Local Information for Tucson, Arizona Home  Home::Menu
© Peter Loch, University of Arizona, 2010
Page Directory

  Steaks & Ribs
  American & Others
  Italian & Greek
Bars, Pubs & Cafés
Tucson Attractions
Travel & Transportation
Surrounding Attractions
Tucson Impressions Vaquero Many of the attractions in Tucson and its surroundings not only reflect on the Sonoran desert environment, the hispanic and Wild West heritage, but also the impact of mining, military, film making, high tech industries, and front line scientific research. Below you can find a few selected places of interest, restaurants, bars, and shopping opportunities in and around Tucson worth a visit, together with some useful information regarding travel and weather. More general information is available at tucsonattractions.com, for example.
    Tucson is located in the south eastern part of Arizona in the Sonora desert, about 70 miles (113 km) north of Mexico and 110 miles (177 km) south east of Phoenix, the capitol of Arizona. The city spans across about 195 square miles (505 km2), and is surrounded by four moutain ranges with the highest peak (Mount Lemmon) topping at about 9,157 feet (2,791 m). Tucson's elevation is about 2400 feet (732 m) above sea level, with a mild to hot desert climate. A full description of the city, its history, and environment can be found on WikipediA.

Restaurants Top  Directory
Chili Peppers Tucson is probably most famous for its selection of Mexican restaurants, most of which are rather inexpensive and offer good food. Among the other favorite foods out here are steak houses and a number of good Italian and Greek places. We collected a short list of favourite restaurants, which is naturally very subjective and not at all representative. Most restaurants in our list are inexpensive to moderately priced and family friendly - non requires formal attire, for example. In most cases reservations are not needed or even accepted. Please check linked webpages for more details, if available. Please be aware that dinner is served early in Tucson. Most restaurants will not seat you after 9:00pm, especially not on week day nights. More restaurants are listed in the following webpages:
  1. www.sourceguides.com
  2. www.azmetro.com
  3. iwtucson.com
  4. www.tucsonshowguide.com
Here are some of the restaurants in Tucson I like (categories Mexican, Steaks & Ribs, American & Others, Italian & Greek):
*  Mexican  *
The Original El Charro in downtown Tucson on 311 North Court Avenue
Eastside El Charro on 6310 East Broadway Blvd (SE corner of Broadway & Wilmot)
carne seca and magaritas

Leo's Mexican Restaurant on 5114 East Speedway Blvd, just east of Rosemont
inexpensive but good Mexican
*  Steaks & Ribs  *
Pinnacle Peak in Trail Dust Town on 6541 East Tanque Verde Road features a cowboy theme
cowboy steak in three sizes

El Corral on 2201 East River Road, east of Campbell
prime ribs
* American & Others *
Bread & Butter Cafe on 4231 East 22nd Street
classic home cooked and inexpensive American breakfast and lunch fare, cash only!

Blue Willow on 2616 North Campbell Avenue
American classics with some Southwest and international touch, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a very nice and historic setting
*  Italian & Greek  *
Caruso's on 434 North 4th Avenue
inexpensive Italian, open late

Dolce Vita on 7895 East Broadway Boulevard, just north West of the intersection at Pantano Road
Italian, owner from Milan

Fronimo's on 3242 East Speedway Boulevard (counter service)
Greek with great lemon rice

The Fat Greek on 994 E. University Blvd, at the corner of University and Park (counter service only)
The Fat Greek 2 at 3225 N. Swan Rd. Suite 105 north of the Ft Lowell intersection (counter service, full service restaurant after 5:00pm)
Great Greek food, the University location is one of our lunch time favorites

Weather Top  Directory
Tucson Weather
Tucson Forecast
Tucson Climate
[Temperatures in Tucson]
The weather in Tucson is usually mild in winter, with average lows around 35°F/2°C and average highs around 65°F/18°C. It can be hot in summer, when average lows around 75°F/24°C and average highs around 100°F/38°C are observed, with peaks around 110°F/44°C. The annual rainfall is small, with an average of about 12" (approximately 31 cm). More detailed temperature and rainfall information, including monthly day-by-day breakdowns, can be found here. A considerable amount of this rainfall occurs during the Monsoon season, which starts mid-June and can run through September. It is characterized by short evening rains, often in connection with thunderstorms. The rest of the rain falls in winter. Humidity can also be quite low in season, check the Tucson climate page for details.
Travel & Transportation Top  Directory
[Tucson International Airport]Tucson is easily reachable by air. Several major airlines and some low fare carriers serve Tucson International Airport with over 60 daily departures. Unfortunately there are no non-stop international connections presently, with the possible exception of some selected flights to Mexico.
[Phoenix SkyHarbor Airport]    At times there is a significant fare advantage by flying to Skyharbor Airport at Arizona's state capitol Phoenix rather than Tucson, and drive the about 1.5-2 hours southeast on US interstate I-10 to Tucson (for driving instructions from I-10 see below). There are also van services from Skyharbor to various drop-off locations in Tucson. The fare used to be about $40.00 one-way/$80.00 round trip. I have no experience with the available services; the one that comes up often is Arizona Shuttle, which features reservations through their webpages. The cost advantage is generally very seasonal, though, and I suggest to first check the rates directly into Tucson.
[SunTran]    The bigger hotels offer courtesy van service from and to the Tucson airport. Please check with your chosen accommodation about this. There are also public bus lines serving the airport, check the SunTran website for routes, schedules (lines 6 & 11 go to the airport), and fares. SunTran provides bus services all over Tucson and can be used for any local transportation need.
[Arizona Stagecoach]    Arizona StageCoach operates shared ride vans to and from the airport, which many people consider being much nicer than the taxicabs. They will drop you off anywhere in town. The fare depends on where you actually want to go, but it is generally reasonable. After arrival at the airport, you can ask for a ride at their counter near the baggage claim area. You can also schedule pick-up with them on their reservation webpage for your return to the airport. Please also check their webpage for all other contacts like phone and fax numbers, fares, and other arrangements.
    All major rental car companies rent vehicles out of Tucson airport, check this page for available companies. Some companies also have rental car stations in town, please check the webpages of your favorite company for more information.
[Interstate 10]    Tucson can be reached by car using US Interstate Highway 10 (I-10). I-10 is the southermost east-west, coast-to-coast highway in the US stretching about 2460 miles (3959 km) from Pacific Coast Highway 1 close to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California, to I-95 at Jacksonville, Florida, on the Atlantic Ocean. It enters Arizona about 23 miles (37 km) west of Lordsburg, New Mexico, and about 132 miles (212 km) east of Tucson. It passes through the southern and western parts of town. I-10 leaves Arizona about 261 miles (420 km) west of Tucson at Ehrenberg on the Colorado River, where it enters California.
Bars, Pubs & Cafés Top  Directory
4th AvenueIf you are looking for more pubs and bars, 4th Avenue is a good place for a night time stroll. It also hosts several restaurants ranging from cheap to moderately expensive, see here for a listing. This area is famous for its pub and bar scene, with live music on selected nights. On most weekends the area is served by a historic trolley which runs from the entrance of the University of Arizona on University Avenue through 4th Avenue to downtown.
Frog & Firkin'sOther pubs I like in the vicinity of the university are Frog & Firkin and Gentle Ben's (a micro-brewery) on University Avenue. Both serve a selection of good pub food, including some dishes with a Southwestern touch.
Gentle Ben's
Caffe MilanoTucson has some nice cafés with European style coffees and espressos. I like the Caffé Milano on West Congress Street in downtown Tucson, they serve imported Italian roasts. Closer to the University of Arizona is Espresso Art on University Avenue. It gets mixed reviews, but if you order your lattes and capuccinos strong you get a pretty good deal.

Tucson Attractions Top  Directory

Rattlesnakes The Tucson area features several attractions within no more than one or two hour drive from mid-town. I have tried to collect a short, non-exhaustive list of the more famous ones. Please remember to bring sun screen and/or a hat, sturdy shoes, and plenty of water, especially if you are going to visit wilderness areas or plan to spent lots of time outdoors. And please check the webpages for opening hours, entry fees, seasonal closures, construction, etc. This is particularly important for Arizona State Parks, some of which have been closed in Summer 2010.
Nature History Entertainment
[Nature] -----:::::||||
Sonora Desert Museum Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Coyote
[Arizona Desert Plant and Wildlife]
[Reid Park Zoo]   Reid Park Zoo
[Tucson Zoo]
Colossal Cave Colossal Cave
[Natural Cave]
Sabino Canyon Recreational Area Sabino Canyon Recreational Area
Saguaro National Monument Saguaro National Monument East & West
[Sonoran Desert]
[History] -----:::::||||
Arizona Historical Society Arizona Historical Society
[San Xavier Mission]
(follow the Tucson link on this page)
[Southeast Arizona/Tucson History]
San Xavier del Bac Mission San Xavier del Bac Mission
[Old Spanish Mission]
Arizona State Museum Arizona State Museum
[Arizona History]
Fort Lowell Museum Fort Lowell Museum
[Cavalry Fort Ruins & Museum]
Pima Air and Space Museum Pima Air & Space Museum
[Aviation Museum]
[Entertainment] -----:::::||||
Old Tucson Studios Old Tucson Studios
[Old Film Studio & Amusement Park]
[Rialto Theatre] Rialto Theatre
[Historic Concert Hall] [Music & Entertainment]
[Fox Theatre] Fox Theatre
[Historic Concert Hall & Cinema]
[Gaslight Theatre] Gaslight Theatre
[Concerts & Plays]
[Tucson Cinemas] Tucson Movie Showtimes & Cinemas
Shopping Top  Directory
Tucson features numerous shops, stores, and malls with the usual combination of department stores and speciality shops. The larger malls are:

Park Place on East Broadway Boulevard, just West of Wilmot Road [Park Place Mall]

Tucson Mall on North Oracle Road, just North of Wetmore [Tucson Mall]

El Con Mall on East Broadway, between Country Club Road to the east and Alvernon Way to the West; this mall was built on the site of the famous El Conquistador Hotel, which was demolished in 1968 to make room for the mall. [El Con Mall]
[El Conquistador]

Closer to the University of Arizona campus and downtown Tucson, 4th Avenue has a few interesting Southwestern souvenir and book stores, in addition to the pubs, cafes, and restaurants mentioned above.
Tucson Surroundings Top  Directory

[Mining shaft]More traces of Southeast Arizona's history can be found within only a few hours of driving from Tucson. Scroll through the list on the right to find some of the remarkable sights which can be visited. In most cases this means the attractions can be toured in a one day round trip from Tucson. Please consult Arizona state maps or internet resources for route planning. By the way, Arizona's probably most impressive sight, the Grand Canyon, is about 350 miles (564 km) from Tucson and that usually means a seven hour drive one way.
[Grand Canyon][Ruby, Arizona]
Cars are the only useful mean of transportation to reach most of the locations. Please be prepared for badly paved or even unpaved roads and very isolated areas. Always take sufficient amounts of water for drinking and cooling. And note and respect signs posting against trespassing. In particular, some the famous Arizona ghosttowns are private property and can only be visited after making arrangements with the owners - or not at all. This is particularly true for the famous Ruby, Arizona, one of the best preserved ghosttowns in the vicinity of Tucson. Please check here for contact information and restrictions.
    As always, please remember to bring sun screen and/or a hat, sturdy shoes, and plenty of water, especially if you are going to visit wilderness areas or plan to spent lots of time outdoors. And please check the webpages for opening hours, entry fees, seasonal closures, construction, etc. This is particularly important for Arizona State Parks, some of which have been closed in Summer 2010 (see up-to-date information about closures or restrictive opening hours on the Arizona Stateparks Webpage.
Apache Trail Apache Trail
(from Apache Junction on State Route 88 into the Superstition Wilderness, along the Salt River on the old Mesa-Roosevelt Road, then loop back past Tonto National Momument on State Route 188 and US 60)
[Scenic Drive]
Goldfield Ghost Town Goldfield Ghosttown
(on Apache Trail)
[Abandoned Gold Mining Town]
Gold and such
[Tortilla Flat Arizona] Tortilla Flat
(restaurant, bar, groceries, and curios on Apache Trail)
[Old Stage Stop]
Roosevelt Dam Roosevelt Dam & Roosevelt Lake
(north east end of Route 88)
[Large Brick Dam]

Going on Apache Trail from Tucson is a nice day trip. You can see the ghosttown of Goldfield and drive through the famous Superstition Mountain to Roosevelt Dam and even visit Tonto National Monument. The road between is to a good part unpaved between Tortilla Flat and Roosevelt Dam, but manageable by regular vehicles. The views are spectacular. On the way back you pass by Miami and Globe, two typical Arizona mining towns.

Casa Grande Ruins Casa Grande Ruins
(Coolidge, Arizona)
[Hohokam Big House Ruins]
Hohokam Petroglyphs
Tonto National Monument Tonto National Monument
(Roosevelt Lake, Arizona)
[Cliff Dwellings]
Tombstone Tombstone, Arizona
(Old Cochise County Courthouse, O.K. Corral, Big Nose Kate's Saloon, ...)
[Famous Ex-Mining Town]
Six Shooter
Bisbee Bisbee, Arizona
(Copper Queen Mine, Copper Queen Hotel, Brewery Gulch, Lavender Pit Mine, ...)
[Old Mining Town]
Fort Bowie Fort Bowie & Apache Pass
(near Bowie, Arizona - only accessible by hiking, three mile roundtrip from nearest parking)
[Old Cavalry Fort Ruins]
[Chiricahua Mountains] Chiricahua National Monument
(Chiricahua Mountains are south east of Willcox, on the intersection of State Route 186 and State Route 181)
[Impressive Mountain Landscapes]
[Cochise Stronghold] Cochise Stronghold
(Cochise Stronghold is in the Dragoon Mountains along US 191, between Benson and Willcox)
[Impressive Mountain Landscapes]
Tubac Tubac, Arizona
(Presidio ruins preserved as state park)
[Arts & crafts,old settlement]
[Tumacacori Mission] Tumacacori
(ruins of Spanish mission, a few miles south of Tubac - also check the Santa Cruz Chili & Spice Co. da little further south down the road)
[Mission Ruins]
[Kitt Peak Observatory] Kitt Peak Observatory
[Multiple Telescopes]
[Kitt Peak]
[Biosphere 2] Biosphere 2
(near Oracle, Arizona)
[Environmental Studies]
[Kartchner's Cavern Kartchner Caverns
(impressive cave only discovered in 1978 south of I-10 near Benson, Arizona)
[Living Cave]

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 12:52 MST (Arizona) by Webmaster