Tombstone, Arizona is possibly the Wild West’s most famous and legendary town. Here, a plethora of signs proudly welcome visitors with its motto; “the town too tough to die.”
Isolated from the modern cities, Tombstone is situated in the desolate desert just miles from the Mexican border.
Go on a Wild West Adventure with these Things to Do in Tombstone, Arizona
Tombstone was founded in 1879 by Ed Schieffelin against everyone’s advice. After striking it rich in a mine, it quickly became a prosperous silver boom-town with a population growing from 100 to over 14,000 in under 7 years.
With the promise of wealth came hoards of new fortune seekers, outlaws, and numerous saloons/brothels to keep them entertained and rowdy. Having nearly vanished into a ghost town, today Tombstone has been rebuilt into a tourist destination with romanticized folklore, a blend of fun comedy and factual history.
Travel Tip: The best time of year to visit is October–April due to less extreme temperatures than the summer months. With highs maxing out at an average of 94° in June, it’s wise to dress lightly and prepare for sun exposure.
Check out Visit Arizona for the most up-to-date attractions and schedule of things to do in Tombstone, Arizona.
Take a stroll down Allen Street and you’ll find historic saloons, restaurants, and shops. Make sure not to miss the great attractions below before kickin’ off your cowboy boots and high-tailin’ it out of town.
#1 Visit the Boothill Graveyard
Dust blows with the wind as I arrive at the Boothill Graveyard—the cemetery serves as a final resting place to an unknown number of souls, including the 3 men killed at the famous O.K.
Corral gun battle, Billy Clanton and brothers Tom and Frank McLaury. Restored wooden grave markers indicate all manners of death including now-forgotten illnesses, murders, and lynchings—a somber reminder of the tough and wild times of the 1880s.
#2 The O.K. Corral Gunfight
If you’re in need of things to do in Tombstone, Arizona, the O.K. Corral Gunfight is considered the most famous gunfight in Old West history, although it only lasted 30 seconds.
Stand on-site and imagine witnessing the event as it happened that fateful day on October 26, 1881, around 3:00 pm.
Imagine the moment, the anticipation, the excitement, and fear—then watch a reenactment performed by one of the many companies that offer daily shows. Get your fill of the historic battle as well as comedic and non-factual shows to boot.
#3 The Bird Cage Theater
Once serving the town as part theatre, saloon, brothel, and gambling hall, the Bird Cage is one of Tombstone’s few remaining original buildings that didn’t burn down in a fire. Untouched and unrestored you see it just as it was back in the 1800s.
The original long bar, bullet-riddled paintings, and poker table are all out and on display along with a peek into the old guest rooms.
The Bird Cage Theatre is rumored to be haunted by those who lived and died inside its old walls. It has been featured on numerous paranormal-themed TV shows such as Ghost Hunters. Nightly ghost tours are available for those brave enough.
Other Notable Attractions
- Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park—a museum is inside, and a replica gallows is outside in the courtyard marking where 7 men were hanged for their crimes.
- The Tombstone Epitaph—the oldest continually published newspaper that covered the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.
- Rose Tree Museum—see the world’s largest rose tree, memorabilia, and amazing historical collections.
#4 Stay the Night!
There are several historic Bed and Breakfasts in Tombstone, Arizona that offer a relaxing night’s sleep and continue taking in the mystique of the wild old days with excellent western decor. Virgil’s Corner is a B&B now but the house once belonged to the legendary Earp family.
If the urge to go back in time to the days of the wild Old West hits you, Tombstone, Arizona is the perfect place to visit. Bring your camera and prepare for a wild ride among the gunslingers and ghosts of the past!