Fodor's Expert Review Hotel Congress

311 E. Congress St., Tucson, Arizona, 85701, USA See on Map Fodor's Choice

R Roth

Situated directly in the center of Downtown Tucson across from the Rialto Theater, this restored art deco hotel was originally built in 1919. Hotel Congress has a colorful history of ghost sightings, gangsters, and a fire in 1934 on the third floor (which is why the building is now only two stories tall). Embracing and promoting the local scene with live music and featured artwork, the hotel seamlessly marries Navajo, vintage, and boho chic touches making for cozy and eclectic lodgings; this is the place to stay in Tucson.


All 40 rooms are on the second floor, some looking right out onto Congress Street, level with the street sign. Rooms embrace the hotel’s historic charm, though they are still very clean. On your dresser you’ll find local treats for purchase, like prickly pear Cactus Candy squares. Tune your vintage radio to a local station, or make a call on the old-fashioned rotary phone. Beds, with original iron bedframes, are dressed with wool Pendleton blankets.


Bathrooms are tiled black and white. They are simple and clean, with a hint of charm and basic amenities.


Friendly and extremely personable staff will greet you upon entry. Grab a seat at the Lobby Bar, nestled right in the eclectic and charming lobby, for a pre-dinner cocktail. Memorabilia is provided courtesy of the photo booth, or you can make a call in the vintage phone booth.


Stay in and enjoy a meal at the Cup Cafe, accessed through the lobby, for award-winning dining available at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the evening ask for the draught beer custom-made for the hotel by Crooked Tooth Brewing, which is right on 6th St. If you’re searching for ways to start a conversation at dinner, look to artist Jenny Holzer’s Truisims on the wall, given to the hotel in 1991. You’ll find everything from award-winning Barrio baguettes, to beer-battered fish tacos, to entrees like chicken and gnocchi and pork schnitzel on Cup Cafe’s menu. You can also order drinks and bar food at Tap Room and the Lobby Bar. The hotel’s sister business Maynard’s Market is right across the street in the historic train depot. Dine in and enjoy a romantic ambience and french-inspired cuisine, or grab a bottle of wine to go. Local and gourmet delicacies can be eaten outside on the plaza.


There are many chances to indulge at Hotel Congress, including at the Lobby Bar, the Tap Room, Club Congress (where you can also hear excellent live music from local and touring artists), and outside on the plaza. Happy hour specials abound: Monday through Friday from 4-7 pm means $3 pints of draft beer, $4 glasses of house red and white wine, and $5 specialty cocktails. In need of some hair of the dog? Try the Bloody Mary bar, every Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 2 pm.


Getting Around

Smack-dab in the center of downtown, this hotel is close to plenty of nightlife, eateries, cafes, shopping, and entertainment. Easy to access right off the I-10, parking for the hotel is available directly across the street at the Plaza Centro Garage, or at the train depot parking lot next to Maynard’s.


Should you venture out beyond the hotel for a bite, Caffe Luce (1-minute walk) is the perfect place to stop for a cold brew or pastry before heading out to explore. The acclaimed El Charro Cafe (13-minute walk) serves tasty Mexican fare, and Reilly Craft Pizza and Drink (5-minute walk) serves craft pizza in an upscale setting. DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails (4-minute walk) is a chic and lively spot for lunch or dinner.


Like we said, there are plenty of places to drink on the property alone, but you might want a taste of the local flavor. Local hangout and dive Che’s Lounge (7-minute walk) has you covered for cheap draughts and live music. Tap & Bottle (10-minute walk) is great for beer-lovers, and Scott & Co. (5-minute walk) is a trendy, intimate bar with classic cocktails and craft spirits. If you have a car, it's worth checking out The Shelter (15-minute drive), actually inside of a fallout shelter with fun retro decor and JFK memorabilia.


Not only is it an affordable option, it's our top pick for its uniqueness, amazing location, and celebration of the local scene. There are plenty of things to do right on the property: hear live music at Club Congress; drink excellent and affordable draughts, wine, and cocktails at happy hour; enjoy delicious meals at breakfast, lunch, and dinner—the list goes on. And if you want to venture outside the hotel, you're right in the middle of the excitement Downtown Tucson.




Phones: 520-622–8848;800-722–8848

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