tucson guide


illustration by julia rothman

the d*s city guides are moving from one warm sunny city to another this week, focusing on tucson, arizona! i have never visited arizona, but after reading through interior designer julia date‘s guide i’m feeling the urge to head west and check out all of these great places to shop, listen to music, eat, and site see (sign me up for the tucson gem and mineral show and the boyce-thompson arboretum, please). thanks so much for julia for creating this guide for us today!

CLICK HERE for the full city guide after the jump!

Tucson Travel Guide

Tucson is a city that thrives on its tremendous natural beauty. It attracts vacationers and golfers  but is home to many artists, musicians and designers who are inspired by the unique spirit of the desert. Like many western cities, however, Tucson is spread out – to enjoy the experience to the fullest you need to rent a car. You may ride a bike almost anywhere in Tucson, there are well developed trails, bike lanes and clearly marked routes, however, the distances to many of the recommended sites is prohibitive to all but the most experienced riders.  Sign out a convertible and enjoy the sun!  Thanks to Crystal and Bonnie Flynt of Bon for their help as well as Sally Kane.

WHERE TO STAY– Tucson is full of charming bed and breakfast hotels including the Catalina Park Inn and  the Peppertrees in the University District. If you prefer hotels, the Hotel Congress is downtown and the Lodge on the Desert is newly remodeled and not far from downtown. If you feel like splurging there is the historic Hacienda del Sol, and Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, amongst others, outside of town. The resorts possess incredible views, world class restaurants and chic nightclubs but are definitely a drive from the downtown galleries, shops and restaurants. Check the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (MTCVB) for extensive hotel information.

DOWNTOWN

Tucsonans are very proud of our vibrant music scene. There are numerous nationally known bands who call our city home –  Calexico, Naim Amor, Golden Boots, Tom Walbank, Greyhound Soul to mention just a few. Many of them play frequently in local venues, so check out the Zocalo downtown magazine for more information on music and art happenings in our quickly growing downtown area. Second Saturday of every month offers live bands, street vendors, buskers and stores open late.

The Rialto Theatre 318 E. Congress St. 85701 (520) 740-1000. Originally built in 1920, the theater has hosted many well-known acts in its 90 year existence. It has been a music and dance theater, movie theater and, briefly, an antique store. Remodeled by a non-profit organization and opened in 2005 the theatre is now Tucson’s premier venue for live music.

Grill -100 East Congress, 85701. (520) 623-7621 Open 24 hours, burgers, tater tots, pasta, sandwiches. Full bar. Eclectic staff. The best (and only) place to go after hours in downtown Tucson. Crazy stuff goes on here after midnight, don’t miss it.

*Red Room at Grill- Live music and serious cocktails in a vinyl emporium-check the Grill link above for more information.

The Hotel Congress 311 East Congress St. 85701 (520) 622-8848 Built in 1919, the Hotel has anchored downtown Tucson through thick and thin: for many years it was the only thing downtown besides offices. The rooms are furnished with vintage items and most are nicely remodeled. The lobby bar is classic, painted in a style that echoes of the original design. Comfortable sofas and chairs, a full bar and a good view of who is entering the adjacent night club. With its own bar and stage, the Club Congress hosts a wide variety of indie bands and local acts on a smaller scale than the Rialto Theater across the street. The Tap Room maintains the  “best jukebox” in town and has been listed several times as one of the nation’s best bars. Fabulous Cowboy charcoal drawings by 30’s and 40’s regular Pete Martinez line the walls, with a shaded patio on the side.  The Cup Café provides breakfast, lunch and dinner selections including salads, sandwiches, entrees and fresh pastries. Innovative décor including a floor made of pennies and distinctively French looking wine bottle chandeliers. Indoor and outdoor seating. Check the website for more.

Maynards 400 N Toole Ave. 85701. Just a quick walk across the street from the Hotel Congress, this gourmet market and restaurant offers counter service during the day and full service in the dining room and bar at night. It all feels like you are in a classic railway car, with beautiful details. Appropriate because Maynard’s is located in the historic railway station that has recently been completely refurbished.

Tucson Museum of Art 140 N. Main Ave., 85701Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. Centered on a shaded courtyard with fountains, trees and public art, the TMA is comprised of several buildings. The main museum hosts larger shows and the gift shop while several old houses show smaller collections and the TMA art school. Currently showing Andy Warhol portfolio, check website for other offerings.

Fox Theater 17 West Congress, 85701 (520) 624-1525 A classic deco theater that opened in 1930, the Fox Tucson opened as a venue for vaudeville and has had many incarnations since then. Currently, it serves as a movie theater, music venue and private event location. A very dedicated group of people restored this place to its original grandeur several years ago-it is pretty special.

Caffé Milano 46 W. Congress St., 85701.(520)628-1601.  Authentic Italian food, espresso and conversation with owners Carlo and Laura Borella.  Open for lunch on weekdays and dinner on weekends. Probably the most popular lunch destination for those who work downtown.

MOCA 265 South Church Ave., 85701. Museum of Contemporary Art.  Exhibiting works of contemporary artists from across the globe, as well as artists from the local arts community. One of only 12 organizations chosen to participate in The Warhol Initiative, a program designed to augment an already promising arts institution. MOCA has recently moved to a new and permanent location.

Etherton Gallery 135 S, 6th Ave. 85701 (520) 624-7370 Etherton specializes in vintage and contemporary fine art photography and is one of Tucson most established galleries. Voted  Tucson’s “best Gallery” year after year they also feature painting, collage, mixed media and sculpture. Beautiful building, exquisite, museum quality pieces.

Originate— 526 N. 9th Avenue,85705  520-792-4207 Tucson’s original natural materials building resource. Recycled, earth-conscious building materials including flooring, tile, paint, plaster and wall covering. Salvaged architectural and decorative elements.

El Tiradito Shrine- 400 S. Main Ave., 85701. This small shrine is dedicated to star-crossed lovers and is a lovely spot to spend a few minutes, read the plaque and admire the multitude of wishes that have been placed there. Noted on the Tucson Historic Register

LOST BARRIO Located just east of Downtown Tucson, the Lost Barrio is a turn-of-the-century warehouse district that has become home to a number of Tucson favorites, both new and established. Park once and visit them all-here are a few design highlights.

Mast – 299 S. Park Avenue 85719 520-720-0299.  Walking into MAST is inspiring in itself. Soaring warehouse ceilings shed uncommonly beautiful light on an eclectic collection of beautifully presented furniture, housewares, lighting and gifts.   Jewelry by Tascha Sabatino and Sofie Albertson Gelb are featured along with porcelain pottery by Alison May and hand-sewn leather handbags by Mellow Dawn Lund. These four friends make the partnership that owns and operates Mast.  Gallery space in the store provides a venue for artists from Tucson, New York and elsewhere, loft workspace above the sales floor ensures an ever-changing selection of artistic wares in this enchanting cooperative. Mast shares a patio with:

Tooley’s Café 520-203-8970 where you may have huevos rancheros, turkey tacos and espresso with breakfast served all day long. Summer hours are shorter, so call ahead or check the website.

Colonial Frontiers, 244 S. Park Ave. 85719. 520-622- 7400  Another Tucson destination store that is frequented by designers and home builders from all over the West. Exotic vintage and antique furniture and accessories from India, Asia, South and Central America. Massive-scale armoires and sideboards abound alongside classic chairs, lamps and heavily carved benches. Outstanding architectural elements including columns, doors and balustrades.

Eastern Living- 242 S. Park Avenue 85705. (520) 299-3889 Carefully chosen Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian antique and vintage pieces. Owner Bianca Bao handpicks each item for her Tucson and Shanghai stores. Another favorite of local designers and architects, Eastern Living features furniture, sculpture, textiles, architectural pieces and custom design.

Eclectic Flea – 265 S. Park (520)-404- 4067.  Artsy used and vintage. By now you have probably become inspired by the Western style all around—Eclectic Flea will fuel your desire for vintage- Cowboy ceramics, oil paintings of western scenes, Mexican pottery from the ‘50s and ‘60s, iron furniture, dusty old cowboy boots  (“don’t clean ‘em,” the tag says) furniture and housewares. Hours vary but mostly they are there Thursday through Sunday from 11:30 to 3:30.

UNIVERSITY DISTRICT /4TH AVENUE

The University of Arizona is spread out in the center of Tucson, and boasts many buildings of great architectural interest. Old Main, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright , and the new Stevie Eller Dance Theater along with numerous other examples. Also on campus, The University of Arizona Museum of Art , The Arizona State Museum , The Arizona Historical Society, and The Center for Creative Photography the latter of which houses extensive Edward Weston and Ansel Adams collections. On the perimeter of the campus lie several neighborhoods that display a marvelous array of charming bungalows, craftsman homes from the ‘teens and twenties and many new projects by local architects.

Time Market and Deli 444 E. University Blvd. Tucson, 85705. West University Neighborhood (520-622-4010) If you want to pick up a great sandwich to take on a hike stop into Time Market in the morning. Delicious espresso, deli sandwiches made to order along with really good pizza, beer, wine and gourmet grocery items are available. Plenty of parking because the majority of the clientele is parking a bike, not a car. Busy, University atmosphere in one of the more pedestrian and historic neighborhoods of Tucson. Further west on University Boulevard you will cross 4th Avenue, a shopping district that serves not only the University neighborhoods but also downtown.

The B-line – 6121 N 4th Avenue 520-882-7575 Breakfast, Lunch and dinner are served at this funky modern restaurant.. Sit at the window bar and watch the locals and 4th avenue bar-hoppers go by while you enjoy tasty burritos, soups, salads and entrees.  Gourmet desserts and cage-free egg breakfasts are featured along with wine and beer. You’ll love the zip line that runs to the kitchen from the order desk- simple, thoughtful design.

Brooklyn Pizza—534- N. 4th Ave. (520) 622-6868. A pizza place that has recently gone solar. Check the website for current output in mh. . All this and great pizza, calzones and their own gelato.

Sky Bar 536 N 4th Ave. The owners of Brooklyn Pizza opened this bar as a complement to their pizza place next door. Drink specials, happy hour and piped in images of deep space from their in-house telescope. Huh? Actually, it’s great, and fun.

The Book Stop- 214 N. 4th Ave. (520) 326-6661. 41 years in Tucson buying and selling used books in a comfortable, organized store with knowledgeable, helpful staff. An extensive art, design and photography section that I can’t resist.

The Shanty—401 E. 9th Street, Tucson, 85705. 520-623-2664. A Tucson fixture for many years, it lacks the grimy, local character it once had. But it is still one of the best places in Tucson to sit outside at night in a vine covered patio with twinkling lights and trilling fountains while enjoying a beer from one of the most extensive beer lists in Arizona. The massive copper bar is still here along with pool tables and requisite pool hall paintings.

Tel-e-gram- 218 N 4th Avenue Tucson, 85705. 520-792-1133 Two former University of Arizona architecture students have opened this inviting store that highlights handmade housewares from Tucson artists and others. Knitted vessels, handmade journals and stationery, lighting from re-purposed items, hand wrought iron furniture, bags, clothing. Their studio lies at the back of the store, where they host knitting classes and other seminars that focus on functional art.

Preen—210 N 4th Avenue, Tucson, 85705. (520)-628-2991 Although mostly a vintage clothing store, Preen also offers a variety of home items that blend seamlessly with the clothes. Alterations and custom clothing available, artwork on the walls is for sale. Owners Emilie Marchand and Erin Bradley have their sewing machine set up in the store, very inspiring space for the designer in all of us.

Sabine’s Café Passe – 415 N 4th Ave. 85705 624 4411 Counter service in a comfortable indoor-outdoor space.  It possesses the uncanny Tucson charm: a tiny kitchen putting out great food, organic fair-trade coffee and pouring on the handmade, homemade appeal. A wide variety of scones, eggs, smoothies, sandwiches and salads all beautifully presented. Ever-changing art on the walls, in the adjoining dining room free Wi-fi available.  Tagged on to the dining area: two lovely gift shops with local art: Bohemia and  The Wooden Tooth .

PLUSH- 340 E. 6th Street (at the corner of 4th Ave.) 85705 (520) 798-1298 Tucson’s destination for cocktails and live music. 5-7 nights a week local and national touring bands perform in a comfortable cocktail lounge atmosphere. Check website for current features.

The Epic Café- 745 N 4th Ave., 85705 .A favorite coffee house for downtown and University professionals, writers, artists and musicians. Coffee drinks, salads, sandwiches, some vegan entrees.

If you head west on 6th Street from 4th Avenue, you will find several galleries housed near each other at the corner of 6th Street and 6th Avenue:

Davis Dominguez Gallery- 154 E. 6th Street (520)-629-9759 Long-established gallery, with works from locally and nationally recognized artists. Spectacular work in a sophisticated setting, with outstanding service.

Conrad Wilde Gallery— 439 N. 6th Avenue, 85705 622-8997. Miles Conrad and Ryan Wilde have brought a decidedly urban influence to Tucson. A gallery that focuses on local and national artists with an emphasis on abstraction and the use of unusual materials. The gallery hosts an annual encaustic show.

Platform Gallery- 439 N. 6th Ave. 85705. (520) 882-3886 Focusing on local work, Platform Gallery always has a wide variety of young, interesting artists who practice in a variety of media. Great for starting and established  collectors.

WESTSIDE

One of Tucson’s most stunning drives starts at Speedway Boulevard and the I-10 Freeway and heads west directly on Speedway through the middle of the Tucson Mountains. Gates Pass, as this winding, precipitous route is called, will thrill even the most storied traveler. There are numerous “pull outs” for taking pictures, hiking and picknicking, so plan to pick up a lunch. Take a right at the T onto Kinney Road and you are on your way to the:

Arizona- Sonora Desert Museum- 2021 N Kinney Rd. 85743 (520)883-2702) Internationally recognized, this is a zoo combined with a botanical garden, geological garden and gallery. Long trails lined with natural desert vegetation and specimen plants take you on a trip through the Sonoran Desert. Climb through a cave display, watch raptors in free flight and marvel at the vast array of succulents and cacti in pots. A great attraction is the enclosed hummingbird house where the colorful little creatures zip right past your head. Two restaurants and an extensive gift shop. Go early and pack sunscreen and water!

Signal Hill I am so deeply inspired by the desert, it is important, always, for me to remember who was here first. Instead of returning back through Gates Pass, make a left when you leave the Desert Museum and head out Kinney Road until you hit Sandario Road. Make a right and follow Sandario to Golden Gate Road and make another right. This dirt road leads through a few miles of beautiful desert with jackrabbits and birds everywhere. You’ll see the sign for Signal Hill on the left. Continue to the picnic area where stone picnic enclosures were built by the CCC in the 30’s. A short, easy  (.3 mile) hike up the hill and you will find an incredible view of the west side beyond Tucson and a collection of petroglyphs left by the Hohokam people 2000 years ago.

Tucson Mineral and Gem World – 2801 S. Kinney Rd. 85735 (520) 880-0682. If you are a rockhound, this is a destination you won’t want to miss. Fossils, gemstones, artifacts, crystals, antique beads, silver jewelry. Barrels and stacks of fossils outside, this place is straight out of the old West, not fancy or trendy, it has looked the same since it opened 40 years ago. Fascinating.

CENTRAL

Ghini’s French Caffé 1803 E. Prince Road, 85716 Another example of that southwestern phenomenon: a great restaurant housed next to a supermarket in a strip mall.  Ghini’s offers a delicious selection of breakfast, lunch and dinner entrees with a decidedly French influence. Right next door is their family bakery, La Baguette –the scene of many a pastry “incident” in our family.

Raging Sage 2458 N Campbell Avenue, , 85719 Excellent coffee and tea, fine pastries and cozy bustling interior. Outdoors there is a large shaded seating area. A favorite of local professionals, artists and thinkers.

Sarnoff Art 2504 North Campbell Ave. (520) 795-1229 Just in case the desert outdoors inspires the artist in you, two doors down from Raging Sage is an exceptionally good, fully-stocked art supply store that is locally owned and operated.

The Arizona Inn 2200E. Elm Street, Tucson AZ 85719 (520) 325-1541.  Many of us could not dream of affording a room at this historic luxury hotel, but you can still take a long peek at the stunning grounds, classic architecture and take- your-breath-away interior of the library. High tea is served to all registered guests by waiters in starched black and white uniforms but everyone is welcome to sit and enjoy the Audubon Bar and porch for a classic martini. Also note the exquisite tile patterns, Mexican folk art and murals in the pool area. 1930’s Arizona at its best.

Morningstar Traders 2010 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson, AZ 85716. (520)881-2112 The best  and oldest collection of authentic Spanish Colonial furniture for sale in the state. Vintage, antique and contemporary Native American and Mexican silver and turquoise jewelry, baskets, textiles, rugs, fetishes, kachinas and masks. This beautiful store is the place to go for a special memento from your trip to the Southwest. 

The Shelter- 4155 E. Grant Road, 85712. Swanky cocktail lounge that looks a lot like a hatbox from the outside.  Inside is wall-to-wall sixties’ memorabilia, colorful and tacky 70”s lights and the best collection of JFK memorabilia I’ve seen. Locals, students, professionals, hipsters, they are all here, sitting at the bar. Billiard room, great music, vinyl booths and more.

The Kingfisher 2564 E. Grant Road, 85716. (520) 323-7739 A long-standing Tucson tradition. Dinner in the cool, dark vinyl booths of the bar is sublime. Great service, extensive wine list. Live music on weekends.

Tucson Botanical Gardens 2150 N Alvernon Way Tucson, AZ 85712 (520) 326-9686

An Oasis in the middle of Tucson, the Tucson Botanical Gardens will give you an overview of the unique and interesting plants that grow all over the area. A Barrio garden, a taste and touch garden, an herb and vegetable garden along with a Native American garden are all featured. Seasonally, there is a butterfly exhibit in the main greenhouse. With lots of shaded paths and fountains, a children’s garden and plenty of drinking fountains, small ones love to run all over the grounds.

Tom’s Antiques and Used Furniture 5454 E. Pima Street, Tucson, AZ 85712 (520)795-5210 A perennial favorite of dealers and designers from all over the west, Toms is a Tucson fixture. I love wandering around the miles of cluttered paths of furniture several times to be sure I see it all.  Good Mid-century pieces show up all the time, along with Asian antiques, upholstery and other classics.

Copper Country Antiques and Collectibles.5055 E. Speedway Blvd. 85712 (520) 326-0167 This former supermarket houses booths maintained by 200 independent vendors all under one roof. Modern, country, shabby chic, Asian, California pottery, mid-western pottery,jewelry and furniture, its all here. Voted best of Tucson several times—Copper Country is a full morning excursion at least.

Feast – 4122 E Speedway Blvd. 85712 (520) 326-9363  At the heart of Midtown Tucson is a favorite casual restaurant that features an excellent wine list and community dining tables. Chef Doug changes the menu monthly, so hit the website to see what are the latest features. They always have an exotic grilled cheese sandwich (this month, Halloumi) Take-out from the Feast counter  is especially good . Look for their new location a few blocks east after October 1st.

Zia Records –3370 E. Speedway, 85716. (520) 327-3340. Buy, sell used and new vinyl, cds and tapes.

The Dish Bistro/ Rumrunner 3131 E. First Street 85716. (520) 326-1714. With just 10 tables, the Dish provides a quiet, intimate atmosphere and excellent food. Choose your wine from the adjacent Rumrunner wine and gourmet shop and have it served at your table. Check the website for details on this Tucson institution of excellent wine, food and gourmet goodies.

The Loft Cinema 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. 85716 (520)322-5638 Tucson’s non-profit community –based theater. Film Festivals, special features, indie and foreign films. Pizza, beer and wine available with a shaded seating area available for outdoor dining. Check website for current showtimes and features.

Rincon Market 2513 E. 6th Street, 85716. (520) 327-6653 Since 1926 this market, deli and restaurant has served the Sam Hughes neighborhood and others. Espresso, daily hot lunch and dinner specials, deli counter and bakery, salad bar to eat in or take out.  Quaint neighborhood meeting place.

BROADWAY VILLAGE

The suburban shopping center done with style, elegance and grace. Broadway Village was designed in the 30’s to provide services to the “suburban” communities built one mile from downtown Tucson. Josiah Joesler used classic Mexican style in the conception of the architecture. Originally a market, drugstore, restaurant and hair salon, Broadway Village is now home to several stores.

Bon 3022 East Broadway Blvd. 85716 Bonnie and Crystal Flynt have assembled a collection of exquisite home and garden accessories, artwork, clothing, books and gifts chosen with the utmost care. Patch NYC is here along with John Derian, Matteo bedding and one of a kind antiques. Bon has a sister store noted in the NORTH portion of this guide.

Zocalo 3016 East Broadway Boulevard, 85716 (520)320-1236

Authentic Mexican folk art, furniture and accessories at its very best. Five thousand plus square feet crammed to the roof with pieces designed with and purchased directly from the artisans in Central Mexico.  Mirrors, ceramics of all kinds, tile murals, jewelry, textiles, rugs, metalwork, chandeliers, sconces and paintings. A large selection of Day of the Dead sculpture along with outdoor art and cantera saints. Like stepping into a store in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, there is nothing like Zocalo anywhere else in the Southwest.

Picante 2932 E. Broadway Blvd.,AZ 85716 (520)-320-5699
A store that focuses on small items and clothing from Mexico and Central America.  Mexican oilcloth fabric by the yard as well as accessories already made of it.  Hand-wrought jewelry from Oaxaca , textiles from Guatemala and Chiapas. Cards, books and home accessories, clothing and gifts.

NORTH/NORTHWEST SIDE

Bach’s Cactus Nursery 8602 N. Thornydale Road , Tucson  AZ 85742. M-S 8-5.. Internationally known, Bach’s consists of 24 greenhouses of cacti and succulents located on the outskirts of Tucson. You are permitted to wander through propagating greenhouses, exotic private collections and both retail and wholesale inventories. A desert plant lover’s museum of wonder– and they will pack your purchases in a box that is tailored to fit “under the seat in front of you”– great for travelers.

Tohono Chul Park -.7366 N. Paseo del Norte, 85704 (520)742-6455 A desert botanical garden, art gallery and restaurant built on the grounds of an old Tucson home complete with a classic interior courtyard and fountain. Shaded, winding paths within the gardens and a great gift/ plant shop  featuring local artists and desert-specific merchandise.

Linda Vista Trail – One of the greatest advantages of living in Tucson is that you may leave your house or office and be on a hiking trail in less than 15 minutes no matter where you live or work. The Linda Vista trail gives you a 55 minute (lots of uphill) or 75 minute option (the exterior loop on the posted map) of moderate hiking and close up views of some of the desert’s most spectacular attractions. Old growth saguaros, sheer rock faces, birds and magnificent vistas. If you go in March, April or early May you are likely to be shoulder-deep in desert wildflowers. Take plenty of water and be on the trail very early if you attempt to hike in the summer months.

De Grazia Gallery in the Sun- 6300 N Swan , 85718, 520-299-9191. You know you’ve seen them, sad-eyed children in traditional Mexican hats—this is the most commercial work of Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia. Not everyone loves it, but the “Mission” he created in the ‘50’s at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains as his home, studio and chapel is not to be missed. Pebble stone and colored concrete floors, adobe walls in brilliant colors and within the collection of 15,000 pieces, something for everyone.

St Philips in the Foothills Episcopal Church .Located at the corner of Campbell Avenue and River Road, this church is an architectural landmark. Designed in 1932 by famed local architect Josiah Joesler St. Philips has the thick adobe walls, interior courtyards surrounded by arches and classical columns that have come to exemplify old southwestern architecture. Mexican pewter chandeliers, elaborate tile patterns and ironwork enclose a fine collection of Spanish Colonial art worth seeing.

Bon 4419 N. Campbell Avenue, 85718. (520) 615-7690. One of two sister stores owned by Bonnie and Crystal Flynt. A magical collection of clothing, gifts, garden items and housewares beautifully displayed with love and creativity. Patch NYC, Matteo Bedding and artwork by local artists and jewelers is offered.  Also located in an historic mud adobe house, Bon is a Tucson treasure.

Obsidian Gallery 4320 N Campbell Avenue, Tucson 85718 A collection of fine art and crafts from Tucson and elsewhere. Enamel vessels and jewelry by Sarah Perkins, encaustic by Judith Hoyt,  photography and paintings.

St. Philips Farmer’s Market . 4320 N. Campbell. On Sunday mornings, a shopping center parking lot that turns into a mecca of organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats and cheeses from local vendors and growers. Probably one of the more popular Tucson Farmer’s markets.

NORTH/ NORTHEAST SIDE

Lew Sorenson Flea Market 11100 East Tanque Verde Road, Tucson, 85749 First Sunday of every month, 9AM-3PM If you are fortunate to be in Tucson on the first Sunday of any month, spend a morning in at the Lew Sorenson Community Center Flea Market.. It is most active from September through May; summer months tend to have fewer vendors due to the heat. A former school, this flea market is an indoor-outdoor event with mulitiple vendors and ample parking. Vintage Mexican and Native American silver, ranch furniture, Native American Blankets, pottery, tools, books, and artwork. Coffee, pastries available on-site.

Tanque Verde Greenhouse 10810 East Tanque Verde Road , 85749 520- 749-4414 Six greenhouses filled with hundreds of  varieties of cacti and succulents at irresistible prices. Southwestern pottery, boxed cacti and succulents.

Citron Paint-7041 E. Tanque Verde Tucson, 85715. (520) 299-1442 That paint color you have in your head and just can’t find it at the conventional paint stores?….it’s here, at Citron. Beautiful, clear, full spectrum colors with delicious names. Sample pots to go, design services as well.

Sabino Canyon – Coronado National Park/ Sabino Canyon. On Sabino Canyon Road, north of Sunrise. Everyone’s favorite place to take visitors, Sabino Canyon offers miles of trails within a spectacular canyon complete with a rushing stream running through it. A tram service will take you up the canyon road if you wish, but most people walk or run the 4 mile trek. The views are so incredible, you almost forget your aching calves. Running or walking shoes a must.

MEXICAN FOOD, you ask? Tucson has, arguably, the best Mexican food in the country. From the oldest restaurant in Tucson, to the southside taco stand there is a wide variety available. Most don’t have websites, so call if you need more info. Sometimes there isn’t a phone, sometimes there isn’t anyone who speaks English, sometimes you just need to go check it out. I am sure readers will want to add their own additions– These are just a few:

Café  Poca Cosa 110 E. Pennington Street, 85701 (520) 622-6400. Downtown. One of Tucson’s most recognized restaurants. Chef Suzana Davila’s distinctive food is unique, elegant and fresh.  The décor is modern and colorful, the artwork on the walls is regional and impressive.  Be sure to make reservations in advance.

Little Poca Cosa Downtown, Stone at Alameda street. Suzana Davila’s sisters provide the theater at this excellent breakfast and lunch circus. Lots of locals, no phone, loud music, bright colors, cash only.

EL Guero Canelo 2480 N Oracle  Rd. Tucson, 85705 (520) 882-8977. Westside Mexican Hot-Dogs, Sonoran style, are their claim to fame but they also have tacos, burritos, caramellos and Mexican pancakes. A favorite hangout of plenty of Tucsonans, the original restaurant is on the south side of the city. (2 locations)

El Charro 311 N Court Ave. 85701 (520) 622-1922. History is the thing here. El Charro is the oldest restaurant in Tucson. Located downtown in an historic field stone house, it has a charming patio, bar and main dining rooms. A large menu featuring famous enchiladas. Several locations around town offer different fare under the same name. Check the website for other locations and features.

Mi Nidito 1814 S. 4th Ave. 85713. 622-5081 Southside Rated the best in Tucson time and time again. Everything tastes fresh and homemade.

Taqueria Pico de Gallo  2613 S. 6th Ave. 85713. (520)85713.Southside.The freshest, most delicious tacos with homemade tortillas. Tall fresh fruit cups with coconut, pineapple and mango, served with chili powder. Right next door, Mexican ice cream. This place is the bomb.

Taqueria Val de Yaqui- 921 W. Congress 85745 (520) 623-3020 Westside.Outstanding tacos!

Las Cazuelitas- 234 E. 22nd St. 85713 (520) 792-0405 Southside

Good, classic sit-down Mexican Restaurant, live music, beer and wine. 3 locations.

Mariscos Chihuahua 3 locations in Tucson, this one is on the map.1009 N Grande (520) 623-3563 Great seafood, most people don’t realize that Tucson is only 4 hours from the beaches of Mexico, so it is fresh, and really tasty.

DAY TRIPS- You have shopped, hiked and eaten, now it is time to get in the car and experience a few sights within an hour or two that will add to your most memorable trip to the desert. Be sure to check operating hours at all State and National Parks if you are traveling in the summer.

San Xavier del Bac 1950 W. San Xavier Road, 85746.(520) 294-2624  Recently restored, the Mission of San Xavier del Bac has been called the most important mission in North America and is a must-see for anyone interested in art, design, history or architecture. Just a 15 minutes south of Tucson, The White Dove of the Desert (as it is called) can be seen from the I-19 freeway.

Bisbee - This mining town dates to the 1880’s and is full of Victorian houses perched on cliffsides with steep stairs leading to them..  Café Roka – is a favorite dinner spot, as well as Chocolate, and a host of other cafes, coffee shops and galleries. You could spend the entire day shopping in a myriad of vintage and antique stores for pottery, books, boots, Native American and Mexican jewelry, local and vintage artwork and western clothing. The Shady Dell is in here, a widely admired hotel comprised of vintage travel trailers as guest rooms. Several bed and breakfasts, including one in the old schoolhouse, are available as well as The Copper Queen, a classic Arizona hotel.  About 90 miles from Tucson, it is a beautiful drive and well worth the trip.

Kartchner Caverns State Park (520) 586-2283 The story surrounding this place is as good as the caverns. Two University of Arizona professors found this cave and kept it secret for almost 15 years until they were sure it would be responsibly preserved. With rooms the size of football fields and spectacular views on each of the three tours, no one will be disappointed. The most encouraging thing is that every precaution has been taken to ensure the longevity of this most delicate environment. Make reservations well in advance by visiting the Arizona State Parks website.

Tumacacori Mission (520) 398-2341 Located South of Tucson off of the I-19 Freeway, these soulful ruins are a favorite of many Tucsonans. The Tumacacori Mission is a National Park and open to the public. The other two missions, Los Santos Angeles de Guevavi and San Cayetano de Calabazas must be seen on a guided ranger tour in the winter months. Check the website for more directions and information.

Boyce-Thompson Arboretum (520) 689-2811. Yet another botanical garden that creates a green oasis in the desert. It is a bit of a drive, but the scenery is spectacular on the way. Be sure to follow the trail that winds throughout the park to see towering rock formations, an herb garden, an Australian garden and nursery shop. Bring a lunch or head through the mountain tunnel to Superior, Arizona just a few miles away.

Pima Air and Space Museum-6000 E. Valencia Rd. (520) 574-0462  Over 300 significant aircraft, from vintage to the latest in technology. The largest privately funded air museum in the U. S.  Many fashion photoshoots have taken place here. Check website for current exhibitions.

SEASONAL STUFF

The Tucson Gem and Mineral Show Every year, in late January the whole city turns itself over to dealers from all over the world. Fossils, minerals, gems, jewelry, artifacts, rugs, art, findings and a whole lot of beads. Two weeks of shopping. Many of the events are open to wholesalers only, while a select few require extensive accreditation. There are also quite a few locations where retail shoppers are more than welcome. Check the MTCVB website for more information. Make reservations for accommodations well in advance.

All Souls Procession The first Sunday in November, every year. A chance for everyone and anyone to celebrate the life of someone who has passed on. Innovative, artistic and just plain creepy costumes show up on 4th Avenue and process through downtown. Drumming, puppets, characters on stilts, jugglers, decorated bikes, families with strollers, it’s all here. This event was started by a local artist and the spirit has continued since 1990.

Crissy Perham

I read you EVERYDAY! So excited to click on this AM and see MY TOWN! Yeah! If you want a visit, please let me help you. I went to college here and will consider Tucson (the Old Pueblo) my hometown forever. I would love to share Tucson with you. Thanks for covering our slice of paradise.

Kristina

nice to see some positive things in Arizona for once. And love the illustration.

oneida

i’m in agreement with crissy – thanks for highlighting my town! tucson is such an eclectic, random, fun place that not many people know about. as for bisbee – there is a cute cafe called cafe cornucopia that you must visit! as for tucson, you really hit the great spots. feast is one of my favorites even though i’ve only been there once. and cafe poca cosa (reg or little) is a MUST. best place to go hands down.

Sarah

I think Bisbee is one of my favorite places on earth. I stayed at the Shady Dell last summer and I really want to go back. (Except I live a few thousand miles away from there.)

Soleil

Although Tucson is a wonderful city, it is still in Arizona–a state full of hate. It is time to boycott a state that is racially profiling its citizens, banning ethinic studies, as well as teachers who have a heavy accent. Stylistas, we too, have a strong voice–with our wallets!! Take a stand.

JL

We should have a D*S Tucson meetup! My jaw dropped when I saw this… never though I’d see a Tucson city guide here.

grace

soleil

i couldn’t disagree more and am so disappointed to hear a comment like that.

while i personally disagree with the hateful legislation happening in that state, i think it’s equally unfair to boycott a state, city, and area full of wonderful shops, restaurants, and cultural institutions that have nothing to do with the unfortunate political issues going on right now.

if you want to take a stand you need to hit politicians where it hurts- at the voting booth. don’t support them, write letters demanding change, and if you really want to stick it to them, look into the groups that fund individual politicians supporting hateful legislation and boycott those. but to boycott all shops and restaurants and an entire city? i find that as close-minded as the political issue about which you (and i) are upset.

grace

Wrenja

I just moved home to Seattle from Tucson. No, not because of recent legislation, just because it’s… not Seattle. And a horrifying roomate.

But despite my trials and tribulations in that state, it is very unique, very funky and for the most part, very friendly. It is also one of the most liberal areas in the state, so despite all of the media hooplah, you will find like minded people there. Especially on Fouth Ave, which I was very fortunate to live three blocks from.

Time market can be pretty expensive, but the pizza is superb. And definitely don’t miss the desserts at B-Line! Epic is another good eats spot. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Popcycle, which is a shop that deals in home crafted items utilizing recycled materials. It’s a darling store, and a place I miss.

I’m so glad you mentioned the Tohono Chul gardens, that place is GORGEOUS, and the cafe is SUPERB. I shit you not when I say their enchiladas are bar none, in a city where enchiladas are rampantly amazing. Another place, altho midly touristy and kind of cheese was the Colossal Caverns. I had a lot of fun going out there, and they have a lot of different types of tours for varying degrees of spelunkers.

In terms of food, I’m somewhat upset that the Tucson Tamale Company was not mentioned, as they are *fantastic* and totally affordable you’ll find them heading east down Broadway. Finally, in terms of cheap fast food, I will swear forever by Nico’s. Their burritos are amazing , their super nachos are amazing, their EVERYTHING is amazing.

Erica Schwartz

unfortunately, boycotting arizona means punishing the victims as well as the criminals. I go to Tucson at least once a year. It’s a wonderful place. Can’t wait to go back so I can go to all the places I haven’t visited yet.

AWR

Soleil,
For someone who speaks against profiling, you might want to take another look at your post. You are essentially grouping an entire state by only part of it’s population’s beliefs. Although I’m not from Arizona, I am from the South and I know just how terrible it is when people make assumptions based on what they hear from others. Just like the South, Arizona is filled with intelligent people and beautiful places. Maybe we could all focus more on the positive and less on judging others. As Ghandi said, be the change you wish to see in the world.

Lily

What a wonderful compilation of the best things Tucson has to offer!! I’m from L.A. and live there now, but lived in Tucson for 4 years. It is such a wonderful little city. Definitely worth a visit or two! Thanks for the article!

Naomi

This was a FABULOUS post!! You did a great job of including all of my favorite places in Tucson too. Many people don’t realize what a col, funky town Tucson is, full of vintage stores and good restaurants with a fabulous southwestern vibe. There are also so many outdoor activities, with 360 days of sunshine, how could there not be! I won’t honor any discussions about boycotting, that’s really idiotic.

grace

hi guys

just a quick note- i’m not going to publish comments here (or on any post) that are seeking to push a political agenda one way or another.

i know this state has some seriously controversial political issues going on, but this is a city guide to celebrate the shops, sites, and hotspots around town- not a forum to promote one party over the other or attack others for feeling one way or the other on the issues.

grace

tks

Tucson, and the rest of Arizona for that matter, is beautiful, diverse, and rich in history and culture. I hope that people stop harming the small businesses and the working class by enacting any sort of boycott. A group of politicians made a law, don’t punish the residents who love this state and all the wonderful things it offers.

liz

Thank you very much for including us (tel•e•gram) and our neighbors on 4th avenue in your guide. I check your blog daily and was so so elated to see this article!

Eryn

Thanks for this feature! I was born and raised in Tucson (still live there), and I am beyond impressed with the list you’ve compiled! I especially love the illustration at top- amazing!

Tina in Tucson

Thank you for finally choosing to profile Tucson in your City Guides.
The guide covered a lot and believe it or not … what was left out would take several more articles! We take pride in being the oldest continuesly inhabitated (sp) area in the United States!

There’s also an openness here regarding points of view, much like a family… we might disagree but will still be accepted without bias even if our views differ. Hopefully others can learn this same level of acceptance of differing views and hopefully research to get the full story instead of just a small portion that’s been carried by the media.

Kelly

Yay! Tucson! I have been here for about 4 years (Phoenix native, UA grad) and am leaving tomorrow for NY! Bittersweet you did a write up on this right before I leave!
It’s definitely a place I’d like to come back and live in later on in my life.

alexandra keller

don’t forget Pop Cycle, a shop on 4th Ave that carried all recycled wares, many from local artists; and the 4th Ave street fair that happens twice a year.
and thanks for featuring my current home town and defending our shops and restaurants. oh, yeah! Tavolino – the best Italian, and Harvest, they source a lot of food locally.

Kristin

Now I’m homesick for Tucson!! I only lived there for 3 years during grad school at UA, but it was the *best* 3 years. Great town and great people. Also, my husband and I were married in Douglas (just down the highway from Bisbee) at the 1920’s Gadsden Hotel… on the marble stairs in front of the spectacular, original Tiffany stained glass desert scene mural. I may never get to move back because of work, but my heart belongs to Southern Arizona.

Atomic Tucson

super sweet design, Julia Rothman. and nice guide Julia Date- I’m so glad you are local and representing/presenting Tucson here.

Rosa

Hi Grace et al,
I love this website and turn to it often. And I actually think it is great to have a discussion about design and the law here – and the ways that politics, art, design, commerce and civil rights all intersect. I’m sure most of the posters here – and many living within Tuscon and AZ – are appalled at the recent anti-immigrant law. I respectfully disagree with you, however, that the only effective or appropriate way to respond is by voting the politicians out. These ideas rise up and are supported or defeated by communities and those communities are made up not only of voters and non-voting undocumented workers, but stores, restaurants, artists, newspapers all of whom help to shape the idea and the picture – the design if you will – of what is an acceptable way to treat another human being: the law merely codifies it. So I actually think that we shouldn’t treat the Tuscon guide as something separate and apart from the political life of that city and state,
even if we want to debate about the best way to convey our own objections to the current law.

KJ

The vegan brownies at Epic are Amazing! Also, a trip to Mt Lemmon should not be missed, spectacular views!

Crystal

Thank you for including in your guides one for Tucson!… and also for including us- bon- and so many of our favorite places. We love your site and find lots of inspiration here. I wanted to mention also that we are lucky to have a strong and energetic Historic Preservation Foundation that since 2008 has been putting great energy towards preserving and restoring many buildings, signs and landmarks that make Tucson unique. It is so great that we now have a group bringing fresh ideas and life to our city by caring for the great monuments of our past.

rz

Grace,

Thank you so much for putting this together! I feel so proud that we finally got some good publicity and especially for the the fine ladies of BON and MAST! I would love to know if we could find a way to get a print of Julia’s drawing. Any chance of that? Many, many thanks!

Kate

Soleil, your post makes me sad. Arizona is filled with many more wonderful things than controversial or negative things. You should not judge an entire city or state or population based on the actions of a few. Tucson is a beautiful place full of amazing little shops and boutiques, a vibrant art and music scene, lots of rich culture and history, amazing and unique places… I have enjoyed 15 years here and would hate to see the things that make Tucson so lovely suffer because of a bad political rap :(

Lea

Spot on! After recently moving to SF, this is making me homesick…

Also awesome:
Yoshimatsu! Quirky Japanese restaurant that’s easy on the wallet and high on the lost-in-translation charm. (Central, Campbell and Grant)

Bookman’s used books and electronics, tons of other random stuff, always an interesting find (esp. at Campbell and Grant)

Personal recommendations…
Raging Sage: SCONES!
B-Line: veggie quesadilla or sandwich
Plush: sexy blue Jesus (house drink)
Ghini’s: eggs provencal or prosciutto parmesan pasta
Grill: milkshake and fried ravioli

grace

rz

thanks- i was so happy to post a guide from these great tucson locals :)

julia isn’t offering prints yet, but i think if people started emailing her to request them it might be something she’d consider down the road ;)

g

grace

rosa

it would be nice if people could have a discussion about law and culture here, but frankly- people have never been able to do it without attacking. this comes up every now and then with city guides and i’m always appalled at the lack of maturity and respect people have for one another, so i don’t allow political debates here for this reason. d*s is a design site, and these guides are meant to celebrate the great design and culture in a town- not provide a place for political debate.

i agree that communities can make political change, but to pull shops and restaurants into that i fear would lead to people speculating about individual store owners’ political beliefs and that’s not the sort of discussion i want to take place here. i don’t want to provide a platform or forum for owners to possibly be boycotted or attacked for beliefs people think they may or may not have.

i wish things could be different, but this happens EVERY TIME politics come into things. people get nasty, immature, hateful and disrespectful*. i’ve seen it happen like clockwork every time a controversial location comes up over the past 6 years so i’ve decided it’s best to keep the discussion focused on the mission of the site: design.

*there are many comments already that i haven’t allowed through on this guide that were incredibly hateful and nasty- on either side of the spectrum.

if this was a news based site than i would understand allowing a heated debated about politics, but i’ve seen too many wonderful city guides and posts throughout the years at d*s ruined or tainted by angry commenters who cast a disappointing, negative light over someone’s hard work.

grace

Rachel

Thank you so much for this post! As a third generation Tucsonan (living in St. Louis now) I was thrilled to see my beloved home town highlighted in your city guide. It is so disappointing to know that so many are encouraging a boycott without ever having experienced all that Tucson has to offer. Thank you again!

julia d

I am glad to see everyone adding suggestions –especially Mt Lemmon and others. It was just getting too long and I decided to stick to the desert, for now. I think you’ll agree that this travel guide is just scratching the surface of all the great things to see and do in Tucson. Thanks to Grace for handling the posts with, well….grace.

Angela

Thanks for your wonderful blog post about Tucson, AZ! There are so many cool people and things to do here and it’s nice to have something positive said about it. It’s been hard for us with all this negative feedback coming our way. And your reply to Soleil was so RIGHT ON. I’ve been saying the same thing about how its just as close minded to boycott a whole state for something lawmakers do. People forget what it felt like to have the rest of the world despise the US when Bush was in office starting the war. Its a similar situation to Tucsonians now. Anyway, thanks for your support! Nothing beats Tucson in the winter! It’s pretty much the only place I want to be in the colder months, but I do live here all year.

marie

I got my undergrad in Tucson, and I think it is a beautiful city.
One of my favorite places to eat in Tucson is Beyond Bread: http://www.beyondbread.com/
They have amazing bread, sandwiches, and pastries!

Aimee

As a Tucson native, I can’t help but to add Rocco’s Little Chicago and Bangkok Cafe to restaurants to be visited! Rocco’s has amazing pizza and wings, and Bangkok Cafe offers delicious and authentic Thai food!

Antigone Books (and Bison Witches!!) are more fun places on 4th Ave.

wren

Miss TUCSON!

I’m sure a lot has changed since I moved away 8 years ago, but I know that you missed one charming piece of Tucson life that I haven’t been able to duplicate anywhere else: FRUIT ICE!

From the mainstreamed but quirky Sonoran Snowball Trailer to any of the numerous Mexican Fruit Ice stands (i.e. sixth and st. Mary’s) you’d be missing out on mounds of perfect fruit (Tamarindo to melon) drenched in their own sweet syrup poured over crushed ice. Nothing is better in the dry Tucson heat. And, I suspect that many of my favorite establishments are owned by Mexican immigrants . . . so what better way to show your support for Arizona and the bounty of riches brought by its diverse history and peoples than by conducting an anti-boycott and heading out to buy a fruit cone right now!

Jess

I had the opportunity to visit Tucson a couple of years ago & wish I had a chance to visit again to check out everything on this fantastic list! There is SO much to see and do.

I stayed at the Hotel Congress which was gorgeously decorated (porcelain bathrooms and vintage quilts on the iron bed, hello!) as was the Cup Cafe. The floor made out of pennies was amazing!

Just a note to anyone thinking about staying there, though, it can get kind of loud because of the location of the bar/stage. The night I stayed, a punk rock 80s cover band was playing. The sound traveled right up the pipes & into the room’s radiators. The free concert was great, I just wish it hadn’t been at 1 AM on a Monday. :-)

Shirley DeMarco

Great hints on Tucson. I love this city and am fortunate to visit 2-4 times a year. Tucson has SOUL!!!!! Wanted to point out RAZORZ EDGE , also on 4th Street…great little shop!!

Kelly in Tucson

What a surprise to find a guide to my adopted home town just days after discovering your guide to my actual home town (Detroit). I never in a million years thought I would see either, but I think Julia was spot on in her guide. All my favorites were mentioned (Rincon Market is tops!) and now I have a few new places to check out. Thanks!

jen

The food and culture in Tucson is amazing! I went to school here and it is a great place to live.

These are great recommendations – I love the Sonoran Desert museum and San Xavier del Bac. Hotel Congress is a must for breakfast, as is Ghinis (it doesn’t look like much, but the food is amazing).

The only thing I would add is the Blue Willow Cafe – go there for Sunday brunch :)

Chelsea

Thank you Grace for posting a city guide for Tucson! It is a wonderful place to live and visit. I hope that you get the chance to visit us here in the Old Pueblo!

pencils only

native seeds search on campbell ave. ::fairly traded baskets & hand carved utensils from the Tarahumara tribe, ornaments, lovely shell necklaces + wildflower seeds!

Shannon Riggs

Thanks so much for doing a feature on Tucson! As small business owners here, we are worried about how boycotts will effect our business, but we also understand that this is an effective way to enact change.
We love Tucson, and we would never leave. It’s cultural diversity makes it the unique place that inspires us every day to make and sell art.
There are so many great places to eat and shop around here that I don’t know where to begin! When all this blows over (and we are going to get this legislation over turned!) Tucson will still be here for everyone to enjoy!

Suki

I lived in Tucson for three years before moving up to Washington. I miss it!! Plans are to move back this summer.

So great to see such a spot-on guide for this city!

Crissy Perham

Thanks Grace, for reminding us why we are fans of your website and all the amazing things that make up Tucson.

Patti Hadad

This is truly a wonderful comprehensive guide! I love this blog and it makes me so very happy to see Tucson! It gets me excited to be living here! And excited about design again!

Thanks Julia!

Kelly M.

Don’t forget Eegee’s! A local chain of wonderful frozen fruit drinks. The little bits of lemon rind in the drink are pure heaven.

julia d

Thanks, Kelly, I just had a Pina Colada eegees today and thought, “dang, I should have included it.” So unique and so Tucson and so refreshing when it hits 100.

deanna

What a great guide! I’m sending it to my friend who just moved to Tucson from the Phoenix area.

Tucson, Phoenix, and all the small towns that make up this fabulous state are wonderful places with wonderful communities. If you come to Arizona, be sure to visit Prescott, Jerome, Flagstaff, and Williams (to name a few).

I’ve lived in Phoenix my entire life and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Arizona is more than a desert. There is a very diverse climate here too. Many don’t even realize we have TWO ski parks here.

The people and culture are fantastic with such a variety of music, art and independent small businesses.

I hope you ALL come for a visit.

deanna

OH! and just a little history note. The Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson is where the John Dillinger and his gang was captured!

jennifer g

How did I miss a guide to my hometown?! You all definitely included my favorites, and the comments filled in the tiny gaps. Yes, despite our liberal enclave here in Tucson, we were the last state, I believe, to ratify the Martin Luther King holiday, love concealed guns in public places, have some of the wackiest politicians ever. Still, it’s a culturally diverse, rich region. Great job, Julia, on the illustration!

keith talent

When in Tucson — if you like real green chili (OK, that may be more a New Mexico thing, but … ) — go out to Poco & Mom’s at 22nd and Wilmot. From a New Yorker who can’t find it here.

Barbara Peters

Grace + Julia,
The Tucson guide is beyond awesome. I recently moved here with my husband from Seattle and have spent the past 6 mos getting to know EVERY home-related store in Tucson, from flooring, to lighting, to art. And now harmed with your masterful guide, I will zestfully continue my exploration. Great tool for when friends visit,too. You ladies rock on all counts, design + political inclinations!

EBrown

Green chile: yummmm. Saving my taste buds for opera season in Santa Fe, but it’s good to know there are other places that feature it.

Joel Charles

Thank you for posting this delightful Tucson guide. My wife and I are Certified Tourism Ambassadors here, work in a tourist business, and love telling people about the area. We’ll be sure to mention, and if you don’t mind, re-post it to friends often. It’s simple and attractive. And, yes, you should keep your site apolitical. It’s a great one without poli-opinions!

natalya

I’ve lived in Tucson for the past 6 years, and am getting ready to re-locate…but this guide made me pause and realize that Tucson has very much become a home to me, and that I will miss it tremendously regardless of where I end up.

I just want to point out that the two best times to visit (in my opinion, anyway) is during monsoon season around late July/August because you get beautiful giant clouds over the Catalinas and cooler weather because of the rain…and in the spring, when everything is blooming, but the temperature stays in the 80’s.

Also, thank you so much for mentioning the All Souls Procession – its is an amazing event, and a completely unique Tucson tradition.

Stephanie

A lovely post, but as a Tucson native, I noticed a few of the links available in this guide are not correct! Just a heads up, I noticed by clicking a few that some don’t take you to the website they are intended to take you to, merely to a search page.

Keep up the good work. :)

Alexandra

I love that illustration! Julia Rothman makes me want to draw!

Liora

Thank you so much for making a Tucson List! I can’t wait to try out some of these places! I’m so sad that you missed us though – Bahti Indian Arts in St. Phillip’s Plaza is an amazing stop on your Tucson trip – just hop on over during your Sunday farmer’s market visit!

Anne

Tucson is a great city and this is a great guide. But you forgot to mention that Tucson is a mecca for thrift stores, particularly for undervalued mid century modern furniture. We have a lot of snowbirds that came out here in the 60’s and 70’s. Once they permanently “fly-the-coop” their amazing furniture, clothing and tchotchke’s usually end up in one of the many thrift stores around town. Some of these not-so-secret gold mines are the Golden Goose in Oracle, The St. Vincent’s downtown and the White Elephant in Green Valley. Also, the absolute best bar in Tucson, hands down, is Scott & Co. Ciaran Wiese is a genius. It’s better than Pegu Club in NY and a quarter of the price. On a side note I’m stunned that the Buffet didn’t make the Tucson city guide. It’s the oldest functioning bar in Tucson and the perfect place to go if you want a sit next to a hobo at 6 am and drink a Coors and eat a pickled egg for breakfast. Keep Tucson Sh#*ty!!!!!!

Anne

Also, just a correction. Old Main at the University of Arizona was built in 1887 and while it is a beautiful old building it was most definitely NOT built by Frank Lloyd Wright. I think the building you’re referring to is up in Phoenix on the ASU campus.

Charter Schools in Tucson

I moved from New York to Arizona a few years ago and even though I miss New York, i have to say Arizona is beautiful! I have yet to travel to Tucson, but I plan to at some point since my brother just moved there for a bit. This is a great post. Lots of good info for someone like me! Thanks for sharing.

Mexican Restaurants

You are right, there are some amazing Mexican Restaurants Tucson residents enjoy! I myself am a big fan of Latin American cuisine, so I never pass up a chance to eat at one of these great, authentic places. Thanks for your post!

George

The Pima air and space museum is best place to see significant aircrafts of latest technology.

Naomi Reed

Great write-up! I moved to Tucson seven years ago from NYC and I love calling this funky, hip little city my adopted home! It’s such a unqiue place and you sum it up well when you say it’s home to many artists, designers and musicians who are inspired by the unique spirit of the desert – there are many transplants that move here because of it’s unqiue, authentic, laid-back style and funky, artsy, desert vibe.

Tucson often gets clumped together with Phoenix and it couldn’t be more different. Tucson is culturally rich and diverse and is situated among four mountain ranges, making it visually stunning. Often described as a “blue dot in a sea of red,” it is an increadibly liberal city, much like Austin, TX.

There has been a lot of growth in the downtown area in the past three years since this post, so you have to come back to shop in many of the new local boutiques, dine in all the new cafes and restaurants, and hit the bar scene, which has exploded in the last few years! There are too many new places to list here but just pick up a Zocalo magazine, which covers everything happening downtown. Thanks for the post!

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