(includes Mount Lemmon & Tubac)
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Club Congress – 311 East Congress Street; 520-622-8848; hotelcongress.com; boisterous joint; live bands.
●Plush – 340 East 6th Street; 520-798-1298; plushtucson.com; cheap drinks.
●Arizona Inn – 2200 East Elm Street; 520-325-1541 or 800-933-1093; arizonainn.com; historic, luxury, boutique resort hotel spread over 14 tranquil acres of flowers, fountains, gardens, and lawns in mid-town; continually owned and operated by same family since inception under founder, Isabella Greenway, in 1930; casita-style hotel rooms and suites.
●Loews Ventana Canyon Resort – 7000 North Resort Drive; 520-299-2020 or 800-234-5117; loewshotels.com/en/ventana-canyon-resort; Santa Catalina Mountains view; spa.
●Miraval Resort – 5000 East Via Estancia Miraval (Catalina); 520-825-4000 or 800-232-3969; miravalresort.com; very pretty; 4 out of 5 stars by Conde Nast.
●Ritz Carlton, Dove Mountain – 15000 North Secret Springs Drive; 520-572-3000 or 800-542-8680; ritzcarlton.com/dovemountain.
●Westward Look Resort – 245 East Ina Road; 520-297-1151 or 800-481-0636; westwardlook.com.
●Café Poca Cosa – 110 East Pennington Street; 520-622-6400; cafepocacosatucson.com; don’t be put off by location or décor; novel Mexican cuisine; try daily sampler.
●El Charro Café – 311 North Court Avenue; 520-229-1922; elcharrocafe.com; 1926 marked invention of chimichanga at this restaurant (for “thingamajig”).
●Epic Café – 745 North 4th Avenue; 520-624-6844; epic-café.com; open from 6 a.m. to midnight and serves eclectic menu.
●Maynard’s Market & Kitchen – 400 North Toole Avenue; 520-545-0577; maynardsmarkettucson.com; less than 50 feet from train tracks; dark and handsome former train station that attracts upscale crowd; steaks, etc.
●Mi Nidito – 1813 South 4th Avenue; 520-622-5081; minidito.net; good, solid Mexican food.
●Stables Ranch Grille – 1 Otero Road (Tubac); 520-398-3759; tubacgolfresort.com/dining/php; German food in historic ranch setting.
●Tasteful Kitchen – 722 North Stone Avenue (Dunbar Spring); 520-250-9600; thetastefulkitchen.com; 4-course raw and vegetarian tasting menu.
●Bicycle Inter-Community Art & Salvage – 44 West 6th Street (Dunbar Spring); 520-628-7950; bicas.org; burrowed in warehouse complex adorned with bright murals and eye-catching stencils; nonprofit community bicycle recycling and education center; rents bikes with helmets and maps.
●801 Gallery – 801 North Main Avenue (Dunbar Spring); 520-370-1610; artinarizona.com; gallery and studio owned by sculptor Steven Derks.
●Enchanted Earthworks – Plaza Palomino; 520-327-7007; enchantedearthworks.com; handmade crafts and jewelry.
●La Encantada – Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue; 520-615-2561; laencantadashoppingcenter.com; in Santa Catalinas’ foothills; stores like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany.
●Lizard Acres Studio – 387 North Meyer; 520-792-2063; lizardacres.com; call first; inventive public space artist Mary Lucking’s personal studio.
●Plaza Palomino – downtown; 520-320-6344; plazapalominotucson.com; local merchants.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Biosphere 2 – 32540 South Biosphere Road; 520-838-6200; b2science.org; Earth systems science research facility currently owned by University of Arizona; center for research, outreach, teaching, and lifelong learning about Earth; 3.14 acre structure originally built to be artificial, materially-closed ecological system.
●Catalina State Park – 11570 North Oracle Road; 520-628-5798; pr.state.az.us/parks/cata/index.html; sits at Santa Catalina Mountains’ base; park is haven for desert plants, wildlife, and nearly 5K saguaros; 5.5K acres (canyons, foothills, and streams) with great bird-watching (more than 150 species call park home); trails lead into Coronado National Forest at elevations near 3K'; gift shop and restrooms, as well as equestrian center, Pusch Ridge Stables, offering horse rides on designated trails; hike to Romero Pools – you ascend trail past waterfalls; make sure to drive Mt. Lemmon/Catalina Highway (scenically ascends through several life zones)..
●Center for Creative Photography – 1030 North Olive Road; 520-621-7968; creativephotography.org; in hard-to-find building on University of Arizona campus; contains archives of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Garry Winogrand, W. Eugene Smith, and more.
●Colossal Cave Mountain Park – 16721 East Old Spanish Trail; 520-647-7275; colossalcave.com; not exactly colossal but certainly impressive; narrow passageways and dramatic lighting keep 45-minute tours interesting; for more adventurous, tours into little-visited parts; also horseback riding, small museum, and picnic areas (El Bosquecito).
●Dunbar Spring – Tucson neighborhood just north of downtown; notable for street art; largest mural is on North 9th Avenue, stretching full city block.
●Green Mountain Trail – from Tanque Valley Road, drive 4.2 miles on Catalina Highway to Forest Service boundary and continue 17.5 miles to San Pedro Vista; 520-749-8700; fs.fed.us/r3/Coronado.
●International Wildlife Museum – 4800 West Gates Pass Road; 520-629-0100; thewildlifemuseum.org; taxidermy.
●Kitt Peak National Observatory – Tohono O’odham Reservation; 520-318-8726; noao.edu; 90 minutes southwest of city; 6.9K feet above sea level; try to book nightly observing program.
●Kolb Road – drive along fence to see 4K or so stranded civilian and military aircraft.
●Madera Canyon – 303 Old Tucson Highway (Nogales Ranger Station, I-10, Exit 63); 520-281-2296; visittucson.org/listings/Madera-Canyon/6391; outstanding cross-section Southwestern bird habitats (more than 200 bird species recorded); many trails, from desert grassland to mountain forest.
●Mount Lemmon & Catalina Highway – 10300 Ski Run Road (Mount Lemmon, in Coronado National Forest); skithelemmon.com; highest point in Santa Catalina Mountains; named for botanist Sarah Plummer Lemmon, who trekked to top in 1881; Catalina Highway, also called Mount Lemmon Highway, as well as Hitchcock Highway (after Frank Harris Hitchcock) runs up from east side of Tucson up to Summerhaven; beautiful, curving road.
●Pima Air & Space Museum – 6000 East Valencia Road; 520-574-0462; pimaair.org; offers tours of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base and aircraft graveyard.
●Red Barn Theater – 948 North Main Avenue (Dunbar Spring); 520-622-6973; theredbarntheater.com; 60-seat community theater.
●Reid Park Duck Pond – 100 Country Club Road; 520-791-4873; parks.tucsonaz.gov/parks; part of Gene C. Reid Park (main entrance at 900 South Randolph Way); bird-watching venue.
●Reid Park Zoo – 3400 East Zoo Court; 520-791-3204; reidparkzoo.org.
●Rialto Theater – 318 East Congress Street; 520-740-1000; rialtotheatre.com; non-profit, talent showcase; books some major acts.
●Sabino Canyon Recreation Area – 5900 North Sabino Canyon Road (in Catalina Foothills); 520-749-8700, 520-749-2861 or 520-749-2327 (moonlight shuttle reservations); sabinocanyon.com; desert oasis with impressive scenery, hiking trails, and stream; splash in canyon’s waterfalls and swim in natural pools (water conditions permitting), or just enjoy crystal-clear water flowing through rocky canyon guarded by saguaro cacti; numerous picnic tables and many miles hiking trails; narrated tram shuttles visitors up and down lower canyon throughout day, and April-November (not July-Aug), moonlight tram rides 3 times each month (usually nights before full moon); Bear Canyon tram is used by hikers heading to picturesque Seven Falls, which are at 2.5-mile trail end.
●Saguaro National Park – 3693 South Old Spanish Trail; 520-733-5153; nps.gov/sagu; embraces Tucson on 2 sides; fields of multi-armed cactus giants; look for unmarked parking lot few 100 feet after Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for King Canyon Trail’s start (saguaronationalpark.com/favorite-trails.html), put in by CCC in 1930s; if raining, make sure to walk Creosote Trail to get full sense of what hediondilla (creosote plant) smells like.
●Saguaro National Park West – 2700 North Kinney Road (Cactus Forest Drive, from I-10 go west on Speedway toward Tucson Mountains, road name changes to Gates Pass Boulevard at Camino de Oeste); 520-733-5158; nps.gov/sagu; scenic drive through Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park West; quite surreal.
●Sweetwater Wetlands – 2551 West Sweetwater Drive; 520-791-4331; cms3.tucsonaz.gov/water/sweetwater; water treatment facility, urban wildlife habitat, and outdoor classroom; tranquil park where visitors can view native wildlife in urban setting; water-rich, stream-side riparian zone supporting huge wildlife variety, including dragonflies, raccoons, hawks, bobcats, and dozens other species.
●Tanque Verde Falls – Redington Road; 520-388-8300; fs.usda.gov/recarea/coronado/recreation/recarea/?recid=25694&actid=105; half-day hike to pools & waterfalls in Tanque Verde Canyon; short trail visits pools & waterfalls along Tanque Verde Creek; favorite swimming for locals; low cascades pour into pools that often hold water even during dry season.
●Titan Missile Museum – 1580 West Duval Mine Road (Sahuarita); 520-625-7736; titanmissilemuseum.org; nuclear silo open for tours.
●Tubac – 44 miles south of Tucson on US Highway 19; arts community that includes galleries, restaurants (Stables Ranch Grille), and sights (Tubac Presidio State Historic Park).
●Tubac Presidio State Historic Park – 1 Burruel Street; 520-398-2552; azstateparks.com/parks/tupr; founded in June 1752; 50 cavalrymen garrisoned at this remote military post to prevent further rebellion, protect colonists and tmission, and further explore Southwest; 2nd Presidio commander Juan Bautista de Anza II led 2 overland expeditions to Pacific, resulting in San Francisco’s founding in 1776; in 1860, largest town in Arizona.
●Tuscon Botanical Gardens – 2150 North Alvernon Way; 520-326-9686; tucsonbotanical.org; set amid residential neighborhoods in midtown; focuses on desert plant life, landscaping, and gardening; 5.5 acres.