The Sonoran Desert City of Tucson, Ariz., resides on a plain that’s about 2,600 feet above sea level and ringed by five mountain ranges, making it an incredibly picturesque metropolis. It’s also home to the University of Arizona, which may account for the growing hipster contingent, the plethora of vintage shops and the increasing number of eating and drinking establishments. Those who haven’t visited in a while might be surprised at the changes, especially in the downtown area, which many now compare to Austin, Texas. Here’s a list of some spots to hit on a quick weekend visit.
EAT Locals think it’s pricey but admit that Café Poca Cosa has some of the best Mexican food in town, with a menu that changes daily. Maynards Market + Kitchen is a French bistro situated in an old train depot, with a menu designed around fresh, local ingredients. The market next door is stocked with gourmet items including sandwiches and salads to go, and it hosts nightly wine-and-cheese tastings. At 47 Scott, enjoy modern American comfort food and a unique wine list or a handcrafted cocktail on the outdoor patio.
SHOP In Tucson, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of Mexican-inspired tchotchkes, making the good stores stand out even more. One of them is Mast, a quirky-cool shop stocked with jewelry, lighting, leather goods and its own Genuine Radical–branded tees, as well as pieces by local blacksmiths and artists. Bon looks like it belongs in New York or San Francisco and is owned by a mother-daughter team who love fashion — they sell Repetto ballet flats , fashions from Loup Charmant and accessories by Patch NYC — well-chosen textiles and home furnishings from the likes of John Derian. Newcomer RevoLuTio was opened by a photographer from New York and Arizona; the shop focuses on American-made goods and includes fashion, ceramics, recycled glass and even organic soaps.