At the Bisbee Visitor Center, in the middle of town, pick up walking-tour brochures that guide you past the town's most important historic buildings and sites. On the second floor of the Copper Queen Library, 6 Main St. (tel. 520/432-4232), which is the oldest public library in Arizona, old photographs give a good idea of what the town looked like in the past century.
Don't miss the Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, 5 Copper Queen Plaza (tel. 520/432-7071; www.bisbeemuseum.org), housed in the 1897 Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company office building. This small but comprehensive museum features exhibits on the history of Bisbee. It's open daily from 10am to 4pm; admission is $7.50 for adults, $6.50 for seniors, and $3 children 15 and under.
For another look at early life in Bisbee, visit the Muheim Heritage House Museum, 207 Youngblood Hill (tel. 520/432-7698; www.bisbeemuseum.org), which is reached by walking up Brewery Gulch. The house was built between 1898 and 1915 and has an unusual semicircular porch. The interior is decorated with period furniture. It's open Friday through Tuesday from 10am to 4pm; admission is $4.
O.K. Street, which parallels Brewery Gulch but is high on the hill on the southern edge of town, is a good place to walk for views of Bisbee. At the top of O.K. Street is a path that takes you up to a hill above town for an even better panorama of Bisbee's jumble of old buildings. Atop this hill are numerous small, colorfully painted shrines that are built into the rocks and filled with candles, plastic flowers, and pictures of the Virgin Mary. It's a steep climb on a rocky, very uneven path, but the views and the fascinating little shrines make it worth the effort.
Mining made this town what it is, so you should be sure to take an underground mine tour to find out what it was like to be a miner here in Bisbee. Queen Mine Tours (tel. 866/432-2071 or 520/432-2071; www.queenminetour.com) takes visitors down into one of the town's old copper mines. Tours are offered daily between 9am and 3:30pm and cost $13 for adults and $5.50 for children 4 to 12. The ticket office and mine are just south of the Old Bisbee business district at the Ariz. 80 interchange.
For an exploration of some of the steeper and narrower streets of Bisbee, take a 90-minute tour ($40) of old Bisbee with Lavender Jeep Tours (tel. 520/432-5369; www.lavenderjeeptours.com). Several other tours are also available. For a walk on the dark side, sign up for the Old Bisbee Ghost Tour (tel. 520/432-3308; www.oldbisbeeghosttour.com). These 90-minute tours are offered Friday through Sunday nights at 7pm and cost $13 for adults and $9 for children 11 and under.
Bisbee has lots of interesting stores and galleries, and shopping is the main recreational activity here. Because turquoise is associated with copper mines, and Bisbee's mines once produced some of the most famous turquoise in the country, you'll see quite a bit of turquoise jewelry around town. To get a look at some of the quality jewelry created from minerals mined in the area, stop by Czar Jewelry, 13 Main St. (tel. 520/432-3027). In Jewelry Designs by Owen, 45 Main St. (tel. 520/432-4400; www.jewelrydesignsbyowen.com), you'll find lots of beautiful jewelry in a wide range of styles. Across the street, at the Gold Shop, 46 Main St. (tel. 520/432-4557), you'll find lots of turquoise set in gold instead of silver, which is much more common. Uptown Tribal, 2 Copper Queen Plaza (tel. 520/432-7818; www.katedrew-wilkinson.com), in the same building that houses Bisbee's visitor center, is another jewelry store worth checking out.
If it's art you're after, you've got lots of good galleries to visit here in Bisbee. You'll find fanciful kinetic sculptures and colorful paintings at Sam Poe Gallery, 24 Main St. (tel. 520/432-5338; www.sampoegallery.com). Right next door is PanTerra Gallery, 22 Main St. (tel. 520/432-3320; www.panterragallery.com), which sells both the photographs of co-owner Charles Feil and gorgeous women's fashions and jewelry selected by his wife, co-owner Maralyce Ferree. At Belleza Gallery, 27 Main St. (tel. 520/432-5877; www.bellezagallery.org), your art purchase will go to a good cause. The gallery is operated by a nonprofit organization that helps homeless women in a substance-abuse treatment program. The 55 Main Gallery, 55 Main St. (tel. 520/432-4694; www.55maingallery.com), featuring contemporary art, jewelry, furniture, and women's fashions, is another of my favorite galleries in town.
Bicyclists should be sure to drop by the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel, 43 Brewery Ave. (tel. 520/432-3339; www.bisbeebicyclebrothel.com), where cycling enthusiast Ken Wallace has a shop full of vintage road bikes, primarily from England and Italy. There are also some interesting modern bikes as well.
To protect your face from the burning rays of the sun (and make a fashion statement), visit Optimo Custom Hat Works, 47 Main St. (tel. 520/432-4544; www.optimohatworks.com), where owner Grant Sergot will custom-fit your felt fedora, cowboy hat, or Panama straw hat. (By the way, Panama hats actually come from Ecuador.)
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.