Looking for a sunny escape? Tucson’s got you covered.
PUT WINTER'S SNOW TIRES, ice bombs and salt shortages in your rearview mirror as you bomb around sunny and culturally charged Tucson, Arizona (with its more than hospitable daily temps of 20-ish degrees).
PLAY Acclimate to your living-desert surroundings with a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Spread over 97 acres, this multifaceted attraction encompasses a botanical garden, aquarium, zoo and art gallery—with 85 percent of what you’ll experience happening outdoors (sunscreen and big oppy hat would not go amiss).
A must-see for avid shutterbugs is the Center for Creative Photography, which boasts one of North America’s largest collections of ne art photography. You’ll nd works by greats like Ansel Adams, John Gutmann and Edward-Weston, to name a very few. Any “old building” enthusiasts in your group? Put Mission San Xavier del Bac on the itinerary. This working church and national historic landmark dates construction back to 1783 and is one of the nest (and most photoworthy) examples of Mexican Baroque architecture in the U.S.
On the second Saturday of each month, be sure to make a beeline for downtown Tucson. In addition to an eclectic mix of free live music, the nd Saturdays festival offers food trucks, street performers and family-friendly fun for the kid cowpokes.
EAT Indulge your morning food fantasies at Points Market and Restaurant. Fan favourites are breakfast toast—two overmedium eggs on top of a hearty slice of heritage Red Fife grain bread with creamy pesto chèvre and house Chianti jelly— and gargantuan homemade pancakes.
Lunchtime calls for a trip aboard Gray Line’s Best of the Barrio tour. Expect four taste-bud-tantalizing hours getting to know the region’s best Mexican food through family-owned eateries and samples of Sonoran-inspired dishes—like to-die-for pastries at La Estrella Bakery.
Still hungry? Downtown Tucson’s best artisanal pizza is served up at Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink (the stylish historic space was previously a funeral home). Pie purists, prepare to swoon over the margherita pizza.
And what’s a desert stay without a cool scoop of handcrafted ice cream? Three hundred rotating avours await sweet tooths at the Hub Ice Cream Factory.
Find that quirky gift at Pop-Cycle, which is chockablock with treasures created from recycled, reclaimed and sustainable materials, or venture to Tucson’s warehouse shopping district, the Lost Barrio, to scope out galleries and boutiques specializing in handcrafted furniture, tribal art and more. Pick up a local jewellery creation from Shelago’s Artwerks USA— part of the Old Town Artisans collective, located on the heritage site of the El Presidio San Agustín del Tucson. Oils and Olives by Queen Creek Olive Mill (found in the La Encantada mall) is the place to purchase chef-worthy olive oil as the olives are grown, handpicked and pressed in Arizona.
Step back in time with a quick budgetfriendly sojourn at the hip-storical Hotel Congress, established 1919. Oozing with updated vintage charm, most of the cozy rooms are appointed with an antique iron bed and retro furnishings. O the beaten track and in the heart of the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the luxurious Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort is your splurge stay, o ering heart-stopping views from its ranch-chic accommodations. In the ’40s, this was the hot spot for illustrious silver-screen stars, such as Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. And architectural devotees will appreciate the Lodge on the Desert. Blending Old Pueblo and modern southwest charm, the 100-room boutique property o ers hacienda-style accommodations. Plus, couples will love the intimate pool area with a mood-setting replace.
Centre of It All The historic Hotel Congress is right on downtown Tucson’s bustling Congress Street (i.e., within arm’s reach of colourful restaurants, sidewalk cafés and vintage shops).
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