Your Guide to Downtown Tucson
Perhaps above all other southwestern metropolitan cities, downtown Tucson is a history buff’s dream. Known for being one of the oldest locations in the country in regard to continuous inhabitance, Tucson boasts over 4,000 years of cultural prosperity. The story of its origin, as recounted on the city’s website, reveals that, “Hohokam Indians lived and farmed [there] for 4,000 years before Spanish missionaries and soldiers arrived in the late 1600s and eventually established the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson and the Mission San Xavier del Bac, the two most iconic and historic structures in the region.” Downtown Tucson receded from Mexico to become part of the United States in the 1800s, shortly before cowboys, Apache Indians, and miners became synonymous with the territory.
Whether you have a weekend to spare or are a lifelong resident of The Old Pueblo, there are hundreds of things to see and do. Downtown Tucson is home to some of the best restaurants, galleries, and music venues Arizona has to offer along with dozens of museums and art shows. Here are some of the highlights:
Music Lovers | The Rialto Theatre (318 E. Congress St) not only hosts musicians from the widely spanning genres of electronic, rock, and hip hop to name a few, it’s just across the street from the Hotel Congress. This sister structure also showcases live music and provides lodgingfor out-of-towners and locals who desire a vintage-style staycation. Stay late for a post-show cocktail or a glimpse at one of the ghastly spirits said to wander the halls.
Right Brainers | With an abundance of art galleries in downtown Tucson, it’s easier to peruse the complete list online and then map out a personal art walk that caters to your party’s creative preferences. The galleries feature everything from glass blown art to sculptures, contemporary collaborations to fresh, hip photography.
Foodies | Both locally-owned and historically-housed, Diablo Burger (312 E. Congress St) serves up hormone-free beef patties topped with local ingredients. Try the no-nonsense Monk burger or The Cheech—the self-proclaimed “pride of the barrio” packed with pepper jack, guacamole, and jalapenos. As an added bonus, they even offer a veggie burger and a generous selection of local brews.
History Fans | Visit the Arizona History Museum (949 E. 2nd St) which currently features the Geronimo and Silverbell Artifacts exhibits along with interactive exhibits for kids. If that doesn’t satiate your need for local history facts, head over to the Downtown History Museum and Gift Shop (140 N. Stone Ave) to see early representations of homes and businesses such as barbershops, drugstores, and fire departments.
They say only the boring get bored. Well, such may be the case for anyone denying downtown Tucson’s contribution to entertainment, art, and delicious cuisine. Additionally, at the start of every year, Tucson is home to one of the largest international gem and mineral shows in operation today. With a little something for everyone, Tucson delivers both authenticity and fun. Plan your next outing by visiting www.uniquelytucson.com or www.visittucson.org.
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