Get a jump on the holidays in the Arizona mining town's offbeat shops
For years, travelers driving east from Phoenix on U.S. 60 simply blew through the old mining town of Miami. You can't blame them: The once-bustling copper town was virtually boarded up.
Recently, though, the historic downtown district has been revitalized with antiques shops. While Arizona's Miami ― wedged between the Pinal and Superstition Mountains ― may lack a Florida beach, you can spend a balmy November day exploring the town and conducting your own private antiques road show.
Start your visit at Bullion Plaza Cultural Center and Museum (11-3 Fri-Sat; 1000 Bullion Plaza Circle), an informal history center where exhibits explain the area's boomtown roots and the odd fact that locals pronounce the town's name "My- am-uh."
The antiques action is along Sullivan Street, between Miami and Inspiration Avenues. Miami Rose Trading Company (closed Tue; 401 Sullivan St.; 928/473-2949) is housed in a 1917 bank building and features antique furniture, vintage items, and local collectibles. Two doors down, Sullivan Street Antiques (call for hours; 407 Sullivan; 928/473-8712) has antique furniture and mining tools, while nearby Joshua's Treehouse (open Thu-Sun and by appointment; 517 Sullivan; 928/473-3848) is stuffed with lamps and custom lampshades. Stop at Ron Ruble Enterprises (call for hours; 47 Keystone Ave.; 928/473-4000) for that sword and suit of armor you've always wanted.
Take a lunch break at Guayo's El Rey (closed Wed; 716 Sullivan; 928/473-9960), a local favorite since 1938. Try the Gollo Burro, a burrito filled with whole beans, green chiles, onions, cheese, and a fried egg; or menudo, a spicy tripe soup that fans insist will cure the meanest hangover.
Afterward, stroll to Soda Pop's (open Fri-Sun; 505 Sullivan; 928/473-4344). In addition to selling old soda machines, advertising signs, and arcade items, the shop offers ice cream concoctions at its restored 1914 soda fountain. Or hit Antique Perks (closed Tue; 413 Sullivan; 928/473-4311), where you can peruse used books and antique tableware while sipping a double espresso ― a little luxury that probably wasn't available during the mining town's heyday.
Miami is 80 miles east of Phoenix via U.S. 60. Many shops are closed midweek and hours can be flexible; call ahead. For more information, contact the Merchants Association of Miami, Arizona ( www.miamiaz.org).