You’re in Phoenix looking for free things to do
There’s no hard-and-fast rule that says you always have to spend money whenever you go out, even if you’re on holiday and visiting the great city of Phoenix and its beautiful surrounding area.
It’s the principle of the thing: why should a holiday or a travel break merely be about shopping and going to expensive, paid-for attractions? There are enough things to do in Phoenix AZ without dropping a whole bunch of cash. Our Phoenix SEO clients that if you’re careful, you can underspend on your budget and return home with enough greenbacks to buy an iPad.
Feel the rush by visiting the Goldfield Ghost Town
America’s mid-West is dotted with the carcasses of former mining towns which are obviously now deserted. At Goldfield, which sits on the old Apache trail, you won’t find any miners no more.
But you will find the place peopled by actors togged up as cowboys. They’re so realistic that just like in Westworld, you’ll be tempted to prod and poke them to see if they’re really human. Don’t: they actually are real, and may not take kindly to this kind of treatment. However, just like in Westworld, the ‘cowfollk’ indulge in the occasional gunfight on Main Street, just to show visitors what a lawless place Goldfield once was.
America’s ‘Wild West’ is often thought to be an exaggerated myth, but the reality was if anything more hair-raising than the stories make out. Part of that was related to demographics. The gold towns and other locations way out west were populated almost exclusively by young men looking to ‘stake their claim’ and ‘strike it lucky’.
It was a tough, demanding, dangerous life. Mines (often simply pits dug straight down into the earth) collapsed and killed their owners on a regular basis. The work itself, hacking away at the rock and soil, was exhausting. The only distractions were whisky and prostitutes. Fights and shoot-outs were relatively common. Goldfield in the 19th Century was the kind of place where you were less likely to die of old age than you were to get your face blown off in a gambling dispute.
Goldfield Ghost Town was, back in the 1890s, a flourishing ‘community’, with three saloons, a blacksmith, and a general store. Established in 1893, it was a relative latecomer among Gold Rush towns, yet the vein of gold ore that the miners followed as if it was the Yellow Brick Road soon gave out. The purity of the ore declined drastically, and once that happened, the place was doomed.
Free to wander
You can find Goldfield on Route 88, out past Apache Junction. You’re free to wander, and there are mock shoot-outs in the main street in the afternoons for your amusement. However, you’ll be charged if you want to visit the Mammoth Gold Mine or try your hand at panning for gold yourself.
The town also boasts Arizona’s only narrow-gauge railway. If you’re a dad, this means you can pretend you’re riding the train so your kids get a sense of history, while secretly loving the experience.
The town also boasts a bunch of retro merchants where you can drop cash on stuff such as old-school candy and beef jerky. However, it’s worth the visit just to soak up the vibe: the town makes you feel like you’ve woken up in a world gone by. Remember, though, that 21st-century rules apply, so if someone you encounter disrespects you by jumping the queue, you can’t just shoot them and get away with it no more.
Other Stuff To Do In Phoenix
If you’re one of the currently cash-strapped middle classes and you’re on a starvation budget, or you just don’t feel like trekking around a ghost down, you can also check out the historic Heritage Square in the city center, and the Arizona Capitol Museum.