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Top 10 (actually, more!) things to do in Tucson

Posted on June 26, 2013

If Southern Arizona is on your vacation shortlist, you’ll be busy checking Tucson sightseeing, food finds, fun times and visitor hours for different Tucson attractions. Our concierge and staff get these questions all the time, and these are the experiences our guests have raved about the most. When you’ve finished sightseeing in Tucson, relive your fun vacation days – post to our Facebook page and tell us which ones you liked the best!

  1. By day: Hike Sabino Canyon or Ventana Canyon, and drive or bike up Catalina Highway to Mount Lemmon. Novice hikers can start right here at Westward Look, where our Hummingbird and Saguaro trails are short but scenic, and manageable for all.
  2. By night: Book a stargazing trip to Kitt Peak or the Mount Lemmon Sky Center.
  3. If you love …
    • Art Deco: Take the backstage tour of downtown Tucson’s Fox Theater to see spectacular 1920s décor, beautifully restored. The Fox frequently shows classic films on the big screen, and hosts world-class concert performers – check the schedule to see who might be visiting Tucson when you are!
  4. If you love cacti and unique desert flora: visit Tohono Chul and the Tucson Botanical Garden. See desert plants together with more than 230 species of desert-dwelling animals at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. (Bonus: To get to the latter, you drive through the gloriously photogenic Gates Pass.)
  5. Cyclists will want to explore Tucson’s 500 miles of metro bikeways. We were recently named the No. 3 city in America for cycling. Find out why!
  6. Keep taking and posting endless shots of sunsets and saguaros, while tormenting your friends with captions that it’s way more beautiful in person.
  7. Military and aircraft buffs won’t want to miss seeing the Titan Missile Museum – a Cold War time capsule and home of the world’s only publicly accessible Titan II warhead – the Pima Air & Space Museum and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group (AMARG, lovingly referred to as “The Boneyard”), a world-famous aerospace storage and maintenance facility.
  8. Cathedrals above and below ground.
    • Above ground: San Xavier Mission, “The White Dove of the Desert.” Go near dusk, when the church glows softly in the darkening sky, or on Sunday morning to taste frybread from Tohono O’odham Indian vendors in front of the mission. Often described as a Native American taco, frybread is a puffy, crunchy flat of deep-fried dough that can be enjoyed sweet (with sugar or honey) or savory (topped with meat, beans and red or green chiles). Diet food this is not – you may want to split it with a friend – but it’s a fun treat that’s very Arizona. Kids love it!
    • Underground: Visit Kartchner Caverns, a living cave only a short drive from Tucson. The caves’ high-ceilinged “Big Room” is often compared to a cathedral.
  9. Check out Sonoran food (scroll down for a separate entry on this blog). Try chile rellenos, carne seca, caramelos (meat-filled cheese crisps) and raspados (Sonoran-style snow cones with ice cream and fresh fruit). Street food aficionados must have a Sonoran Hot Dog. If you like cocktails, try a michelada (a Mexican Bloody Mary made with beer), or tequila’s cousins mezcal, bacanora or sotol – distillations that Mexico understandably keeps for itself.
  10. Stay at Westward Look, of course! Tucson’s first and finest resort is an excellent home base for your adventures. Rest and recharge in an atmosphere of vintage western glamour, go crazy taking cactus blossom photos, hike or go horseback riding on resort trails. When you’re back from your city adventures, three pools and the Sonoran Spa make for a wonderful wind-down. End the day with a spectacular view of the city lights from any of our restaurants.
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