Jerome, a small town in Arizona’s Yavapai County, has been known throughout the state as a ghost town that thrived in copper mining in the early 1900s.
Jerome was home to saloons, brothels, and opium dens in its heyday.
However, Jerome today is the complete opposite of its colorful past.
It’s a thriving tourist destination in central Arizona, boasting a vibrant arts community and dozens of historical sites that call for a travel adventure.
In addition, it’s also home to various local wineries that offer an eclectic collection of signature Arizona wines.
Its captivating western charm provides visitors an instant nostalgic effect of the wild west back in the day.
Despite the town’s precarious location, being perched on a hill, most of its old buildings are still standing to this day.
There are dozens of exciting activities and tourist attractions you can check out in this small former mining town.
So, here are the 15 best things to do in Jerome, AZ, to get you excited:
Discover the Gold King Mine Museum and Ghost Town
The Gold King Mine and Ghost Town along Perkinsville Road are probably the most popular attractions recommended by most in Jerome.
This historical attraction is a place that takes you back to the old days of some sort.
It is home to numerous old and original buildings, gear, equipment, and memorabilia of the copper mines in the area.
Those fascinated by old ghost towns or abandoned towns will have a field day discovering the old buildings, rusty vehicles, and old mining tools.
The ghost town features an old mine shaft, well-preserved structures, and buildings, among other attractions.
One of its focal points is the Don Robertson exhibit featuring mechanical tools and machines, born out of his tinkering and admiration for mechanics.
In addition, it has dozens of antique mining gear and equipment, a turn-of-the-century sawmill, vintage cars, and an old blacksmith shop.
Spending an hour or two at this unique historical attraction in Jerome gives you the best chance to learn dozens of astonishing things about the town and its backstory.
Get a Gorgeous View of the Desert at the Tuzigoot National Monument
A 13-minute drive east of Jerome takes you to Clarkdale to visit the Tuzigoot National Monument.
This historic pueblo in the neighboring town of Clarkdale is one of the nearest national monuments to visit while you’re in Jerome.
Visiting this place offers you a terrific time enjoying various activities such as hiking, photoshoot, and nature viewing.
The monument is nestled atop the Verde Valley, giving you stunning scenery of the desert and nearby towns below.
There are numerous historical sites and museums to visit in the national monument that features the history of the Sinagua people who once ruled these lands in the 12th century.
A self-guided tour along the monument’s 1/3-mile loop trail offers you an in-depth understanding of its history while enjoying the scenery.
Shop for Top-Notch Olive Oil at the Jerome Olive Oil Traders
The Jerome Olive Oil Traders offers visitors a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, featuring top-notch imported extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar.
Get to see and taste the 36 olive oil varieties and balsamic vinegar through the shop’s complimentary tasting before buying a bottle of them.
If you want to take home a unique souvenir from your trip to Jerome, this shop along Clark Street is an excellent place to visit.
The shop offers one of the best-tasting olive oils and balsamic vinegar in the region.
In addition, they also have rare and fancy truffle oil, which you can use to create delicious dishes back at home.
Learn Mining History at the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum
If you’re looking for a comprehensive and complete detail of Jerome’s mining history and heritage, head to the Jerome Historical Society Mine Museum along Main Street.
This museum offers history buffs and even average tourists an excellent exhibit featuring the mining history and the backstory of the townspeople of Jerome.
Since mining is an integral part of Jerome’s history, economy, and heritage, the museum displays old mining carts and equipment.
In addition, the museum has lots of other features, including the artifacts from Jerome’s olden days, which tell you how locals live their daily lives in this historic mining town.
Exploring and browsing through the exhibits featured in this museum is a worthwhile activity in Jerome that you should include on your itinerary.
See the Audrey Headframe Park
The Audrey Headframe Park along Douglas Road is another museum worth checking out.
It features various mining equipment used back in the day during Jerome’s peak of its mining industry in the early 1900s.
However, the focal point of this place is the old headframe and shaft.
Completed in 1918, the Audrey Headframe and its shaft were state-of-the-art machine technology during that time for mining.
It was built after a vast copper deposit was discovered in Jerome.
The Audrey Headframe and its shaft were utilized in extracting large amounts of top-grade copper ore while providing miners a safer working environment.
The shaft had three concrete-lined and independent segments with horizontal hubs measuring 1,700 feet in depth.
The headframe and its shaft are still standing today at the park, which is an astonishing sight to see and appreciate the vast mining industry of Arizona and Jerome back in the day.
Check Out Jerome AZ Visitor’s Center
Before you tour around Jerome, visit the Jerome AZ Visitor’s Center along Hull Avenue in town first and foremost.
Chatting with its in-house staff or locals who happen to drop by the visitor’s center is one of the best ways to get yourself acquainted with the town’s surroundings and atmosphere.
As a clever traveler, you should proactively visit a visitor’s center like this one in Jerome to maximize your time and experience during your entire trip.
You can also pick up a map from the center to make it easier to tour the town and visit all the attractions you want to check out.
Take a Closer Look at the Historic Sliding Jail
Another historical attraction you’ll find in Jerome is the Sliding Jail along Hull Avenue.
This attraction is an old “Wild West” style jailhouse nestled atop Jerome’s mountainside.
It earned its name the “Sliding Jail” after a dynamite explosion accident that caused this small detention cell to slide 225-feet off its foundation.
Instead of removing it, the road was redesigned to go around the sliding jail.
A historical plaque found on this historical attraction tells you the story of the mishap in the area in the 1930s.
This small jail in Jerome also has a key part of its history while offering you a different perspective of the town’s history.
The collapsed appearance of the jail makes it a unique and iconic historical site in town, making it a nice place to visit.
Celebrate Arts at the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery
After visiting one historical site to another, you should take a bit of a detour and check out Jerome’s vibrant arts community.
So, head to Main Street and check out the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, which showcases the best artworks of local artists in town.
It’s a must-visit place to discover and appreciate the vibrant local arts community in the town.
Making this place more exciting is it is housed in the historic old Hotel Jerome.
Taking a peek inside the Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery is a fun activity to do while touring the town.
You’ll come across various artworks ranging from painting, sculptures, to pottery.
In addition, many of the artworks displayed here are for sale, so if you’re planning to add something new to your art collection, this is the best place to buy one.
Step Inside the Jerome State Historic Park
The Jerome State Historic Park along Douglas Road is an estate and mansion remodeled into a museum.
The mansion was completed in 1916 by the Douglas Family, known for their mining business in the Black Hills.
Today, the estate and mansion are a popular historical attraction in Jerome that features elegant, beautiful, well-preserved structures, decorations, and furnishings of the Douglas Family.
The mansion’s interior features various exhibits, photographs, and minerals relevant to the town’s mining industry and the Douglas family’s back story and heritage.
Pour a Glass of Fine Wine at the Jerome Winery
Jerome Winery is widely known for its collection of signature Estate wines.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or someone who just wants to pour a glass to unwind, you’ll surely enjoy the tasting flights at the Jerome Winery.
John McLoughlin, the owner of Jerome Winery, made the wines traditionally from his vineyards in Arizona.
The winery situated along Jerome Avenue features top-notch Estate varieties of wine which showcases Arizona’s unique terroir that celebrates the genuine flavor of each variety.
So, take a break from your tour through Jerome’s museums and historical sites and try the winery’s signature Estate wines.
Taste Arizona Wines at the Passion Cellars
The Passion Cellars along Main Street is known for its passion for Arizona wines.
This winery in Jerome is known for its expertise in making fruit-forward, complex, and perfectly-blended red and white wines.
You can taste their signature wines in its cozy tasting room to experience what the winery is trying to tell.
When you’re looking for a break after a tiring day touring around Jerome, head to Passion Cellars and open a bottle of one of its sophisticated wines.
Take Photos of the Scenic Cleopatra Hill
Jerome’s hilly and steep geography is situated in a place known as Cleopatra Hill.
Cleopatra Hill is an idyllic place to visit if you want to see a scenic view of the clinging buildings and structures on the hillside.
Cleopatra Hill is easy to spot; you’ll notice the hillside filled with buildings and structures while driving through the town.
So, stop your car and take photos of the excellent scenery to make your travel adventure there more memorable.
Tour the Creepy Side of Jerome with the Haunted Tours of Jerome
Tours of Jerome, a local tour company, has a unique but creepy experience for visitors.
Their "Haunted Tours of Jerome" is one of their most popular tour packages that you should definitely try out during your visit to this town.
Sign up with its haunted tour if you're fascinated with the supernatural and learn about the spooky side of Jerome's historical sites.
The company takes you to the old mines, old buildings, and hotels while the guide tells you creepy stories and occurrences that happened in these places.
If you want to add excitement to your tour, you should book a guided tour with this company or visit their office along Main Street in Jerome.
Find Unique Souvenirs at Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes
Jerome is not just one of Arizona’s famous ghost mining towns; it’s also the home to the world’s most extensive kaleidoscope store.
Before you head home, stop by the Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes and be amazed by the vast collection of these precious pieces of art that you can buy as your souvenir.
It’s a charming place to visit and take a peek inside the displayed kaleidoscopes in the store.
You will likely spend an hour or two enjoying browsing through the displayed kaleidoscope designs and other glass arts that you can buy as a souvenir.
Appreciate the Great Artworks at the Raku Gallery
Another must-visit art gallery in Jerome is the Raku Gallery along Hull Avenue.
This New York café inspired ruins in the heart of Jerome opened in 1988 as a local art gallery that became one of the best tourist attractions in town.
The gallery’s name came from the word “Raku,” which means pleasure, contentment, enjoyment, and happiness in Japanese.
Today, Raku Gallery boasts more than 200 featured artists, mainly from the Southwestern part of the United States.
The gallery features collections of fine arts and crafts.
It ranges from paintings, ceramics, pottery, blown glass, sculpture, furniture to jewelry.
If you want to discover the arts community of Jerome deeper, this is the best place you need to visit.
Whether you’re fascinated by Jerome’s mining heritage or its flourishing arts community, this small town in Arizona has something amazing waiting to be discovered.
There is plenty of activities and sights to see in this hillside town that will surely keep you occupied throughout your time there.
If you’re not sure what place to visit first, you can begin by heading out to the attractions listed in this post.