My husband and I travel all around the state looking for quirky and fun things to do that you can only find in Arizona. Tucked away in the southern part of the state is the city of Bisbee, a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Phoenix. With arts, culture, music and culinary adventures galore, Bisbee meets all of my qualifications for a great road-trip destination.
As we entered the city limits of Bisbee, we stopped at the city overlook and took in the picturesque view of the downtown area. As we drove down the hill we could hear a local band playing "Here Comes the Sun". Hearing music coming from the street is a common occurrence in Bisbee and one of the reasons why you should visit. Entering the downtown area, you are quickly surrounded by historic hotels and galleries, such as the Copper Queen and the Bisbee Grand Hotel. Our visit coincided with Oktoberfest, so we decided to stop into the Old Bisbee Brewing Company for a pint, a pretzel, and some traditional German tunes. We found the source of the music we were hearing in the form of a band performing on the Brewery’s outdoor patio. The brewery staff fully embraced the Bavarian spirit and were dressed in traditional German clothing as they served their seasonal pilsner beer along with bratwursts and pretzels.
After a drink and a stroll through the local shops, we headed toward our accommodations for the evening. As we pulled into the parking lot at The Shady Dell, it felt like we traveled back in time. Each room, or should we say trailer, ranged from 17’ Airstreams built in 1957 to a 1947 Airporter bus. Our particular ‘Royal Mansion’ – a 33ft airstream – came equipped with all the nostalgia of the surroundings, including a record player and a glorious black and white TV. After a good deal of time soaking in the nostalgia, it was time to begin our culinary adventure.
Returning downtown, we stopped and had dinner at a local favorite called Café Roka. Housed in a building constructed in 1907, Café Roka serves modern American food from an innovative menu that changes twice weekly. Given our adventurous palettes, we each tried four courses of chef’s specialties, which included Gorgonzola and bacon stuffed dates, prosciutto wrapped artichoke hearts and roasted stuffed quail on top of a parmesan potato cake. And I promise it all tastes as good as it sounds – Café Roka will satisfy any foodie’s appetite for local flavor.
With bellies full and happiness found, we returned to the Shady Dell to finish our night by watching James Dean in ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ on the small screen until we fell asleep. While we had to commute home the next day, we dreamt that night of our anticipated return to Bisbee.
The next morning, we drove back to Phoenix already planning for our next adventure in this town we adore. Bisbee has become one our favorite places to visit because of its charm, history and people.
Kristin Swanson is the Trade and Media Relations Specialist for the Arizona Office of Tourism. She has been with the organization for over ten years and loves finding new and exciting places to explore around the state.