A TUCSON, ARIZONA Weekend Guide from Meg Mag
The Perfect Guide for People Who Like Fun in Arizona, But Still Gotta Go Back to Work on Monday
You know when you want to spend money, but not a lot of money because things get ‘spensive? Ok, yeah, that’s WHY you have to visit Tucson! We found Tucson to be the perfect place to celebrate Ricky’s birthday, explore more of Arizona, and hold onto our savings. If you need a fun and easy vacay, read the guide below!
Where to Stay
This renovated, historic hotel has all the perfect touches if you like that vintage, southwest, hipster vibe! Everything from the bedspreads to the rotary dial telephones will make you wish you were born “back then.” If you decide to book here, use my Booking.com code HERE for a $25 discount. If you’re traveling for a special occasion, let Hotel Congress know! They will greet you and your guest with a delicious treat from their bar. Find public parking on the corner of 5thAvenue and Congress Street for an affordable $6/day rate when you first validate at Hotel Congress.
Where to Go
Tucson is home to some of the oldest neighborhoods in America! Barrio Viejo, or “Old Neighborhood”, was once a larger community of culturally-diverse, working-class people from America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Sadly, many of their adobe homes were destroyed in the 1970’s and 1980’s in order to make room for urban development, including the Tucson’s current Convention Center located directly north of Barrio Viejo. Thankfully, historic preservation has been on the rise, and Crushing Street Bar is set to re-open later in 2019. For now, take a spin around these blocks to enjoy Barrio Viejo’s colorful architecture that reflects the neighborhood’s vibrant past, including civic leaders, holistic medicines women, and brave soldiers who fought in Gettysburg. Need a rest already from the desert sun? Stop for a minute at El Minuto Cafe, a family-owned cafe that has been serving Tucson Sonoran-style cuisine since 1936!
This iconic Tucson mural mimics a postcard and was created by the traveling the artist duo, Victor Ving and Lisa Beggs as part of a cross-country mural project called the “Greetings Tour“. Find their amazing work at 406 N. 6th Avenue Tucson, AZ 85705. (Located on the back wall of Miller’s Surplus).
What to Eat
Listen to me very closely. Deep Fried Avocado Tacos. Seis Kitchen. Located at 130 South Avenida del Convento #100, Tucson, AZ 85745 and 1765 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718. Go! Live your life. Get that food baby! Thank me later. You’re welcome!
If there’s something wrong with you and you don’t like tacos, we recommend the mole at Elvira’s. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce containing fruit, chili pepper, nuts, and spices like, black pepper, cinnamon, cumin, and chocolate. ¡ Delicioso! Call ahead to make a reservation, as this 25-year-strong restaurant is not listed on Open Table. The # is: (520) 499-2302, and they are located in the heart of Tucson at 256 E Congress St, Tucson, AZ 85701.
For my friends on the go, try the new Japanese restaurant, KuKai. You can find this cozy hot spot in the Mercado San Agustin Annex, located at 267 S. Avenida Del Convento STE 11 Tucson, Arizona 85701. This Annex Market is crafted out of metal, shipping containers and has the cutest shops, like Dust & Heritage and Avenue Boutique. Personally, we loved their Grilled Salmon Onigiri. Onigiri is a traditional rice ball with assorted fillings, wrapped in seaweed.
Need a quick coffee for the drive home? Run to Caffe Luce’s, which is right next door to Hotel Congress. They have an amazing, little upstairs view where you can see all of Congress Street below. Presta Coffee Roasters also has two locations in Tucson. We visited both because it was so good! Their Mercado San Agustin location fit the more social scene, and their 1stAve location was fitting for getting some extra work done or studying.
Ok, has anyone ever seen the movie, “Chocolat“? Well, this is your chance to be like Vianne and indulge in the beauty of chocolate work. Monsoon Chocolate prides itself as an ethic and sustainable bean-to-bar factory and cafe. We highly recommend their hot chocolate, and especially loved our miso and chocolate brownie and the Mezcal Caramel, a bon bon of soft caramel, infused with Mezcal Vago Espadin. This caramel treat is enrobed in Monsoon Chocolate’s 69% “Monsoon Blend” dark chocolate, which is made in house using cocoa beans from Ecuador, Madagascar, and Uganda. Run and find them at 234 E 22nd St, Tucson, AZ 85713.
El Güero Canelo
NOW HERE is the whole reason we initially wanted to visit Tucson! My husband wanted hot dogs for his birthday – authentic, Sonoran-style hot dogs. The man is easy to please. Feed him and he’s happy. Ricky and founder, owner, and operator of El Güero Canelo, Daniel Contreras, have lots in common seeing that they both grew up sleeping and breathing baseball. Born in Magdalena, Sonora, Contreras opened his first hot dog stand in Tucson in 1993. With high praise from The Food Network, you too can enjoy a loaded-up hot dog at any of The Güero Canelo’s 3 locations.
Who to See
All the folks at Gather Market, with their wide variety of home goods and antique picks, will make you wish you brought a trailer! Check their upcoming schedule HERE to enjoy the latest market fair!
This outdoor/indoor marketplace was home to some of the nicest vendors and shop-owners. I was so happy to run into my Instagram friends from Creative Tribe. (*If you are in the area, check out their upcoming creative workshops on learning how to use alcohol ink, and learning hand-lettering). Not only do the Mercado shop owners have really good food options, (again, Seis is a must-see, as mentioned above, and are home to the lovely ladies at La Estrella Bakery which have really yummy, homemade tortillas you can purchase and take home!), but they also house the cutest shops, like MAST, where you can buy, personalized leather wallets and jewelry. Check out the creative people at MAST for more of their lovely fashion finds and accessories.
Visit St. Xavier and his Spanish Colonial Catholic Mission at no charge. Construction of the church began in 1783, and was completed in 1797. The oldest intact European structure in Arizona, the church’s interior is filled with marvelous, 18thCentury original statuary and mural paintings. Museum hours are from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, daily.
How to Get There
A GPS is good, hehe. It should tell you to take the 1-10. If get to drive through Sacaton from wherever you are coming from, be sure to stop for pictures around the mountains. Agricultural fields and lovely wild flowers blooming near the road are worth a quick snap.
If anyone has any more Tucson favorite finds, please share below! Stay tuned for more fun guides around The Valley happening this summer. Check out other posts like THIS and THIS if you are looking for other yummy spots in Arizona.