Tucson’s cultural heritage is shown vibrantly through historic landmarks, artistic masterpieces and flavorful cuisine. Discover the Southwestern and American Indian roots of the city by planning a culturally themed day, with a salted margarita waiting at the last stop.
Rise with the sun and head over to Mission San Xavier del Bac to experience the oldest European structure in the state. The Catholic mission was founded in 1692, and the church was completed in 1797. Morning service times are offered M-F 6:30 am, Tu-F 8:30 am, Sa 5:30 pm and Su 8 am, 11 am and 12:30 pm, and the church is open for public touring daily 7 am-5 pm.
On the northeast side of Tucson sits DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, a 10-acre National Historic District built by artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia. Tour DeGrazia’s home, the chapel, and a gallery displaying original DeGrazia works in oil, watercolor and other mediums. A small theater room is inside the gallery showing documentary-style footage of DeGrazia’s life and artistic works.
Walk through Old Town Artisans, a shopping and arts center with American Indian and Southwestern jewelry, décor and gift shops. Parts of Old Town Artisans’ structure have seen more than two centuries of Tucson life. El Presidio San Augustin del Tucson was built by the Spanish to stake claim on the land in 1775, and the north wall is the very wall that repelled attacks by the Apache. Saguaro-cactus-rib original ceilings are still intact throughout the Old Town Artisans shops.
El Charro Cafe is the oldest, continuously run family-owned restaurant in the country (since 1922), with its original location downtown. Sip on a prickly pear-rita or a cerveza-rita (a bottle of beer in a 36-ounce margarita) while dining on grilled asada chimichangas and handmade tamales.