A single day doesn’t leave you much time to experience everything amazing Tucson has to offer. Take our advice though and you’ll see the best of it…
The world’s biggest airplane Boneyard, this vast stretch of desert is the last resting place for thousands of airplanes of all sizes, shapes and purposes. A uniquely eerie and thought provoking place that’s appeared in many a film, our MarkMakers singled it out as a place of true inspiration. Here, retired planes are stored, recycled for scrap metal, or fixed and repurposed for unknown futures – the desert landscape and dry conditions perfect for slowing corrosion while the hard packed ground doesn’t need paving to hold their immense weights. With security high, tours can be organized from the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum.
A familiar theme in Tucson (see the Arizona Inn below), El Charro has been run by the same family since it opened in 1922 and is officially the oldest Mexican restaurant in America. As the El Charro family delight in saying though, “We are not the best because we are the oldest, we are the oldest because we are the best!”. We agree – and you have to try the chimichangas, after all, they were invented here.
“Tucson is calling you, the free thinker and the free at heart, to explore without boundaries.” So says Tucson’s tourist literature, and nowhere is it more applicable than the city’s legendary street art that permeates every corner or every district, from the famed Rattlesnake Bridge to the traditional Mexican/Chicano muralismo social and political works of artists like David Tineo. Our favorites lie firmly in the unsigned, uncredited works such as those lining the parking lot just south of 6th Street between 4th and 5th Avenues that are urban, contemporary and ever-changing, so always relevant.
Get your John Wayne on with a stroll around the Old Tucson studios, once the Western filmmaking capital of the world. Built by Columbia Pictures in 1938, it’s been used to shoot every classic from ‘Rio Bravo’ to ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ and sees enthusiasts from all over the world turning up in full costume to reenact their favorite scenes, so don’t forget your cowboy hat, pardner.
Spread over 14 acres of beautifully manicured grounds smack bang in midtown, The Arizona Inn is the grand old dame of Tucson and has been run by the same family since its opening in 1930. A luxury inn with casita style rooms, it mixes the usual pool, great food, tennis courts and the like with fun, idiosyncratic amenities like ping pong, croquet, live piano every night and a pervading sense of not taking itself too seriously. The on-site dining room is also one of the best restaurants in town, which is handy.