Enjoy pizza at The Screaming Banshee Pizza in Bisbee, Arizona. // © 2017 The Screaming Banshee Pizza
Feature image (above): The city is located 90 minutes from Tucson. // © 2017 Chuck Feil
Although Tucson and Phoenix may initially come to mind when planning a visit to the Grand Canyon State, travelers would be remiss to pass up a stop in Bisbee, a small town on the border of Arizona and Mexico and a 90-minute drive from Tucson.
Dubbed “whimsical, colorful and perhaps a little haunted” by Visit Arizona, an arm of the state’s tourism office, the former mining hot spot now prides itself on a thriving arts scene and its small, eclectic population of hippies and creative types.
One such creative is Kelly Overacker, the owner of Va Voom, a local business in downtown Bisbee that sells vintage, tribal and handcrafted leather goods and costumes.
When she’s not behind the counter or keeping tabs on Vampie Oodles — Va Voom’s online counterpart — she’s most likely grooving with local belly-dancing troupe High Desert Gypsies.
Here, Overacker shares her tips for exploring the quirky city that USA Today readers have named “America’s Best Historic Small Town.”
Bisbee stands apart from other Arizona tourism destinations because:
It’s a wonderful community with great restaurants and a thriving art and music scene. It is laid-back, beautiful and eclectic, and our downtown is compact and convenient — it’s within walking distance to many shops, restaurants, bars and museums.
Most people who visit Bisbee probably don’t know:
That the town is home to Warren Ballpark, one of the oldest professional baseball stadiums in the U.S. It is also where 1,300 striking miners were held during the infamous Bisbee Deportation of 1917.
The most fascinating thing about Bisbee’s history is:
It could easily have become a ghost town after mining activity ended in the mid-1970s. Bisbee experienced a population shift when people were drawn by inexpensive real estate, which has played a part in creating the quirky Bisbee of today.
It’s Friday night. Where to?
Check out Magic Kenny’s show at The Bisbee Seance Room, then go to The Quarry Bisbee to eat, drink, socialize and catch whatever great band is playing that night.
When my stomach is grumbling, I make sure to head to:
Thuy’s Noodle Shop for pho; The Quarry Bisbee for burgers and fries; Poco for vegan nachos; The Screaming Banshee Pizza for wood-fired pizza; and Cafe Roka for flourless chocolate cake.
When it’s time to catch some zzz’s, book a stay at:
The Shady Dell vintage trailer park. Stay in a refurbished vintage trailer, socialize and grill with the other guests. Some of the many other noteworthy places are Blue Moon Bungalows, Sleepy Dog Guest House and Gardens at Mile High Ranch.