Driving in on Highway 80, just after the intersection with Highway 92, you can stop at a turnout along the side of the road and witness the Lavender Pit Mine and the huge tailings surrounding the largest open-pit mine in the state, now closed.
Bisbee  is still proud of its history as the queen of all mining towns, and you can learn all about it at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum (Copper Queen Plaza, junction of Main St. and Brewery Gulch, 520/432-7071, www.bisbeemuseum.org , daily 10 a.m.–4 p.m., $4 adult, $1 child 4–16), housed in the building formerly occupied by the headquarters of the Copper Queen Consolidated Mining Company. Now an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum has exhibits on local history and culture during territorial days, with an emphasis on the history and science of copper mining.
You can see for yourself what it was like descending into the earth every day to coax the ore out of the mountain on the 75-minute Queen Mine Tour (478 N. Dart Rd., 520/432-2071, 866/432-2071, www.cityofbisbee.com/queenminetours , daily 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., $12 adult, $5 child 4–15). Retired miners lead these tours and will regale you with stories of what it was really like underground, as you ride deep beneath the earth on an old mine car, wearing a yellow slicker, a hard hat, and a headlamp. It’s about 47 degrees in the shaft, so think about taking something warm to wear.
If you don’t want to go under, consider going over—on the 90-minute, 11-mile Surface Tour (departs from the Queen Mine Tour office daily at 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m., $10), which takes you through the historic district and shows you the open pit while you sit back in a comfortable van.