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    Presenting Your Full Weekend Itinerary For Tucson, Arizona

    All you really need to know: You can drink cocktails inside a former morgue.

    The coronavirus pandemic is still impacting travel, and destinations around the world have different COVID-19 restrictions in place. Always check and adhere to local government policies as you're planning any future trips.

    Tucson, Arizona — a city of detailed murals, quaint shops, morgues-turned-bars, and oh yea, it's also a UNESCO City of Gastronomy due to its high volume of amazing food. To say your visit is long overdue would be the understatement of a century.

    a cactus
    illustrated graphic

    The Downtown Clifton is an authentically Tucson property that feels more like home than it does a hotel, cc: curated artwork and decor that feels cool without being pretentious. My room contained a cozy reading nook (vintage paperbacks provided) and a floor-to-ceiling window, ideal for midnight thunderstorm gazing.

    illustrated graphic with text "what to do"

    Drive through the west side of Saguaro National Park if you, like me, grew up in an overpopulated city and are terrified of winding roads. This scenic loop is an easy half-hour ride, there are pull-in spots so you can stop and gawk, and the views are breathtaking.

    Stroll through Mercado San Agustin and MSA Annex (both across the street from one another). They're sprawling open markets that have a bit of everything: food, coffee, dessert, and local shops you can spend an entire afternoon exploring.

    the market

    Take a pew at Owls Club, a former funeral home turned bar for folks who prefer gin with a ghost garnish (maybe). Speakeasy vibes + delicious cocktails + a slice of Halloween every night = the perfect spot, and that's not up for debate.

    Tour Hamilton Distillers, one of six in the nation that make their own single malt. Samples of their award-winning spirits are also on the table, so you’ll have to swig some of their specialty: a hot whiskey infused with mesquite.

    the whiskey in front of the whiskey barrels

    Weave in and out of the institutions lining historic Fourth Avenue, which include Antigone Books (oooo we love a #smallbookshop) and The Hut (a Tiki-inspired lounge you enter through an Easter Island statue).

    Dedicate an afternoon to the masterfully curated Tucson Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of indigenous, Latin American, and local Arizonian art. The space itself is also airy and open, a lovely reprieve from all that dry heat.

    the inside of the museum

    ....and the museums don't end there. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, designed by Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, showcases over 15,000 pieces of original artwork that offers an intimate glimpse into the history and native cultures of the Southwest.

    the inside of the gallery

    Drive south of Downtown to San Xavier del Bac Mission, a stunning church and national historic landmark built in 1797 — the ornate details inside are enhanced by the barren desert backdrop on the outside.

    Other honorable "what to do in Tucson" mentions: Ignite Sign Art Museum, St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, Bon Boutique, Time Market, Sabino Canyon, Tanline Printing, and 5 Points Market and Cafe.

    hand holding paper in front of sign museum
    illustrated graphic with text "what to eat"

    Inhale pastries at the family-owned La Estrella Bakery. This local biz has been around since 1986, is beloved by the community for their fresh ginger ~pigs~ (El Cochito) and sweet bread (La Concha), and best of all: the spread below cost less than $6.

    the pastries

    It would be a sin not to dine at Seis. Dramatic? Perhaps, but true nonetheless. Mouthwatering menu items include chorizo burritos and bacon tacos, which you'll want to wash down with a fresh agua fresca (watermelon cucumber was my fave) *and* a house-made horchata. I say and because you have to guzzle down both.

    Cool down with a raspado! This iconic Mexican snow cone consists of shaved ice and is often combined with condensed milk and ice cream. If your main personality trait is "indecisive," then follow my flavor recommendation: peach.

    the peach raspado

    Anello is adored by locals for mastering the most divine of food groups: pizza. Their menu is simple, which means that each churned-out margherita pie will be nothing short of perfection. You'll also want to inhale the jam-and-cheese topped focaccia starter.

    Brunch it up at Prep & Pastry for unique twists on classic dishes. Their PB&J toast, for example, combines peanut butter ricotta fluff, strawberry jam, blueberry preserves, cinnamon, sugar, and Japanese milk bread.

    the peanut butter and jelly toast

    Tito & Pep serves up a delicious dinner menu in which you will, justifiably, want to order two of everything: turmeric-ginger fried cauliflower, steak skewers, mesquite grilled porkchop, and a rosemary and orange olive oil cake that proves one should never pass on dessert.

    Enjoy handcrafted ice cream at The Screamery. Delicious flavors include Rough At Sea (sea salt base, honey-butterscotch swirl, candied pecans, almonds, and pistachios) and Sweet Sonoran Desert (honey ice cream with peanut butter swirl and homemade toffee), plus you can get a ~flight~ to sample six flavors in one swoop.

    the ice cream

    And with that, I bid you adieu — time to pack up your entire wardrobe and head on over to Tucson, Arizona, for the ideal weekend getaway. Have any more suggestions? Drop 'em in the comments below.