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Explore Tucson: 7 Unique Things to Do, See, & Eat

Everywhere Wildcats want to be is well within reach of Graduate Tucson. Eateries abound, as do hiking trails and record stores, upscale boutiques and quirky holes-in-the-wall. When it comes to things to do in Tucson, class is always in session. 

Hit the streets of downtown and even historic Fourth Avenue as you discover The Old Pueblo’s best and brightest. From solar-powered bookstores to Sonoran hot dogs, come see why Tucson is one of the best places to venture off campus.  


Center for Creative Photography

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the Center for Creative Photography has well over 100 million things to say. This world-renowned academic art museum houses more than 110,000 works by over 2,000 photographers. Peruse fine art photographs, rare books, and more, each of which conjure a unique piece of history. 

Visit the center to discover the world through a new lens. Current exhibitions include a retrospective on American injustice and an in-depth look at photojournalism.

Insider Tip

Check out the Ansel Adams Archives. The archives feature all of the negatives that existed until he passed away in 1984, including some you may never have seen before.

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Antigone Books

Take a page out of Tucson at Antigone Books, a female-owned, independent bookstore. This 100% solar-powered store features both bestsellers and indie hits, though their true mission is to further feminism, diversity and community issues. 

Stop by this local favorite bookstore to brush up on topics like immigration and climate change that are critical to the Tucson community.

Insider Tip

Peruse Antigone’s bumper stickers, cards and gifts, each of which showcase a keen sense of humor with a feminist slant. Pick up a souvenir plus one of their Staff Picks.

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Bloom Maven

Plant new roots while trailblazing through Tucson at Bloom Maven, a female owned and operated boutique plant and floral shop. Smell the freshly-picked flowers, find a new favorite houseplant, or attend a workshop for all things floral from terrarium making to botanical bouquet building. 

Insider Tip

If you’re looking for a hands-on experience, ask for owner Akiko Senda to help arrange an intimate floral workshop for you and your crew.

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El Güero Canelo

El Güero Canelo has been the talk of Tucson since it opened in 1993. This hot dog stand turned restaurant serves up the world-famous Sonoran hot dog at three locations throughout Tucson. What is a Sonoran hot dog, you ask? 

The hot dog is first wrapped in bacon, then grilled and served on a bolillo-style hot dog bun. The toppings are as unique as the dog itself, featuring a smattering of pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and other condiments.

Insider Tip

Get it “con todo” and make all your hot dog dreams come true.

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Creative Kind Shop

Enroll in a new kind of class at the Creative Kind Shop. This unique store encourages its guests to connect over creativity through workshops that teach attendees how to DIY. Workshops range from water color to crafting and are well-suited for everyone from hobbyists to artistic pros. 

For the less craft-inclined, Creative Kind also carries unique goods from small businesses and local makers. Shop soap and stickers, accessories and stationary, and even health, beauty and home goods.

Insider Tip

Our go-to spot for picking up locally-crafted stationary, greeting cards, soaps, candles and more!

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Crooked Tooth Brewing

The destination of choice for Tucson’s nerds and nice people, Crooked Tooth Brewing’s vibe is as unique as their brews. Sip flights served up on skateboards, taste their Sonoran Sour Series or opt for full moon brews. 

Beyond their beer, Crooked Tooth’s beer garden is an attraction all its own. Soak up the Tucson sun from their cozy patio, where you’ll find tables topped with colorful umbrellas and planters overflowing with flowers.

Insider Tip

Make sure you try the Full Moon Brew, brewed each month under the light and energy of the full moon.

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Pontatoc Ridge Trail

Trek through the Pusch Ridge Wilderness on this 4.1 mile trail. The trail begins in the foothills north of downtown Tucson and climbs steadily towards a cave at the top. While on the trail, cacti and other desert flora and fauna surround you as Tucson unfolds below you, offering a quintessential Sonoran Desert experience. 

Once you’ve conquered the steep climb to the stop, step within the cave and turn around for a perfectly-framed panoramic view of the Tucson skyline.

Insider Tip

When you come to the fork at the start of the trail, take the one on the right—trust us!

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Penca Restaurante

This fine-dining cocina serves up a twist on classic Mexican dishes. Savor classics like beer-braised Tacos de Lengua and chorizo-packed Queso Fundido or step out of your Mexican cuisine comfort zone with more experimental fare like prickly pear cactus-stuffed tacos and pan-seared crimson snapper. 

On top of their world-class menu, Penca is beloved for their small-batch mezcal bar. Reserve a table on their spectacular outdoor patio and sip signature cocktails crafted with spirits like elote-infused mezcal and beet-infused blanco tequila.

Insider Tip

For a taste of the desert, order the Nopales tacos. You can thank us later!

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