Tucson-How much can we do in 3 days?

Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:06 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Tucson-How much can we do in 3 days?

My husband and I are going to Tucson next Sat. for 3 nights. We are flying into El Paso on Sat. morning because we will also be spending a few days in Las Cruces where we have some property. So we are driving to Tucson Sat. afternoon and we will be staying until Tuesday. We like beautiful scenery, short hikes or walks, shopping or browsing art, nice restaurants.

We would like to go to both of the Saguaro national parks, up to Mt. Lemmon, the Sonoran Desert Museum and possibly Sabino Canyon. We would also be interested in recommendations for nice restaurants, nothing fancy, just good food and unique to the area.

As far as shopping, what are the most picturesque and unique shopping areas with shops and art galleries?

We were thinking of heading south early Tuesday morning and spend the day going through Tombstone, Bisbee, and Chiricahua Natl. Monument on the way back to Las Cruces.

We would also appreciate any special recommendations as far as amount of time needed to do all of the outdoor activities I mentioned at the beginning and which ones we should not miss!
jet519 is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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If you have the opportunity try visiting the saguaro national park ( west portion ) where close by is a state facility that has an excellent display of cactii. If you would like to see before you go look at our personal web site at http://www.two-friends-travels.com/ where we have a small video clip. Also not to far north of Tuscon is "Casa Grande" which may be of benefit to the history buffs.
johnhalolnen is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:15 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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There is so much to see and do. The very best source is Mikepin - he has covered so much on his blog
I insist on taking credit for reminding him of the spice factory at Tumacocori. Everything you want to know about this area he has covered. Be sure to check it out. Have a great visit.
traveller69 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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I would recommend two restaurants for you. El Minuto (mexican) is awesome. www.elminutocafe.com, they have two locations. The one on Kolb and Broadway has moved so call before going. Another recommendation would be Oreganos italian. www.oreganos.com, they have great pizza and italian food. For shopping I would check out 4th avenue.
Gaprofitt is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 02:05 PM
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Don't miss Sabino Canyon! Someone on Fodors had advised us to take the last afternoon tram. You can go all the way up and then stop on the way back down to walk the rest of the way. It was incredibly gorgeous as the sun started to set! Our other Tucson favorite were Saguaro West park. We went back twice and took different hikes. It's just a few miles down the road from the Sonoran Desert Museum. Go to the museum either first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon when there's a better chance the animals will be active.

We did do some shopping on 4th Street - lots of quirky, fun shops. Have fun - I can't wait to get back to Tucson! - Jill
Jill2 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions. This really helps!
jet519 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2007, 04:06 PM
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I just hiked Sabino two weeks ago and agree the park should be on your must do list, beautiful. If you haven't done Museum of the Desert, you should. Tubac and the mission en route are worth a half day.

My favorite is Terra Cotta, modern southwestern. Metropolitan Grill and City Grill are both owned by the same operator and just fine. Blue Point is a good seafood destination.

Have fun.
stumpworks73 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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My husband and 3 children have spent about 7 family vacations in Tucson, and love it. We have never missed a hike in Sabino Canyon. We always take the tram to the top, and hike down. The scenery is beautiful. Please don't miss it. Tombstone and Bisbee are fun side trips. You can see them both in a day. Bisbee is an old mining town with some eclectic shops and restaurants. We only spent a few hours there. We also went to the Sonoran Desert Museum, although with 3 children, they were bored rather quickly. I do think you would enjoy it though. I have a couple of restaurants to suggest too. For a really nice dinner, try The Grill at the Hacienda del Sol resort. My husband and I had a wonderful birthday dinner there (he said it was one of the best meals he'd ever had). They also have an outdoor grill with live music on certain evenings. We also ate there and it was also teriffic. The music was awesome. Hacienda del Sol used to be an old private girls school and is really quite quaint. We also stayed there on 2 trips and enjoyed it. Google them for their website. We also enjoyed El Minuto cafe in downtown Tucson. Casual mexican. One more thing we have enjoyed visiting is the San Xavier Mission. It is an old mission church on a reservation. We have attended services there and it was great, with the taste of an authentic indian/mexican church service. Don't miss buying fry bread after the service from the locals in the parking lot. That's about all I can think of at the moment, but I wish I was going too. Have a great trip!
teddysmom is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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Personally, I really didnt like Tombstone that much. However, Chiricahua was really cool I thought. If you have time near Chiricahua is Ft Bowie Nat Historic site (see nps.gov). Its a short hike to the ruins of the fort. Interesting background info at the site about the fort and why it was there
the_dude07 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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Wow, it sounds like three days won't be nearly enough. I think we will spend Sunday and Monday concentrating on the Saguaro parks, Desert Museum, Mt. Lemmon and Sabino Canyon if we can manage all that. We can start at the crack of dawn. I hope to have time for a little shopping. On Tuesday, we will either concentrate on Tucson for another good part of the day or head south to Tombstone, Bisbee with a stop in the Mission on the way, then Chirucahua going back north to head to Las Cruces.
Thanks for all of the suggestions.
jet519 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 04:22 PM
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Thanks for the kind words, traveller69.

Mt Lemmon may be something for you to skip. It is nice, but much nicer when it is hot in Tucson. Mt. Lemmon will be about 30 degrees cooler (colder) than Tucson.

If you go to Tombstone and Bisbee, I strongly suggest going to Kartchner Caverns, which is right on the way.

But please od visit my blog, where I have a whole list of things to see and do -- with clickable links to everything.


And, yes, traveller69 does get all the credit for getting me to include the Santa Cruz Chile and Spice company in my list.
MikePinTucson is offline  
Mar 5th, 2007, 09:40 PM
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Oh, I am so glad to see Kartchner Caverns mentioned. I forgot about it in my earlier post, but it is a wonderful sight to see. I would have to second the recommendation. You have a lot of things to do in 3 days. Have fun.
teddysmom is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 02:49 PM
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How long will it take to hike from the tram at Sabino Canyon? Someone mentioned that it only goes to the 4th stop right now. We will be there this weekend. Is the hike easy, moderate or strenuous?
jet519 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2007, 10:31 PM
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The Sabino Canyon hike is almost all downhill if you take the tram to the top and get off to hike down. I don't know why it is only going to the 4th stop. It may be the rainy season and then some of it may flood. That's only a guess. I think 4 stops would be about 1/2 way. It should probably take about an hour to hike down, depending on your pace. We usually take it fairly leisurely, looking up a lot, snapping photos and admiring the different cacti. As far as the difficulty level of the hike itself, it is a paved road that you will be walking on, so there are no rocks, etc. that you need to worry about hiking on. Hope this helps.
teddysmom is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:20 PM
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Thanks much! We will be on our way in a couple of days so thanks everyone!
jet519 is offline  
Mar 7th, 2007, 04:28 PM
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My understanding is that the tram is going all the way down Lower Sabino, but only about half wat to Upper Sabino. That is because of the roads being washed out last Summer during our monsoon rains.

Something that would be fun would be to take the tram to the trailhead of the 7 falls trail and hike up to 7 falls and back. It is not a difficult hike.


MikePinTucson is offline  
Mar 15th, 2007, 01:31 PM
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I would really love to hear about your trip and all your activities. Please give us an update. Thank you.
teddysmom is offline  
Mar 16th, 2007, 08:26 AM
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You'll have no trouble filling 3 days in the Tucson area. You've gotten great suggestions so far.

My only comment is to not worry so much about Saguaro East and concentrate in the western section. It is more scenic and has nice hills and trails to hike. The eastern park is kinda flat and there's nothing there plant or animal wise that you won't also see in the western section.

Wish I could come along!

peterboy is offline  

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