A Day in Jerome, Arizona: The Wickedest Town in the West

Jerome is an old copper mining town high in the central Arizona mountains. Despite its small size — its population is around 450 people — it’s earned several nicknames, such as “Largest Ghost Town in America” and “America’s Most Vertical City.”  

With art galleries, bars and restaurants, and a ghost town, all in old west style buildings about 40 minutes from Sedona, it’s a great spot for a day trip.

Here’s your travel guide for what to do with a day in Jerome, Arizona.

Bobby Ds BBQ Jerome Arizona
A plate from Bobby D’s BBQ in Jerome

Eat and Drink

As a popular day trip destination, Jerome has several great places to eat and drink. And as such a small town, they’re all pretty close together.

For some great barbecue and cocktails on a covered patio, head for Bobby D’s BBQ. Plus, this place is full of local history and stories. Make sure to find out about the resident ghost while you’re there.

Another popular spot is the Haunted Hamburger. Located high above town, this place has quite a view and a store selling quirky souvenirs. It does get very busy, so keep that in mind.

Jerome Visitor Center
Jerome’s Visitor’s Center

Explore the Town

As most of the town is all in one small area, the best way to get around Jerome is on foot. Just keep in mind there are some steep areas to deal with — it’s called “America’s Most Vertical City” for a reason.

There’s plenty to see wandering around this historic town, which dates to the 1800s. There’s the quaint Visitor’s Center, where you can find information about the community.

The town is now home to many artists, so art galleries dot the streets. You’ll also find a variety of charming shops around town.

For a great view, head up to Jerome Park. It’s easy to spend your time wandering the town and admiring its old west style buildings, hearing its stories, and taking in its history.

Hotel Connor Jerome Arizona
Jerome’s historic Hotel Connor

See the Spooky Side

Jerome is known for its history and ghost stories. Once known as “the wickedest town in the west,” the town thrived because of its copper mine. As the need for copper rose and fell, so too did the town. The whole town of Jerome was in danger of becoming a ghost town, until a community of artists took up residence there.

Today, you’ll still hear tales of ghosts wherever you go. Local restaurants and bars have their stories and you can even take a tour to hear about the town’s haunted history.

A little way up the road, you can also visit the Gold King Mine & Ghost Town. Whether or not you believe the stories, it’s an interesting part of the local lore that’s worth exploring during your time in Jerome.

Gold King Mine and Ghost Town Jerome Arizona
The Gold King Mine and Ghost Town

Getting There

To get to Jerome, you’ll have to drive. The town is on Arizona State Route 89-A, which also goes through Sedona, Cottonwood, Prescott, and Phoenix. You’ll find Jerome about 5,000 feet up on Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley.

Once you arrive in town, you can easily explore most of the area on foot (one attraction that requires a drive is the ghost town). Just find a spot in one of the visitor lots and walk around town.

Whether you’re drawn to the old west style, valley views, art galleries, or ghost stories, you’ll find something to enjoy on a day trip to Jerome, Arizona. Cheers!

Find more Arizona travel guides here.

A Day in Jerome, Arizona: The Wickedest Town in the West

 

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