Tucson is about 1/2 to 1/3 of the population of my current home town of Denver. It’s slow paced, less crowded and has everything I enjoy in a city. It’s full of culture, art, kitsch and natural beauty. I’m completely enamored with its desert charm, but I’ve never spent any time here on a hot summer day.
You can navigate Tucson without a car using SunTran Bus/Light Rail system. It’s $4.00 for an all day pass and I was amazed I was able to get all the way out to San Xavier del Bac, which is located on an Indian Reservation, south of the city. Uber, Lyft and Taxi is also an option.
I start my day at Cafe Passé in Historic Fourth Avenue. It’s got a narrow outside patio, they serve coffee, food and alcohol. The “Bruce Lee” got me going through my long day. Fourth Avenue has about 160 locally owned shops, restaurants and bars and is located right next to downtown and the light rail runs through it connecting it to the University District.
Alternative clothing boutique
Beautiful hand made gifts from Mexico. The owner was very friendly.
LP’s and 45’s. Well organized and reasonably priced. Nice owner. Definitely coming back.
Chicken & Cheese Nachos from Bison Witches can easily feed a few people. Good food, large portions and reasonably priced. Bison Witches
Surly Wench Pub is my kind of place. 80s-Punk-New Wave- Garage- Goth music. Burlesque shows, live music. Velvet paintings, classic arcade games, cheap drinks and friendly bartenders. Yes please.
St Augustine’s Cathedral was originally established in 1858 but built into a cathedral in 1868.
Studio G’s Records is just a block away from St Augustine’s Cathedral at 267 S. Stone Ave.
Located just south of downtown and the Tucson Convention Center is Barrio Viejo. Colorful 19th century homes and businesses. It’s a bit of a ghost town but hopefully it will be revitalized.
Mural in Barrio Viejo.
El Tiradito Wishing Shrine located in Barrio Viejo at 420 South Main Ave. The shrine has been open for wishes and prayers for 140 years.
Pima County Courthouse was built in 1930 and in 1934 was were celebrity gangster John Dillenger and his gang were arraigned. The security guard was very informative, he should have been a tour guide. He gave us some information and told us about ghost hauntings in the building. A new Gem & Mineral Museum will be built in the lower level. The building is currently being renovated.
Opened in 1922 and owned by the same family for 97 years. The food, service and ambiance are great. It was busy on a weeknight, people were waiting outside.
Nestled away near strip malls and offices, Kon Tiki is a time capsule oasis. Open since 1963 and it’s wall to wall classic tiki perfection. Friendly bartenders and regular patrons. Kon Tiki is not trying to be trendy and it lacks the pretension of some Tiki Bars and instead has effortless vintage charm.
1950’s kitschy heaven. I’m sad that I didn’t have an opportunity to eat here on this last visit but I will be back. Looks cool on the inside and food looks good as well.
The Gaslight Theatre is located next door to Little Anthony’s Diner.
Breakfast and lunch served, it’s a popular place so be prepared to wait for a table. The menu selection, the food and the service is incredible. You will not be disappointed!
Rattlesnake Bridge is a pedestrian and bicyclist bridge located next to Iron Horse Park. A 10 minute walk from Historic Fourth Avenue. It even has a rattle on the end of it’s tail on the other side of the bridge.
The Mission was built in 1783 by Spanish Franciscans with gorgeous ornate baroque architecture. The Catholic Mission still offers mass service. They are open daily and there is no admission fee. It’s also called “The White Dove of the Desert”. It truly is an architectural and spiritual gem.
From the downtown area I took the bus to the Laos Transit Center and connected to the 440 Shuttle which drops you off at the Mission, which is located on an Indian Reservation. The journey on the bus is approximately 1hr and 15 mins. Ask the driver where the shuttle picks up at the Mission as there are no shuttle signs.
Two and a half days in Tucson on 3 separate trips. Both days I probably walked close to 10 miles exploring and came back to my hotel with a thin sheet of dirt of my face. Two very long days! I have a few places in mind for my next visit to Tucson but I’m always open to tips and suggestions. Thanks for tuning in!