Tucked high up in the Black Hills of Yavapai County in Arizona, Jerome offers a captivating mix of history, art, and breathtaking vistas. Once the fourth largest city in the Arizona Territory, this booming copper mining town transformed into a bustling artistic community and one of the most intriguing ghost towns in the state.
As you delve into this guide of “things to do in Jerome,” you’ll get a glimpse of the town’s vibrant character, rich history, and unique attractions. Ready to discover the heart and soul of Jerome? Let’s dive right in.
Getting to Jerome
With its charming location atop Cleopatra Hill overlooking the Verde Valley, Jerome is a spectacle in itself. While it’s relatively accessible from cities like Phoenix and Sedona, planning your journey is the first step in experiencing Jerome’s unique charm.
Driving offers the most flexibility when traveling to Jerome. From Phoenix, the journey usually takes about two hours via AZ-260 and AZ-89A, presenting captivating desert landscapes en route. Traveling from Sedona? The picturesque AZ-89A will get you there in less than an hour. Alternatively, shuttle services are available from Sedona and Flagstaff for those who prefer public transportation.
Whether you choose to drive or use public transport, the journey to Jerome is an experience to savor, marked by the dramatic shifts in the landscape as you ascend from the valley to the town.
Necessary Preparations for the Trip
Given Jerome’s location, it’s a good idea to check the weather before you head out, particularly during winter months when conditions can be more challenging. Arizona’s Department of Transportation provides real-time highway conditions online, which can be helpful for those planning to drive.
Packing essentials include comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, and a hat for the bright Arizona sun. If you plan to embark on any of Jerome’s scenic hikes, it’s advisable to carry plenty of water and a trail map.
Where to Stay in Jerome
Jerome offers a unique range of accommodations that reflect its character. From historic hotels to charming B&Bs, you’ll find an option that suits your style and budget.
The Jerome Grand Hotel is a popular choice among visitors. Known to be the highest public building in the Verde Valley, this hotel offers unparalleled views and a touch of history. Housed in a former hospital, it retains many original features, adding to its charm and mystique.
If you’re looking for a more boutique experience, consider Connor Hotel. Offering chic accommodations in the heart of Jerome, the hotel is close to local art galleries, shops, and restaurants.
Unique Bed and Breakfasts
If you prefer a more personal touch, consider staying at a bed and breakfast. The Surgeon’s House, a former residence of Jerome’s mine surgeon, has been transformed into a luxurious B&B. With meticulously tended gardens and individually decorated suites, it’s a place where history and comfort converge.
Another charming option is Ghost City Inn. Not only does it provide a cozy bed and breakfast experience, but its location also offers spectacular views of the Verde Valley.
For families or larger groups, vacation rentals may be an ideal option. Properties like The John Riordan House, an impeccably restored historic house, provide a home-away-from-home atmosphere, complete with modern amenities. Such rentals often provide added benefits like full kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and communal living spaces.
Touring Historic Jerome
Bearing a testament to its rich past, Jerome is adorned with a plethora of historic landmarks and points of interest. Each corner of the town whispers tales of its glorious copper mining days, transporting visitors back in time.
Jerome State Historic Park, housed in the historic Douglas Mansion, is an ideal starting point for your history tour. A visit here offers an in-depth look into Jerome’s mining history with numerous exhibits showcasing photographs, artifacts, and mineral displays. Don’t miss the 3D model of the town with its historical underground mines.
Jerome’s Ghost Town Tours
To truly capture the spirit of Jerome, consider joining one of the many guided ghost town tours. The tours are usually led by experienced guides who bring the town’s vibrant history to life through fascinating anecdotes and insights.
The famous “Ghost and History Tour” is a particular favorite, shedding light on the intriguing ghost stories that color Jerome’s past.
Sliding Jail and other historic landmarks
As you navigate the steep and winding roads of Jerome, you’ll encounter various landmarks like the Sliding Jail. Once a functioning jail, this building has gradually moved from its original location due to soil subsidence. Other notable landmarks include the remains of the Audrey Shaft and Headframe, the Daisy Mine, and the Bartlett Hotel.
The Audrey Shaft and Mine Museum is another must-visit. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to explore mining artifacts, old photographs, and mineral specimens, enhancing your understanding of Jerome’s mining heritage.
Art and Culture in Jerome
In addition to its historic sites, Jerome has emerged as a thriving cultural hub. The town’s artistic spirit is visible in its vibrant art galleries, musical performances, and numerous festivals that occur throughout the year.
Jerome houses several art galleries, each showcasing a wide variety of art forms. The Jerome Artists Cooperative Gallery, an artist-run collective, presents an array of works from local artists, while Raku Gallery offers pottery, jewelry, and other art pieces.
The town comes alive during its annual festivals such as Jerome Art Walk, a free event held on the first Saturday of every month, featuring local artists, special exhibits, and live music. The Jerome Indie Film and Music Festival is another highlight, drawing filmmakers and music lovers from around the country.
Jerome’s Unique Music Scene
Music is an integral part of Jerome’s cultural fabric. From live performances at local bars and restaurants to music festivals and concerts at the Old Town Center, there’s always a tune to be heard in Jerome.
With a captivating blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Jerome presents endless possibilities for exploration and enjoyment. The following sections will delve further into the offerings of this vibrant town.
Unmissable Viewpoints and Scenic Spots
Jerome’s unique positioning on Cleopatra Hill offers some of the most breathtaking views in Arizona. From sun-drenched valleys to stunning sunsets, there’s a visual treat awaiting around every corner.
Perched at the town’s highest point, the Jerome Grand Hotel provides unparalleled views of the Verde Valley, the town of Clarkdale, and the distant red rocks of Sedona. Whether you choose to stay or simply dine at their restaurant, make sure to capture a few photos from this vantage point.
Breathtaking Views from Jerome’s Parks
Jerome State Historic Park isn’t just a historical treasure – it also offers remarkable vistas. Another spot worth visiting is Audrey Headframe Park. Its glass platform gives you a peek into the mine below while offering panoramic views of the surroundings.
The Ghost City Inn, a delightful bed and breakfast, is another spot offering stunning views. Their back deck overlooks the Verde Valley and offers a prime position to enjoy the spectacular Arizona sunsets.
Shopping in Jerome
If you enjoy hunting for one-of-a-kind items, you’ll love shopping in Jerome. From unique local goods to intriguing antiques, the stores in Jerome provide a delightful retail experience.
Jerome is home to several charming antique stores filled with treasures waiting to be discovered. Places like Mooey Christmas and Udder Things offer unique, Jerome-inspired trinkets, while Jerome’s Junkyard Bitch boasts an eclectic mix of antiques and collectibles.
Unique Local Goods and Souvenirs
For a taste of local crafts, head to shops like Made in Jerome Pottery and Pura Vida Gallery. These shops feature local artists’ work, giving you the chance to take home a piece of Jerome’s vibrant art scene. Also, don’t forget to pick up a bottle of local wine as a delightful reminder of your visit.
Jerome, with its blend of natural beauty, historic charm, and vibrant culture, ensures an unforgettable experience for every visitor. As we continue with this guide, we will explore more about Jerome’s culinary delights, outdoor adventures, and day trips that make your visit even more memorable.
Dining in Jerome: A Feast for the Senses
From mouthwatering American classics to delectable homemade treats, Jerome’s culinary scene is as varied as it is delicious. The town’s restaurants and cafes are not only places to satisfy your hunger but also spots to savor Jerome’s unique charm.
Haunted Hamburger, known for its juicy burgers and stunning views, is a must-visit. For a sophisticated dining experience, try The Asylum Restaurant located in the Grand Hotel, famous for its gourmet cuisine and historic atmosphere. Quench your thirst with a visit to the Jerome Brewery, offering an array of local craft beers.
For a coffee fix or sweet treat, head to Jerome’s quaint cafes and bakeries. The Jerome Bake Shop is a local favorite, serving up homemade pastries and delicious coffee. Meanwhile, Flatiron offers quality espresso drinks and a comfy atmosphere to relax and enjoy the view.
Outdoor Activities: Jerome’s Natural Beauty
For those looking to venture into the great outdoors, Jerome offers a range of activities, from hiking and bird-watching to more adventurous pursuits.
The town is surrounded by numerous hiking trails, offering a chance to experience Arizona’s stunning landscapes firsthand. The Woodchute Wilderness trail is a popular option, known for its varied terrain and beautiful vistas.
Jerome’s varied ecosystems make it an excellent spot for bird-watching, home to several unique and migratory bird species. Dead Horse Ranch State Park, just a short drive from Jerome, provides a great bird-watching venue.
Day Trips From Jerome
Jerome’s location makes it a perfect base for exploring the wider region. There are several day trip destinations within easy reach, each with its own attractions.
The red rock city of Sedona is less than an hour’s drive away. Known for its vibrant arts scene and world-class hiking, Sedona is an excellent option for a day trip. Don’t miss the iconic Chapel of the Holy Cross and Bell Rock Pathway.
A little over an hour away, Prescott boasts an attractive downtown area, complete with Victorian homes and Whiskey Row, a block of historic saloons. The town also offers beautiful hiking trails around the nearby Watson Lake.
Jerome, a tiny town with a big personality, is truly a gem to be discovered. As we wrap up this guide, we’ll address some frequently asked questions about Jerome and provide a summary of what makes this town an unforgettable destination.
FAQs About Visiting Jerome
Before concluding, let’s address some common questions that visitors often ask about Jerome. This information will help you plan your visit more effectively.
What is the best time to visit Jerome?
Jerome can be visited year-round, but the most pleasant weather is typically between March and May or from September to November. The town also hosts various events throughout the year, adding to the charm of your visit.
How many days should I spend in Jerome?
While you can get a good sense of Jerome in a day, spending two to three days allows for a more relaxed exploration of the town and its surroundings. This time frame will enable you to enjoy historic sites, art galleries, restaurants, and outdoor activities at a leisurely pace.
Are there accommodation options in Jerome?
Yes, Jerome offers various accommodations to fit different budgets. From historic hotels like the Jerome Grand Hotel to cozy bed and breakfasts such as the Surgeon’s House, you’re sure to find a comfortable place to stay.
Is Jerome family-friendly?
Absolutely! While Jerome is known for its ghost stories and historic charm, it offers plenty of family-friendly activities. Kids will love exploring the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town, visiting the Jerome State Historic Park, and more.
Conclusion: Jerome – A Historic Gem with Modern Charm
Nestled atop Cleopatra Hill, Jerome is a unique blend of past and present, where history meets the vibrancy of a thriving arts scene. With its historic buildings, stunning views, eclectic shopping, delicious dining, and opportunities for outdoor adventure, Jerome truly offers something for every traveler.
From its humble beginnings as a small mining camp to its current status as a thriving tourist destination, Jerome has managed to retain its unique character and charm. Whether you are a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, Jerome promises an unforgettable experience that leaves you yearning for more.
So, pack your bags and get ready to explore all the things to do in Jerome, Arizona’s magnificent mile-high town.