15 Best Things to Do in Holbrook, AZ

 Holbrook, AZ
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There is a cornucopia of interesting things to do in Holbrook, Arizona, a melting pot of cultures.

Holbrook is part of Navajo County, Arizona.

It is named after Henry Randolph Holbrook, the first chief engineer of the Atlantic and Pacific Line.

According to local history, the city began in 1881 or 1882 when the railroad was under construction.

The Anasazi were the first to settle in Holbrook, followed by the Puebloans, the Navajo, and finally, the Apache.

Even though Holbrook is recognized for its massive Meteor Crater, the town has had its minor celestial showdown.

At 7:15 p.m. on July 19, 1912, a meteorite estimated to be 190 kilograms burst high in the atmosphere, leaving behind a smoke trail.

In a region about six miles east of Holbrook, an estimated 16,000 or more small particles showered down.

At least 40 miles distant, Pauline McCleve, a 17-year-old Holbrook resident, described the explosion as the loudest sound she had ever heard.

Shortly later, the biggest fragment of the Holbrook Meteorite was discovered.

Arizona State University in Tempe houses it at 14.5 pounds.

The Holbrook meteorite is a chondrite (stony), according to the findings.

Today, Holbrook houses the rich history of Native Americans, Hispanics, and other pioneers worldwide.

It is the perfect starting point for your journey because of its wide range of ethnicities and open arms.

Get to know more about this city with our list of the best things to do in Holbrook, AZ.

Explore the Region's Past at Navajo County Historical Museum

Signboard of Navajo County Historical Museum
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It's not just the rocks that make Holbrook unique; it's the people who have lived there and the animals that have roamed the land for millennia.

Museum of the People features artifacts from many periods, including pioneers and everyday citizens like teachers and ranchers.

The courtroom and museum were built around what was once the prison to offer tourists an experience like rummaging through a grandma's attic.

Room A, located just past the Visitors' Center, is home to fossils that date back more than 200 million years.

Anasazi, Apache, Hopi, and Navajo civilizations are covered in the following displays, along with Mexican culture and an ancient Hashknife chuck wagon.

Exterior view of the brown building of Navajo County Historical Museum
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To illustrate this point, Commodore Perry Owns, then-sheriff of Lee County, handed Andy Cooper an arrest warrant.

It resulted in a firefight between Owns and Cooper. In addition to Cooper and Mose Roberts, a third person was killed.

It's a mystery as to what happened, but you might be able to figure it out using the museum's model of the incident.

In addition to the artifacts, the museum features a collection of ancient culinary utensils, instruments, and more.

Entryway to Navajo County Historical Museum
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Purchase Petrified Wood from DoBell Mineral & Excavations

DoBell Mineral & Excavations has a wide variety of petrified wood that you may purchase to take home with you.

Noah DoBell, a fourth-generation digger at the DoBell ranch, works tirelessly to ensure that his clients receive the best possible product by hand excavating and processing petrified wood.

There are hundreds of items to choose from, like bookends, jewelry, and paperweights, at the ranch, so you can choose the ideal gift for someone special or keep for yourself.

If you forget to bring a keepsake for granny, there's an internet shop at DoBell Mineral & Excavations.

Family members run the business, and they're quite nice and helpful.

Chill and Play at Empty Pockets Saloon

The Empty Pockets Bar, a family-owned western saloon, serves refreshing beer after a hard day of trekking and shopping for souvenirs.

The beverages here are reasonably priced, and the staff is quite nice.

During happy hour, there are two pool tables available and complimentary popcorn.

There's a lot of classic western memorabilia adorning the bar's walls and furnishings.

Alternatively, you may stay at a nearby motel or eat at one of the area's many outstanding restaurants if you've had too many drinks.

Stroll through the Historic Bucket of Blood Street

An antique store at Bucket of Blood Street
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As the name suggests, the Bucket of Blood Street reflects the region's gunslinging history and the Wild West.

For many years, Holbrook was a popular hangout for criminals, where they drank and gambled as well as engaged in gunfights.

There was a gunfight in the Terrill's Cottage Saloon in 1886 that left the floors covered with blood.

Street view of Bucket of Blood Street
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Soon after this horrific occurrence, the bar's name was changed to the "Bucket of Blood Saloon."

After then, the bar remained operating for a long time until it ultimately shut down.

However, even though the pub is no longer there, the street still bears its name, serving as a constant reminder of the area's deadly history.

Street sign of Bucket of Blood Street
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Embark on a Self-Discovery Journey at The Plotz Plot

If you are going through life transitions, this is a place to leave a bit of yourself behind.

David Plotz's colleagues bought this property in the Arizona desert to honor him and his five years of devotion to Atlas Obscura.

This cubic structure lies one mile from Petrified Forest National Park.

David Plotz was the first person to contribute to the Plotz Plot.

Plotz Plot is one of the most popular pilgrimage destinations for those going through big life changes.

Feel free to leave a sign of your past life in this ever-growing museum of personal development.

Go Hiking at Petrified Forest National Park

Fossilized wood at Petrified Forest National Park
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Petrified Forest National Park is located in eastern Arizona, about 19 miles (30 kilometers) east of Holbrook, and contains plant and animal fossils and archaeological sites.

In 1906, it was designated a national monument, and in 1962, it was designated a national park.

More lands have been bought and placed under park administration since 2005, increasing the protected area to 346 square miles from the original 146 square miles (378 square kilometers) (896 square km).

Crystal forest at Petrified Forest National Park
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If you've got the time, this park is large, so plan on spending a whole day hiking across it to take in all the stunning sights.

This forest isn't completely petrified, but you'll notice a fair number of them as you make your way through it.

The wood must be submerged in minerals for a long time to preserve it.

If you'd like, you may dedicate a full day to hiking and exploring this stunning location.

Petrified wood and stones at Petrified Forest National Park
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Try an Award-Winning Japanese Beverage at Arizona Sake

If you're looking for world-class sake in a location like Holbrook, you'd be surprised.

This sake brewery is located at Petrified Forest National Park.

When Atsuo Sakurai relocated to Holbrook, Arizona, in 2015 to be closer to the Navajo family of his wife, Heather, who was born and raised in the area, he had no idea what to expect.

Soon after, he began making sake in his garage on the side of his house.

Three years later, at the Tokyo Sake Competition, Arizona Sake received the gold prize for the finest sake produced outside of Japan.

At the Los Angeles International Wine Competition in 2019, it was awarded the top prize in its class.

You may visit Arizona Sake for tastings and short tours but make sure to book an appointment.

Bring Home Souvenirs from Jim Gray's Petrified Wood Co

Jim Gray's Petrified Wood Co at Holbrook, Arizona
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In the beginning, Jim and Cathy Gray had nothing except a pickup truck, some petrified wood, and the desire to do a business out of their passion for petrified wood.

Because of those humble beginnings, we've developed into one of the world's leading suppliers of Arizona Rainbow Petrified Wood.

Near Petrified Forest National Park, we control mineral rights to multiple parcels of property.

You might be tempted to bring some home after seeing all of the fascinating petrified wood and colorful pebbles.

Here, you'll also find hundreds of gorgeous, one-of-a-kind artworks that have been meticulously curated for your viewing pleasure.

You may give them as a present or use them to beautify your house or yard.

Numerous rocks, fossils, sculptures, jewels, chiming clocks, dinosaurs, and other memorabilia may be found throughout the museum.

Anyone can leave with something as a memento of their visit.

Spend a Night Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground

Consider staying at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground for your Holbrook vacation.

Campers look forward to stargazing in the wide Arizona sky, as nearly every night is suitable for the activity.

Camping is also included in the price of admission!

Because it's so close to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert National Parks, this campsite is a fantastic choice for both overnight stays and day trips.

The gift shop has various minerals on display and for sale.

The gift store is a great spot to look at Arizona's rocks because you're not obligated to buy anything.

Join the Annual Events at Navajo County Fairgrounds

Entrance of Navajo County Fairgrounds
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The Navajo County Fairgrounds hosts the annual fair and rodeo festival in Holbrook.

There are also trade exhibits and other events held at this location.

The Fairgrounds and associated buildings were constructed as a permanent venue for the County Fair and other events.

Barrel races and delicious food and drink are great ways to make the most of your time there.

In addition to learning about Holbrook's history and traditions, it's an excellent chance to get to know the town's residents.

Stalls selling local delicacies, crafts, and souvenirs contribute to the festive atmosphere.

Increase Your Kids' Awareness about Native American Culture at Holbrook Indian School

There was formerly a boarding school approach that sought to eradicate all traces of Native American culture, particularly the external evidence of tribal living, from the students' lives.

Native American children who grew up in the late 1800s were made to clip their hair and were barred from speaking their language.

In addition, history was taught in these institutions in a biased manner.

Since 1946, Holbrook Indian School (HIS) has been a secure haven for Native American children and youth to live, learn, and thrive.

On the Navajo tribe in Chinle, Arizona, HIS also oversees a kindergarten through eighth-grade day school.

Sustainable farming, an outdoor school with equestrian-facilitated learning, and summer experience are some programs available here.

Grab Some Home Décor at Painted Desert Indian Center

Dark buffalo statue at Painted Desert Indian Center
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The Painted Desert Indian Center provides a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for souvenir purchasing.

Dinosaur sculptures may be seen with exceptional Native American jewelry, carpets, sand paintings, dolls, and ceramics.

The T-Rex will keep a close eye on you while you shop for a yard decoration to remember your trip to Arizona.

The store is surrounded by teepees, making them a stand-in for the business itself. However, you won't want to spend too much time outside.

The Painted Desert Indian Center's interior is a must-stop for every road trip, thanks to its assortment of unique products and immaculate bathrooms.

Take Photos with the Bizarre Statues at Stewart's Petrified Wood Shop

There is a peculiarity in an otherwise desolate region of eastern Arizona: Stewart's Petrified Wood Trading Post.

It is home to unusual wares such as human-eating dinosaur replicas and a real ostrich farm.

There is a lot more to the story of the oddest location on Route 66 than meets the eye as Nick Gerlich investigates it.

Charles and Gazell Stewart opened the store in 1994.

However, the ostriches are genuine, as are the petrified wood heaps, and the place appears more like a back lot for a 1970s horror movie than a prehistoric park.

There's a petrified woodshop, a mannequin-eating-dinosaur shot, and an ostrich-feeding station on the way out of Holbrook.

Sleep in Teepees at Wigwam Village #6 Motel

White concrete Teepees at Wigwam Village #6 Motel
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The National Park Service has conserved the Wigwam Village #6 Motel in Holbrook, located on Route 66.

In addition to providing an economical and hygienic place to sleep, this establishment also offers teepee-like accommodations to honor the local culture.

The Lewis family has owned and operated for more than half a century.

Teepees at Wigwam Village #6 Motel.
Marine 69-71, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're wondering why it's called #6, it's because there are a few other sites in the country that are named similarly.

Check out the historic automobiles that have been permanently installed on the site and take a picture with them.

According to some locals, the Cozy Cone Motel in Disney's "Cars" has been inspired by the Wigwam Motels' teepees.

Name sign of Wigwam Village #6 Motel.
Raleigh Muns, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Relax at Quality Inn

There are so many things to do and see in the United States that you'll need a good night's sleep to recharge your batteries for the next day's adventures.

While most visitors want to experience traditional accommodations with a Native American flare, Quality Inn presents itself as a break from the rest.

If you want a more traditional hotel experience, the Quality Inn is the place to stay when you need a rest.

Additionally, it provides free local and long-distance phone calls, TV and internet access, and a laundry facility.

In addition, the hotel is pet-friendly, allowing you and your family to enjoy a peaceful night's sleep together.

Final Thoughts

Holbrook knows what tourists want to take home with them.

Visitors of this small town in the Mojave Desert will find everything they need to take a piece of the desert home with them, from rocks to souvenirs.

Experience this stunning city with our list of the things to do in Holbrook, Arizona.