Travel

Vancouver Magazine - - News - BY Les­ley Mirza BY

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 offšers 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.

SHOP

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.

STAY

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.

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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).

Mis­sion San Xavier del Bac

Hub Ice Cream Fac­tory

Coy­otesCoy­otes areare oneone ofof 230230 na­tive­na­tive mam­mals­mam­mals atat thethe large­ly­largely out­doorout­door Ari­zona-Ari­zona­Sonora Sonora De­sertDesert Mu­seum.Mu­seum. Cen­ter for Cre­ative Pho­tog­ra­phy

Ha­cienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Re­sort

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