Tucson [Suggestions for activities]

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wahnfried
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Tucson [Suggestions for activities]

Post by wahnfried »

Dear fellow bogleheads
We’ll be for a week in Tucson , mainly to relax by the pool in a resort ( ritz Carlton at dove mountain) and enjoy the restaurant and the scenery.
Are there knowledgeable locals on this board with recommendations regarding activities , art and galleries?
Where should we go for stargazing ?
Grateful for your help!
Wahnfried
runner3081
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Re: Tucson

Post by runner3081 »

Off the top of my head:

Mt. Lemmon, Biosphere & Saguaro National Park.

There is an observatory on Mt. Lemmon as well: https://skycenter.arizona.edu/content/visit-skycenter (Too bad Kitt peak is still closed).
InMyDreams
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Re: Tucson

Post by InMyDreams »

Globalviewer58
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Re: Tucson

Post by Globalviewer58 »

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area for hiking
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tarnation
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Re: Tucson

Post by tarnation »

Mount Lemmon. We went late in the day near sunset. Cafe poca cosa get a pitcher of margarita. Air musuem.
Image
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22twain
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Re: Tucson

Post by 22twain »

Mission San Xavier del Bac (historic site)

Titan Missile Museum (decommissioned nuclear missile silo)

Bookmans (used books, magazines, movies, music)

(I'm not a "local" but I had family there from the 2000s to the mid 2010s so I've visited there a number of times.)
It's "Roth", not "ROTH". Senator William Roth was a person, not an acronym.
heyyou
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Re: Tucson

Post by heyyou »

This is another recommendation for the Sonora Desert Museum since the drive to it, is through the Saguaro National Monument west portion. The Museum is a zoo with those somewhat natural looking enclosures that prevent the animals from escaping, plus many other plant displays to help you learn about the desert. The feeding of raw chicken slivers to the flying family of Harris hawks, while you are standing six feet away, is a great show. Plan your visit around when that show is being offered. Jaguars are huge and heavily muscled, nothing like your cat at home.

The drive to the top of Mt. Lemmon has some amazing long distance views.
Playing in the stream water of Sabino Canyon would be more of a family recreation.

Look for a state highway to drive away from the city to see the stars at night, if the moon is not up until later in the evening. The moon rises 51 minutes later each day, if that will help with your planning.

Do a search because the Tucson activity question has been asked here, earlier this year.
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nisiprius
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Re: Tucson

Post by nisiprius »

Another vote for the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which we visited twice in a 2½-week vacation in May, 2019. Our visit was just magical but of course some of that is just luck. First time we've been in that part of the country.

I can't speak to pandemic conditions with regard to what's open or closed now, this is just from 2019 memory.

Saguaro National Park is in two widely-separated parts, west and east of Tucson, and we liked the western division better than the eastern division. The problem with the eastern division is that for whatever reason there was an event known as the "cactus blight" following a severe freeze in 1937 and the big stand that was the centerpiece of the park was severely affected. Not that there aren't plenty of saguaros there, but...

I tend to dislike "introductory videos" at national parks, and doubtless miss out as a result--"wasting" twenty minutes watching screen just feels wrong--but I would say that the one at Saguaro National Park is not to be missed.

The thing about the western part is that there are actually several adjacent protected areas: it's a national park next to a state park next to a city park or something like that. The drive from Tucson up Kinney Road to Saguaro National Park West and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Gilbert Ray campground is a scenic road with lots of generous pullouts and I would make time to enjoy that drive. We spent the first four days at a B&B literally on Kinney Road next to a significant chunk of desert with walking trails, so we were seeing cactuses from day one. The drive from where we were staying into Tucson, Gate's Pass, in addition to being a fairly efficient route is also spectacularly scenic.

We were just in a good mood so everything seemed magical but to mention some things others haven't mentioned yet, there are not one but two botanical gardens in Tucson: Tucson Botanical Gardens and "Tohono Chul," both wonderful and totally different from each other, I can't really say how, but if you like that sort of thing, visit both.

In every museum/park-type place keep your eyes open for sundials. As I might have expected but didn't, Arizona is a great place for sundials and a lot of places have cleverly-constructed sundials that have the equation of time build into their design, or have a handy chart engraved on them, and have been properly set up and oriented for semi-serious timekeeping. The result is that they indicate the time accurately to within a few minutes!

Our night observing session at Kitt Peak National Observatory, forty miles from Tucson, fell through--cloudy sky--as far as my wife was concerned that was good luck... but I found the daytime visit to be wonderful, we booked the full ticket that included three different guided tours--I mean, there is more than one telescope there. The big solar observatory has just gone out of service, superseded by the new one in Hawaii. I find it mindblowing how older observatories keep being upgraded with the use of new technology. If I understood it right, one of the Kitt Peak instruments now has some gadget involving five thousand little robotic arms that turn a single big telescope into the equivalent of five thousand little telescopes each individually directed at one particular galaxy. That will help them study dark energy... somehow.

Image

The all-but-forgotten Walt Disney nature movie, The Living Desert, had a lot of it filmed in Tucson and it was pretty neat to watch it after visiting. I am not into classic Westerns, and the movie filming area mostly burned down in 1995, but there is a tourist attraction we chose not to visit, the Old Tucson "theme park." If you had actually seen and loved the movies made there--Rio Bravo, Gunfight at the OK Corral,--it's possible you might want to visit. Anyway if you see the dot marked "Old Tucson" on the map, that's what it is.

As we gradually saw more and more saguaros I found them to have an almost mystical attraction. I noticed that they have an extraordinary variety of growth patterns and that the iconic picture of a saguaro--exactly two arms--

Image

is quite misleading. That particular configuration is not rare, but hardly typical. Eventually I began to "collect" saguaro images:

Image
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jkhayc
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Re: Tucson

Post by jkhayc »

wahnfried wrote: Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:50 pm Dear fellow bogleheads
We’ll be for a week in Tucson , mainly to relax by the pool in a resort ( ritz Carlton at dove mountain) and enjoy the restaurant and the scenery.
Are there knowledgeable locals on this board with recommendations regarding activities , art and galleries?
Where should we go for stargazing ?
Grateful for your help!
Wahnfried
A lot of great options have already been mentioned but I'll reiterate:

-The Desert Museum is FANTASTIC.

-Sky Center on Mt Lemmon is also fantastic, and WAY more tolerable (temperature wise) than the Tucson valley below (generally a 30 degree difference between the general Tucson area @ ~2600-3000ft and SkyCenter at 9000ft.

- Driving and exploring the many hiking trails on Mt Lemmon. Getting up above Middle Bear (approximately mile 11 or 12) puts you at a much more reasonable temperature, and their are PLENTY of trails to explore. Windy Point (mile 14) is the most popular. Summerhaven (the town near the top of the mountain) is worth a walk through, and Marshall Gulch trail is at the end of the road after passing through Summerhaven.

-The trails behind your resort on Dove Mountain are great, but they'll be hot past about 8:30-9:00am. This time of year is snake time, so be wary (same holds true on any trail in the desert in the summer).

- Sabino Canyon. Plenty of trails to choose from. Phoneline to Blackett's Ridge has an incredibly scenic peak. 7 falls is also great and less strenuous.

- Tumamoc (pronounced Tu-ah-moc btw) trail is an urban/paved trail near downtown Tucson that's actually really cool. Great views at the top, very popular at sunrise/sunset.

- The Pima Air & Space museum is definitely worth a visit.

- Food to try:

- Seis Kitchen there is a location at Mercado San Agustin and on River Rd, the Mercado is the "cooler" location and while there:
- Estrella Bakery - best donuts you will ever have (not fancy donuts, just straight up delicious donuts)
- El Charro (near downtown, it's popular and touristy but very good)
- Fiamme's (great pizza)
- Time Market (grocery but also great food)

Lived in Tucson from 2016 - 2019 before moving to Scottsdale. Tucson is definitely "rustic" but Oro Valley (where your resort is) is definitely the "Scottsdale of Tucson."
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Re: Tucson

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Old Town Tucson is an attraction/movie set where lots of westerns were filmed from John Wayne to Steve Martin.
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HueyLD
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Re: Tucson

Post by HueyLD »

+1 to Nisi’s comments.

On Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Old Tucson, the Western-themed attraction that was the filming location of more than 400 feature-films and TV shows, closed indefinitely, with its future to be determined by Pima County.

Jkhayc,

The Ritz resort is in Marana, not in Oro Valley.

P.s. The OP can take the hotel’s guided tour of the desert.
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WoodSpinner
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Re: Tucson

Post by WoodSpinner »

OP,

Lots of great advice ….

Here is one of my favorite restaurants, Mi Nidito, https://yelp.to/cqINT8EE4hb

Also wanted to add the Titan Missile Silo as a great place to visit, https://titanmissilemuseum.org/

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jkhayc
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Re: Tucson

Post by jkhayc »

HueyLD wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:42 am +1 to Nisi’s comments.

On Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Old Tucson, the Western-themed attraction that was the filming location of more than 400 feature-films and TV shows, closed indefinitely, with its future to be determined by Pima County.

Jkhayc,

The Ritz resort is in Marana, not in Oro Valley.

P.s. The OP can take the hotel’s guided tour of the desert.
It's a similar demographic and same feel, but I appreciate your pedantic attention to detail.
carolinaman
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Re: Tucson

Post by carolinaman »

I have been to Tucson a couple of times and agree with the many good suggestions posted. We had a conference there about 20 years ago and our group went to a ranch about 20 miles out of Tucson for dinner. We drove back after dark and it was amazing how dark it was and how bright the sky was with stars. I do not recall the name of the ranch but if you get the opportunity to get out in the desert at night away from Tucson, the sky is amazing on a clear night.
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HueyLD
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Re: Tucson’s

Post by HueyLD »

jkhayc wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:06 am
HueyLD wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:42 am +1 to Nisi’s comments.

On Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Old Tucson, the Western-themed attraction that was the filming location of more than 400 feature-films and TV shows, closed indefinitely, with its future to be determined by Pima County.

Jkhayc,

The Ritz resort is in Marana, not in Oro Valley.

P.s. The OP can take the hotel’s guided tour of the desert.
It's a similar demographic and same feel, but I appreciate your pedantic attention to detail.
My comment was never meant to be insulting or over attention to detail.

It is one thing I’ve learned from locals in Tucson that they do not like to be mis-identified because of competitive spirits among various towns in the area. Even the mayor of Marana corrected media identification of Ritz being in Tucson ILO Marana because it is very important for the town of Marana to have its own identity.

Anyway, the OP has received good advice and should have a good time. Bon Voyage!
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wahnfried
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Re: Tucson

Post by wahnfried »

fantastic advice , thank you so much to all of you!
looking forward to try the recommendations ..
Wahnfried
Simba313
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Re: Tucson

Post by Simba313 »

Titan Missile Museum in nearby Sahuarita. Actual missile silo from the Cold War era.
MJS
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Re: Tucson

Post by MJS »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:33 am ... but to mention some things others haven't mentioned yet, there are not one but two botanical gardens in Tucson: Tucson Botanical Gardens and "Tohono Chul," both wonderful and totally different from each other, I can't really say how, but if you like that sort of thing, visit both.
Both gardens have rotating art displays, but Tohono Chul's is substantially larger. Tohono Chul's cafe has good but light food, and has three shops: plants, crafts, and tchotchkes.

For art, the big three are DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, Madras Gallery, and Philabaum Glass Gallery. The Tucson Museum of Art is not equal to Phoenix's, but it does have a superb Mesoamerica collection and a fabulous cafe. The Ignite Sign Art Museum is fun!

Tucson's third garden, Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson (next to Tucson Botanical Garden) is closed during the summer. It is starkly beautiful.
PoppyA
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Re: Tucson [Suggestions for activities]

Post by PoppyA »

I second Cafe Poca Cosa for great, authentic Mexican food! Tucson Tamale Company for take out.

I am also a fan of Bookmans used book store, & Saguaro National Park (Western).

Davis Montham Airbase had a boneyard of airplanes that is a sight to behold!

I wanted to see the Biosphere for years, but was disappointed when I did. It seemed a little run down to me.
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dual
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Re: events that require unfreezing credit

Post by dual »

The San Xavier del bac mission south of town is well worth a visit. Seeing the spectacular white color as you approach is a beautiful sight. It is an active church but you can visit between services.
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22twain
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Re: Tucson

Post by 22twain »

nisiprius wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:33 am Eventually I began to "collect" saguaro images:

Image
This reminds me of the book Silly Saguaros, which I think I first saw when I visited Tucson for the first time as a kid in the 1960s.
It's "Roth", not "ROTH". Senator William Roth was a person, not an acronym.
dognose
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Re: Tucson [Suggestions for activities]

Post by dognose »

Several posters recommended Cafe Poca Cosa as a great restaurant in Tucson. For the record, Cafe Poca Cosa closed permanently in October 2020. Not to worry — there are a zillion other wonderful Mexican restaurants in Tucson. In fact, it’s hard to go wrong with Mexican restaurants in Tucson. Our favorites remain Mi Nidito, Poco & Mom’s, and the original El Charro Cafe (downtown). All of these restaurants offer outstanding Mexican food — but go early or you won’t get in.
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gatorking
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Re: Tucson [Suggestions for activities]

Post by gatorking »

Also take a trip to Sonoita/Elgin and Wilcox wineries.
https://www.sonoitaelginchamber.org/wineries
https://www.willcoxwines.com/

Some other suggestion here:
viewtopic.php?f=11&t=349516
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