Tucson, Arizona has long been a destination connected to the University of Arizona. The small-town atmosphere, where summer parties and Greek life abound, make it a city with loads of friendly faces and good cheer. Over the years, I have witnessed this historic city go from a predominantly college area to a destination rich in culture, food and memorable experiences. Among Tucson’s many charms are its local gems tussled throughout this colorful backdrop.
The Arizona Inn is a family owned and operated resort built in the 1930s. The casita-style rooms make this a unique spot charmed with traditional southwest details. In addition to award-winning dining, its lush surrounding gardens make this an ideal stay for a weekend, wedding, spa experience or night out for some great food.
Avenue Boutique is an exquisite collection of unique goods from clothing to home gadgets, all curated by its lovely owner, Alexis. She opened her doors six years ago and has made a name for herself within the Tucson community. Everything from the merchandising to the aroma of the store is perfectly displayed.
Bon Boutique is a mother-daughter owned shop offering a collection of the duo’s favorite goods. This enchanting space has a wonderful mixture of old and new, fun and silly. From the moment you step foot through the door, you feel as though you’ve been transported into a world of wonder, enlightenment, and creativity.
The Tucson Barrios have long been a favorite hidden gem of mine, pleasant areas to explore and feel inspired. With my father being a photographer, I remember the first time he took me to the barrios and I fell in love with the colors, enchantment, and sensations I felt in these neighborhoods. Throughout each Barrio Historico visitors will find original thick-walled adobe homes with richly textured and brightly painted exteriors.
The Saguaro National Park serves as bookends to Tucson, neighboring either side of the historic city. Native to the desert environment is the Saguaro cactus and these prickly friends go on for miles and miles. In the western district, you will come across many trails embodying petroglyphs from the ancient Hohokam people. In the eastern mountain terrain you will find a lovely “cactus forest drive” with winding roads and striking views of the landscape.
The Mission San Xavier Del Bac is a Catholic church that began its construction in 1783 and was open to the public in 1971. This historic space remains a nonprofit entity and is a true testament to the endurance of culture through giving. The school prides itself on developing tomorrow’s leaders. This is not only a space of worship for the religious but also a profound visit through architecture, solace, and inspiration.
By Ellyse Nichole // @ellysenichole