Bisbee : Arizona


What It Is Like to Retire in Bisbee

Bisbee is an historic mining town of 5,199 (2020 Census) in south central Arizona, almost at the Mexican border. If you are looking for an interesting, off-beat place to retire, Bisbee might be the place. An associate of ours recently visited Bisbee and reported back that he thought the town was a "sleeper", an up and comer that could be the next hot retirement destination. Time will tell. The town is at 5,500 ft., an elevation that gives it milder temperatures than most places in Arizona.

The Bisbee area is famous for its copper, gold, and silver mines. The Copper Queen Mine, one of its largest, helped serve America's need for copper during WWI.  The mining industry has had its booms and busts, but the result overall was to create a city with great wealth, even its own suburbs. Today there is still some open pit mining.

Bisbee is famous for its Victorian architecture and Bisbee Blue, a beautiful turquoise. Hippies discovered the town in the 70's as a refuge from trendy (and expensive) Aspen. John Wayne was a frequent visitor and helped in the town's economic development. Today Bisbee is one of the more interesting towns in the southwest. It has been actively promoted as a tourist destination and place for baby boomers looking for an interesting retirement town. The Copper Queen Hotel is an anchor for the downtown, along with a great Art Deco Hotel.  There are plenty of coffee shops. The AARP named Bisbee one of the "quirkiest" towns in America.  Believe it or not Bisbee actually has some suburbs - one of the nicest is the very affluent community of Warren. Jerome AZ is a town which is frequently compared to Bisbee.

Where to Retire in Bisbee and Home Prices

Real estate prices tend to go in cycles in Bisbee. There are plenty of beautiful Victorians and prices go up and down. Zillow reports the home value index to be $185,632, in late 2022. We are not aware of any active communities in Bisbee, although there are many in nearby Green Valley and other towns.


What Is Special about Bisbee

Some of its attractions are its Victorian architecture, the Copper Queen Hotel, and being a quirky town in Arizona's mountains. Bisbee has been documented in The New Yorker as well as The Cornell Review by Calvin Trillin. Set in the Mule Mountains, the hills are so steep that some homes can only be reached by steps.  The Sheriff of Cochise and numerous other TV shows and movies were filmed here.

What Is Not Special about Bisbee

Bisbee is prone to booms and busts, so far. It is located in a very remote part of the country. And if you don't like quirky, you won't like Bisbee.

Who Will Like Retirement in Bisbee

Former hippies, baby boomers who loved their era, people with a sense of adventure, and those who love southern Arizona will love it in Bisbee.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism and mining are the big influences in the Bisbee economy.  Minerals like turquoise, malachite, and galena are found and sold here.

Climate and Physical Environment

Bisbee is at an elevation of 5,500+ ft. in the Mule Mountains, 82 miles southeast of Tucson near the Mexican border. The climate is relatively mild for being this far south, with January temperatures in the low 40's and July temps in the mid 70's.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum is located in the former Phelps Dodge general office building. There is the Arizona Cactus Botanical Garden and Southeastern Arizona Bird Sanctuary.  Bisbee's tourist promotion emphasizes the town's historic old west flavor.  Known to be gay-friendly, there are several Gay Pride parades/events per year.


Crime in Bisbee is just above the national average, although it is all property related crime.

Medical Facilities

Copper Queen Municipal Hospital. There is another hospital in Douglas, 12 miles away.


Sierra Vista Muni-Libby and Fort Huachuca AAF is 33 miles away. Bisbee has a muni field as well.

Valuable Links

Arizona retirement guide
Wikipedia for Bisbee


What people are saying about Bisbee

The Best !!!
My wife and I just moved here from Michigan after wintering in Bisbee for 7 years. The \"best move\" we\'ve ever made. Just a fun little town with great people, always interesting things to do, fantastic hiking, and knock-down-wonderful year round weather. It\'s said that you \"drive through the tunnel and you get it, or you don\'t\"... Come find out
Posted by randy46 on July 06, 2015
No thanks
I was interested in Southern AZ until I read about so many hippies around there.After dealing with so many hippies and war protesters coming home from Vietnam,I sure don\'t need any more of them.You all can have it.
Posted by booneyrat on June 03, 2015
Commercial Art Photography Possibilities?
It\'s been a long time since I\'ve been to Bisbee. My grandparents had a farm down in the valley in hereford and we\'d often travel the region for fun or necessity. Bisbee was one of my favorites because it was so unique. Now that I\'m \'of a certain age\' I\'m thinking of heading back to the farm which is still in the family but also owning a small place in Bisbee as well. Question: Is Historic Bisbee where I would find homes with more of the original victorian or classic feel? Are there other suggestions? Also, any thoughts on \'possibly\' making a small living with my professional art photos? Don\'t know if there is much foot traffic or even small commercial store fronts or studios for example. I currently shoot landscapes here in New England but with the desert southwest at my doorstep the possibilities would be endless. Nothing overpriced, just enough to get by and I\'d be happy. Thanks for any input!
Posted by rzamoraphotography on August 19, 2014

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