- The Little One: Also known as Little Poca Cosa, this Tucson gem serves up a truly colorful menu of Mexican dishes for breakfast and lunch. Go for the food, stay for the hugs. 151 N Stone Ave.
- The Taco Shop: Beloved by college students and locals alike, the Taco Shop is open for business 24/7. The food is cheap, delicious, and authentic. My favorite is the bean and cheese burrito with spicy carrots and a horchata. 1350 E Broadway Blvd.
- Tucson Tamale Company: This place is a Tucson classic. I recommend getting the 2-tamale plate with spicy black beans and Mexican slaw, but this is the kind of place where you can’t go wrong. Multiple locations
- Kingfisher: Our go-to spot for birthdays and special occasions. It’s particularly fun to visit in the summer to catch the restaurant’s road trip menu series that features fare and flavors from all regions of the U.S. Save room for dessert! 2564 E Grant Rd.
- Time Market: This market-café-pizzeria-bakery-bar hybrid, which will celebrate 100 years in 2019, works diligently to make delicious, reliably sourced, and irresistible food. And you can taste it in everything from the pizza to the sandwiches to the fresh house-made bread. Try everything here. But watch out—like so many before you, you might fall in love. 444 E. University Blvd.
- Falora: This wood-fired pizza joint has everything going for it. It’s classy, tasty, and a little hipster. A record spins on a turn table in the windowsill. A warm glow radiates from the pizza oven. A young, hip staff smiles at you when you come in. My favorite dinner here includes the house-made bread, the caprese salad, and the cura pizza. 3000 E Broadway Blvd.
- Sher-E-Punjab: Once I discovered this place, I never ate Indian food in Tucson anywhere else. I highly recommend the veggi sampler and the chicken korma. 853 E Grant Rd.
- Yamato: Although Yamato serves a variety of Japanese foods, I would go here primarily for the sushi. You can watch it being made—with love, care, and precision—right in front of you. Each bite is perfect. 857 E Grant Rd.
- Raging Sage: The truth about Raging Sage is that their average, out-dated coffee is forgivable because of their excellent, mouth-watering bakery. They have easily the best scones—both of the sweet and savory variety—in Tucson, maybe even the world. My favorite scone: sage pecan with jalapeño jelly. 2458 N Campbell Ave.
Time Market’s patio in bloom
- SideCar: This little neighborhood bar is a swanky place to get good cocktails, beer, and wine without too much frill or fuss. Simple, classic drinks. They don’t have a food menu, so come fed or order from Falora, which is located conveniently two doors up. 139 S Eastbourne Ave.
- La Cocina: This local favorite is all about ambience. Enjoy drinks and live music in the lush, enchanting courtyard long into the night. 201 N. Court Ave.
- Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails: Although this is another of my favorite restaurants for special occasions, I love it even more for happy hour. The creative drinks are a delight, and the happy hour eats are divine. If you like tequila and a little spice, I recommend the Oaxacan Dream. 135 S. 6th Ave.
- Crooked Tooth Brewing Co.: This quirky little brewery is fairly new to the Tucson scene, but that hasn’t stopped it from standing out as one of Tucson’s best places to get a cold glass of local beer. They feature tasty brews packed with novel flavors, which you can enjoy inside surrounded by local art or outside in their shady beer garden. 228 E 6th St.
- Tucson Hop Shop: Nestled in the Metal Arts Village, this bar has a wide selection of both craft beer and other beverages, on tap or from the cooler. The place has a lot of character, and you can count on there being a food truck parked outside where you can get tasty snacks to go with your drink. 3230 N Dodge Blvd.
An afternoon at Crooked Tooth
- The Screamery: This local ice cream parlor is serving flavors that are creative and delicious! You can get single scoops, but my favorite way to scream for ice cream here is with their 6-scoop flight. Try out six flavors for only $7! Multiple locations
- Monsoon Chocolate: This newly opened chocolate factory + café has quickly earned a spot on my personal “Best of Tucson” list. Here you can indulge in everything from beautifully crafted bonbons to whole bars of handcrafted chocolate to refreshing glasses of horchata. Make sure to get in line early for those bonbons—they sell out fast! 234 E. 22nd St.
- YogaOasis: Headed by the notable yogi, Darren Rhodes, YogaOasis is one of Tucson’s most well-established studios. It offers a wide range of expertly-taught classes for beginners and seasoned practitioners alike. Classes start at $5. Multiple locations
- Grounded Wellness: I think of GW as one of Tucson’s edgier yoga studios. Go to class at this nonprofit and get a $1 off a beer afterwards at the Tucson Hop Shop a few doors down. Sign up for events like “UnF*ck Yourself: A Yoga Workshop” and attend donation classes for organizations like Black Lives Matter and the Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault. Your first class is free! Classes start at $5. 3230 N. Dodge Blvd.
- All Bodies Rise Yoga: Created by Tucson yogini, Jen Zimmerman, All Bodies Rise Yoga is an organization that offers inclusive yoga classes and workshops that center body positivity, mental wellness, and social justice. You can take an ABRY class at several locations throughout Tucson and prices vary depending on the location.
*Conflict of interest disclaimer: I have taught for all of these organizations.
Outside YogaOasis Central
Things to Do
- Reid Park Zoo: I love our zoo. It is beautiful, well-organized, easy to navigate, and always a good time. The otters usually steal the show for me, but you can see and learn about a large variety of animals, from elephants, to hedgehogs. 3400 E. Zoo Ct. in Reid Park
- Mount Lemmon: Escape the heat (by 30 degrees!) in just a one hour drive through six different climate zones and up to Tucson’s most famous peak. Here you can hike, camp, mountain bike, star-gaze, rock climb, go fishing, and even play in the snow! Spots of interest include the Cookie Cabin, the Sky Center, Windy Point, and Rose Canyon Lake.
- Wander around Barrio Viejo: This historic neighborhood is home to much of what is left of Tucson’s 19th century architecture. Its facades feature vibrant colors, artfully crafted doorways, and uniquely Southwestern decor. Truly beautiful, this place captures an important piece of Tucson’s heritage. Located south of Tucson Convention Center
- The All Souls Procession: Each year, the Tucson community gathers to honor loved ones who have transitioned from this world to the next in this ceremonious and heartfelt event. The night starts with a procession of floats, dancers, musicians, and face-painted participants that winds its way through the city streets, and it culminates in the burning of a large urn filled with offerings and prayers for those who have passed.
- The Heirloom Farmers’ Market in Rillito Park: This market features local farmers, coffee roasters, bakers, and entrepreneurs of everything in between. Eat breakfast, listen to live music, and browse the numerous booths, all while supporting the local Tucson economy. 4502 N. 1st Ave.
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: At this zoo-aquarium-botanical garden-history museum, you can see and learn about the plants and animals that are native to the Arizona-Sonora region. Recently, the museum added a sting ray exhibit where you can pet the rays! To learn about how sting rays fit into the Arizona-Sonora environment, you’ll just have to go visit! 2021 N. Kinney Rd.
The view from Windy Point, Mt. Lemmon, AZ
This is just a taste of Tucson! For more, download my Tucson guide here!