Globe, Arizona, is a small-town jewel located about an hour and a half east of the Phoenix metro area. Its name perfectly reflects its mining past.
The name Globe is said to have originated with a globe-shaped nugget of silver that was found near the townsite in the 1800s. The legacy of that inspired name has endured through Globe’s founding in the 1870s, its mining heyday in the early 1900s, and its current status as a charming town along Arizona’s scenic Salt River Canyon Scenic Route.
I had driven the scenic highway a few times over my several decades of living in Arizona but had never stopped in Globe, the largest of the little towns located along the route. I finally decided to explore it on a recent road trip, and what I found was a community rich with mining history, local art, and prehistoric Native American ruins -- all amidst a fun small-town atmosphere and a robust regional cuisine scene.
Globe makes for a great road trip from the Phoenix area by taking Highway 60 in the East Valley and through the towns of Superior, Miami, and Claypool.
Here are nine ideas for spending a perfect day in Globe.
1. Walk The Historic Downtown
As you drive into Globe, you are sure to spot the “Historic Downtown Globe” sign emblazoned across an old railroad trestle. A turn toward Broad Street beneath the underpass will take you right into the heart of Globe -- an ideal place to begin or end your day.
I recommend parking in one of the ample spaces along the hilly streets of the downtown area and getting out for a walk.
A stroll on Broad Street, the main drag, will take you past numerous retro storefronts, such as La Luz Del Dia Mexican restaurant, which sports an adorable coffee-cup sign, as well as the beautiful old Gila County Courthouse that now serves as an arts center.
Other historic buildings in Globe offer a glimpse into the soul of early-Arizona culture -- from the 1910 Jail building complete with barred windows to the 1918 Holy Angels Church that features stained glass windows designed by one of America’s foremost stained-glass artists.
2. Take In The Local Art Scene At Cobre Valley Center For The Arts
One-of-a-kind design touches will grab your attention upon entering the old Gila County Courthouse in downtown Globe. Built in 1906, the Italian Renaissance-style building includes features such as burnished copper stair rails, high ceilings painted a sky blue, and elegant arches.
While the building is a stunner, the local art that it houses is equally compelling. After serving as the county courthouse until the 1970s, the historic building later was converted into the Cobre Valley Center for the Arts and is Globe’s (and its sister community, Miami’s) hub for fine arts, music, theater arts, and quilts.
Along with the fine art exhibits, the center offers a gift shop that sells local art, jewelry, Apache crafts, books, and pottery.
Pro Tip: Ask for a tour of the upper levels, where you’ll find local favorites such as the Governor’s Room with portraits of two Arizona Governors who hailed from Globe, and a performance stage that once served as a courtroom.
3. Step Into Prehistoric Times
The ancient Salado people occupied the Globe area nearly 800 years ago, and today visitors can walk in their footsteps at the 200-room prehistoric pueblo known as Besh-Ba-Gowah.
The pueblo, which consists of partially restored ruins, is located one mile southwest of Globe. Besh-Ba-Gowah is the name that the Apache people gave to the early settlement of Globe. Roughly translated, it means “place of metal,” says the town’s website. The ruins, the site adds, offer a look into the lifestyle of the people who occupied the region more than two centuries before Columbus arrived in the “New World.”
Along with the ruins, the Besh-Ba-Gowah includes a museum with a collection of Salado pottery and artifacts, botanical gardens, and a gift shop.
Pro Tip: Another chance to see the Salado culture is available nearby by heading northwest of Globe to the Tonto National Monument, where you will find two well-preserved cliff dwellings left by the Salado people, who lived in the Tonto Basin between the years 1250 and 1450.
4. Drive The Salt River Canyon Scenic Route
For an exciting drive complete with twists, turns, and magnificent views, check out the Salt River Canyon Scenic Route -- a route that drops more than 2,000 feet into a deep and rugged river canyon and then continues up the other side.
From the Phoenix area, the drive progresses east on Highway 60 through Superior and Globe before heading northeast toward the mountain town of Show Low. The most spectacular section is about 40 miles northeast of Globe near the Salt River Canyon Rest Stop.
Pro Tip: For ideas on other things to do along the scenic route, see my story on the nine best stops driving the scenic Salt River Canyon.
5. Lunch On Authentic Mexican Cuisine
An internet search of Mexican restaurants in Globe will turn up about 10 different establishments in this town of just over 7,000 people. Most of the restaurants are run by local families, each of which has its own Mexican-cuisine specialty.
El Ranchito, which is known to be among the best, specializes in Mexican classics such as tamales and green chili enchiladas, while Los Robertos Mexican Food offers fresh fast-food Mexican selections like burritos and tortas (Mexican sandwiches), and La Luz Del Dia features a diner atmosphere in the downtown area and offers breakfast and lunch selections such as burritos and quesadillas, as well as bakery items like cookies and Mexican bread.
6. Shop The Southwest At Pickle Barrel Trading Post
Name a Southwestern-style art, craft, or souvenir, and you can probably find it at the Pickle Barrel Trading Post. The store is packed with beautiful displays of turquoise jewelry, Native American woven baskets, Southwest-themed foods, vintage collectibles, and colorful blankets.
The trading post occupies a 1905-era building constructed as a warehouse for the Old Dominion Mine. By the 1990s, work was underway to convert the historic building into an antique shop, and the current owners acquired it in the early 2000s. Today, shoppers can wander from room to room inside the shop and step out onto the beautiful multi-leveled patios to see the creative metal art.
Simply perusing the historic building and the enormous assortment of beautiful Southwest goods is worth a stop, even if you’re not in the market for a Pendleton blanket or metal saguaro cactus.
7. Take A High Desert Hike
For stellar views of Globe in its desert/mountain setting, stop at Round Mountain Park, where six hiking routes await.
The city park offers everything from easy jaunts to moderately strenuous climbs. For the best views of Globe, nearby Miami, and the surrounding mountain ranges, check out the East or West trails, which both head to the summit of Round Mountain. Both hikes have gradual climbs and are considered moderate. The trails are grouped in loops of up to three miles each.
8. Visit A Historic Copper Mining Camp
From the 1880s through the early 1930s, copper extracted from the Old Dominion Mine was the driving force for the development in the Globe-Miami area, according to the town’s website.
While the mine and the town both thrived during the 1910s, the Old Dominion never returned to its former glory after World War I, and it was permanently closed in 1931.
Today, after more than a decade of work, the old mine has been transformed into the Old Dominion Historic Mine Park, where visitors can walk along trails named for mining claims like the Silver Nugget, visit a “boneyard” of historic mining artifacts, and picnic under shady pavilions.
9. Dine Al Fresco At Bravo
Housed in a rustic brick building along Globe’s Broad Street, Bravo Americano Moderno offers a modern take on European classics.
Featuring a wood-fire oven, Bravo’s standout is its pizza, which comes to your table with a nicely charred crust and a range of creative toppings. I loved the basic margherita pizza, but there is also the Arugula, Arugula, Arugula (garlic oil, hard salami, fresh mozzarella, red onion, sun dried tomatoes, and yes, arugula) or the Toscana (fresh feta, Parmigiano, Italian fennel sausage, mushrooms, red onions, green olives, and sliced tomatoes). Or try one of Bravo’s decadent appetizers like the buttery garlic lobster ravioli.
One of the best features of Bravo is its beautiful patio with an outdoor bar and tables grouped around fire pits -- a lovely spot for an evening meal.
Other places worth checking out for dinner are Nurd Berger, with its large selection of burgers and American cuisine, and Bloom Asian Concept Restaurant, with fare from Japan, China, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia.
The best seasons to visit Globe are fall, winter, and spring. Winter months of December through February feature average high temperatures around 60 Fahrenheit, while fall and spring have highs in the 70s and 80s. Summer tends to be hot in Globe, with average highs well into the 90s in June, July, and August.