Begin the day as many locals do, by witnessing the sun gloriously rise over the city from Tumamoc Hill
. Be forewarned: this is a pretty steep climb, but so worth it! After loading up on a hearty southwestern breakfast or lunch in town, go cave exploring at Colossal Cave
, 20 miles southeast of Tucson in Vail. This expansive cave system has been around since 900 A.D. It served as a shelter for Native Americans, and later as a hideout for train robbers. Today, it’s on the National Register for Historic Places. Take the 50-minute Classic Cave Tour, or for the more daring, the Ladder Tour or Wild Cave Tour takes you deeper into the cave. There are also many beautiful trails down there (it connects to the Arizona National Scenic Trail), so enjoy the day exploring here.
For breakfast or lunch either day, hide away at Nook
—literally in a small nook off of Congress, and serving southwestern spins on classics like the honey chipotle carnitas Benedict or a spicy barbecue “holla-peno burger.” For dinner, if you want to stay close to downtown, there are incredible options to please every palate: Dine al fresco on the gorgeous outdoor patio at Cafe a la C'Art for refined American entrees. You can also mix it up with some Asian food at Senae Thai Bistro
, or with craft beers, creative cocktails (add a shot of CBD oil to any), and inventive bar food (Calabrian Buffalo Cauliflower to start, perhaps with a dash of fermented hot sauce, anyone?) at Ermanos Bar
. And for a late-night snack, hit up Batch Café & Bar
for the one-two punch of whiskey and donuts—a combo that’s not to be missed.