Tombstone, Arizona is the most famous town in the Old West and totally worth a visit, if you know where to go and what to avoid.
Below are some of our recommendations for Things To Do in Tombstone. Or for a quick peek, click on the hotspots on the map for select attractions.
Dr. Jay’s Walking Tour
To friends & family who are about to visit Tombstone for the first time, we recommend Dr. Jay’s tour of this, the most storied town of the Old West. It’s about an hour walking tour and as enlightening as it is entertaining. Dr. Jay is one of the few who understand that the facts are far more interesting then the legends. See our Dr. Jay video here.
Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park(Corner of 3rd & Toughnut Street)
The old courthouse is now a fine museum that does a good job of separating fact from fiction in a town best known for exaggerated legend. I’ve only seen 2 claims made here that I know to be false. But there are many good exhibits that tell the story straight-forward based on the more objective eyewitness accounts and historical records.
Bird Cage Theater
Of all the Old West saloons & theaters, the Bird Cage was the most “wicked” establishment between New Orleans & San Francisco. Today it’s an odd little museum that will transport you back to the 1880’s. Take a tour with Bill in our video, then take the self-guided tour.
Tombstone Epitaph Newspaper Office
This Old West newspaper office is totally worthwhile. Here you can see the printing equipment that spread the word about the most famous gunfight in Western history. And you can buy a copy of the same newspaper that reported both the mundane and heroic in this madhouse of a boomtown. Mind you, the Epitaph was a pro-Earp paper, but mostly they got it right. Some of the exhibits portray John Clum, the publisher & editor, as more heroic than he really was, but still … For example, before he was the Epitaph, Clum was an Indian agent, but an arrogant, self-serving one. Many years later, though, when most of the Tombstone turned against the Earps because they thought the Earps were bad for business, Clum stuck with them.
More Tombstone Videos
We have 3 other Tombstone videos that may be of interest. We interviewed Virgil Earp and Tom McLaury just minutes before they left the saloon and made that fateful walk down to the OK Corral. Each explains his side of the story. It would be Mr. McLaury’s last interview. Tombstone is full of actors and wild west fans who choose to live there for the experience. See an introduction to the real Tombstone here.
Lodging in Tombstone
And you might like to meet the proprietor of the Tombstone Bordello Bed & Breakfast in an on-camera interview we conducted in early 2012. When visiting Tombstone, the Bordello is a fine place to stay. It is located within easy walking distance of all the historical attractions. Recently, we heard good reports on two other Tombstone accommodations. Will check them out and report back.
Dining In Tombstone
To see our Tombstone dining recommendations, please click on our Dining Section here.
Tombstone During The Depression: A Slideshow
Additionally, we have a slideshow consisting of historic photographs from the Library of Congress that show Tombstone as a near-ghost town during the Great Depression.
Learn More About The REAL History Of Tombstone
For more background on Tombstone, the Earps, and THE Gunfight, you might enjoy several articles in our Local History of Tombstone section. In our Recommended Reading section are two books that are the best written, most authentic histories written about Tombstone in the 1880’s: Guinn’s The Last Gunfight and Tefertiller’s Wyatt Earp.