A Perfect Day in Tucson, Arizona
Collected by Joseph Cyr , AFAR Local Expert
Tucson, Arizona may sometimes get overlooked as visitors fly into and out of Phoenix, but Arizona's second city is anything but second-rate. Savor a chile pepper–infused breakfast, then walk it off as you contemplate Tucson's archaeology, botany, and multicultural shopping. Catch a legendary sunset from Tucson's desert edges, then end the day with a farm-to-table dinner to get a real taste of this part of Arizona.
1060 S Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85710, USA
Breakfast at a mom-and-pop-restaurant. There's just no better way to get a local-flavor start-of-the-day when you're from out of town. In Tucson, you can't go wrong if you get a hearty plate at "Poco & Mom's." Yes, "New Mexico food" may not be...
2021 N Kinney Rd, Tucson, AZ 85743, USA
Mountain Lion. Cougar. Puma. Panther. Any way you call it, it's majestic but fear-inspiring... At the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, on the western edge of Tucson, you can get face-to-face with one of these massive felines; their well-designed...
110 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
No, you don't have the wrong address—this is indeed a downtown office building and parking garage. But don't be alarmed. Walk through the door, and Café Poca Cosa's stylish interior tells you immediately that this is no boring strip mall Tex-Mex...
5201 S 12th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85706, USA
Come to "El Güero Canelo" if you're in southern Arizona. It's a Tucson institution where you can get the best "Sonoran/Mexican hot dogs" north of the border... But what's a Sonoran hot dog? It's a wiener wrapped in bacon(!), served atop beans in a...
6230 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ 85712, USA
It's not every day that you come across a classical Chinese zither in a bookstore...especially in southern Arizona...But you just might at Bookmans in Tucson. Generations of Tucsonans have gone to Bookmans to buy, sell, trade books and so much...
1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746, USA
Just to the southwest of Tucson, on the San Xavier Reservation, sits the late XVIII-century Mission San Xavier del Bac, one of the finest examples of Spanish colonial architecture in the U.S. The combination of late Baroque and Moorish-inspired...
8451 W McCain Loop, Tucson, AZ 85735, USA
We had gone to Gates Pass, just west of Tucson, to watch the sun set—one of the 'must-do' things in this desert city, for residents and visitors alike...On this cloudless evening, though, this particular sunset was not turning into one of those...
446 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719, USA
In Tucson, gelato is, understandably, becoming part of the cityscape. A handful of Italian gelato-masters have settled here, educating desert palates with tempting desserts. Here, just a few blocks from the University of Arizona, Allegro rotates...
Hohokam Road, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA
Just beyond the western edge of Tucson, you'll find these Hohokam petroglyphs in Saguaro National Park. No one knows precisely when they were carved into the rocks, but Hohokam settlements in the Sonoran desert date back almost two thousand years....
Barrio Viejo, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
Adobe streetfront: door...window...sky. Color. Much of Tucson, like most western U.S. cities, is devoted to strip malls and parking lots, but the historic core still has blocks of 19th-century Sonoran-style row houses. In the 1960s, acres and...
N 4th Ave, Tucson, AZ, USA
Come here and you'll find a solar-powered bookstore, a Guatemalan restaurant, pubs, galleries, cafés, and this brick wall tribute to Gregory Colbert's "Boy Reading to Elephant." (The words that come to mind when I pass this street art are "tell me...
201 N Court Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA
La Cocina is a Southwestern gem, taking advantage of warm evenings and local culture to produce a truly Tucson experience. Sip at one of their cocktails—made with house-infused liquor—and enjoy a live concert. While you're here, grab a bite to eat...
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