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Top Things to Do in Arizona’s Jerome Ghost Town

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If you’re looking for one of the most interesting towns in all of Arizona, look no further than the Jerome ghost town. It’s a great day trip (or more!) from Phoenix and offers a lot of really interesting things to do.

The area is known as one of Arizona’s top wine regions. So come for a flight of Arizona’s finest, explore the history of this interesting small town, or appreciate the incredible artists who live here. You won’t run out of fun things to do in Jerome, and here’s what you need to know to visit.

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J for Jerome

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What is Arizona’s Jerome Ghost Town?

You may be wondering—what exactly is a ghost town? Is it haunted? And, what if you don’t believe in that kind of thing? Well, the answer is no, a ghost town isn’t called that because it’s haunted. (Though, many ghost towns do have some rather interesting histories, including that kind of thing).

A ghost town is actually an abandoned city. Usually, a town becomes a ghost town because the economic activity or activities in the town fails, so people leave for other areas. In Jerome’s case, the copper mine closed, leaving the city nearly deserted.

Jerome is one of the largest ghost towns in the United States, so it’s worth visiting. Though the population never went to zero, it did dwindle to around 50 at the lowest point, qualifying it as a ghost town.

Now, around 250 residents live in Jerome. Where it was once mining that drove its economy, now tourism drives it. People visit Jerome for its history, the incredible wineries, and the artists and galleries that are there.

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Wander the Historic Town

I’ve been to Jerome several times, and still think one of the best things to do in this quirky town is to wander around. Every time I go, I see something new and different!

The streets are steep switchbacks snaking their way up the large hill Jerome rests on. It’s fun to just explore the town—you’ll be amazed many of these old buildings haven’t slid down the hill!

Look out for plaques and signs about historic places. Some of them can be quite interesting, giving you a glimpse into time well over a hundred years ago!

If you’re visiting Sedona and want to see Jerome, check out this tour of historic Jerome.

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Enjoy the Local Wines

There are some incredible wines in this region, so if you’re a wine lover, you shouldn’t miss out on this opportunity! Jerome is located in the Verde Valley, one of the top wine-producing regions in Arizona.

You May Also Like Jerome & Cottonwood Wineries

Just like with nearby Cottonwood, there are a lot of wineries packed into a small area in Jerome. It’s a great place to try Arizona wines as there will be something you’re sure to love.

There are a lot of winners here. Thankfully, Jerome has some great hotels in case you decide to just make an overnight of it!

Watch the Artists

When nearby Sedona started getting more popular with tourists and became more developed, some of the artists moved out. They headed to nearby Jerome and have been there since.

When you visit, you can watch them and their craft. There is a glassblower who puts on live demonstrations which are fun to watch. And, there’s a local potter and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch him on his pottery wheel. I have seen him painting and finishing his pieces as well.

There are some incredible galleries in Jerome as well. My favorite is Raku Gallery and another favorite is the Jerome Artists Co-op. Both are worth checking out and are a great way to support the local artists.

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Glassblowing studio

Walk Back Through History

If you’re a history lover, there are a number of great options for you to learn the local lore.

The Gold King Mine offers fun for all ages, so it’s a great kid-friendly thing to do in Jerome. Peer down the gold mine shaft, feed animals in the petting zoo, and pan for gold. You’ll want to take some time to explore the rather large collections of, well, everything. Including some rusty old cars and trucks. It’s open daily from 9 to 5 (in the winter, it opens at 10) and costs $10.

A great place to learn about the history of Jerome’s mining is at the Mine Museum. This building was once a saloon and is now a museum. Learn about the founding of this town and the activities of the Jerome Historical Society to keep it from becoming just another Old West ghost town. It’s open daily from 9 to 5 and costs only $2 to visit.

Visit the Jerome State Historic Park for the history of mining in this area. The property belonged to James Douglas, who developed the Little Daisy Mine in the early 1900s. The home was once the Little Daisy Hotel which housed the minders, and now it’s a private home. It’s open from 10 to 4 daily and costs $7.

The Sliding Jail Park is one of the truly interesting aspects of a visit to Jerome. It started slowly sliding downhill in the 1930s, moving more than 220 feet from the original location. Between the excavated tunnels under the town and the fact that Jerome is located on the Verde Valley fault line—it truly makes you wonder how the rest of the town remains standing.

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Take a Ghost Tour

If you were wondering if Jerome was haunted, well, rumor has it that it is. It’s another interesting aspect of the history of the Jerome ghost town. You might expect that the “wickedest town in the West” might just have a few lingering souls.

What better way to learn about the history of Jerome than by taking a ghost tour! It’ll show you a side of this town that you won’t likely see in the daytime. And you never know—you might just see one!

There are a number of companies offering ghost tours including Jerome Ghost Tours and Ghost Town Tours. If you’re staying in Sedona and don’t want to do the driving, check out this ghost tour of Jerome.

Jerome Restaurants

Jerome has some really fantastic restaurants that are worth trying when you visit. They range from casual “greasy spoon” places to some upscale options.

If you want casual, there’s no better place than the Haunted Hamburger. Not only do you get some amazing views, but this is the “it” place in Jerome. It’s the best-known restaurant in town and rumor has it, there may just be a ghostly being that could enjoy lunch with you.

Bobby D’s BBQ is another great casual option to try and it’s highly rated as a top spot to go. The Asylum looks interesting (if only for the name, but the menu looks quite good as well). And for a fun bit of color, the Bordello of Jerome is now a restaurant.

For an upscale place, check out Clinscale Hotel Bar & Grill. It has a retro-type feel which is a lot of fun. The food is amazing and the service was wonderful, too. This was a local’s recommendation that really hit the mark.

Hotels in Jerome AZ

Staying the night in Jerome is a great idea, especially if you’re trying wine at the local tasting rooms. There are several options to stay in the Jerome ghost town.

The Connor Hotel is right on the street when you enter Jerome in a fun area. It’s a cool historic building conveniently right next to Caduceus. And Forty-Eight Wineworks is in the building as well. So, you are literally within crawling distance of your bed, should you need it!

The Clinkscale has a handful of rooms. Given how wonderful the restaurant is, I wouldn’t hesitate to check it out. Additionally, at the very top of the hill is the Jerome Grand Hotel. This historic hotel is probably the best-known in town, but stay at your own risk. It’s reputed to be haunted!

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Jerome Grand Hotel

When to Visit Jerome

There really isn’t a bad time to visit Jerome. The weather if reasonable temperate all year-round. In the summer, it can get hot and humid, but nothing like Phoenix temperatures. It may hit in the 90s F (32°C or a little higher) but it cools nicely overnight.

In the winter, it generally doesn’t get below freezing for a low. They may get a dusting of snow occasionally, but generally not much. So, it’s comfortable weather-wise year-round.

It does tend to get busy in the summer as the Phoenix locals clear out and head for cooler temperatures. So, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, the winter, early spring, and late fall are great times to go. To balance temperatures and crowds, spring and fall are probably the best times to go.

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Do the Fun Things to Do in Jerome Have You Tempted for a Visit?

Jerome may be a small town, but it sure packs a punch! It’s full of interesting historic places to visit and filled with incredible artists. Grab a bite, enjoy a wine tasting, and get set to explore one of the most interesting towns in Arizona.

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