Jerome, Arizona’s liveliest ghost town, has turned the bust of its mining wealth into a boom of tourism income. Instead of extracting the copper, gold and silver of old, Jerome now exploits its colorful past, picturesque downtown, splendid setting and thriving arts community to entice visitors.
Located on a mountainside in central Arizona, Jerome straddles scenic Highway 89A and overlooks the beautiful Verde Valley with the striking red cliffs of Sedona in the distance.
The former copper boomtown of Jerome is 285 miles from Las Vegas. Follow U.S. Highway 93 to Kingman, Ariz., then head east on Interstate 40. At Ash Fork, turn south on Highway 89 and drive 45 miles toward Prescott. Watch for the turnoff for 89A as you approach Prescott. Turn there and head east about 26 miles to reach Jerome. The dramatic route will take you over Mingus Mountain and steeply down toward the Verde Valley. This is not a safe route for large RVs or vehicles hauling long trailers. Oversize rigs should approach using other routes from Prescott or Flagstaff.
The curvy highway takes hairpin turns through the old town, its bridges cantilevered over the slopes. Jerome’s precipitous streets are terraced from the mountainsides with the backs of buildings supported by posts and frameworks.
Listed as a National Historic Landscape in 1976, Jerome features vintage buildings that crowd the town’s three levels. Visitors find parking in lots and along streets and explore the commercial district on foot. During busy times, a town trolley assists tourists. Jerome draws crowds, especially on weekends, holidays and during special events.
The downtown offers a mine museum, a variety of shops, 30 art galleries, a choice of eateries and bars, wine-tasting rooms, quaint hotels and charming bed-and-breakfast inns. Popular events include monthly First Saturday art walks, when galleries and artists’ workshops stay open later and offer beverages, snacks and live music.
October is usually a busy month with guided ghost walks, scary tales and a Halloween costume dance. Ask about special events at the Jerome Chamber of Commerce.
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