7 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Tombstone
In the southeastern corner of Arizona is Tombstone, the famous Wild West town of the silver boom. The town has preserved many of the original buildings and in fact restored them to the point that they no longer look historical. Actors dressed in Western style walk through town and staged gunfights breakout in the streets. Tombstone is known for its history but today it has a much more commercial feel, rather than historical. Nonetheless, Tombstone is a fun day trip from Tucson and the surrounding areas.
See also: Where to Stay in Tombstone
1 Allen Street
Allen Street is the main street through town, where visitors will inevitably find themselves. This is where many of the major attractions are, as well as the restaurants and shops, and the famous old saloons. Allen Street is also the scene of occasional historical re-enactments, where performers put on staged gunfights and barroom brawls. Even if nothing is taking place, actors roam the street in western costumes. On one of the corners on Allen Street is the famous O.K. Corral.
2 OK Corral
The OK Corral is perhaps the most well known site in Tombstone. This was the scene of the famous shoot-out in 1881 between the Earp and Clanton gangs, a legendary event in the Old West. Today life-size replicas of the nine gunfighters stand on the spots where they began the gunfight, giving a sense of the distance, or lack of distance, between each of the men, and the overall layout. The setting remains much the same as it was in 1881.
A re-enactment of the gunfight takes place daily inside the OK Corral.
3 Boothill Graveyard
Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone is the final resting place for all the town's hanging, lynching, and shootout victims. The number of graves is estimated at 276, many of them unmarked. Boot Hill was founded in 1878 and houses many unknown grave markers because so few people at the time carried identification. Many were only known by their nicknames! In more recent years the graveyard was restored, with the crosses redone and repainted, giving it a much less authentic feel. However, the restoration allows visitors to read the inscriptions.
4 Courthouse State Historic Park
The Tombstone Courthouse, now a State Historic Park, was built in 1882 but abandoned in 1929 when the county seat moved to Bisbee. The courthouse housed the sheriff, recorder, treasurer, and the board of supervisors, with a jail located at the rear. The building is today a museum, where the lives of local citizens from the late 19th and early 18th C are portrayed through antiques and artifacts. Outside in the courtyard stands a replica of the gallows where criminals were publicly hanged.
Address: 223 Toughnut Street, Tombstone
5 Bird Cage Theatre
Built in 1881, the Bird Cage Theatre never closed during its first three years. A theater, dance hall, saloon and brothel, the Bird Cage is said to have 140 bullet holes in the wall and ceiling.
Original fixtures and furnishings are still on display with the hand painted stage and orchestra pit in original condition. The stage features photos and stories of the many entertainers that performed. Some rooms located below the building, which were sealed off since 1889, have been opened to the public. They remain as they were found in recent days.
The building is also believed by many to be haunted.
Address: 535 Allen Street
6 Tombstone Epitaph
The Tombstone "Epitaph" paper was founded in 1880 by John Philip Clum. It was the local newspaper of the day and covered the stories which today comprise Tombstone's history. One of the first "big" stories was the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. The Epitaph itself has a long history but is today still being published by students in the Community Journalism class at the University of Arizona. The newspaper has taken a much different focus, and still reports as if it were back in the olden days. The paper is designed to be fun and entertaining, while portraying the history of the Old West. The original press is on display.
7 San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area
Located south of Tombstone, along the San Pedro River, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is a region where plants and animals thrive because of an availability of water. San Pedro Riparian Area is home to 400 species of birds, 82 species of mammals, as well as reptiles and amphibians. It is also home to some of the largest cottonwood trees in the country.
Where to Stay in Tombstone for Sightseeing
We recommend these unique hotels near Tombstone's historic sites:
- Tombstone Monument Ranch: 3-star all-inclusive ranch, horseback riding, chuckwagon breakfast, themed rooms.
- Landmark Lookout Lodge: mid-range pricing, five-minute drive from town, swimming pool, cooked-to-order breakfast included.
- Larian Motel: affordable rates, great location, friendly owner, Old West theme, clean rooms.
- Tombstone Sagebrush Inn: value hotel, rustic decor, John Wayne stayed here, comfortable beds.