Posts Tagged ‘Things to do and see in Tucson’

Sun Warmth and Happiness!

Monday, November 30th, 2015

Wafting through the air is the fragrant smell of turkey soup, simmering on the stove. The heat is cranked to take the chill off the house, and outside lies the beauty of the first snow…diamonds laden on the trees, undisturbed. The snow plows have not yet rumbled through the neighborhood, turning the pristine precipitation to an unappealing brown mess.  I am too old for this cold, this icy season where temps go to zero, when the wind blusters through the trees, and a foot of snow needs to be shoveled from the driveway.

Escape!  Escape to Tucson is the answer!  I will join the hundreds of winter visitors escaping from the northern climes to sun, temps in the 60’s and 70’s, to being able to take a walk outside without slipping and sliding on ice covered pathways.

Tucson is a haven for those who want to escape to a warm, dry climate.  Those arthritis sufferers suddenly find relief from the pain in the dry climate, and some come on the recommendation of their physician. Others swell the Tucson population because they want to golf and enjoy the myriad of outside activities, not spending  winter cooped up inside their northern abode.

Winter rentals are abundant, and Thanksgiving marks the influx of “winter visitors”, affectionately called “snowbirds”.  The majority however arrive after the Christmas holiday.  Many have purchased winter homes, often in active adult communities where activities range the gamut from book clubs to pool tournaments, from cooking classes to exercise classes.  Golf, pickle ball, and swimming is a draw for many of these communities, as well as restaurants on premises, community dinners, and group outings to various places in Arizona.

The cultural scene in Tucson is also a draw, the city is the home of the University of Arizona, and those who desire ongoing education can attend to Olli ( ).  Broadway comes to Tucson at the many theaters, both large, and small and intimate, and the music scene encompasses all genres.

Tucson has several art museums as well as the Center for Creative Arts at the University of Arizona, home to the Ansel Adams collection. And Tucson is a gastronomical delight with the best Mexican food in the nation, as well as restaurants which represent all cultures:  Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, plus a myriad of excellent food trucks.

How can you not want to escape cold, grey, dreary weather and exchange it for warm, bright, sunshine and a city which will welcome you with open arms?







Weekend Wanderings…

Friday, November 27th, 2015

IMG_1504With temps in the 70’s, and sunshine throughout the days, what a weekend to take advantage of Tucson outdoors! It’s a perfect weekend for hiking on one of the many trails in the Catalinas, the Tucson Mountains, or the Rincons. Wear hiking boots if you have them, and bring plenty of water, along with your snacks. Take your cell phone in case of an emergency. has information about the various trails, the locations and categorizes them according to strenuousness. Snakes should not be a problem since they like to sun themselves at 80 degrees or warmer.
For unique southwestern gifts for the hard to buy for on your holiday list, check out the Native American Heritage Social and Indian Craft Market Friday through Sunday from noon to 6 pm at the Sheraton Tucson Hotel and Suites Courtyard, 5151 East Grant. There will be native foods, arts and crafts, music and dancing. More than 15 nations will be represented. Admission is by donation.
The fine art of Ikebana Flower arranging is on exhibit at the Tucson Botanical Garden, 2130 North Alvernon Way. Graceful arrangements with few branches and flowers express the artistic talents of the creator in the interpretation of humanity and nature. Although seemingly simple arrangements, the study of ikebana flower arranging is a life long pursuit and is a creative art expression. While at the Botanical Gardens, wander over to the Butterfly Magic exhibit and be entranced by the beauty of the winged insects.
Animal lovers to attention! The Pima Animal Care Center is having a Black Friday Promotion today from noon to 3 pm and every day through November 30. Come and fall in love with one of the kittens, cats, puppies, or dogs and take it home, already spayed or neutered. The fees are being picked up by Zappo’s and Best Friends, so you only pay the $16 dog license fee. The animals have also be vaccinated and microchipped and come with one free vet visit! PACC is at 4000 North Silverbell Road.
Fact: Did you know if you have a dog which has not been spayed or neutered, in six years, that animal can have 67,000 – yes, sixty seven thousand – offspring. Most of those animals are homeless so care for your pet by spaying and neutering!
If you have to take advantage of Black Friday Sales, locally owned shops on 4th Avenue are having Black Friday Sales. Wander along the iconic 4th Avenue which is home to fun shops in which to browse and buy, and stop for a bite to eat at one of the locally owned restaurants.

Weekend Wanderings…

Friday, November 13th, 2015
Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

Tucson, home to Davis Monthan Air Force Base, continues to recognize Veterans Saturday with the “Hats Off to Heroes” festivities. Starting at 11 am and continuing throughout the day, culminating in the Tucson Pops Orchestra’s tribute at the bandshell with special guests The American Bombshells from 5 to 7:30 pm, the day will be packed with activities.
The 5K Fun Run begins at 10 am at the Northwest corner of Reid Park, and the Veterans Resource Fair runs from 10 am to 3 pm at the Bandshell. Throughout the day there will be military displays in various locations in the park, and the food court opens at 11 am offering those yummy diet busting fair foods which we all love! Strains of music will reverberate throughout the day with live music playing at the bandshell from 11 am.
Folks can wander downtown to the Second Saturday for more music and entertainment at various venues. Check for the schedule. Take an evening ride on the streetcar or stop in one of the myriad of restaurants for a snack or dinner. Take your jacket or sweater since temps will be dipping during the evening to the 50’s. It’s fun to wander downtown during the evening, seemingly a different landscape than the hustle and bustle of business people scurrying to and fro during the day.
Need a new bike in preparation for El Tour de Tucson? Plenty of cycles from which to choose will be for sale at the Fall Bike Swap Sunday sponsored by the Greater Arizona Biking Association. (GABA). At the corner of 6th Avenue and 7th Street downtown, both individuals and bike shops will sell bikes, from the most elementary to the fanciest of gear.
More than 4800 dogs will strut their stuff at the AKC Coyote Classic Dog Show from 8 am to 4 pm every day this weekend beginning today at the Pima County Fairgrounds on Houghton.
The University of Arizona basketball plays Pacific tonight at McHale with tip off at 7:30. Saturday at 8 pm U of A football meets Utah at the Arizona Stadium, but wear blue because Utah is wearing red.
There is always something to do in Tucson; if you need more ideas, check this website:


Weekend Wanderings… All Souls Procession…

Friday, November 6th, 2015

asp-2014-03All Souls Procession, totally unique to Tucson, will bring celebrants from all over remembering their loved ones in art, music, food, and a procession. Emanating from El Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a day of to commemorate those in our lives who have died, the All Souls Procession has grown to a full weekend event which ends with the burning of the urn filled with thoughts and messages to those who are departed.
Participants dress or wear clothing reminding them of the departed, either human or animal, and many carry photographs. The art work which people construct is amazing, with huge paper mache heads or intricate clothing. Workshops to create these masterpieces are held throughout the year.
Skull heads are artfully painted on the faces of participants and skilled stilt walkers proceed in the procession along the city streets as skeletons.
The air is electric with anticipation by observers, many of whom are also dressed commemorating the deceased, craning their necks to see the beginning of the procession. The drum beats echo through the dark night downtown area heralding the beginning of the procession. It is both exciting and solemn, and everyone carries his own personal meaning of this night remembering both good and bad of those who have died.
The weekend culminates in the Procession. Participants should arrive at 4 for the 6:30 start time for the procession. It will end at Mercado San Augustin just west of I-10 and Congress where the urn will be burned and Flam Chen will perform.
As the procession passes, observers can join the procession walking to the finale. This is a photographer’s paradise with varied emotions, colors, expressions. The link below gives detailed information as well as a video and photographs of this expressly unique Tucson event.


Weekend Wanderings: What’s Going on in Tucson?

Monday, December 8th, 2014

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Realtors and other volunteers wearing a red Santa hat in front of stores ring their bells for the Salvation Army, Christmas lights and icicles adorn the fronts of homes, the vendors of Christmas Trees have replaced their pumpkins with balsams and firs, and the stores are ready for another Christmas shopping weekend.
Less than three weeks until Christmas! Oro Valley celebrates its tree lighting ceremonies at the Oro Valley Market at 12155 North Oracle tonight between 5:30 and 8:00 pm. Santa will arrive to greet residents at this festive occasion.
Luminarias which line the paths at the Tucson Botanical Gardens will be on display this weekend and next weekend for a nominal fee. There will be refreshments and musical entertainment for your body and soul as you wander the pathways of this magnificent garden, home to lush and often rare plants.
For those with a bent towards animals, check the Reid Park Zoo’s animal light sculptures from 6 to 8 pm. Here is an opportunity to see the zoo and it’s animals at night…hmmm, wonder if the animals sleep as we do? This extends to December 23.
San Xavier Del Bac, the Mission Church, south of Tucson, stands as “the white dove in the desert” and can be seen in the midst of the desert from Interstate 19. Originally built to convert Native Americans to the ways of Christianity, the Baroque architecture is among the finest in the US. The interior art work in is stunning.
El Naciemento, the intricate Mexican Nativity Scene, is on display at La Casa Cordova in the Historical Block of the Tucson Art Museum. Displaying this nativity scene has been a tradition for decades.
Decorating gingerbread cookies and making ornaments out of candy canes are on the agenda for children attending Winter Wonderland, a program from 10 am to 2 pm at the Children’s Museum.
Unique stores line downtown Tucson, a place for gastronomical delights, music of all genres, and theaters to present entertainment from Broadway to the ultra modern. And now, stores are decked out in holiday decorations – competing for the best of downtown. Take a gander downtown, ride the trolley, and enjoy the December spirit.

Tucson’s Premier Bike Race…El Tour De Tucson!

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Bicyclists from the world arrive in Tucson, land of saguaro cacti, beautiful mountain ranges, blue and sunny skies, ready for Saturday’s event, the annual El Tour de Tucson, always held the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  Tucson is well known as a bicycle friendly city and has won the Gold Award and is striving for the Platinum Award.

While Buffalo, a town accustomed to snow, is laden with more than six feet of the white stuff and much of the nation is suffering temperatures far below normal for this time of year, volunteers for El Tour de Tucson are getting their last minute instructions for the 104 mile bicycle ride through Pima County where temps should be in the high 60’s, a comfortable ride for bicyclists pedaling their best.

El Tour de Tucson has four rides: the most strenuous is 104 miles, a 75 miles ride, and a 55 mile ride, and finally a 40 mile ride. This is a city wide event and some streets are closed off to motorists.

The route transverses the city from the south to the east to the north to the west and then back down south to the start place.

Along the route, contingencies of people cheer for their favorite riders. People set up water and snack stations for bicyclists along the shoulders of “country roads”. Police in their orange vests direct traffic … the motto- packs of bicyclists first.

More than 9,000 cyclists are expected for the event and 2600 volunteers will be available to assist cyclists. A full program and schedule of events is at

People planning to travel within the city on Saturday should check the route map on the above web site and plan their travels accordingly. It is easy to be held up for 10-15 minutes when cyclists are crossing major intersections.

Stately saguaros from their hilly perches stand at attention for those who brave the trek on what promises to be a beautiful, warm, Tucson November day!

Tucson Gardening and Weekend Activities…

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

It’s the weekend, I’m trying to keep  Saturdays clear  to do things around the house; the normal – clean, pick up paper mess, put things in order, generally take care of all the mess made during the week.  Sometimes the disorder can be substantial!  And of course run the vacuum around the tiles and then mop the floors.

But it’s springtime and the roll-offs are in the neighborhood which means it’s a grand time to clean out the garage and trot all the junk to the roll-off.  This saves multiple trips to the dump for everyone in the neighborhood and I am eternally grateful that our little enclave orders the roll-offs from the city.

Last weekend the pool was the order of the day.  It is now sparkling, having fished out some of the Arizona Elm leaves which find a home in the bottom of the pool, along with the tiny leaves from the pomegranate bushes.  The birds enjoy a feast for a king when the pomegranates begin to turn from green to red, and then the fruit is full of small holes where seeds have been pecked.  Occasionally I find spots of red bird droppings and smile to myself because I have more than a few plants of various species which came from just that type of planting.

John and Debbie, who own Fiesta Growers and are regulars at the St. Philip’s Plaza Sunday Farmers Market, brought me the seeds I ordered last Sunday.  This weekend I will plant them in pots so I can eat fresh salad for the next few months, at least until it gets so warm I will give up watering. The lettuce mix will provide red leaf and green leaf lettuce, a bit of endive and I will mix that with the peppery arugula which makes a tasty meal or sandwich filling.  The spinach is always dark green and almost sweet, delicious right from the pot and so tender it is a raw treat.

For fun there is French Breakfast Radishes and I confess, they germinate fast and I like to see progress.  Crunchy with a bite, they are delicious just pulled from the pot with the dirt scraped off and eaten in a few bites.  But the bulls blood beets provide beet greens for salads and vegetables and eventually have a bulbous sweet deep red beet.  That’s a two for oner…greens and beets!

Basil grows well in Tucson and I spike my salads with fresh basil for a refreshing change of pace, and I can freeze what is leftover for fresh herbs during the rest of the year.  The cilantro is a Tucson staple for Mexican food as well as Chinese food, and that too along with the parsley is good in salads or as garnishes.

Learning to garden in Arizona is not akin to gardening on the east coast. It takes a few years of practice.  I don’t want the rabbits to eat my fare, nor do I want the javelina to snort around, hence the pots.  It’s a beautiful weekend and I’m going to enjoy the fruits of my labors!


Fiesta Growers

Tucson Winter Visitors … Think About Tucson as a Second Home…

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

March generally is the last month that Tucson is home to winter visitors.  Easter marks the end of the season, but Easter is late this year in April and April is the time the crocus and daffodils rise from their winter sleep in the northern country.

Those who wintered in Tucson this year, I am sure, were grateful to miss all the snow, the sleet the ice and the difficult winter their stay at home counterparts witnessed.

Home prices now are low as are interest rates and this is an ideal time to think about purchasing a second home.

Many people arrive in November for the holidays, and granted the holidays without snow are different!  But hiking, birding, or just plain walking  in Tucson’s warm air and sunny days with a light jacket is joyous.

Active adult communities abound including golf course communities where the retiree can play a round of golf every day!  There is an abundance of private and public golf courses from which to choose including the world famous Dove Mountain Ritz Carlton course, made famous by Accenture Match Play.

For non golfers, Tucson offers a plethora of things to see and do.  Those people who opt for an active adult community often have planned activities including book clubs, art lessons, pottery lessons, tennis lesson, culinary lessons, exercise classes, poker and billards rooms and on and on.  But you don’t have to opt for an active adult community to be party to all of those things.

Tucson has an excellent library system and book clubs abound.  For more formal instruction, the University of Arizona and Pima Community College offer classes in literature for the general public, not just students.  The Tucson Museum of Art provides art classes as does the Sonora Desert Museum and for people who want to try something new, the Sonoran Glass Art Academy can help you learn to blow glass while you create beautiful items for your home and friends.

The Tucson Park and Recreation Association sponsors pottery classes in different venues in Tucson. You can also learn to salsa dance, play tennis, learn to swim, take up beadwork or any number of hobbies.  Golf lessons are also offered!

The Audubon Society has a year’s worth of activities for birders and the Sonora Desert Museum also provides classes about the natural habitat of the Sonora Desert.  The Tucson Botanical Garden is another popular place to enjoy time and classes as is the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension Service where one can learn to become a Master Gardener.

Living in an active adult community provides instant activities, but for those who want to customize what to do during retirement, think about a house anyplace, then pick and choose your activities from all that Tucson and its surrounding area has to offer!

For more information, contact me: or check my website

Springtime in Tucson!

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

Cerulean skies, warm breezes, and temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s mark spring time in Tucson.  Buds begin to burst from branches.   Golden desert marigolds pop up along highways, the tall, deep blue lupines stand at attention, while the pink globe mallow and red parry pestemon  make a mark on the Arizona landscape.

This is the time to hike, to bike, to be outdoors embracing the warmth and beauty of all Tucson offers.

The smell of the air is fresh, doors and windows are thrown open and the stagnant air of winter is replaced by clean spring fragrances.

Shorts and tees replace long pants and sweatshirts.  The dormant earth comes alive again with color, wafts of newly blossomed vegetation wander in the air, and the delicate feel of regeneration is once again upon us.

It’s the time to enjoy the many free outdoor events which bring together a myriad of cultural activities and represent the creative talents of the Tucson area.

The Tucson Festival of Books winds down today at the University of Arizona campus. Authors, publishers, lovers of books, and literacy advocates  congregrate on campus to listen to panel discussions, enjoy readings by authors, attend workshops,  or enter writing contests.  The event is free and each year grows larger, attracting renowned authors who share their creativity.

Art is in the air and March 18 to the 20th is  Oro Valley Arts in the Park, another free event.   Musicians will perform,  art work of all mediums as well as crafts will be displayed for sale, activities for children are available, and the delectable smells from the food vendors will fill the air. Friday and Saturday hours are from 9 am to 4 pm and on Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm.

The Tucson Museum of Art will be open March 25 through 27 as well as the homes on the Historic Block in downtown Tucson for the Annual Spring Artisan Market.  This is the perfect place to purchase unique gifts which can range from one of the kind pottery to a pair of hand crafted earrings,  hand painted cards, or intricately blown glass.

Much of the history of Tucson and the old Presidio are within this historic downtown area and a tour of the homes in this area reflect Tucson’s connection to both Mexico and Spain.   The Presidio of San Augustine del Tucson dates back to 1775, and the Cordova house in particular is a good example of the old adobe construction. Tours are available and are conducted by docents of the Tucson Museum of Art.

Not only is the weather enticing during Tucson’s springtime, but there is plenty to see and do!  Come, enjoy the beauty of  spring time in Tucson and the events which represent Tucson and its culture!


Tucson Festival of Books

Oro Valley Arts in the Park:

Tucson Museum of Art:

What Can You Find at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show?

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Rather than write about it today, I thought I show you some of the myriad of things you can purchase at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.  It will be a gorgeous weeked and the last weekend of this year’s show to get out an “window shop”.