16 Fun & Best Things to Do in Jerome, Arizona
Do you believe in Ghosts? Then, Jerome, Arizona, is the place for you. The historic town is roughly 25 miles southwest of Sedona and 100 miles north of Phoenix on Mingus Mountain. This unique town is a great day trip destination or perfect for a weekend getaway from Tucson, Sedona, or even Phoenix.
Once a copper mining boomtown, it was restored in the 1960s and is now a haven for artists and UFO hunters. Jerome has a long and storied past but is an ideal destination for Old West history fans and spiritual encounters. Dubbed the USA’s largest ghost town, Jerome is a perfect spot to visit if you like parks, wineries, ghost hunting, and art.
After Jerome’s initial growth, those failing to find riches turned to crime. Jerome only had four churches in the area. And while many think the city’s lawlessness was responsible for its nickname the Wickedest Town in the West, there are reports that actually the lack of churches in the area earned the town its nefarious moniker.
Is Jerome, Arizona, worth visiting? Absolutely, and not just to hunt restless spirits. To help plan a visit, here are some of the best things to do in Jerome, Arizona
Looking for a fun and educational day trip from Sedona? Then look no further than the Jerome and Tuzigoot National Monument Day Trip! Visit the Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient Sinagua ruin, and browse the boutique shops in Jerome, a charming town with a rich history. Your professional local guide will make sure you have a great time while learning about these fascinating places. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to explore Arizona’s rich heritage!
If you’ve ever wanted to believe in aliens and UFOs, Sedona is the place for you. This tour will explore the supposed UFO sightings and interstellar contact that residents have reported in the past. With just your guide and a small group for company, you’ll set off in the early evening to train your eyes to the heavens. Using telescopes and night-vision goggles, you can keep an eye out for flying saucers. Who knows, you might just be the next person to spot one of these elusive objects!
Looking to discover the Old West? Then look no further than the Historic Tour of Jerome! This small group tour gives you the chance to explore historic mining towns, enjoy charming architecture and take in the stunning desert scenery. Your expert guide will share fascinating facts about Jerome’s rich history as you explore back alleys, former brothels and other areas most tourists don’t get to see. You’ll also have plenty of time to stop for lunch and do some shopping on Main Street. Round trip transportation is included, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy the ride!
- Most significant landmark – Douglas Mansion
- Best park – Jerome State Historic Park
- Best free activity – Jerome Sliding Jail
- Best thing to do for kids – UFO and Stargazing Tour
- Best thing to do for adults – Verde Valley Wine Trail
- Best food – Bordello of Jerome
- Best nightlife – Jerome Grand Hotel
- Best all-around accommodation – The Clinkscale
Best & Fun Things to Do in Jerome, Arizona
1. Jerome State Historic Park
Address: 100 Douglas Rd, Jerome, AZ 86331
Jerome State Historical Park is a great way to get an overview of the history of this former boomtown and one of the best things to do in Jerome, Arizona.
Wealthy mining mogul James Douglas, Jr., owner of the famed Little Daisy Mine, constructed this opulent mansion in 1916. He designed the estate as a hotel for like-minded mining industry professionals. The mansion, the largest adobe structure in Arizona, now houses the park’s museum and the restored Douglas library.
Visitors can tour the Douglas Family Mansion, gift shop, and museum. This is a great way to learn about the area’s largest copper mine and explore mining artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia. There’s also a miniature town model, including its underground tunnels.
See Resources: Best National Parks to Visit in November
2. Jerome Historic District
Location: Downtown Jerome, Jerome, AZ 86331
Jerome, Arizona, is located in Yavapai County’s Black Hills. It was founded on the distinct Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley and is indicative of a 19th Century industrial town.
In the 1870s, copper ore deposits were discovered. The nearby railroad spur facilitated the success of the mining boom. But the community peaked in the early 20th Century. And by World War II, the copper mines were nearly depleted. The last of the mines were closed in 1953.
The Jerome Historic District, including the entire town, was listed as a National Historic Landmark District. The historic district encompasses most of the built area within the town’s municipal limits, mining resources, and the Douglas Mansion. The 20th-century mining town has not changed, with houses, businesses, and even the late 19th-century copper smelter still perched on the steeply sloped mountainside’s snake-back roads.
Walking up and down the town’s steep hills is an excellent way to drink in the scenery and the town’s history. But another way to explore the city is through a 4.5-hour tour – the Historic Tour of Jerome.
If you are searching for a highly-rated room in the center of town with an incredible atmosphere, check out The Clinkscale, a mining-era hotel, restaurant, and bar. This 1880s hotel is within walking distance of most shops and tour meeting places.
3. Jerome Sliding Jail
Location: Hull Avenue., Jerome, AZ 86331
In 1905, the Jerome Sliding Jail was built into a hill, and since Jerome had been dubbed the Wickedest Town in the West, its inmates included gamblers, drunks, claim jumpers, prostitutes, and gunfighters. The jailhouse was well-used.
In the 1930s, extreme and constant excavation during the mining boom caused extensive landslides. These landslides caused entire sections of Jerome’s business district to collapse and slide downhill. The Jerome Sliding Jail now stands roughly 200 feet from where it was initially built.
Today, the old-fashioned jail’s dilapidated buildings and stone rubble are stabilized and fenced off. Reminiscent of an Old Hollywood Western, the attraction is one of the best things to see in Jerome. The Wild West Jailhouse is a slice of Americana and the Old West and a fun thing to do in Jerome with kids. And best of all, it’s free to visit.
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4. Bartlett Hotel
Address: 208 Main St, Jerome, AZ 86331
The Bartlett Hotel, built in 1901 to replace a fire-ravaged hotel, are ruins that were once a bustling place. The interior housed Jerome’s newspaper, a bank, and a drugstore. Each room was decorated lavishly and painted in different colors. Unfortunately, the hotel was damaged during the landslides of the 1930s and abandoned in the 1940s. Residents scavenged the hotel and later sold its equipment and materials for scrap.
Today, tourists throw coins, the only remaining items in the ruins of this once magnificent hotel. The Bartlett Hotel is within walking distance of the Jerome Blast Furnace.
Once you finish touring the block, it is a short walk to the Bordello of Jerome to grab lunch or dinner. This is an incredibly intimate Mediterranean restaurant, but the food is worth the time. Try the Haunted Hamburger one street over if you prefer an old-fashioned juicy hamburger served with a paranormal story.
5. Gold King Mine Museum
Address: Perkinsville Rd, Jerome, AZ 86331
Don’t miss the abandoned Gold King Mine Museum, one of the top attractions in Jerome. A unique museum that sits a mile or so northwest of downtown Jerome, the Gold King Mine consists of a rambling, rusting, outdoor graveyard of old mining equipment.
Visitors to the museum can walk around the numerous vintage cars, trucks, and motorcycles found throughout the grounds. There is also mining equipment in the museum. And a working Stamp Mill initially used for crushing ore sits next to a still-working sawmill and blacksmith shop.
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6. Jerome Bible Art Museum
Address: 110 Main Street, #4, Jerome, AZ 86331
The Jerome Bible Art Museum is a fascinating art gallery. It holds an ever-growing collection of handmade and painted red clay sculptures that depict events and scripture from the Christian Bible. Next to the small museum is a ceramic animals’ gallery. These fantastic pieces of clay and ceramic craftsmanship are mesmerizing.
The adjacent studio showcases the artistic process of artist Janie Layers. Handmade soaps are sold in the gallery shop supporting the museum. But the best thing about the Jerome Bible Art Museum is free admission.
See Related: Visiting Havasupai Indian Reservation
7. Haunted Ghost Tours
Address: 403 Clark St, Jerome, AZ 86331
Jerome has had a violent and, some say, tragic past. The eventual decline of the old mining town has fed the ghostly legends that extend back to the town’s founding. The small mining camp contains some of the most haunted locations in Arizona. In fact, many believe that former Jeromites still wander the streets.
One of the best and spookiest ways to spend an evening in Jerome is to take a walking Ghost Tour. Or choose a haunted location for a full-fledged ghost hunt — complete with advanced ghost-detecting equipment. Even if you don’t believe in ghosts, you will still have fun during the evening walk. If you have a small group opt for the Main Street Ghost Adventure in Jerome.
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8. Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum
Address: 407 Clark Street, Jerome, AZ 86331
The Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum is an excellent way for kids and adults to learn about Arizona’s mining history. But antique mining equipment is not the only thing at the museum. There are remnants of mining life, including spent candlesticks and carbide lamps. These small items of hope and light were sometimes the only thing protecting the miners from the underground tunnels. The museum also has exhibits of transport cages, rock drills, and ore carts.
Other aspects of the museum are various exhibits highlighting the different cultures that contributed to the mining boom and Jerome’s success.
The self-guided tour of this non-profit museum lasts roughly 45 minutes to an hour. But if you want a broader look at mining in Jerome, consider the museum’s Mining Days Shuttle Tour.
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9. Tuzigoot National Monument
Address: 25 Tuzigoot Rd, Clarkdale, AZ 86324
The Tuzigoot National Monument sits outside Clarksdale, about 15 minutes from Jerome. It is a testament to pre-European, North American settlement, and one of the top attractions in Jerome or the area.
Tuzigoot National Monument is an ancient pueblo settlement of the Sinagua Indians dating back to roughly 1100 A.D. Nestled atop the Verde Valley – the location provided spectacular and strategic views of the desert in all directions.
The Tuzigoot pueblo consisted of over 100 rooms. It was thought to have been home to several hundred people for centuries. The pueblo was abandoned in the 1300s — standing empty until the 1930s when American archeologists excavated it.
There’s an onsite museum that contains artifacts from Tuzigoot and other nearby sites. A self-guided, one-third-mile tour provides a look into the culture of these incredible people.
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10. Jerome Grand Hotel
Address: 200 Hill Street, Jerome, Arizona 86331
Come for the history. Stay for the ghosts. The Jerome Grand Hotel is one of this small town’s most famous landmarks. The current five-story, 1926 Spanish Mission-style hotel sits on a high ridge in the Verde Valley in Jerome, Arizona. The Jerome has sweeping views and is filled with antique furnishings and the original 1926 Otis elevator. There is also fine dining at The Asylum Restaurant.
Considered the most haunted hotel in Arizona, the hotel occupies the former United Verde Hospital. From its founding, the hospital’s staff told stories of unexplained phantom footsteps and mysterious figures. All told, an estimated 9,000 died before the hospital closed.
Hotel guests brave enough to stay overnight have recounted visual apparitions. Mysterious sightings range from human-shaped figures to a friendly feline meowing at the doors.
This magnificent landmark is a five-minute uphill walk from Main Street. And either an overnight stay or an evening tour of the Jerome Grand Hotel is one of the best things to do in Jerome, Arizona.
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11. Vortexes of Sedona
Location: Sedona, AZ 86336
Are you on a spiritual quest? Then you can’t miss the area’s vortices. Yes, that is the correct word for more than one vortex.
A vortex is believed to be a particular spot on Earth for the uninitiated. These ancient locations allow energy to enter or exit the Earth’s plane. These swirling centers of power are conducive to healing, meditation, and self-exploration.
Vortexes are found at the world’s sacred sites, including the Great Pyramid in Egypt, Peru’s Machu Picchu, Bali, Stonehenge, and Australia’s Ayers Rock, where the Earth seems alive with energy.
And it is thought that the most powerful vortex in the world, The Chapel of the Holy Cross Vortex, is located just outside of Sedona, Arizona. And the poshest way to explore them all is on a Wine & Vortex Tour.
See Resources: Best Sedona Tours
12. Verde Valley Wine Trail
Locations: Jerome, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Page Springs and Sedona, AZ
Are you a wine enthusiast? Or just a fan of off-beat reds? Then the Verde Valley Wine Trail, with over two dozen venues, is the perfect thing to do in Jerome.
In the center of the Jerome Historic District, visitors can savor their favorite blends at Four Eight Wineworks. This unpretentious cooperative allows numerous tenants to highlight their unique combinations. Another downtown location is Salvatore Vineyards and Passion Cellars which blend red and crisp white wines.
Cellar 433, arguably has some of the best wine in the entire state of Arizona, is also a great outdoor wine destination. It has a large tasting room with an expansive wine selection and spectacular desert views.
Another good local tasting spot is Vino Zona offering wine flights in a serene setting. About 15 miles away in Cornville, Arizona, is another impressive winery that sits on an artesian spring, Page Springs Cellar.
If you want a full day of vine-filled fun, try a 6-hour, on-and-off tour van through the wine country of the Verde Valley. Or opt for a private Arizona Wine Tasting Tour.
Address: 2015 AZ-89A, Sedona, AZ 86336
The Sedona area, roughly 25 miles from Jerome, has long been associated with spiritual experiences and supernatural happenings. Area residents have reported past UFO sightings and interstellar contacts.
A great way to tour the area anticipating unexplained events is to take a guided UFO and Stargazing Tour. These tours are the perfect way to spend a desert evening and are one of the most popular attractions in the Jerome area.
Telescopes and night-vision goggles help you watch for flying saucers. Each evening, join a guide and a small group of hopeful believers to search the skies for flying saucers or shooting stars. The science-fiction tour meets at Senor Bob’s Hot Dogs on Coffee Pot Rd. Parking is plentiful, and the guide’s “Space Buick” is unmistakable.
14. Dead Horse Ranch State Park
Address: 675 Dead Horse Ranch Rd, Cottonwood, AZ 86326
The Dead Horse Ranch State Park sits about ten miles from Jerome. This unique historic site has been continuously occupied since 8,000 BC. The wilderness area is home to many mammals, including grey fox, coyote, and javelina. And the Verde River lagoons and sloughs provide excellent fish and bird habitats.
There is non-stop activity at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. At the top of the list are horseback riding and fishing. And the park allows swimming and kayaking in the Verde River. And hiking trails can be used for mountain biking and birdwatching.
Dead Horse Ranch is a great family camping destination. And many parkgoers choose to stay overnight in one of the riverside log cabins. But if you prefer not to camp, grab a room at the Tavern Hotel. This quiet, intimate getaway has an onsite restaurant and plenty of amenities. It is perfect for solo travelers or a couples weekend.
See Resources: Best National Parks in the USA to Visit
15. Art Galleries
Location: 501 School St, Jerome, AZ 86331
Jerome is not just about the supernatural but the hauntingly beautiful as well. The award-winning Pura Vida Gallery is one of the best in Jerome – you should stop in. Firefly is a retail gallery of pottery, glass art, and metal sculpture inspired by nature. And there are dozens of individual art galleries throughout Jerome, Arizona, and the surrounding communities.
Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, located in the Jerome Historic District, features the work of roughly 30 local artists. One of Jerome’s more eclectic collections can be seen at the Raku Gallery and includes fine arts, hand-blown glass, and ceramics. After browsing the Raku Gallery, stop by Bobby D’s BBQ for a quick and hearty BBQ plate that some area residents claim rivals even Texas barbecue.
But the most unusual gallery is Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes, which is housed in the former bordello of Jennie Bankers. This small gallery is the largest dealer of kaleidoscopes in the world, featuring 90 kaleidoscope artists. There are also kaleidoscopes and glass art design classes for the fascinated few.
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16. Audrey Headframe Park
Address: 55 Douglas Rd, Jerome, AZ 86331
The Audrey Headframe Park is another museum in the town of Jerome, Arizona, worth checking out. It features various mining equipment used in the early 1900s. Taking center stage is the old Audrey Headframe which was state-of-the-art at the time. The Audrey Headframe was built after a vast copper deposit was discovered in Jerome.
Headframes supported thehoisting sheaves allowing the safe transport of miners and equipment down the shaft. The 1,900-foot-deep mining shaft had three concrete-lined horizontal hubs and lifted over 3.6 million tons of copper ore.
The remarkable engineering feats, both the headframe and shaft, still stand as a testament to Jerome’s former and current residents’ mining knowledge and expertise.
What are the best tourist attractions in Jerome, Arizona?
Jerome is an American town with a shady past. Once named the Wickedest Town in the West, this small mining town’s must-sees include the Jerome Sliding Jail and the reportedly haunted Jerome Hotel. And there are dozens of similarly spooky attractions from which to choose.
What is the best thing to do with kids in Jerome, Arizona?
Your kids will have a blast wandering around the city, learning the history, searching for spooky items, and trying to complete a Jerome Wicked City Scavenger Hunt. Or take everyone into the nearby Sonoran Desert for an evening of stargazing and alien hunting with a UFO and Stargazing Tour. These guided alien hunting trips provide night goggles and telescopes, so if the little green men don’t show, you may catch some interesting wildlife or a few shooting stars.
What are some things to do in Jerome, Arizona, when it’s raining?
Jerome is filled with outdoor activities, but what is there to do during the monsoon season when it rains? The many small museums are the best things in Jerome for an indoor day. The Douglas Museum highlights daily life, and the unique Jerome Bible Art Museum clay sculptures depict various Bible events. Each of these small museums will take a couple of hours to wander.
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