstone, together with the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, the Fowl Cage Theatre, the Rose Tree Museum (residence to the world’s largest Rose Tree), and the Boothill Cemetery.

The place to Keep in Tombstone, AZ

Hotel and mercantile in Tombstone AZ

After I visited Tombstone, it was on a day journey from Tucson. See my suggestions for the very best resorts in Tucson. In case you are on the lookout for one thing nearer, take a look at the choices under:

Often Requested Questions

The place is Tombstone, Arizona?

Tombstone, Arizona is situated within the southern a part of the state, in Cochise County. It’s roughly 70 miles southeast of Tucson and 30 miles north of the Mexican border.

How do you get to Tombstone, Arizona?

In case you are driving from exterior the world, the most typical route is to take Interstate 10 to Benson, Arizona, after which comply with Freeway 80 south to Tombstone. The drive takes roughly 1 hour and quarter-hour from Tucson, and about 3 hours from Phoenix.
In case you are flying, the closest main airport is Tucson Worldwide Airport (TUS), which is situated roughly 70 miles north of Tombstone. A number of main airways provide flights to and from Tucson, with connections to many different cities throughout the US and around the globe. From the airport, you’ll be able to hire a automobile or organize for a shuttle or taxi to take you to Tombstone.
As soon as you’re in Tombstone, the city is sufficiently small to be simply explored on foot, though you might also wish to take into account taking a guided tour, corresponding to a stagecoach tour or a strolling tour, to be taught extra in regards to the historical past and tradition of the city.

How lengthy do you have to spend in Tombstone, AZ?

The period of time it’s best to spend in Tombstone, Arizona will depend on your pursuits and what you wish to see and do if you are there. I’d suggest spending not less than a half day to a full day exploring the city and its points of interest together with the O.Ok. Corral, the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park, and the Tombstone Epitaph newspaper workplace. You may additionally wish to take a guided strolling or stagecoach tour to be taught extra in regards to the city’s historical past and tradition.
In case you are concerned with outside actions, corresponding to climbing, horseback using, or birdwatching, you could wish to spend extra time within the surrounding space, exploring close by parks and wilderness areas such because the Coronado Nationwide Forest or Kartchner Caverns State Park.
Total, a minimal of half a day is really useful to discover the city and its main points of interest, however if you wish to absolutely immerse your self within the historical past and tradition of Tombstone, you could wish to spend a full day or extra within the space.

What’s the greatest time to go to Tombstone, AZ?

The very best time to go to Tombstone, Arizona is within the spring (March to Could) or fall (September to November), when the temperatures are gentle and the climate is usually nice for outside actions. Throughout these seasons, the typical excessive temperature is within the 70s and 80s (Fahrenheit), and the evenings might be cool.
The summer time months (June to August) might be scorching and dry, with common excessive temperatures within the 90s and low 100s (Fahrenheit). Should you do go to in the summertime, you will need to keep hydrated and take precautions to guard your self from the solar.
Winter (December to February) in Tombstone might be cool to chilly, with occasional frost and snow. Nonetheless, winter is usually a good time to go to for individuals who get pleasure from cooler temperatures and fewer crowds.

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If you are planning a trip to Arizona, be sure to add in a day trip to the Old West town of Tombstone, home to the O.K. Corral. Just one hour from Tucson, this slice of the wild west is a unique gem.

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