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    I'm Sorry, But Tucson Is The Best City In Arizona And I Have Proof

    I bet Phoenix can't call itself a UNESCO City of Gastronomy...

    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 future trips.

    I hear a lot of chatter about Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Sedona, but I'd like to discuss the true unsung hero of Arizona: Tucson.

    I hereby present the argument that Tucson is *the* best Arizona city to visit by way of the below points. Argue in the comments if you must.

    a cactus

    1. First and foremost...take a gander at this random block. So quaint. So picturesque. It's Friday and I'm in love.

    a house

    2. The bar scene is awesome. For example: Drinks can be drunk from a pew at Owls Club, a former funeral home turned bar for folks who prefer gin with a ghost garnish (maybe).

    3. It's impossible to walk a five-block radius without seeing some sort of street art — it's everywhere and it's all stunning.

    the street art

    4. There's 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.

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

    the pastries

    6. Tours through the west side of Saguaro National Park are just a casual afternoon drive. Nothing special to see here... *sweats in sarcasm*

    7. And if you really love saguaro views? Then the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is heaven. This place is a zoo, botanical garden, aquarium, and art gallery plopped in the middle of 21 acres of desert.

    the zoo

    8. Neon is embraced and celebrated at Ignite Sign Art Museum, a kitschy refuge for historically significant (as the name would imply) signs. There's even a mini scavenger hunt for folks who value healthy competition over casual strolling.

    the scavenger hunt

    9. The Mexican food here = outstanding. The chorizo burrito and bacon taco at Seis are yum; be sure to wash it 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.

    10. Afternoons can be spent weaving in and out of the institutions lining Historic Fourth Avenue, which includes Antigone Books (oooo we love a #smallbookshop) and the Hut (a tiki-inspired lounge you enter through an Easter Island statue).

    11. There is no shortage of fantastic places to shop. A sampling of my favorites: Hurricane Records, Bon Boutique, St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, Tanline Printing, How Sweet It Was Vintage... The list goes on.

    12. The brewery scene is 🤯. Tucson is home to 12 craft breweries that pride themselves on unique recipes that infuse everything from cactus to Mexican spices. Every sip = an adventure.

    hand holding beer

    13. I usually hate pizza that isn't made in the five boroughs...but Anello is so. Damn. Good. It's loved by locals for its simple menu, which means that each churned-out pie will be nothing short of perfection. You'll also want to inhale the jam- and cheese-topped focaccia starter.

    14. There are award-winning spirits up for sampling at Hamilton Distillers, where one can swig some of its specialty: a hot whiskey infused with mesquite. This place is one of six in the nation that makes its own single malt!

    the whiskey in front of the whiskey barrels

    15. Once again, the art scene is brilliant. Peruse the masterfully curated Tucson Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of Indigenous, Latin American, and local Arizonian art...

    the inside of the museum

    16. ....and then dedicate time to the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun designed by Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia. It showcases over 15,000 pieces of original artwork that offer an intimate glimpse into the history and native cultures of the Southwest.

    the inside of the gallery

    17. Ice cream! Enjoy the handcrafted kind 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

    18. Mercado San Agustin and MSA Annex (both across the street from one another) are *chef's kiss*. 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

    19. Folks can 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

    20. The University of Arizona is home to a gem and mineral museum, which is a truly fascinating pit stop sure to inspire several "engagement ring stone costs" Google searches post-visit.

    the museum

    21. There are so many good brunch spots with unique menu offerings — Prep & Pastry included! 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

    TL;DR: Tucson is the best city in Arizona, as evident by the food, the art, the drinks, the shopping... I expect words of agreement in the comment section below.