Here's a tip for all the people whining that Tombstone is "too expensive" or "too kitschy":
It's freakin' Tombstone!!
Tourism is all this place has and it would no longer exist otherwise. I'm sure you make more at your salary than most of these fine folks do. Please loosen your tie, trade your tighty-whitey briefs for boxers, buy a big cowboy hat, a cigar, and get into the spirit of the place. Hell, I would even go so far as to recommend if you have a period costume, wear it. ...Or put one together just for the visit.
Admission into the historic sites ranged from only 4 to $9 each. If this is too expensive or you consider it a "hefty entrance fee" (as one reviewer here suggests), God forbid you ever visit London, England or Paris, France! Other than the cost of an "old-time photo" (which cost $20), I had breakfast and lunch; visited the the Tombstone Courthouse, the Tombstone Epitaph, Bird Cage Theatre, and Boot Hill Graveyard; watched the reenactment at the OK Corral; had a beer at the Crystal Palace Saloon; bought a souvenir and some postcards with stamps, all for under $50. Cost of walking the wooden sidewalks of a historic Western town? Priceless!
For a full day of entertainment (9:00 AM to 4:30 PM), Tombstone is a great deal if you ask me. Kitsch aside, there is so much important history to be learned here. Have fun and soak it all in! Because you're wasting your visit and missing the point if you complain about price and authenticity.
I always feel very uncomfortable when I get to know that I skipped something very unique or interesting on my way especially when I travel very far from my home. Due to lack of both time and information it happened to me in Tombstone. Well, I wasted time in Big Nose Kate's Saloon - see pictures :-).
I arrived too late to see the gunfight reenactment inside the O.K. Corral (daily at 2 pm). The legend of the world's most famous gunfight makes this short show a must see for every visitor to Tombstone. Although...
I also didn't see:
1. Boot Hill Graveyard - the graves of Clanton and the McLaury brothers, as well as those of others who died in gunfights or by hanging (7.30 am to 6.30 pm in summer, 7.30 am to 5.30 pm in other months; admission is free).
2. Bird Cage Theatre - in 1880' also a saloon, gambling hall and brothel (6th & Allen St., $8; 8 am - 6 pm)
3. Rose Tree Inn Museum - the world's largest rose tree (4th & Toughnut st.; $3; 9 am - 5 pm)
4. Tombstone Epitaph Museum - old-time Tombstone newspaper office (5th St. between Allen and Freemont St.; 9.30 am - 5 pm; admission is free)
5. Tombstone Western Heritage Museum - Tombstone's artifacts (Hwy 80 & 6th St.; $5, Mon-Sat 9 am - 5 pm, Sun 12.30 pm - 5 pm).
6. Pioneer Home Museum - house of the Garland mining family (Fremont, between 8th & 9th; 9 am - 5 pm)
Unique Suggestions: Well, even if I had more time I am not sure about my visit to 1 and 3. Well, I enjoyed my time in Big Nose Kate's Saloon (see pictures.)
Fun Alternatives: Keep smiling and drive to Bisbee and futher to New Mexico and Texas as I did. It's a fascinating drive with great places to visit on the way. Or don't follow me and visit the above mentioned sights I skipped.
Apart from the museums, the restaurants and the other things to see, Allan street is a giant gift shop.
But... there are some original things to buy to. At least for non-Americans.
For instance: woodcarving, Mexican blankets, t-shirts, jewels, ...
Let's face it, Tombstone is one big tourist trap, but worth the visit because of the history and it is also nice that the locals have decided to preserve it to be more like it was when Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp walked the streets.
You are going to find plenty of souvenirs not made in America, and plenty of folks who do not live in Tombstone but come dressed in old west costumes.
Featured below are some folks who turned up "in costume". Note the smoking bar maid....
Unique Suggestions: It is easy to look beyond the "tourist trap" setting and imagine the old west.
Fun Alternatives: Tombstone is actually a lot of fun, if you don't go when it is hot in the summer. You can always go into a saloon and have a cold drink to cool off, though.
And why not dress up in cowboy clothes and join the fun? Go ahead.
The Boot Hill gift shop sells a little 5 page pamphlet that tells where each person is buried at Boot Hill cemetery and a little story about each one but it cost $4.00
Unique Suggestions: You would be better getting one of the bigger books that are sold there.
Fun Alternatives: Or get one online from your favorite book store before you go.
The 'O. K. Corral', verrry overrated. It is not even the site of the gunbattle. If you feel you must see this place and cannot go on living if you don't, then go right ahead. I personally would pay 50 cents to go in this place.
This is an old west town that still feels like an old west town, but it has been taken over by stores all selling the same old ***e. The place is still cool, but...kinda overrun by stored trying to make a buck off the tourist (that's you and me).
Unique Suggestions: Dance naked.
Fun Alternatives: Dance fully clothed.
Again we say...the O.K. Corral, boothill, the world's largest rosebush...just TOMBSTONE IN GENERAL = one huge tourist trap....for a very reasonable price...lots of fun...great family place.