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Tucson, Arizona Travel Guide: Where to Eat, Drink and Stay

Tucson may be best known for its spectacular hiking trails and natural beauty, but the city offers so much more. Tucson is the first city in the United States to be recognized as UNESCO City of Gastronomy; it also offers inspiring modern art galleries and is home to the country’s most renowned spa resort. For starry nights, the dark skies around Tucson make for exceptional stargazing. Visiting during the shoulder season is ideal for mild weather and a blooming Sonoran Desert, but if you can handle the heat, summer brings lower rates and fewer crowds.

Whenever you decide to visit, read on for must-see stops for a trip to Tuscon.

Buy local at Annex MSA

Head to the MSA Appendix to grab lunch and browse the artisan shops, all built in converted shipping containers. From ice cream to shopping to cocktails, you can spend an entire afternoon at the local-oriented outdoor market adjacent to Mercado San Agustin.

Stay at Canyon Ranch

To visit Canyon Ranch is a transformative experience. More than just a resort, the holistic health spa guides you down intentional paths, from improving relationships to finding purpose in your profession to physical well-being. You’ll find delicious farm-to-table fare at their on-site all-inclusive restaurants and a wide range of activities from meditation to archery.

Sabino Canyon Hike

Discover Tucson’s iconic saguaros at Sabino Canyon, a hiking and recreation area at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains. From October to April, the lower temperatures provide ideal weather to be active and during the warmer months, visit the creek and cool off in the shade. If you’d rather see the canyon without hiking, shuttle buses depart frequently with nine stops and a narrated ride so you can explore the area without breaking your hiking boots.

The Grazia Gallery is much more than an art gallery, it is now a 10-acre National Historic District that includes the Gallery in the Sun museum with six permanent art collections as well as rotating exhibits. Designed and built by renowned Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia, it is a regional landmark and an immersive example of Southwestern art and architecture.

Lose yourself in the Tucson Botanical Gardens

An oasis located in downtown Tucson, the Tucson Botanical Gardens offers much more than plants; the 5.5 acres are filled with sculptures, butterfly exhibits, cafes and more. The peaceful grounds are a fun way to spend a morning in nature without leaving the heart of the city.

Discover culinary heritage at El Charro Café

El Charro Cafe is one of Tucson’s delicious examples of its 4,000-year-old culinary heritage that earned the city the honor of being the first UNESCO Food City in the United States. and they also serve a full range of dishes like enchiladas, tacos and more.