Explore Arizona

Mar 17 2016

Tombstone's Wild West Days honor the military

The Arizona Republic

Welcome to one Wild West celebration in Tombstone that does not involve a series of shootouts in which imaginary bullets fell pretend bad guys.

Instead, the Town Too Tough to Die will honor the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces during Wild West Days, March 19-20. That means live music, a silent auction and, of course, a parade.


When visiting a town best known for an armed showdown, you are there to dine more on history than fine food.

The Crystal Palace Saloon dates to 1882, when it was among the first to rise from the ashes of a fire that swept through the business district a year earlier. The quick construction was a testament to priorities.

It’s been through many incarnations since, even serving as a theater and gift shop over the years, but Crystal Palace has returned to its roots as a saloon and is best known for its burgers. No adult should miss an opportunity to belly up to the bar, toss back a shot of whiskey and slam down the glass. Now that’s Wild West living.

Details: 436 E. Allen St. 520-457-3611, www.crystalpalacesaloon.com.

Big Nose Kate’s nickname may have been unfair, but it sure stuck out. The madam’s moniker is as memorable as Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and other historical Tombstone residents.

No surprise, then, that Big Nose Kate’s Saloon still does a solid business among visitors (who are there for the food and drinks, not, well, you know). The building dates to 1880, when it was the Grand Hotel.

Now it houses The Grill Inside Big Nose Kate’s, and yes, your 12-year-old will switch the last two words and laugh through lunch. Dishes are basic (wings, burgers, salads) and well-executed.

Details: 417 E. Allen St. 520-457-3107, www.bignosekates.info.

The article originally appeared in The Arizona Republic.