The county seat of Pima County, Arizona, Tucson is one of the largest and most populous cities in the entire state, second only to the capital, Phoenix. Over half a million people call Tucson home, with another half a million living in the surrounding metropolitan area. The city, known commonly as Optics Valley and The Old Pueblo, has a rich history and is located just 60 miles away from the US-Mexico border. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Elevation of Tucson
3.Climate and Things to Do in Tucson
- Tucson, Photo: aceshot/stock.adobe.com
- Elevation of Tucson, Photo: jayyuan/stock.adobe.com
- Climate and Things to Do in Tucson, Photo: jayyuan/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of SeanPavonePhoto - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Tucson Museum of Art
Located in Tucson, Arizona, the Tucson Museum of Art encourages visitors to connect art to their daily lives. The El Presidio Historic District has been the home of various families including the Romero and Corbett families since the 1800s. In 1924 the Tucson Fine Arts Association founded a museum in the Kingan House, which is in the El Presidio Historic District.
Then, in 1954 the Tucson Fine Arts Association decided to rename the museum to the Tucson Art Center, AZ.
The association had expanded the museum’s educational programs, mission, and exhibits. So, it was fitting to change the name of the museum. In 1975 the museum’s trustees and board of directors decided to completely renovate the location of the museum, as well as change the name again. In that year, the historic properties of La Casa Cordova, Edward Nye Fish House, Romero House, J. Knox Corbett House, and Stevens/Duffield House were renovated to fit the expanding art collections of what became the Tucson Museum of Art. Today, the Tucson Museum of Art continues to expand in terms of building and art. The museum is fully committed to providing the public with an in-depth look at how art influences our daily lives.
The Tucson Museum of Art has a dense list of permanent attractions that range from rare pieces of literature to art from various regions in the world.
Rare Books and Manuscripts is divided among different time periods and types of literature, such as early books, pre-Columbian art and archaeology, and Mexican art. This attraction is home to some of the earliest research on pre-Columbian art and Native American art. The foundation and continuation of this attraction is mainly due to the generous donations from people such as Lee and Pam Parry, Frederick Pleasants, and Lotte Reyersbach.
Art of the American West explores how art represented various lifestyle factors of the American West, such as influential individuals, geography, and culture. One of the highlighted parts of this permanent attraction is the collection of Native American art.
Art of Latin America features pre-Columbian art that explores what life was like for Native Americans before the Spanish interfered. Some of the featured art pieces in this attraction are “Stela” and “Feline Head Fragment”.
Modern and Contemporary Art showcases art from the early 1970s to current day. This exhibit began when the Lawrence J. Heller Collection of European and American Modernists donated 92 pieces of art to the Tucson Museum of Art. Today, this exhibit features art from various renowned artists such as Arthur Dove, Max Weber, and Marino Marini.
Pre-Columbian Art displays approximately 600 objects that represent over 3,000 years of history in Mesoamerica, the Intermediate Area, and Central Andean region. One of the great things about this permanent attraction is that it is available online. So, if you don’t have the chance to visit the Tucson Museum of Art, simply explore this exhibit on the museum’s website.
Although the Tucson Museum of Art is home to an array of permanent attractions, the majority of the museum’s art displays are special attractions. Since special attractions are continuously interchanging at the Tucson Museum of Art, simply go to the museum’s website to view an updated list of special attractions. But, to give you an idea of the typical special attractions that the museum houses, here are a few of the current special attractions.
Education is extremely important to the Tucson Museum of Art. The museum has specialized in-depth tours that give visitors a chance to learn extensive knowledge about various exhibits. Visitors even have the chance of scheduling a one-on-one private tour, where a tour guide personally accompanies you throughout the museum. Other educational programs include an array of classes and an on-site research library. It is important to note that the research library is open on Tuesday to Thursday from 10 am to 3 pm, and the first Sunday of every month by appointment only.
140 N Main Ave, Tucson, AZ
Attraction Spotlight: Mission San Xavier del Bac
The Mission San Javier del Bac, known as White Dove of the Desert, is located just 9 miles south of downtown Tucson, Arizona on the San Xavier Indian Reservation. A National Historic Landmark, the Catholic mission was completed in 1797. The church is the oldest mission in Arizona, and the oldest European structure still intact. The Spanish colonial style building is considered by many to be the finest example of such architecture in the United States. Designed by the architect Ignacio Gaona, the low-fire clay and stone construction is unique in that the roof is constructed of brick vaults, as opposed to wooden crossbeams.
A wooden door of intricately carved mesquite opens into a remarkably ornate interior. Original paintings, frescoes, carvings and statuary remain. Recent renovations have restored the church nearly to its original splendor. Although little is known about the artwork, it is thought to have been commissioned by the Franciscans and crafted by artisans from Queretero in New Spain, now Mexico. Sculptures were crafted in Mexico then transported by donkey to the mission where they were decorated and painted once in place. Much of the artwork references Franciscan history and symbolism. A shell motif is repeated throughout, the shell a symbol of pilgrimage representing the Patron Saint of Spain. The traditional cathedral style floor plan symbolizes the cross. Smaller chapels exist at each end of the transept. A museum at the mission educates guests on the history of the site through artifacts and exhibits. Tours begin with a 20-minute video which tells the mission’s story.
History: The San Xavier Mission was founded in 1692 by the Jesuit missionary Father Eusebio Kino, at a time when Southern Arizona was still part of New Spain. The current building, however, was constructed by Franciscan Fathers Juan Bautista Llorenz and Juan Bautista Velderrain. The Franciscans were appointed by the Spanish king who had developed distrust for Jesuits in the Americas and banished them from service in the missions. Construction on the building began in 1783, with monies on loan from a Sonoran rancher. The Spanish Colonial style building was designed by architect Ignacio Gaona, and built with a large labor force of O'odham, the indigenous people of the area. The church was completed in 1797, long after the Jesuits had been expelled from New Spain. The church then operated as a Spanish Franciscan mission. In 1821 Mexican Independence rendered the Mission the property of Mexico. In 1837 the last Franciscan resident departed when Mexico expelled all Spanish-born priests.
The Mission became property of the United States, and the Diocese of Santa Fe in 1859, after the Gadsden Purchase of 1854. Regular services were held again in 1866 when an independent Tucson Diocese was formed and a priest was assigned to the church. In 1913, the Franciscans returned to the mission and today, the Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity live onsite in the adjacent convent and operate a small school on the campus. In 1978, the non-profit Patronato San Xavier was formed to oversee the continued conservation and restoration of the church. Extensive conservation work began, removing over-painting and protecting the church from water damage. Exterior conservation work began in 1999 to remove over-plastering and expose the historical brick. Since 1978, over $11 million has been raised by the non-profit, but conservation work continues and much more remains to be done. The site is on the World Monuments Fund’s watch-list of at-risk cultural heritage sites. Close to 200,000 visit the mission annually, thousands of whom are pilgrims who arrive by foot or on horseback to pray to the reclining statue of St. Francis.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The church continues to hold daily Catholic services and special holy event services and is active in ministering to the local Tohono O'odham community. The San Xavier Festival is an annual Easter festival in which members of the Tohono O’odham and Yaqui tribes participate in a candle-lit parade. 45-minute docent-led tours are offered daily for visitors. Docents are community volunteers well versed in the history of the mission, its architecture, and its cultural surroundings. A gift shop on site sells commemorative items as well as authentic Tohono O'odham crafts, including baskets woven on the reservation where the church is located.
What’s Nearby: The historic communities of Martinez Hill and Los Reales are located adjacent to the Mission San Xavier. Both were established in the mid-1800’s.
1950 W San Xavier Rd, Tucson, AZ 85746, Phone: 520-294-2624
Hotel Spotlight: Arizona Inn in Tucson
The Arizona Inn is located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona, but still maintains a resort-like setting so that guests can truly unwind, relax and enjoy superior resort amenities. The 92 elegant guest rooms are inspired by Southwest influence and décor and feature a casita-styling. Guests will enjoy the well-maintained, lush garden scenery and the dining options on-site. When staying at the Arizona Inn, guests have the luxury of staying on the property and enjoying the hideaway feeling or exploring into downtown Tucson since the action is steps away. The Inn is family owned and offers that charm and top quality customer service often found with family owned establishments. The Arizona Inn is an ideal destination for a family vacation, a romantic escape or to celebrate an important event or occasion.
Each suite at The Arizona Inn comes complete with free Wi-Fi and daily New York Times delivery right to the door. In the mini-fridge, guests will find complimentary water which is replenished every day. Guests have access to a DVD library and an iHome clock radio.
Standard Rooms are elegant and yet simple with a king size bed, bathrobes, a writing desk and views of the beautiful gardens. This is a perfect room for those on a budget or anyone who doesn’t need extras to be happy and comfortable.
Premium Rooms are more spacious than Standard Rooms, but still feature a king size bed and soft bathrobes. These rooms boast French doors which lead to a private patio offering tranquil views of the gardens and plenty of sunshine.
Deluxe Rooms are available for guests looking for more living space or different bedding configurations. They are offer either a king size bed or two queens, plus a comfortable sitting area to unwind after a day of exploring. The private patio is accessed through elegant French doors.
Standard Suites are great for guests travelling together and looking for some privacy. They feature a separate bedroom with a king size bed plus a sitting area with a queen size sofa bed. The sitting room is more spacious than the previous room categories, as well. The Standard Suites offer breathtaking views of the gardens and resort scenery.
Deluxe Suites are very similar to Standard Suites, with the exception of a private, serene patio with the opportunity to enjoy the Tucson sunshine and views of the manicured resort property.
House 6 is a private retreat within itself on the resort property. It boasts two bedrooms and two bathrooms. There is a full size kitchen to create and cook up meals or snacks, as well as a fireplace and two separate patios to lounge and relax. It feels like a home away from home.
The Breasted House is a stunning 1950’s house boasting over 6000 square feet of living space. There are eight bedrooms, perfect to accommodate large groups traveling together. There is both a living room and dining room which are elegantly appointed and feature the original 1950’s fixtures to add charm. The full size kitchen is great for preparing meals and snacks, while the adjacent breakfast room is a cozy spot to enjoy a light nibble. The house boasts a high walled garden for added privacy plus a private gated outdoor pool which is heated for chilly days. The master bedroom has its own outdoor patio plus a fireplace as well.
Guests at The Arizona Inn can enjoy a few different dining settings which each serve a delicious, fresh menu and offer guests a great selection.
The Main Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day as well as brunch on weekends. They offer a range of menu choices which are sure to please any palate. If guests are looking for a smaller meal, they can choose from sandwiches or burgers but then if guests wish to enjoy a full plated entrée, there are choices such as pork tenderloin and flat iron steak. They also offer Chef Allison’s Tasting Menu, which boasts three delicious courses featuring a dozen tasty creations. Wine pairings can be added to the chef’s menu if guests wish.
The Audubon Bar & Patio serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. They feature a live pianist each evening for guests’ entertainment. Soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers are a favorite at the Audubon, however delicious dinner entrees are also available. Guests can opt for Duck & Waffles, Braised Short Rib Pho, or even Chipotle Chicken Tacos.
If guests prefer an outdoor, laid back bite to eat, they can enjoy light fare options starting at 11:30 a.m. at the poolside. There are covered patio tables to sit and enjoy the fresh air while dining on smaller menu items.
The Audubon Bar & Patio is the perfect place for guests to unwind and enjoy a cocktail or beer. They are open until midnight daily with live piano music each evening and an extensive wine list featuring many international wines. If guests prefer a cocktail, there is a menu with many options including a Winter Cocktail menu featuring festive choices and hot alcoholic drinks. There are no reservations taken for the bar and patio, it is first come, first served.
For cocktails in the sun, there is the Poolside Bar with covered tables and lounge chairs surrounding the 60 foot heated outdoor pool, reserved for guests only. The hours of the Poolside Bar change seasonally.
While there isn’t an on-site spa facility at The Arizona Inn, because of the perfect proximity to downtown Tucson, there are many spa options available for guests to consider.
There are many golfing options for the golf-lover to indulge in while visiting The Arizona Inn. Tucson City Golf owns and operates five public golf courses which feature golf courses great for all skill levels. Along with great golf on well-manicured courses, there is dining available for anyone looking to enjoy a meal before or after their round of golf. The courses are El Rio, Fred Enke, Randolph Dell Urich, Randolph North and Silverbell and tee times can be reserved by calling ahead or online. Guests will find pricing very reasonable.
There are no specific family services or Kids Club at The Arizona Inn, however there are many great amenities which families will enjoy. First, families can lodge comfortably in one of the bigger suites or even houses on the property which offer multiple sleeping options plus plenty of space to stretch out. Since the houses come with kitchens, families can enjoy cooking their own meals as an alternative to eating out at restaurants for every meal. Secondly, most kids love a swimming pool and The Arizona Inn has their 60 foot heated pool which opens daily at 6 a.m. until midnight. There’s no chance of missing any swim time in this pool due to restrictive hours.
Families can take part in the many activities around the resort such as badminton, croquet and even borrowing bicycles to explore the surrounding area. If mom and dad need a break, kids can borrow a board game or two and settle down for a few hours of game playing.
One feature at The Arizona Inn which children (adults too!) will be most excited about is the Ice Cream Sundae Bar which is open April to October by the pool. Kids will delight in creating their own monstrous ice cream sundae.
Aside from the on-site fun, families will find many exciting attractions within a reasonable distance to The Arizona Inn such as the Pima Air and Space Museum, Sabino Canyon, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park.
The Arizona Inn is happy to host events such as weddings, reunions and also meetings or conferences for business purposes. There is 5000 square feet of meeting space which includes four meeting and banquet rooms.
For weddings, guests will find that the staff are ready and willing to make their wishes come true. There are packages available which cover a full range of services for weddings including cake-cutting, catering, venue choice, centerpieces and discounted room rates for wedding attendees. The staff are happy to provide couples with a preferred local vendor list so finding their needed services in the area will not be an added stress or chore. The colorful, scenic gardens on the property are a favorite amongst couples to hold their ceremony and make for lovely wedding photos as well. There are two venue choices for ceremonies and three venues for the reception, ranging in size from 2400 square feet to 995 square feet. Weddings of up to 150 guests can be accommodated at the Arizona Inn.
For menu options, the Inn’s chefs work hard to create culinary delights for all the wedding guests. There are pre-determined menus available or couples may wish to work directly with the chef to create a custom menu for their special day.
The 14 acres of lush, beautiful property is well-maintained and provides a fresh, natural environment for guests to enjoy. There are many species of flowers and plants grown throughout the property, many of which can be seen and enjoyed through the view from each of the rooms or suites.
At the Arizona Inn they pride themselves on providing guests with top notch customer services with an old world charm. Each afternoon, guests will find English tea being served complete with mini sandwiches and pastries. This is all part of the stay at The Arizona Inn. Also, complimentary morning coffee is served daily in the Library for a relaxing, comfortable start to the day.
The Arizona Inn is found on the National Register of Historic places, so it is a worthwhile stop for anyone interested in old architecture and original structures from the 1930’s. Much of the character and charm of days gone by can still be found at the Inn.
Back to: Romantic Arizona Vacations
2200 E Elm St, Tucson, AZ 85719, Phone: 800-933-1093