Tucson, Arizona, with its otherworldly, cactus-filled landscape, is the ideal base for an experience of the Sonoran Desert. Here we have compiled a list of our favorite restaurants, wineries, museums and parks that you should check out.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of the most popular attractions in all of Arizona. Located across 98 acres (40 hectares), the museum includes a zoo, aquarium, botanical garden, and natural history museum. The museum includes more than 230 species of animals and 12,000 species of plants. The museum is committed to preserving and educating people about the natural history, plants, and animals of the Sonoran Desert. It’s the perfect place to take a closer look at the distinctive specimens of cactus that are scattered across this landscape.
Pima Air Space Museum
Pima Air & Space Museum is home to one of the largest aviation collections in the country. The museum spans more than 250,000 square feet (23,000 square metres), with more than 350 aircraft on display in six indoor exhibit hangars. The Space Gallery includes a full-size replica of the Apollo 13 capsule, a replica of the X-15 and a lunar rock sample. The museum is also home to the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, a tribute to the state’s aviators.
A chance to sample the award-winning wines of Callaghan Vineyards, located about an hour south of Tucson, is worth the drive. These wines are globally recognized and renowned, and have been served at the White House. The tasting room is open Thursday to Sunday from 11am to 4pm.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art was founded in 1997 and features temporary exhibits that change regularly enough that a return trip is always worthwhile. Located in a converted firehouse, the interior of the museum is modern and unique.
Thunder Canyon Brewery
With two locations in Tucson, Thunder Canyon Brewery is well known for its handcrafted beers and home-made food. The brewery has been around since 1997 and is very involved with the local community. Take a tour for an insight into the brewing process (call ahead to make a reservation), try the award-winning Warhead Stout brew and check out weekly specials for great deals.
De Grazia Gallery in the Sun
Artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia established De Grazia Gallery in the Sun in 1950, and today the museum houses many of his most famous works. The gallery consists of six permanent collections of his paintings, which depict famous historical events and the native cultures of the Southwest – he is famous for capturing everyday native American life. The building itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
El Charro Café
Besides being a Tucson mainstay since 1922, El Charro Café is billed as the oldest-established Mexican restaurant still operating in the country. Since its opening it has been owned by the same family, and the menu features Northern Mexico-Sonoran style and Tucson-style Mexican cuisine. It has won many awards, and the restaurant was included in the list of America’s 21 most legendary restaurants by Gourmet Magazine. People come from all over to try the food here.
Arizona State Museum
Arizona State Museum is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest. The museum is located on University of Arizona’s campus and is dedicated to both research and education. It has more than 25,000 examples of American Indian basketry and the largest collection of Southwest Indian pottery. In total, the museum is home to more than 3m catalogued objects.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park, with more than 150 miles of hiking trails, is divided into two areas – the Tucson Mountain District and the Rincon Mountain District. Try the Valley View Overlook Trail or one of the five picnic areas in the Tucson Mountain District. The Rincon Mountain District also offers a scenic Cactus Forest Loop Drive. The terrain is packed with samples of the nation’s largest cactus, the giant saguaro that gives the park its name.
Kitt Peak National Observatory
Kitt Peak National Observatory has a large array of optical and radio telescopes. The observatory is located on the Kitt Peak of the Quinlan Mountains, and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory employs a team that conducts research at the site. Visitors can learn about what the team is working on at the visitor center.
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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