The Cinco de Mayo festivities have horse races between American and Mexican riders on the weekend before May 5th. The July Fourth Celebration includes entertainment, a parade, car show, games, dances, and fireworks at Veterans Park. The Labor Day Golf Tournament in September has been running longer than any other invitational golf tournament in the state. Douglas Fiestas Celebration in mid-September honors Mexican independence with ballet folklorico, mariachis, talent show, games, and food at Veterans Park. Cochise County Fair presents intercollegiate rodeo, livestock exhibits, carnival, and other entertainment on the third weekend of September at Cochise County Fairgrounds on Leslie Canyon Road. The Christmas Light Parade is an evening event of lighted floats held the last Saturday of November.
Shops in the first six blocks across the border in Agua Prieta sell Mexican crafts, but on a much smaller scale than in Nogales. Merchants generally have a competitive fixed price, so bargaining isn't as common as in other border towns. U.S. dollars will be welcome. There's a parking lot near the border; drive south on Pan American Avenue, then turn left one block on 1st Avenue, the last street before the border station. The Douglas Chamber of Commerce offers advice and a map for Agua Prieta.
For a swim, head northeast of downtown to the Aquatic Center (1551 15th St., 520/417-7344); call for hours of open and lap times. Veterans Park (Dolores Ave. and 6th St.) offers picnic tables, playground, outdoor pool, tennis, basketball, and ball fields. Douglas Municipal Golf Course (off Leslie Canyon Rd., 520/364-3722) features 18 holes north of town.
Historic hotel: The massive five-story Gadsden Hotel (1046 G Ave., 520/364-4481, http://www.thegadsdenhotel.com, rooms from $49 d historical, $89 d renovated, and $119 Jacuzzi suites.) dominates downtown Douglas. Built in 1907 and rebuilt in 1928, the hotel calls itself "the last of the grand hotels." The lobby features massive faux marble columns decorated with 14-karat gold leaf supporting a vaulted ceiling with stained-glass panels. A Tiffany stained-glass mural 42 feet long decorates one wall of the mezzanine, reached by an Italian white marble staircase. If you'd rather ride up, hop in the old-fashioned manual elevator. Over 200 authentic cattle brands embellish the walls of the Saddle and Spur Tavern, just off the lobby. A restaurant serves American and Mexican food.
Under $50: Motel 6 (111 16th St., 520/364-2457 or 800/466-8356, $38 s, $44 d) is just west of downtown. The Travelers Motel (19th St., 520/364-8434, $35 s, $38 d) and the nearby Border Motel (1725 A Ave., 520/364-8491, $32 s, $35 d) each have a pool.
Over $50: Best Western Douglas Inn & Suites (199 E. 7th St., 520/364-5000, www.bestwestern.com) has the newest rooms in town.
Price Canyon Ranch (P.O. Box 1065, Douglas, AZ 85608, 520/558-2383 or 800/727-0065, www.pricecanyon.com) offers horseback riding in the scenic Chiricahuas with the option of joining the cowboys in working the cattle. Guests also enjoy birding, hiking, and the swimming pool. The rates of $150 per adult and $75 ages 12-15 give you comfortable rooms, family-style meals, and riding. The ranch, open year-round at an elevation of 5,600 feet, is 37 miles northeast of Douglas on AZ 80, then west 7.5 miles on Price Canyon Road between Mileposts 400 and 401.
Twin Buttes Mobile Home & RV Park (4912 W. Hwy. 80, 520/364-7075, www.twinbuttesrvpark.com) is west of town between mile markers 354 and 355 on the north side on the highway. Douglas RV Park (Hwy. 80 and Leslie Canyon Rd. on the north side of town, 520/417-7339) is at Douglas Municipal Golf Course.
Double Adobe Campground & Shotgun Sports (520/364-4000 or 800/694-4242, www.doubleadobe.com, $21 tent, $25-35 RV w/hookups) offers grassy sites and shade trees on 240 acres; guests have showers, laundry, hiking, wi-fi, recreation room, stables, and a trap range. Head north 7.4 miles on US 191 from the west side of Douglas, then turn left (west) 9.8 miles on Double Adobe Road. (The road makes a jog to the south after the store at Double Adobe; follow signs for Bisbee.)
El Conquistador Dining Room in the Gadsden Hotel (1046 G Ave., 520/364-4481, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) serves Mexican-American food. Grand Cafe (nearby at 1119 G Ave., 520/364-2344, Mon.-Sat. for lunch and dinner) has great Mexican-American food. Lai-Lai Restaurant (1341 F Ave., 520/364-8898, daily for lunch and dinner) offers a variety of Chinese cuisines. Wal-Mart, along with many shops and fast-food restaurants, is near the border on 5th St. just west from Pan American Drive. Food City (1300 San Antonio Dr.) is east of downtown.
Information and Services
Staff at the Douglas Visitor Center (345 16th St. and Pan American Ave., Douglas, AZ 85607, 520/417/7344, visitdouglas.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat.) provide maps, brochures, and advice on both Arizona and Mexican travel.
The Douglas Ranger Station (1192 W. Saddleview Rd., Douglas, AZ 85607, 520/364-3468, www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado, 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) provides Coronado National Forest information on camping, hiking, and the back roads in the Chiricahua and Dragoon Mountains. It's off US 191 northwest of Douglas.
The public library (560 E. 10th St. at F Ave., 520/364-3851) is open daily in a 1917 Beaux Arts-style former post office.
Southeast Arizona Medical Center (520/364-7931) is four miles west of town on AZ 80, then north at the sign.
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On to the Chiricahua Mountains