Anybody Ever Been to Tucson?


There is the whole morally bankrupt, evil, boycott worthy state argument... on the other hand, you are not particularly brown.
My mother died there. It is a terrible place.
It was certainly all that 20 years ago. I haven't been back, but I bet that hasn't changed.
Yes. Phoenix is an armpit but Tucson is cool. If you can stomach a 2 hour drive the Chiricahua National Monument is worth seeing.
Def. take the time to tour Arcosanti.
A friend of mine went to the University of Arizona in Tuscon and really enjoyed her time there.
Do it! It's a nice college town in AZ's only Blue County and when the weather sucks here it's nice down there (and vice versa).
Great winter get-a-way! Sunshine and beauty.
It is. I lived there for a mumber of years. Its gorgeous, not too hot, the most liberal place in AZ, which isnt sayin much, but it did have a gay Congressman at one time. The old San Xavier mission is beautiful so go see that. And spend a day driving down to Nogales Sonora Mexico, and you will pass a coue of more old abandoned Spanish missions from the 1500s. Its a great winter getaway from here.
Google "tuscon mountain bike rental."

Pics of your trail rash, or it didn't happen.
It's beautiful, take lots of sunscreen!

Hugs to you, Dan.
Always worth it to travel, 'specially if you've never been there before. Bon voyage!
Tuscon is really fun - and I am sure will be interesting since it is pretty much the opposite of Seattle. GREAT MEXICAN FOOD!!!!
Well, there's the whole Gabby Giffords thing too, but that was (probably) anomalous. If you go anyway, make a side trip to Kartchner Caverns (if you're into that sort of thing).

If you are into old western movies or tv shows, check out Old Tucson Studios, just west of the city. Tons of cool westerns were shot there.
Oh, also: Any recommendations for non-bank-breaking lodging?
@5—that's north of Phoenix, so almost 200 miles from Tucson, but they could do a multi-day trip up there, then Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, then Flagstaff, etc.
Tuscon is pretty cool... And while it's a bit of a hike (3.5 hours) Sedona is a good day trip... It's so freakin' gorgeous there, it's understandable why all the hippies think it's magickal.
The Rock is a pretty sweet venue. They have shows almost every night.
@17 oops. I couldn't remember how far, and was too lazy to do a quick lookup.

Maybe I can redeem myself (and maybe not) by suggesting a trip to Ajo. Cheap lodging, fewer people, and right next door to Organ Pipes national monument.
Madera Canyon is very close to Tucson and a lovely place to hike. Even closer is Saguaro National Park, which is directly to the east of Tucson. Beautiful places to visit.
Don't miss Sabino, the Desert museum, and Mariscos Chihuahua.
Titan Missile Museum - you can tour the decommissioned nuclear missile silo (I think its the only one in the world open to the public?) including underground bunker and other Cold-War crazy.

Also somewhere near there's a graveyard of military planes - miles and miles all painted ghost white.
Cafe Poca Cosa downtown is a must! The hotel congress used to be affordable, but the last time I stayed there was in 1998, so I have no idea if that's still the case.
I'm driving down there to visit my mother (who just moved there) on 11/8. So I can report back then. That's obvi way past 6pm tonight though...
Lived there for 17 years before I couldn't take the summers any more. Great in the winter with overnight hours usually around freezing and daytime highs in the 50s or 60s. You will need a car to see the natural sights around the city but they are worth it. Saguaro National Monument, Sabino Canyon, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are all worth the drives and offer good walking opportunities.
For lodging, the Hotel Congress downtown ( is a nice old building with a nightclub and dining on the first floor. Noisy but I always enjoyed evenings out there. It has been a decade but there was a lot of good dining nearby as well when I left.
@23 Pima Air Museum. Way cool.
I grew up there. It's beautiful. I'd second the recommendations for the Desert Museum and Cafe Poca Cosa
I live in Tucson and it's really nice (absolutely gorgeous this time of year.)

@16 If you don't mind chain hotels there's a bunch of places right off I-10 that are around $29 a night although this is the tourist time and snowbirds are coming back so that price might be going up.

This place is a little pricey but it's right off of 4th ave (where the bars/music venues are) and it looks really neat.

If you need any food recommendations then I can hook ya up.
@26 D'oh! Forgot Hotel Congress. Dillinger's last stand. They've revamped downtown so there's tons more places around Congress/4th Ave.
Mariachi Mass at St. Augustine Cathedral is fun. Enjoyed it even as a non-believer.
192 S. Stone Ave.
Tucson, AZ 85701
Sunday 8 am Spanish, Sung, Mariachi
@15 That could even be the bike ride!

I've not been to Tuscon. Are these routes suicidal?
Lots of physical beauty in Tucson and AZ in general and good for being a tourist but wouldn't want to live there--you've still got a red state that's not all that hospitable to African Americans.
I'll be down there for my first time just after Christmas visiting the folks. Is it worth it to tour the caves at Kartchner Caverns State Park?

@Dan: That's likely where at least one of my parents will die.

@Bethany: The Westin La Paloma only costs a million or so.
Barry is right. Beautiful town, way less overbuilt and sprawling than Phoenix. It's warm, sunny (duh), has fantastic food, interesting stuff to do (like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the Mission San Xavier del Bac --and I recommend that last as a practicing pagan--it's just a gorgeous and historic place), short drive to places like Bisbee. Go. Definitely GO. And take me!!
I love it. Check out bicas while you're there if you are into bikes.
if you go, go check out Bisbee and Karchner Caverns, a state park with some truly amazing caves.
Don't miss the Sonoran Desert Museum. Magnificent endangered grey wolves, and lots of other cool stuff.
I guess if you're willing to leave your marriage rights at the boarder, Arizona is worth a visit.
When I lived in Phoenix, I loved Tucson. It's cute.
Kartchner Caverns is absolutely worth it. Be sure to do both "rooms." Also, the Kitt Peak Observatory night program is a must. West of the city. That way you can tour outer space in addition to inner space.
I enjoyed touring Biosphere 2…

2 words: Biosphere 2. If you're at all into science/engineering, it's a marvel to tour it. We went this summer and did that + Kartchner Caverns + Bisbee + Tombstone - for a horribly red state with questionable immigration checkpoints on every highway, it was a freaking blast.
Went to grad school there, I would say the definite are listed already, but Karchner Caverns!, Desert Museum, Saguaro NP, and Sabino Canyon are great. And don't miss Cafe Poca Cosa, one of the best restaurants in town.
Just moved away from AZ (PHX), but Tucson is definitely way cooler than Phoenix (culturally, artistically, politically). Club Congress is a great place to check out, rooms are pricier than the cheaper hotels along I-10, but if there's a show there or the theater across the street it's easy to stumble to your room (ask for a room away from the club). I'll second Sabino Canyon, or Mt. Lemon (but it'll be cold up there). On 4th there is a killer Mexican/Indian food at La Indita (big portions, veggie friendly), and nearby on 4th at Martin's (weird guy, weird hours, but good fresh food and Jamaica). Pancho Villa nearby is a distant 3rd. A fun night is in Bisbee at the Shady Dell -- very cool, arty, taken-over-by-hippies town, and the Shady Dell is a hotel made up of restored airstreams. The mine tour is worth taking, although Freeport McMoRan is fucking over the local population. San Xavier is cool too. Desert Museum is awesome. don't forget to go to Toxic Ranch Records (used to be Toxic Shock when they were in SF). There are cool vintage stores, cafes, etc. on 4th near the university. Pima Air Museum is amazing if you wanna see old war planes. If you're tired of Mexican food, there is a good Malaysian/Nyonya resto call Seri Melaka. And antique malls galore. Is that enough to do, eat and see?
I was there a few weeks ago for the first time. The food is definitely great, but I was there for a wedding so I can't speak to the quality of the nightlife. The people and environment are about as far from Seattle as you could possibly get, so if that's what you're in the mood for you'll love it.
@5 Interesting tale. I went to Arcosanti for a jazz festival in 1977 or 78 and there were hundreds of cars parked in a very grassy parking lot. It caught fire. I just happened to look back and saw the smoke and suggested we investigate. We ran to my 1966 mustang fastback just in time to drive it out before a conflagration of exploding vehicles happened.
Grew up in AZ, went to U of A.

Kartchner Caverns State Park? Yes, yes, yes. Very cool.

Bisbee? It has been fun to see what was a copper mining town that clings to the side of a mountain turn into a artsy-cool town. (Also, you will go through Tombstone and its kitch to get there.)

Tucson is MUCH easier to navigate than Phoenix BUT it's all street driving. (Luckily people there are decent drivers compared to here but it will take a looong time to get from one end of town to the other if you need to do so.) Also, one great feature is that the left turn lane gets the green arrow AFTER the green light for those going straight. It gets a LOT more cars through on that left turn.

Love The Loft movie theater - great movies and beer.

Both Saguaro national parks are great ( one to the east, one to west).

Love Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - lots of great desert animals in a great setting.

Desert with fewer lights = Kitt Peak National Observatory. Want to see stars? Take a look.

Mexican food - Mi Nidito, El Charro, for tamales Tucson Tamale Company (they ship!)
Regular food - Mimi's Cafe, Sweet Tomatoes (buffet),

Take a walking tour downtown - interesting and finish with a drink in the bar at Hotel Congress.
@2: With all due respect to your beloved mother, I have a hunch she would have said, "dear, that's your problem. It's not Tucson."

+1 on the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Tucson is a shithole. Even worse if you have color to your skin. The police can stop (and do) anyone that they feel looks like an illegal immigrant.
Time to pull the plug on user "dnt trust me", please.
I'd just like to direct you to the final line of Dana Marschz from Hamlet 2:

"You know, Chuy, you're gonna have a magical life. Because no matter where you go, it will always be better than Tucson."
Tucson is getting a spiffy new streetcar line next summer, which is sparking quite a bit of new development in once-neglected areas. I hope they survive the experience (i.e., I hope all the cheap mom'n'pop Mexican food isn't chased away by Starbucks and Chipotles).
I went to college there. There's hardly any nightlife, but the outdoors are beautiful and there's a wide array of delicious mexican foods.
@55 Oh, gawd, the Mexican food in Tucson was life changing. Honestly, I never tasted anything so delightful before or since. As for your comment about the poster, I hate to say it, but I agree.
Its an awful place. All of Arizona is. Don't let anyone talk you into Sedona either.
I second the Bicas and Bisbee recommendations! Also, finding someone fun to take you spelunking is a good time. Desert adventures! Plus, Biosphere 2 is right outside Tucson.
Barry is correct.
Saguaro National Monument (west) is great at sunset. And Nogales Mexico is worth a trip.
Definitely take the trip to Bisbee!
I recommend contacting your alt weekly peers at the Tucson Weekly. They'll have good suggestions for you. If If you're there on a first friday, go to the Loft Cinema for a fun show.
As a current resident, I think Tucson's lovely year round. I'll echo the recommendation of the Desert Museum--it's really the crown jewel of tourist attractions around here. Make sure to catch the Raptor Free Flight show. Sabino Canyon is also a local treasure, but there are plenty of good hiking options in winter.

Avoid travel in early February, as everything is booked for the gem show (and everything's more expensive).

If you plan on going to Kartchner, reserve your tours in advance.

Cafe Poca Cosa is overrated and overpriced. Much better is the Little Cafe Poca Cosa (open for breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday, cash only). Their food is sublime (and healthy). You might also enjoy the food truck Planet of the Crepes (try the fig, manchego, and almond crepe, and spring for the smoked duck breast addition. The Banh Mi crepe also isn't too shabby. Check for her schedule) . If you want authentic Sonoran food, try Taqueria Pico de Gallo (on S 6th Ave at 36th Street), which is usually pretty wonderful. They make their own corn tortillas, so get those instead of wheat. You also might try May's Counter (near The Loft!)--it's a chicken and waffles place, but where the food used to be delicious, now it's sometimes just good. There are also a couple of good Ethiopian restaurants (Cafe Desta and Zemam's).
@ 64, have you been to Le Caves on 6th at 22nd? "Unintentionally" vegan donuts that'll knock your socks off and their Mexican wedding cookies are beyond belief. Maico on 22nd at park has a great burrito as well.
Gentle touch on your shoulder, Dan.
And Guerro Canelo on Oracle at grant has the best Sonoran dog IMHO.
@65, Le Cave is delicious! I've no opinion on the best Sonoran dogs, as they always seem like sure fire indigestion.
I got a recommendation to do Saguaro National Forest at sunset and it was beautiful. Except once the sun was down I couldn't find the way out (it's fucking DARK). And the scorpions come out. I ended up trashing the paint on a rental car driving through some brush with nasty thorns.
anybody who says arizona is an awful place just doesn't know arizona (or doesn't like sunshine and natural beauty). yes, the politics are fucked, but there are havens like flagstaff and tucson. once you live there for a while it gets in your blood, and you wonder how long you can hold out before the desert (or the high desert in my case) calls you back for good.

it's a great time to visit arizona. have fun!
I love Tucson. I want any excuse to be there. If my life were perfect, I'd live in Seattle 10 months of the year, and Tucson the other two. The end.
The majority of Tucson is 6-lane highway-style roads with strip malls filled with chains and uber-sprawl. However, Downtown (near Congress), 4th Ave, and the area by the University and have a fair amount to offer.

Overall, this area is pretty small so living there (as I did for 5 years) can get pretty old, but it's a great place to visit for a weekend. Places to definitely check out:

- Plush (4th Ave) : One of my favorite music venues/bars of all time. Red-light 70s feel with an awesome stage and a very swanky. I heard they recently completely changed the design and setup so hopefully the magic isn't lost.

- Che's Lounge (4th Ave): See Tucson's take on a hipster/art bar. Overall, a cool place to hang out.

- Bison-wiches (4th Ave) - Awesome sandwiches and beer selection. Great place.

- Club Congress (Downtown)

- Frog and Firkin (University). Great place to sit outside, drink beer, and observe campus life

- Great Mexican Places:
- Mi Nidito
- Rosa's
- Little Cafe Poca Cosa
- El Charro (toursity but worth it)
- Los Betos (best "crappy" 2am late night burrito ever - try the Texas Burrito)

Also, definitely go hiking in Saguaro Canyon. A very beautiful, unique landscape.
I wouldn't go to Nogales, though. Border towns are sadder and scarier than they are fun, and when I went last February I saw too many dead coyotes on the side of the road on the drive down. I'd definitely go to the San Xavier del Bac mission right outside of town, though. Drink some coffee at Cafe Passe, get a hand-written mix tape from a vending machine and drink cheap beer at Danny's Baboquivari, eat a chile relleno burrito at Maico's, and a pile of tacos at Taco Shop.
University of Arizona grad here (current Brooklynite for almost a decade)- I love Tucson.Tucson is the anti-Phoenix (where I grew up). It's small, but you can be you (to extremes), and it has a great arts scene, both high- and low-brow. Having lived there while at school, I didn't see the racism many are describing (which I did see in Phoenix and is the primary reason I left). In fact, my friends in Tucson were more diverse demographically than my (fairly diverse group of) friends in Bed-Stuy. 4th Ave/downtown is super fun, perhaps less so if you're over 30. Glad someone mentioned Club Congress, also a good time. Cafe Poca Cosa is a little disappointing for all the hype, but I enjoy eating there when I visit. If you're into theater, there's a ton of it, from Shakespeare to drags shows to burlesque to improv to whatever niche genre you prefer. Sabino Canyon is gorgeous and there are trails suitable for novices. It's a laidback town, but there's plenty to do near the U.
Tucson is a cool place.
Tucson is quite possibly the worst place in america! It is an ultra liberal illegal alien loving shit hole. 4th ave and congress are the "party streets" you should avoid theses to street especially it is the breeding ground for the douche baggery epidemic that has over run the city. I could go on and on about how much I hate it here and why but trust its terrible don't waste your time coming here!
@73, Los Betos ruined me forever for other fish tacos.
(a little late to this discussion)

I was born near Tucson, had my formative years there, moved around 9 years old, didn't return until I was about 30.

Holy, mother, of, fuck. The air. The sunlight. I have never felt so… normal… so… right… in my life. I always rolled my eyes at songs and people who talked about their hometowns, but just stepping out of that airplane and inhaling the air.

Gawd, I know it's just a small town shithole, but I have never smelled a place that made me feel more at home. I'd go back in a heartbeat if there was anything to go back to.
(a little late to this discussion)

I was born near Tucson, had my formative years there, moved around 9 years old, didn't return until I was about 30.

Holy, mother, of, fuck. The air. The sunlight. I have never felt so… normal… so… right… in my life. I always rolled my eyes at songs and people who talked about their hometowns, but just stepping out of that airplane and inhaling the air.

Gawd, I know it's just a small town shithole, but I have never smelled a place that made me feel more at home. I'd go back in a heartbeat if there was anything to go back to.