5 Wild West Towns in The US
Want to step back in time to the Old West?
The great news is, while many former Wild West towns, once heaving, have become ghost towns or have simply disappeared, there are still some iconic Old West towns left in the US. Carved out in the wilderness and recently revived by the rising interest in historical landmarks and the cowboy culture, these towns are now thriving once again.
From experiencing the desert heat, watching Wild-West shootouts, and strolling along large dusty roads flanked with wooden sidewalks, to enjoying a drink in an old western saloon and riding a stagecoach, exploring the Wild West can prove to be a fun and unique experience. Plus, if you enjoy photography, this could be a wonderful trip for you! Dying to know where our five favorite western towns are located?
Read on as we highlight them below!
Often referred to as ‘’the town too tough to die’’, Tombstone, Arizona, is a typical 1880’s western town. Indeed, this original place is packed with history and brims with authentic buildings dating back to the 19th century. From people wearing cowboy hats and stage carriages roaming the streets to 1890s style ladies, Tombstone genuinely feels like the Old West. Have you ever watched Westworld? If so, you’ll be able to picture exactly what Tombstone looks like (minus the robots!).
What’s more, Tombstone is the place where the most infamous shootout in Wild West history happened, when the famous Earp brothers shot three outlaws from the ‘’Cowboys’’ gang dead in 30 seconds!
For an immersive experience, watch a gun-fight, enjoy a drink at the crystal palace saloon, and relive the Old West’s history at either the saloon theatre or at the birdcage theatre.
Oatman, Arizona is a magical place where, while strolling along narrow streets packed with history and authentic buildings, you can let your mind wander and feel immediately transported back to a different time. Indeed, the town has preserved its Old West appearance and atmosphere and is particularly famous for counting more wild burros than people. What’s more, these adorable creatures are freely roaming the streets among pedestrians and cars. What better way to experience the Wild West?
Besides, the town has kept its wooden sidewalks, offers staged shootouts, and features numerous saloons and other historic buildings. This iconic Old West town will also provide for plenty of incredible photo opportunities!
Some of the best things to do include:
- Visiting the historic Oatman Hotel.
- Indulging in a delicious ice cream at the incredible Olive Oatman Ice Cream Parlor set in an old western saloon.
Watching a gunslinger shootout in the main street every day at 1 pm, take your camera and set up behind one of the gunslingers to get that classic shot.
Idaho City, Idaho
Once a thriving gold mining spot, Idaho City used to be the Northwest’s biggest city.
As a result, this historic town is packed with western charm. Indeed, the architecture is reminiscent of the Old West, and almost every building is made of wood and has a story to tell!
If you enjoy places with a rich history and authentic wild west architecture, you’ll enjoy your time at Idaho City! Indeed, with its original wooden plank buildings and wooden storefronts, the town oozes Old West memorabilia. Some of the best historical landmarks include the old jail, the numerous old homes, the antique shops, the original trading post, and the county courthouse. There is also a very informative museum called the Boise Basin Museum. And of course, no trip to a frontier town would be complete without setting foot in the town’s old saloon!
Fort Worth, Texas
Texas still exudes an air of the Old West and features some of the most authentic Old West towns remaining in the US, including Fort Worth. Nicknamed as ‘’Cowtown’’ or even sometimes called Forth Worth ‘’Where the West begins”, this former frontier military outpost was named after Major General William Jenkins Worth and has kept its Old West charm. Indeed, this iconic Wild West town oozes Old West nostalgia, with stagecoaches riding among cattle herds and authentic historic buildings turned into cafes, restaurants, and shops. It also counts several popular landmarks such as local stockyards.
Fort Worth is the perfect Old West getaway as it features a thriving cowboy culture filled with outlaws, Indians, and cowboy stories!
As a result, some of the best activities include attending gunfight shows, visiting one of the numerous modern-day saloons, or riding a horse, while wearing a cowboy hat, of course.
Ever wanted to attend a Wild West Rodeo? Exploring Fort Worth might be an excellent opportunity to do so! Indeed, every weekend, the town hosts the Stockyards Championship Rodeo, and with many attractions on the program, including barrel racing and rodeo clowns, you’re in for a treat!
This former thriving mining town was once home to over 50 000 men, drawn to the town during the gold rush. What’s particularly interesting about this authentic gun-slinging Old West town is the fact that it has been extremely well-preserved and looks frozen in time.
Indeed, history buffs and architecture junkies will be delighted to learn that Victor’s architecture has changed very little since the 1890s. Rife with gold rush history, turn-of-the-century storefronts, old-fashioned lamp posts, old painted wall advertisements, and historic Victorian-era buildings, the town has even been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Whether you want to visit Victor to photograph the Old West architecture and capture the American Frontier atmosphere, enjoy history, or are just seeking to experience something truly unique, Victor won’t disappoint!
And once you’ve strolled the streets of this incredible town, you’ll also be able to embark on a mining tour to learn more about the gold rush history surrounding this place.
We hope you’re now feeling inspired and ready to step into history by exploring one of the remaining Wild West gems of America!
If you’ve explored an Old West town before, please share your experience below, as we’d love to learn more.
Christelle has a master’s in Marketing and specializes in content marketing. As a freelancer, her passion for words, writing, and social media led her to collaborate with hundreds of businesses over the last few years to help them tell their story. Indeed, she’s dedicated to turning her client’s experiences and ideas into compelling and engaging stories to capture a specific audience’s attention.
Christelle is also passionate about travel and photography and when she’s not writing, she loves a good adventure. From historical Europe and mystical South America to the Australian outback and tropical Pacific Islands, she has been able to enjoy some of the most wonderful sights on the planet and hopes to see more in the coming years!