Population: 6,095

Land Prices in Bisbee: About $75,000 buys 6 acres of desert horse property with mountain views and few improvements.

Why we love it: Not only does Bisbee treasure its fine art and galleries, but it also respects the past.

Tucked into the mineral-rich Mule Mountains, Bisbee has lived the classic, boom-bust narrative of most Western mining towns. Pulling untold quantities of gold, silver, turquoise and copper from the guts of its mountains, Bisbee’s mining operations shuttered in the mid-1970s and scuttled the local economy.

But the gorgeous, worn turn-of-the-century downtown, attracted artists and counter-cultural types, lured by cheap digs and Cochise County’s beautiful high desert. In a prescient and savvy move, the town got its historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, restorations started and, by the 1990s, this given-up-for-dead mining town started seeing an influx of retirees and second-home owners.

Today, Bisbee is known as an artist’s enclave (with about 25 galleries). But plan to build your log home further out; because of its historic designation, Bisbee has strict building codes.

Why you’ll love it: Perched at 5,350-feet, locals describe the weather as “perfect” and say it’s a place where kids still have a shot at an unfettered, old-fashioned childhood. The area’s fine weather makes it a perfect place for outdoor pursuits; the annual bicycle race La Vuelta de Bisbee brings in some of the biggest names in cycling, and the nearby San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, the country’s first Globally Important Bird Area, attracts birders from all over the map.

Bisbee Web Resources: www.discoverbisbee.com

Photos by: Bisbee Tourism


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