The Tucson Area
The Tucson Area Travel Guide
One of the world’s largest telescopes sits atop Mount Hopkins. Amateur astronomers can check out the scaled-down models at the visitors’ center, 10 miles below.
Budding astronomers will like Kitt Peak National Observatory, about an hour out of Tucson, with the largest collection of optical research telescopes in the world (call about nighttime sky viewing).
The center consists of a gallery, music studios, crafts studios, and a community theater that recently staged the locally written production of Justa Café.
Seventeen acres of prickles and thorns mean heaven for succulent lovers at this nursery that stocks a vast selection of garden art.
Tour the stunning Mission San Xavier del Bac, also known as the White Dove of the Desert; it’s often cited as the finest intact example of Mission architecture in the Southwest.
Hike the sprawling preserve of mature saguaro stands (found only in the Sonoran Desert). Go to the west side to see petroglyphs left by the Hohokam Indians.
Jet-setters' way station
Family-oriented Mission Revival resort in the Santa Catalina foothills with over-the-top amenities, such as a 177-foot waterslide, and a celebrated 27-hole Jack Nicklaus golf course.
The two locations are good sources for warm-weather staples, including slouchy linen pants by Georgie and Warhol-print swimsuits by Diane von Furstenberg.
The University of Arizona’s Center for Creative Photography houses a blue-chip collection of more than 2,225 photographers, including Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, and W. Eugene Smith; it’s also got a great museum store.
Biking Tubac’s 13-mile-long Elephant Head Trail, which starts near the top of Madera Canyon, can be a little hair-raising (the steep pitch means you’ll pick up some serious speed).
The shop sells sinful slabs of homemade fudge (locals swear by the cookie-dough variety).
Guided tours at the Biosphere 2 give families an insider view into the world’s largest glass-enclosed environmental lab—with wilderness zones ranging from lower savanna to tropical, as well as a million-gallon “ocean” viewed from a 40-foot cliff.