As fate would have it, the year that I moved away from Tucson also happens to be the year that my little sister is moving to Tucson. She’ll be a freshman at the University of Arizona, just like I was 8 years ago. My first impression of Tucson, created from the small frame of my dorm room window, was not as positive as the impression it left on my heart 8 years later. When I first moved there, Tucson seemed like a desolate dust bowl. What I knew of the city was limited by the fact that I had only a beach cruiser to get me from A to B. My world was mostly the UA campus, University Blvd., 4th Avenue, and the Safeway on Broadway and Campbell. Luckily, a few months in to my time there, I met some people who had lived there a little longer—some a couple of years, others their whole lives—and they helped me to broaden my perspective. Soon, Tucson became a vibrant and fascinating place with far more to do, see, eat, and explore than I ever imagined.
I don’t remember when it was that Tucson became home. I have no memory of the moment when the desert shifted from a foreign, martian landscape to the place where I belong. Finding a community of inspiring people probably had something to do with it. I do know, however, what places and activities helped win me over. In this blog post, I’ve featured several of the things that are dear to my heart. I created a much larger Beginner’s Guide to Tucson to help my little sister find her way in the Old Pueblo. It is by no means an exhaustive list of all that is wonderful in Tucson, and I know I forgot a lot of things. It is merely a snapshot of a multifaceted and complex place. For anyone visiting or moving to Tucson, I hope that you get out of your dorm, apartment, AirBnB, yurt, or hotel and see all that Tucson has to offer. Go East, North, West, and definitely—despite all the myths and fear mongering—definitely go South. Talk to people. Listen to their stories. Eat their food.
Without further ado, here are some of my favorite Tucson things in no particular order. I should disclose that I worked at Time Market for 3 years, and I was a yoga teacher at all three of the organizations in the yoga section. So it’s not like I’m biased or anything.
- The Little One: go for the food, stay for the hugs
- The Taco Shop: best burritos
- Tucson Tamale Company
- Kingfisher: tasty desserts
- Time Market: everything here is delicious
- Falora: best caprese salad
- Yamato: best sushi
- Raging Sage: best scones for both breakfast and lunch
Time Market’s patio in bloom
- Side Car
- La Cocina
- Downtown Kitchen and Cocktails
- Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.
- Tucson Hop Shop
An afternoon at Crooked Tooth
- The Screamery: get a flight!
- Monsoon Chocolate
- Grounded Wellness
- All Bodies Rise Yoga: various locations, check out the website for the schedule
Outside YogaOasis Central
Things to Do
- Go to the Zoo
- Visit Mount Lemmon
- Wander around Barrio Viejo
- Watch (or participate!) in the All Souls Procession
- Take a day trip to Madera Canyon
- Support local vendors at the Heirloom Farmers’ Market in Rillito Park
- Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Hiking in Madera Canyon
This is just a taste of Tucson! For more, download my Tucson guide here.