A well-rounded getaway in Tucson, Arizona.

By Travel & Leisure
August 31, 2012
Affordable Tucson
Credit: Bruce Griffin / Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau

Sublime Mexican food, historic attractions, and the scenic Saguaro forest make Tucson, Arizona worth the trip. It’s the state’s second largest metropolis, after Phoenix, but unlike that more urban-feeling city, it’s managed to control development and preserve much of its Mexican heritage. It’s a great base for excursions into the national park and offers world-class golf outings.

Hotel Congress

This refurbished 1919 hotel built for passengers of the Southern Pacific Line has basic rooms but an unbeatable downtown location. It even played a role in the 1934 capture of John Dillinger.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

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.

St. Mary's

Once you taste it, it’s difficult not to obsess over the house-made tres leches cake.

Mariscos Chihuahua

Sit at the counter for a beer and the spicy, lemony Seven Seafood Stew.

Saguaro National Park

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. Take in the landscape of green paloverde trees, purple cacti, and fuzzy teddy-bear cholla, not to mention cartoonish road-runners and piglike javelinas.