Home of the world’s first drive-thru McDonald’s restaurant, Sierra Vista, a vibrant southeast Arizona city, scores major foodie points, thanks to its colorful history.

Easy to spot, the Micky D’s on Fry Boulevard is home to the world’s first drive-thru McDonald’s restaurant. Although the original building was renovated into a modern store, the site is the one-and-only. Check out the original window at the Henry Hauser Museum, where the horizontal glass slider, sporting a dark tint to shield employees from the Arizona sun, is on permanent display. The window was installed in 1975 to serve soldiers from nearby Fort Huachuca, who were not permitted to get out of their cars off-post while wearing fatigues.

Photo courtesy of City of Sierra Vista

The Post, established in 1877, has long influenced Sierra Vista. Along with the cultural diversity it naturally brings (and plenty of international cuisine!), the Post is proud to have been home of the Buffalo Soldiers, distinguished for their exceptional fighting abilities and horsemanship. Today, Fort Huachuca’s B Troop cavalry stables carry the regiment’s moniker.

At chow time, fill your belly with a taste of Army history at The Brite Spot. Order the hefty Buffalo Solder, a hand-formed burger topped with creamy barbeque sauce and onion rings. Hoo-Ah! Smaller appetites can choose The Scout, a seasoned char-broiled burger, named for Native Americans who served as integral members of the Fort’s Signal Corps.

The Brite Spot isn’t the only restaurant recognizing local history.  Try the Ethel Berger Burger at the Landmark Café, named for Sierra Vista’s first female mayor. Topped with grilled peppers and onions and a slab of pepper jack cheese, the burger is a nod to Ethel’s Pennsylvania birthplace and her spicy-yet-lovable personality. 

The Landmark also serves the Nola Walker Club, a sandwich (and woman) of towering influence. Sierra Vista was named by Nola, who “lied through her teeth” (her words) about tallying votes to name the city when it officially incorporated in 1956. Short on time—and fancying “Sierra Vista”—she reported that “Sierra Vista” earned the majority vote. When the gig was up 50 years later, Nola was officially pardoned, claiming “I’m sure everyone would have chosen Sierra Vista anyway.”

Photo courtesy of City of Sierra Vista

Meaning “mountain view,” Sierra Vista is great name for an extraordinary city in a temperate corner of Arizona. All those fabulous flavors might make you wish for an outdoor adventure. Don’t shy away from the mountain hiking trails—there are gentle loops as well as steep muscle burners—and excellent views no matter which trail you take.  The trails also stand in as excellent mountain biking routes. 

Take in a river view at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. Known for myriad wildlife—from birds to mammals, insects to plants—the San Pedro River is more than a meandering stream. Nearby Parker Canyon Lake is an excellent destination for oar-powered boating (kayaks are available to rent) and the rippling waves just beg for anglers’ lines to drop in.

Discover more about Sierra Vista’s colorful history, mountain views, and savory flavors at VisitSierraVista.com.