For those interested in culinary exploration, Tucson is a great place to try new flavors. The city is home to fantastic restaurants serving an array of mouthwatering delights. You will find a range of available options, from famous restaurants to undiscovered spots. There are dishes inspired by cuisines from around the world, including American, Ethiopian, Mexican, Southwestern and European flavors, as well as incredible cakes, pies, and other desserts. Here are the best romantic restaurants in Tucson, Arizona. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.El Charro Cafe

El Charro Cafe
© El Charro Cafe

El Charro Café is the oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant in the United States. The eatery is equally famous for its carne asada and other Mexican delights. The restaurant, originally established in 1922 by Tia Monica Flin, is run by the grandniece of its founder. Carlotta Flores is El Charro Café’s chef and the artist behind of all those delectable specials. The menu showcases traditional Northern Mexico-Sonoran cuisine with a twist, including vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

El Charro now has several locations in Tucson. You will find the original one in the heart of Tucson's historic El Presidio district. The restaurant is cozy and family oriented, where diners are surrounded by beautiful Mexican art and family memorabilia. The restaurant is very popular and can get crowded, but the food with its authentic flavors, make a visit to El Charro Café worth your time.

311 N. Court Ave. 520-622-1922; 6910 E. Sunrise, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-514-1922

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2.Augustin Kitchen

Augustin Kitchen
© Augustin Kitchen


Agustin Kitchen reopened its doors in December 2013 after undergoing extensive renovation and recruiting new management. It is quickly becoming a favorite in the popular downtown Tucson Mercado San Augustin neighborhood and is one of the best romantic restaurants in Tucson. The restaurant is spacious and well lit with an open kitchen and a mix of modern and industrial elements. An outdoor patio with charming, rustic tables overlooks the plaza.

The restaurant serves local produce, with a unique twist on modern Southwestern cuisine. The gluten-free takeout lunch sandwiches and burgers served on local brioche buns have proved to be a big hit.

100 South Avenida del Convento Suite #150, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-398-5382

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3.The Coronet

The Coronet
© The Coronet

The Coronet restaurant is a charming brasserie-style eatery which received an award from the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation after being meticulously restored. Chef Erika Bostick-Esham and head bartender Jesse Van Rijn Shaefer have collaborated to produce a tempting and original menu of traditional European cuisine.

The Coronet serves only sustainable meats and Monterey Aquarium approved fish. Organic produce is used whenever possible. The restaurant even has its own beehive. The large shady patio is a delight; add a well-stocked bar and music playing quietly in the background, and you’ve got the perfect atmosphere. The menu includes great options for vegetarians, vegans, and gluten-sensitive customers as well.

402 E 9th St, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-222-9889

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4.Falora

Falora
© Falora


Falora is a pizza lover’s delight located in Broadway Village. The restaurant has an enormous open wood-fired oven hand made by renowned Italian oven builder Stefano Ferrara. Measuring 1,000 square feet in size, the restaurant has been carefully and artfully restored around a beautiful, original brick wall. Another wall has been dedicated to storing pecan wood logs, the only wood used in the oven.

There is also a small outdoor patio for those who like to dine outside. Falora’s menu consists of Neapolitan pizzas and salads, with everything made to perfection. The pizza crust is thin, the toppings rich and flavorful, and all vegetables are locally grown. The old-fashioned record player plays music, setting the mood. Falora also has an excellent beer and wine selection.

3000 E Broadway Boulevard, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-325-9988

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5.Downtown Kitchen

Downtown Kitchen
© Downtown Kitchen


At Tucson’s Downtown Kitchen, you will see visitors of all ages enjoying the quirky décor and vivid colors of this modern restaurant, located in an imaginatively renovated 1907 building. The exposed brick wall is covered with original art, several tables are communal, and the bar takes up an entire wall.

Chef and owner Janos Wilder treats his guests to an eclectic mix of superbly prepared dishes from around the globe and freely mixes ingredients from different cuisines to come up with unique results. You cannot get more international than duck tagine with cauliflower, lemon, castelveltrano olives, Israeli couscous, dried apricots, sultanas, and mint. The beer and wine list is equally international, and daily happy hour always makes Downtown Kitchen to buzz with activity.

135 S 6th Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-623-7700

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6.Cafe a la C'Art

Cafe a la C'Art
© Cafe a la C'Art


Café a la C'Art is a family owned café and bakery located just off the patio at the Tucson Museum of Art. The glass display is filled with absolutely mouth-watering pies, cookies, layered cakes, and other delights. And that’s just the dessert!

The Café menu features hearty Southwestern fare that is imaginative, delicious, and surprisingly affordable. Café a la C’Art is open for breakfast and frequently offers live music concerts on the patio.

140 N. Main Ave., Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-628-8533

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7.Zemam's

Zemam's
© Zemam's

Zemam’s is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant serving exotic flavors. The restaurant was opened by Amanuel Gebremariam and his family in 1994 and was named after Amanuel’s mother who inspired the original Ethiopian recipes for the restaurant’s menu. The spices for the dishes are imported from Ethiopia and most of the produce is locally grown. Forks and knives are not required but are available on request.

Order a sampler to try a bit of everything and receive a true introduction to Ethiopian cuisine. You might also want to try Ethiopian spiced iced tea with your meal. Alternatively, you can bring in your own bottle of wine, and they will only charge a small uncorking fee. Zemam’s also has another new location on Speedway Blvd with a separate menu.

2731 E. Broadway Blvd, 520-323-9928; 119 E. Speedway Blvd, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-882-4955

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8.Tucson Tamale

Tucson Tamale
© Tucson Tamale

After you have your first experience Tucson Tamale, you will get to know tamales in a completely new light. Owner Todd Martin started his Tucson Tamale Company in 2008 and introduced Tucsonans to tamales that burst with a mix of vibrant flavors, some of which are traditional and others invented by him. Everything is made from scratch and the produce is picked up on the day it is cooked.

The chef uses organic corn to make the masa (dough), which is prepared fresh daily. Most of the ingredients used in the filling are organic. Tucson Tamale now has three locations. You can also buy their frozen tamales in many fine food stores.

7159 E Tanque Verde Rd., 520-298-8404; 2545 E Broadway Blvd., 520-305-4760; 7286 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-403-1888

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9.47 Scott

47 Scott
© 47 Scott

47 Scott is a neighborhood bistro serving great American comfort food, along with micro-brewed beers and a nice selection of wines and cocktails. The décor is modern and streamlined. You can sit in a booth, out on the large outdoor patio or at the bar. Order dishes like steak and fries, mac and cheese, and onion soup.

They have it all, and the dishes taste better than the ones your mom used to make. If grilled cheese is on your mind, you can get that too, with three different cheeses. The menu changes with the seasons.

47 N Scott Ave., Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-624-4747

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10.Flying-V Bar & Grill

Flying-V Bar & Grill
© Flying-V Bar & Grill

The Flying-V Bar & Grill serves a fresh and exciting take on traditional Southwestern dishes as well as 70 different tequilas. This rustic but luxurious restaurant is located in the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Sit by the romantic fireplace or on the patio with a magnificent view of the gardens.

Executive Chef Ken Harvey prepares delicious classics, including Baby Back Ribs with Chili and Charred BBQ Sauce or Veal Porterhouse. His methods will turn your meal into a unique and memorable dining experience. The Flying-V Bar & Grill has their own guacamolierre, who uses the freshest ingredients to make the perfect tableside guacamole. In addition to Tequila, the extensive wine list provides numerous options for you to enjoy with your meal.

7000 N. Resort Drive, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-299-2020

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11.Azul Restaurant & Lounge

Azul Restaurant & Lounge
© Azul Restaurant & Lounge

Located in the Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, Azul Restaurant & Lounge is an upscale eatery with spectacular views of the Catalina Mountains. The restaurant serves a fresh, modern take on traditional Southwestern cuisine prepared by Executive Chef Russell Michel who has 30 years of experience. The chef serves farm-to-fork dishes using only the freshest locally grown produce.

Azul’s Sunday brunches are a special treat and not to be missed if you are in the area. The lemon ricotta pancakes served at the Sunrise Buffet are fantastic. Bring the kids – children under 6 eat for free. Reservations are recommended.

The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa, 3800 East Sunrise Drive, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-742-6000

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12.Cafe Poca Cosas

Cafe Poca Cosas
© Cafe Poca Cosas

Café Poca Cosas is a chic yet casual locale serving tasty Mexican cuisine. This attractive urban bistro has a very modern feel with a refined interior design. Chef Susana Davila prepared delicious Mexican food, taking traditional flavors to the next level with handpicked fresh ingredients cooked with passion and flair. The menu changes two times a day, and you never know what delightful surprise awaits you when a waiter presents you with the handwritten chalk board. The Café is very popular and reservations are highly recommended.

110 East Pennington, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-622-6400

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13.The Tasteful Kitchen

The Tasteful Kitchen
© The Tasteful Kitchen

The Tasteful Kitchen is a vegetarian restaurant serving fresh local produce, minimally prepared and cooked, allowing the natural flavors to really pop and combine. The restaurant is located in an old adobe building that has been transformed into a colorful art gallery for local artists.

Vivid colors are found everywhere, from the walls and the paintings to the food on the plates which will make your mouth water. Farm-to-table dishes are imaginative and wonderfully presented. In fact, many carnivores might forget that there is no meat involved! The restaurant offers cooking demos and once a week meal pickup service.

722 N. Stone Ave., Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-250-9600

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14.Renee's Organic Oven

Renee's Organic Oven
© Renee's Organic Oven

Renee's Organic Oven is a very unique pizza place. Everything here is organic, from olive oil and beans to the flour and eggs. Even drinks like coffee and wine are organic. The beef is grain-fed and the chicken is free range. Unique pizza options include gluten-free and vegan.

For the more adventurous, there is a pizza with cashews and Thai sauce. Chef Renee Kreager offers a selection of tasty salads and desserts as well. The philosophy of the restaurant is summarized on the wall: “Eat well, feel good.” It is easy to feel good at Renee's Organic Oven, a cozy, cool place with adobe-colored walls and a lot of dark wood, where the most delicious smells of garlic, cheese, and tomatoes greet you when you walk in.

7065 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-886-0484

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15.Beyond Bread

Beyond Bread
© Beyond Bread


Beyond Bread is a must-try for bread lovers, offering 30 different types of artisanal breads, 30 kinds of pies, pastries and sandwiches. This popular bakery first opened its doors in 1998 and has three locations in Tucson. Everything is made from scratch using the freshest ingredients possible. In addition to great bread, they now also make sandwiches, salads, soups and pastries.

3026 N. Campbell Ave., 520-322-9965; 421 W. Ina Rd., 520-461-1111; 6260 E. Speedway Blvd., Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-747-7477

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15 Perfect Romantic Restaurants in Tucson, AZ



Attraction Spotlight: Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson embraces the mission of inspiring new ways of thinking. Through the exhibition and interpretation of contemporary art guests are encouraged to ponder art’s place within the community and the interaction between the two.

The museum is dedicated to showing work from artists working in Tucson, and dedicated to educating Tucson residents about the work of artists from around the world. The museum does not keep a permanent collection, but curates exhibits of loaned work and acts as host to traveling exhibits.

History: MOCA Tucson was founded in 1996 by three artists; James Graham, Julia Latane and David Wright. Their goal was to create a space where contemporary art in Tucson could be enjoyed outside of a commercial gallery space. On a limited budget, the three began curating shows in 2003 under the direction of Anne-Marie Russell, an art historian and scholar. Russell mounts exhibits purposefully devoid of the traditional explanatory text placed on the wall, and instead creates maps which visitors can carry with them through the exhibits, allowing the work to speak for itself. Additional reading and materials are available in a separate space. The museum’s original home was an old state-owned warehouse on Tucson’s Toole Avenue. Shows quickly rose in quality and began to garner worldwide attention. In 2010, the museum relocated to a renovated downtown fire station on South Church Avenue. The opening gala at the new space featured a tribute to the Tucson based painter Olivier Mosset with the “Made in Tucson/Born in Tucson/Live in Tucson" exhibit. Over 300 guests attended. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords addressed the crowd, as well as a representative from the media corporation, Cox, who committed to sponsoring the new institution and funding the build of a surrounding plaza. In 2017, Ginger Shulick Porcella was named executive director and will take on the board’s goal of doubling the museum’s budget to $1.2 million by 2020. Porcella will also be active in the role of curator.

Ongoing Programs and Education: MOCA Satellite is a traveling program that brings themes from current exhibits to the classrooms of underserved rural communities. Teaching artists facilitate creative activities that integrate with the school curriculum, including science, math and English studies. Young Fauves is a free after-school art program that takes place at the museum. Children ages 8-11 participate in a collaborative project with a local artist, which draws inspiration from the museum’s current exhibits. MOCA Minor Mutiny is a once-weekly free program for high school students. Minor Mutiny offers an unstructured lounge environment in which students can hang out, create art, or get homework help under the guidance of a local artist and mentor. Programs for adults include Yoga at MOCA, a once-weekly yoga class which meets evenings in the gallery. Free outdoor film screenings take place once monthly during warm weather months. Past movies have included Pollock, Frida and Waste Land. The MOCA Local Genius Awards have been awarded since 2009 and are celebrated with an annual gala at the museum. The awards honor local Tucson residents who have been recognized nationally or international for their visionary talents. The museum recently reopened their Artist in Residency program. Artists may apply for a room and studio space at the museum for a period of 3 weeks to 3 months. Work created during the artists’ residencies will be shown each January.

Past and Future Exhibits: Some of the most well known international artists who have shown at MOCA Tucson have included Takashi Murakami, Raymond Pettibon and Olivier Mosset. The inaugural exhibition at the new facility, “Made in Tucson/Born in Tucson/Live in Tucson” included a Part 1 and a Part 2 of artists currently working in Tucson or with connections to the area. Other past exhibits have included “Floating Muse,” a collection of videos, drawings, paintings and photographs by German and Brazilian artist Janaina Tschape, who uses the female body as her inspiration. The museum showed a mid-career survey of the work of New York artist Max Estenger with paintings and sculptures from 1991 through 2016. Estenger’s work uses a language of his creation, which aims to be systematic and free from dogma. “If You Stay Busy You Have No Time to be Unhappy” was a group exhibit that coincided with the museum’s 20th anniversary. The works of over 80 artists were included, showcasing a wide variety of media, sculpture, drawing and painting. Each artist’s work spoke to the importance of the intersection of art, life and community.

265 South Church Avenue, Tucson, AZ, 85701, Phone: 520-624-5019

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Hotel Spotlight: Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort is a nationally recognized, desert resort located in Tucson, Arizona. From colorful desert botanicals to luxurious hotel amenities, guests will experience the perfect balance between Southwestern comfort and desert adventure at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort.

There are six different lodging configurations visitors can choose from each with its own style and Spanish name. The distinctive characteristics and amenities of each of these rooms and suites are described below.

In each of the Catalina Rooms guests can choose between a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. The approximate square footage of the Catalina Room is 550 sq. ft. Wood floors and a private patio allow guests to enjoy the mountain and city views below. Other characteristics include ten-foot-high ceilings, handmade furniture, and Talavera tile.

Each of the Historic Rooms has its own style and layout. It is one of the most popular rooms at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort. The Historic Rooms surround the courtyard that is full of colorful landscaping and desert botanicals. There is one queen-size bed in each Historic Room and the room accommodates up to two people.

The Hacienda Room – These rooms are known for its handmade wood furniture, and surrounding desert views. Guest can choose between a room with one king-size bed or two queen-size beds. The Hacienda Room is approximately 400 sq. ft.

The Deluxe Hacienda Room – These rooms are like the more basic Hacienda Rooms with a few added amenities. Guests can choose between a king-size bed or two queen-size beds. Square footage ranges from 265-700 sq. ft. The Deluxe Hacienda Room includes a patio with panoramic views of the desert landscape.

Guests can also choose to stay in a suite. Each suite is distinct in its configuration. All suites have a separate living area and a bedroom with a king-size bed. Some suites include a private patio or fireplace. Square footage can range from 700-1000 sq. ft.

Casita – These rooms are a higher-end, more inclusive suite for guests. Amenities include a master suite with king-size bed, kitchenette, fireplace, and private patio. Casita is approximately 1100 sq. ft.

The Tracy-Hepburn Casita Grande – This room was named after celebrities Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. Hepburn and Tracy used to lodge in the Casita Grande. They used this desert suite to escape from the celebrity spotlight. The Tracy-Hepburn Casita Grande has two bedrooms. The first bedroom has a king-size bed and the second has two queen-size beds. The furniture, like other rooms and suits in the Resort, is all handcrafted. There are also two patios, a kitchenette and fireplace. The Casita Grande is known for the privacy it provides its guests. It is also approximately 2000 sq. ft.

The Catalina Suite – This luxurious suite was named for its views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Amenities include private adjoining patios, bedroom with a king-size bed, queen sofa sleeper, two full bathrooms and hand made wood furniture. The Catalina Suite is approximately 1100 sq. ft.

Signature, sweet food amenities are made to order. Guests can order these signature treats before arrival and have them waiting in their room upon arrival. Examples of the edible amenities include topping-filled, specialty popcorn, cheese plates, Hacienda strawberries, gourmet caramel apples, Saguaro sugar cookies and Saguaro sandwich cookies.

The spa treatments are unique in that they are done within the privacy of the guest’s own room, suite, or patio. The quality products used by the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort are from the Eminence of Hungary Organic Skin Care product line. Spa treatments include massages, skin care and spa packages.

Horseback riding is available year-round to guests and locals. Hacienda Del Sol’s stables offers rides throughout Tucson’s desert landscape. Private lessons are also an option. Hacienda Del Sol offers a variety of different rides:

-1 hours

-90 minutes

-cross country

-sunset

-lead line

The Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort has an outdoor pool in which guests can relax while looking up at the Santa Catalina Mountains. There is also a fire pit near the pool , located just beyond the Terraza restaurant. Food and drinks can also be served poolside.

The Botanical Gardens is another distinguishable feature of Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort. The Garden is always open to guests. There are a variety of desert flowers, sculptures, fountains, and painted garden décor.

The Fitness Center is available to guests 24 hours. The center has cardio machines, flat screen televisions, towels, and water for its guests.

The Grill and Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge are the two dining options available at the Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort. Guests can choose to dine in a more formal, elegant venue, such as the dining room in The Grill. They can also choose a more casual outdoor patio dining experience. The cuisine served at both restaurants at the Resort has received awards and national recognition.

The Grill – This in-house restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner to both guests of the Resort and locals. The large windows provide an amazing view of the lush desert landscape for patrons of the diner. Ingredients used at The Grill come from the Resort’s organic gardens and local growers. For 19 consecutive years, The Grill’s selection of over 700 wines has made the restaurant distinguishable throughout the country. Live guitar music creates a relaxed environment. Every Sunday the restaurant offers an award-winning brunch buffet. Sliced Prime Rib, Eggs Benedict, Waffles and Omelets are just a few of the popular dishes served each Sunday.

Terraza Garden Patio & Lounge – This patio diner is known for its outdoor, neighbor-style patio where patrons may enjoy their food “al fresco”. Guests particularly enjoy the specialty drinks along with the appetizers, salads, and sandwiches.

5501 N. Hacienda del Sol Road, Tucson, Arizona, 85718, Phone: 520-299-1501

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Hotel Spotlight: White Stallion Ranch in Tucson

Tucked away on 3,000 acres of lush Sonoran desert bordering Saguaro National Park, the White Stallion Ranch offers an authentic Southwestern Dude Ranch experience. Family-owned and operate, the White Stallion Ranch is a traditional Dude Ranch that offers comfortable ranch-style accommodations, authentic southwestern cuisine, and friendly, personalized hospitality. Originally built in the 1900s, the White Stallion Ranch began as a cattle ranch and changed hands several times before being sold to a couple from Colorado who turned it into the welcoming Dude Ranch it is today.

The ranch is home to more than 150 horses and 100 head of cattle and offers an array of activities and adventures for all ages, including horseback riding and hiking through the unique, beautiful scenery of the rocky mountain trails and desert flats, breakfast, cheese and wine rides, and pampering massages. Other facilities at the ranch include a fully equipped fitness center with a sauna, indoor redwood hot tub and heated swimming pool, an in-house movie theater, and art classes, star-gazing, line dancing and singing songs around the bonfire.

The White Stallion Ranch is conveniently located just 40 minutes from Tucson International Airport and a few hours from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

The White Stallion Ranch offers a variety of accommodations in the form of beautiful western-themed casitas, luxury suites, and a fully-equipped four-bedroom, three bathroom hacienda for large families. The ranch has 43 spacious and charming, well-appointed guest rooms with private patios and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains, corrals, and desert flats. Generous living spaces adorned with wooden furniture feature king, queen or twin beds with deluxe linens, en-suite bathrooms with granite vanities, walk-in showers, soaking tubs, fresh towels, bathrobes, and eco-friendly toiletries. Modern amenities include air-conditioning, mini-refrigerators, in-room safes, hairdryers, Apple iHome alarm clocks, and complimentary wireless Internet.

The Hacienda is a four-bedroom retreat that is perfect for large families and small groups of friends. Designed and decorated to be a comfortable home-away-from-home, the Spanish-style hacienda features four spacious bedrooms with one king master en-suite bedroom and three king or twin bedrooms with two shared bathrooms, including one children’s room with a bunk bed. The hacienda has an open plan living space with a working beehive fireplace and comfortable sofas and armchairs, a separate dining room for up to 10 guests, a fully equipped kitchen, and a laundry room.

The White Stallion Ranch provides healthy and hearty meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and caters to all dietary requirements. The day begins with a delicious continental buffet and cooked-to-order breakfast, followed by a lunch of salads, sides and two entrées. Freshly baked cookies and fresh fruit are available throughout the day for those who need a snack, while lavish buffet dinners consist of meats and vegetables prepared on the outdoor grill, freshly prepared salads, sides, other entrées and delicious desserts. Thursdays are traditional steak night, and Saturdays offer a signature Indian Oven dinner, while other culinary experiences include ‘Cheese and Wine Ride.’

In addition to cozy guest rooms and suites, the ranch offers an array of amenities and facilities, including a fully-equipped fitness center with a sauna, indoor redwood hot tub and heated swimming pool, an in-house 27-seat movie theater, and art classes, star-gazing, line dancing and singing songs around the bonfire. The ranch has an executive business center with computers, printing and faxing services and complimentary wireless Internet. The Rearing Horse gift shop sells a range of unique Southwestern gifts, riding gear, ranch logo wear, and useful travel items. A variety of riding gear such as cowboy hats, boots, helmets and saddle bags are available for guests to use.

Activities and adventures for all ages include horseback riding and hiking through the unique, beautiful scenery of the rocky mountain trails and desert flats, weekly exhibition rodeos, breakfast, cheese and wine rides, and pampering massages. Other outdoor activities include climbing, tennis, wagon rides, bird-watching, and water-based activities, while indoor games include badminton, shuffleboard, air hockey, foosball, billiards, and paddle tennis.

The White Stallion Ranch offers corporate retreats for groups of 50-75 guests with modern venues, such as the 2,600 square foot space of The Longhorn Room, various private dining rooms, and exciting outdoor venues.

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9251 W. Twin Peaks Road, Tucson, Arizona, Phone: 520-297-0252

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