Curious about traveling from Tombstone Az to Bisbee Az?
Is it worth it to visit both locations and what is there even to do there? Don’t worry; we have you covered as we discuss the best way to get between the cities and the top attractions not to miss while there.
Located in the Sonoran Desert, these two cities offer visitors a chance to explore the Wild West, visit historical sites from the late 1800s, and discover a culture unlike any other.
In Tombstone, you can meander down East Allen Street and experience an original theatre from the 1880s. In Bisbee, you can travel underground at the Queen Copper Mine for an authentic mining experience.
Let’s look at how to get from Tombstone, Az, to Bisbee, Az, and what you should have on your “must-see” list for each city.
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How Far Is It From TombstoneTo Bisbee
The drive from Tombstone, Az, to Bisbee, Az, is quite short. It is only about 23 miles. Without any stops or traffic delays, the trip should only take you 25 minutes.
Best Way To Get From Tombstone To Bisbee
The closest major city to Bisbee and Tombstone is Tucson, Arizona. So most people will travel from there for a day trip or an overnight in these two smaller cities.
You really only have two options for getting to and between these Southern Arizona cities.
The first is a personal vehicle. Having your own car (or rental) allows you to visit both cities at your own pace. This option works great if you dislike making plans or sticking to a schedule.
The second option is to see both cities on a guided day trip from Tucson. This is perfect for tourists wanting a more educational experience or not wanting the hassle of renting a car.
The tour we recommend leaves on Fridays from Tucson and gives you 2 hours in each city. We like this one because it is a small group tour topping out at 13 guests. So no huge tour bus with 50 new friends.
Best Route To Get From Tombstone Az To Bisbee Az
One main road, AZ-80, travels between Tombstone and Bisbee. So you can hardly get lost along the way.
Unless you are as useless at directions as Jenny here at Traveling In Focus, you might still get lost even though it is a straight point A to point B trip.
Top Stops In Tombstone Az
Here are a few suggestions for top attractions in Tombstone not to miss before heading to Bisbee.
1. East Allen Street
East Allen Street is Tombstone’s main street and is where most of the attractions and stores can be found.
It is the perfect place to spend a bit of time perusing the shops and snagging your “I’m Your Huckleberry” souvenir.
Along with the shops, you can also have a wine tasting, take an old-time photo, or grab your seat on a carriage ride.
Outside on the main street, you will often find Tombstone residents dressed in Old West attire, making it feel like you might have dropped right into the 1880s.
The building facades, dirt streets, and wooden boardwalks add to the Old West feel.
East Allen Street is only three blocks and won’t take a substantial amount of time to look around, but as it is what makes Tombstone special, it shouldn’t be missed.
2. OK Corral & Gunfight Show
Tombstone is famous for the “gunfight at the OK Corral,” so this one shouldn’t be missed if it is your first visit to Tombstone.
Part re-enactment, part museum, this attraction has you learning all about the OK Corral and what happened on that October day in 1881.
The order of the attraction might vary slightly based on your arrival time, but when we arrived, we were escorted to the outdoor theater first to see the re-enactment.
You will watch a small recreation of what happened between the Earps and the Cowboys, ending with the shootout still famous today. The show takes about 15 minutes.
Afterward, you can wander the facility to view the rest of the museum attractions. There are old carriages, photographs, and even an old horse-drawn hearse.
📎 Tip: If you want to hit up the Historama next door, your admission is included with the OK Corral ticket. It’s a bit corny, but all in good fun.
3. Birdcage Theatre
The Birdcage Theatre opened up in 1881 and only survived about ten years before its most prominent patrons, silver miners, began to leave the area, and it shut its doors.
But those years were a wild ride. From the longest poker game that included Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp to girls selling their “personal wares” to gunfights, this was a happening place at the time.
When you step inside the lobby, ask about the bullet holes that can still be seen along the bar.
Admission allows you past the lobby and into the basement, where you can find old memorabilia.
But be careful in the dark passageways, as the theater is said to be haunted. If you want to take your chances, you can do a ghost tour on the premises.
4. Big Nose Kates
Big Nose Kate’s Saloon sits on the premises of the original Grand Hotel, which opened in 1880.
The hotel was as grand as the name suggests, being one of the finest in Arizona, with many famous guests passing through its doors.
A fire took out the hotel in 1882, but the bar that was located in the basement at the time managed to survive. That long bar is the current bar you can sit at to enjoy a drink at the saloon.
Not only is there nightly entertainment from trivia to musicians at Big Nose Kates, but the food and drink are the best in town. And if you haven’t seen Tombstone (the movie) in a while, no worries, as it plays on repeat on the TVs.
One cool feature you shouldn’t miss if you stop by is visiting the gift shop. It is located downstairs, where you can also peek into a local mine shaft.
Top Stops In Bisbee Az
These are the attractions we recommend you visit once you reach Bisbee.
6. Queen Mine Tour
Bisbee was at one time a vast mining town. There are several things to see related to its mining past, and first up is the Copper Queen Mine.
Begun around 1880, this mine ended up being a “goldmine” for the area, so to speak. But instead of gold, this one was full of copper.
As with how most mines are built, the surface was extracted first, and then miners slowly began digging deeper to continue removing the ore.
With ore containing up to 23% copper, whereas the average mine produced around 10%, the Queen Mine became the biggest producer in Arizona.
Between the underground mine and the Lavender Pit (coming up next), this mine produced metals worth more than 6.1 billion USD.
Today, you can tour the Copper Queen Mine aboard the underground mine train. Guides were previous miners in the area and have expertise and knowledge that allow you to have an experience you won’t get elsewhere.
5. Lavender Pit
As underground copper mining declined in the 1940s, the Bisbee area continued to be productive with an open-pit mining concept.
This open pit was used from 1950 until 1974. The hole is 900 feet deep and 300 feet wide. During its heyday, the pit mine created more than 75 million tons of ore.
And while copper was the primary ore being pulled from the pit, bits of gold, silver, and turquoise were also regularly found.
You can’t go down into the cavity itself, but parking along the top rim gives you a great view of the pit below. You will find informational signs to learn more about open-pit mining on location.
This is a quick 15-minute stop just to view the enormous open copper mine.
📎 Tip: There is a fence around the lavender pit. Look for larger openings along the fence line that are big enough for a lens to fit through so you don’t have to shoot through the chain link fence.
7. Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum
The Bisbee Mining Museum is housed in what was once the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company’s headquarters.
If Bisbee’s mining history fascinates you, you must continue your learning journey by stopping at the mining museum for more information.
Inside you will find out about how Bisbee came to be, along with photographs, tools, artifacts, and more.
It is an excellent addition to visiting the mines.
8. Look At The Artwork
Though mining is its past, today, you will find that Bisbee is a growing art community.
As you wander the historic streets, you will find numerous art galleries.
In addition, you will see various artworks displayed along the streets in random locations. From paintings to sculptures, there is art everywhere in Bisbee.
While we can’t point you to one specific destination as it is constantly changing, we will say to pay particular attention to the narrow side streets and staircases. These are the perfect places to find a hidden gem.
9. Erie Street/Lowell
Lowell was once a separate little town until it became part of Bisbee in the early 1900s.
The main street, Erie Street, is all that is left of Lowell. So it doesn’t take long to explore the area. But we highly recommend a visit as it was by far our favorite part of Bisbee to visit.
We don’t know how to describe Lowell other than to say it is like stepping back in time.
It is like an alien species came down in the mid-1950s and abducted the whole town, leaving everything just as it was on that fateful day.
There are antique cars and buses along the street. The shops have posters from the 50s and old memorabilia inside. You can even find a few old-style gas pumps out front. You would think you had stepped onto a movie set if you didn’t know better.
📎 Note: Please be considerate and park off the main street. The whole point of this unique place is that it looks like the 1950s. So if your new Jeep sits between the classics, it ruins the entire vibe for you and everyone else.
FAQs From Tombstone Az To Bisbee Az
Time to answer a few questions people have about Bisbee.
Why Is Bisbee, Arizona Famous
Bisbee is famous for its copper mining that occurred from the late 1800s to the mid-1970s.
As we mentioned above, the copper percentage in the ore of the mine was well above anyone else in the area (23% instead of the average 10%).
Because of this high yield, the Queen Copper Mine not only brought in billions of dollars in the years it was active but also produced almost 25% of the WORLD’S copper.
Is Bisbee, Az Worth Visiting
We think so!
If you are interested in taking a mining tour or learning more about the mining history of the area that created Bisbee and other nearby cities like Tombstone, this is the perfect place to visit.
Bisbee is famous for its copper mine, and you can take a fun tour to see inside it.
But even if you don’t think mining is your interest, there is still plenty to do in Bisbee.
As an artist community, there is so much artwork to see in numerous galleries and displayed along the streets.
There are also museums, a great brewery, and many old buildings to catch your eye.
As a mountain town, Bisbee also has some beautiful views AND lots of stairs. They even have an annual event called the “Bisbee 1000: The Great Stair Climb,” in which the race covers nine staircases totaling over 1000 steps.
We aren’t suggesting you climb 1000 steps (unless you want to!) but it is a great place to just spend some time wandering up and down the streets.
How Far Is Bisbee To The Mexican Border
Interested in heading to Mexico?
You will be close once you are in Bisbee, as the city is only about 11 miles from the border of Mexico.
The closest border crossing will be heading into Naco, Mexico. From what we have heard (we haven’t been ourselves), it is a cute little border town with bright murals and good food. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have too many attractions to keep you busy.
But if you want to say you visited Mexico, this is the closest stop to Bisbee.
To Finish – Tombstone Az To Bisbee Az
As you can see, the trip from Tombstone Az to Bisbee Az is quick and straightforward.
And while each of these cities has enough things to do that you could spend a couple of days in each, we have provided you with some top suggestions to make the most out of your visit even if it is short.
We hope you take the time to visit these unique cities on a visit to the Southwest.