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101 Things To Do In Tucson Print

Editor's note: Tucson Guide's "101 Things to Do" are listed in no particular order. All information given here was accurate at press time. You may want to phone for confirmation prior to visiting these attractions.

Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA)
Tucson's foremost contemporary-art institution features several temporary exhibitions annually from local as well as national and international artists. The museum offers community events, including lectures, readings, and workshops on topics ranging from architecture and collecting art to the relationship between art and science. Museum hours change seasonally. Find MOCA at its new location—in a renovated firehouse—at 265 S. Church Ave., 520-624-6873, www.moca-tucson.org.

Amado Territory Ranch
This enclave of shops, eateries, and galleries within the small town of Amado offers a scenic slice of desert life. Stroll in the meditation labyrinths, purchase local art at the Thomas Blue Room Gallery, order up a New York strip at the steakhouse, or take a cooking class at Kristofer's Catering Company & Bistro. Pack in a day's worth of activities, or spend the night at Amado Territory Inn B&B. To get to Amado, take I-19 south about 25 miles to exit 48. A quick left leads you to Amado Territory Ranch. For more information, call 520-398-8684 or see www.amado-territory-inn.com.

L'Chaim
Learn about the history of Tucson's Jewish community at the Jewish History Museum, 564 S. Stone Ave. Located inside the first synagogue building in Arizona, the museum hosts exhibits, talks, and programming for all faiths Wed.-Sun. Catch a guided living-history tour with costumed docents on the 3rd Sat. of each month. Call 520-670-9073.

Artscene
Tired of paging through different websites for local upcoming events and performances? Find it all at the comprehensive site http://tucson.showup.com, which lists everything from live theater and opera to native dance and film festivals to museum tours, poetry readings, art exhibits, and more. Purchase tickets, read reviews, and learn what's going on near you—all with the click of a mouse.

Scarizona
Are you brave enough to venture into Southern Arizona's abandoned mines and caves, deserted warehouses and buildings, through forgotten headstones and overgrown cemeteries in search of lost souls? Arizona Ghost Tours (www.arizonaghosttours.net) leads visitors through historic mining areas, frontier communities, railroad towns, and Wild West camps, from Bisbee to Tombstone to Tucson, in search of spirits that once called the area home.

Gold Panning
Do it just like the original gold diggers—dry washing, kneeling in running streambeds, or digging with a pick and shovel. There are still active claims all around Tucson. Arivaca and Greaterville have the most, but some folks drive down to Box Canyon in the Santa Rita Mountains for some panning. The Desert Gold Diggers Club has organized outings; see www.desert-gold-diggers.org.

Hop On the Trolley
Take a step back in time with a trolley ride between University Blvd.'s Main Gate Square, through the eclectic shopping district along Fourth Avenue, and into downtown—for $1.25 a ride Fri. and Sat. and 25 cents on Sun. At the all-volunteer "operating transit museum," the staff participate in fundraising efforts, historical research, and restoration of historic trolleys and buses; they even serve as conductors on the streetcars. Call 520-792-1802 or visit www.oldpueblotrolley.org for a route map and schedule, and for historical and volunteer information.

Tubac & Tumacacori
Situated 45 miles south of Tucson off I-19, Tubac was once the site of a Spanish presidio. Today, it's the town "where art and history meet," offering prints, pottery, jewelry, batiks, paintings, restaurants, lodging, golf, and more. Drive south to the town of Tumacacori or hike the 4.5-mile Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail to Tumacacori National Historical Park (520-398-2341) to see a Franciscan mission built in the early 1800s and a garden like the one grown by the padres 200 years ago. Contact the Tubac-Santa Cruz Visitor Center (520-398-0007, www.toursantacruz.com) or the Tubac Chamber of Commerce (520-398-2704, www.tubacaz.com).

Meet Me at Maynards
Get lost in downtown with 200 new friends during this weekly 3-mile walk/run. It's noncompetitive, so go at your own pace and enjoy great specials and discounts at local restaurants along the changing route. Meet at Maynards Market & Kitchen (400 N. Toole Ave.) every Mon. night between 5:30 and 6 p.m. Flashlights are required. See www.meetmeatmaynards.com for details.

By the Light of the Moon
Strange things happen when there's a full moon, and Glow, at the town of Oracle, 35 miles north of Tucson, is no exception. Illuminated sculpture, light projections, installations, and live entertainment—including fire dancing—make up the surreal, abstract nighttime experience. Don glow-in-the-dark clothing and carry a flashlight or glow stick during this $10-per-person event Sept. 24 and 25 from 7 to 11 p.m. at Triangle L Ranch. Drive north on Oracle Rd., which turns into AZ Hwy. 77, and past the turnoff to the town of Oracle. Take the next left onto Rockcliff Blvd. and look for parking signs. See www.trianglelranch.com or call 520-623-6732.

Step It Up
Forget StairMaster—get outside and power through a challenging run up and around the mile-high town of Bisbee during this endurance-testing 5k race, Bisbee 1000, The Great Stair Climb. What began as an effort to save Bisbee's 1,000 historic steps has turned into a unique trek through the former mining community south of Tucson. There's also an Ice Man Competition—participants must carry 10-pound blocks of ice up 155 stairs with antique tongs—serenading musicians, arts & crafts booths, merchant discounts, and more. It's always held on the 3rd Sat. in Oct.—this year on Oct. 16. See www.bisbee1000.org for a map, registration details, and other information.

Stargazing
Southern Arizona is an astronomer's delight and home to the most prestigious observatories in the world. Kitt Peak National Observatory has yielded numerous major astronomical discoveries and has the world's largest on-site collection of optical telescopes. Phone 520-318-8726 or see www.noao.edu. For another starlight adventure, visit Starizona, an astronomy-focused store that hosts free star parties 4 nights a week. Call 520-292-5010 or go to www.starizona.com. Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter's Sky Nights provide public viewings through a high-tech, 24-inch reflecting telescope on the summit of Mt. Lemmon. Call 520-626-8122 or log on to http://skycenter.arizona.edu. Flandrau, on the U of A campus, is open 7 days a week and offers 4 planetarium shows, hands-on exhibits, a mineral museum, and telescope viewing Wed.-Sat. from 7 to 10 p.m. Phone 520-621-STAR or visit www.flandrau.org.

Spiritual Shopping
Kachinas, carved and painted figures called tihu by the Hopi, an American Indian tribe from northern Arizona, were originally used to teach children about Hopi life and religion. Today, these effigies representing spiritual and natural beings have become a popular art form coveted by collectors. Find Hopi kachinas at Morning Star Traders & Antiques (2020 E. Speedway Blvd., 520-881-2112), Gallery West Classic Native American Art (6420 N. Campbell Ave., 520-529-7002), Mac's Indian Jewelry (2400 E. Grant Rd., 520-327-3306), and Grey Dog Trading Co. (2970 N. Swan Rd., 520-881-6888).

Air, Space & Defense Museums
One of the largest collections of historic aircraft in the US is at the Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Rd. Its Space Gallery offers a historical look at space travel, while several hangars house memorabilia, airplanes, and exhibits. More than 275 aircraft are on display, inside and out, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission fee. Phone 520-574-0462. Another sure bet is the partly underground tour at the Titan Missile Museum. You can see the massive 760-ton rollback silo door, visit the launch-control center, and experience a simulated launch. In Sahuarita (take Duval Mine Rd. west, exit 69, off I-19). Phone 520-625-7736. Admission fee. Take a jaunt into southeastern Arizona for Fort Huachuca's Main, Annex, and US Army Intelligence Museums (520-533-5736). The Main and Annex Museums explore our military past from 1877 to the present, and the Intelligence Museum records Fort Huachuca's place in the history of US Army intelligence. Open weekdays 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and weekends 1-4 p.m. Free admission; donations accepted.

Off-road Adventure
Get off the highway and take a look at what you've been speeding past. Off-road Hummer and Jeep tours offer fascinating glimpses into the natural history of this exotic desert region. Experienced drivers can fill you in on all the details about the flora and fauna. A visit to historic and prehistoric sites may include a close-up look at Native American petroglyphs or a trip to a ghost town. Some companies will even tailor trips for your group. Phone Black Diamond Hummer Tours (520-907-1061, www.bdhummertours.com) or Trail Dust Adventures Inc. (520-747-0323, www.traildustadventures.com).

Holy Comic Books, Batman!
If you're looking to enter a world where good triumphs over evil, a world where the adventures of Superman and Spider-Man come to life on paper, Tucson boasts several comic-book shops featuring endless tales of superheroes and their nemeses. Visit Charlie's Comic Books (5445 E. 22nd St., Ste. 115), Heroes and Villains (4533 E. Broadway Blvd.), Fantasy Comics (2595 N. 1st Ave.), and R-Galaxy (2420 N. Campbell Ave.), or stop by Tucson Comic-Con Nov. 6 in downtown Tucson at The Hotel Arizona.

Day of the Dead
Tucsonans citywide celebrate Día de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday that pays tribute to ancestors and late loved ones, on Nov. 1 and 2. Enjoy music, dancing, skeleton figurines, festive community gatherings, and the always festive All Souls Procession—this year on Nov. 7—through downtown and Fourth Avenue. To purchase your own Day of the Dead treasures, stop by Borderlands Outlet (301 E. 7th St., 520-622-3476), Picante (2932 E. Broadway Blvd., 520-320-5699), and Tolteca Tlacuilo (186 N. Meyer Ave., 520-623-5787).

Culture for Kids
Tired of TV? For stimulating entertainment, try the Tucson Children's Museum at 200 S. 6th Ave. The museum focuses on participatory exhibits and displays geared to learning and exploration. Check out Dinosaur World, Public Safety, Art Studio, and Ocean Discovery Center. There's also a museum store filled with toys that are educational as well as fun. Visit www.tucsonchildrensmuseum.org or phone 520-792-9985.

Lights, Camera, Action
3:10 To Yuma, 1957. Tin Cup, 1996. Traffic, 2000. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, 2008. What do all these movies (and 100+ more) have in common? They all used Tucson and Southern Arizona—an area renowned for its sunny weather and distinctive landscapes—as movie sets. To learn more about Tucson-based films, casting calls, and screenings, contact the Tucson Film Office (520-770-2151, www.filmtucson.com). Visit Old Tucson Studios (201 S. Kinney Rd., 520-883-0100, www.oldtucson.com) for staged gunfights and musical and comedy shows, and to see where Gunfight at the O.K. Corral and other Westerns were filmed.

Casino Fun
You can bet Tucson has its share of casinos. Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel, owned and operated by the Tohono O'odham Nation (7350 S. Nogales Hwy., 520-294-7777, www.desertdiamondcasino.com), deals up live blackjack, slots, bingo, and poker, among other games. Or check out its 2nd area location in Sahuarita at I-19 and Pima Mine Rd. (520-294-7777). Also, Casino of the Sun, owned and operated by the Pascua Yaqui Nation (7474 S. Camino de Oeste, with a 2nd location, Casino del Sol, at 5655 W. Valencia Rd., 800-344-9435, www.solcasinos.com), brings a little piece of Vegas to the Old Pueblo, offering live blackjack, video poker, slot machines, bingo, and more. If you're not having any luck with the one-armed bandit, grab something to eat—from Mexican food to prime rib—or catch a show; most casinos offer big-name entertainment. You must be 21 or older to enter any of the casinos.

Caves & Caverns
Cave explorers of all ages and abilities can have a field day in Arizona. Kartchner Caverns State Park, near Benson, has been described as an underground nature preserve. Providing spectacular sights in a football-field-sized room, this living cave also features a 58-foot-tall stone column dubbed "Kubla Khan." Reservations are recommended (520-586-2283, www.azstateparks.com). Colossal Cave Mountain Park, 17 miles east of Tucson on Old Spanish Trail (520-647-7275), is a cave that has earned its name—it's one of the largest "dry," or dormant, caves in the country. In the 1880s, outlaws sought refuge in the passageways and secret exits, and rumor has it there is hidden treasure within. Colossal Cave's annual Halloween Howl, held Oct. 22-24 and 29-31, features hayrides, a carnival, and spooky candlelight cave tours. Coronado Cave, near the Mexican border and part of Coronado National Memorial (520-366-5515), is a more primitive cave, but it's worth the effort to enjoy the cool temperature and calcite formations. Flashlights are required for exploring the cave. All caves except Coronado Cave charge admission fees.

Cheap Thrills
Calling all bargain hunters! Two local "thrift-anistas" are on the lookout for daily deals, free or low-cost activities, dining discounts, and more. From complimentary admission at local attractions and historic sites to 2-for-1 restaurant deals, find something that interests you at www.tucsononthecheap.com.

Patagonia
Consider a daytrip to the eclectic town of Patagonia, where you'll find interesting galleries, shops, and restaurants lining the sides of Town Park. Enjoy everything from paintings to jewelry at Global Arts Gallery (520-394-0077) on McKeown Ave. The Velvet Elvis Pizza Company (520-394-2102), on Naugle Ave., is a sure palate-pleaser. Imagine blue skies, a breeze coming off the water, and a bobber lulling you to sleep—you'll find this paradise at Patagonia Lake State Park (520-287-6965). Or you can birdwatch—there are approximately 80 species of nesting birds in summer, and more than 300 species of birds have been recorded in The Nature Conservancy's Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve (520-394-2400).

Dinner & A Show
Looking to add a little drama or mystery to your dinner out? Check out one of these Tucson theaters that specialize in keeping their audiences entertained and well fed. Don't miss The Gaslight Theatre's campy, original melodramas: The Vampire Aug. 26-Nov. 6 and a holiday-themed show Nov. 11-Jan. 1. Pizza and ice cream, among other treats, are sold at the theater. Catch a show at 7010 E. Broadway Blvd.; reservations and advance payment are required. Phone 520-886-9428 or visit www.thegaslighttheatre.com. Mystery Mansion Dinner Theatre (520-624-0172, www.mysterymansion.com) offers a candlelit 3-course dinner and the interactive Murder at Magic Manor on Fri. and Sat. nights. Reservations required. Call ahead for showtimes and directions.

Reid Park Rose Garden
Hundreds of rosebushes—from old-fashioned specimens to the newest all-American varieties—have brought this garden national acclaim. The roses' peak season is from Mar. to May, though there's a fall bloom as well. Even the names of the varieties are tantalizing. The park is between Alvernon Way and Country Club Rd., just north of 22nd St.

Exploring Bio2
The University of Arizona Biosphere 2 currently serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies that monitor global environmental change. This 3.1-acre glass-and-steel complex—originally designed as a research center for sustainable space colonization—contains a rain forest, savannah, marsh, desert, and million-gallon ocean. Visitors can explore various parts of the attraction and go on an "under the glass" guided tour. Visit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; tours offered daily. On AZ Hwy. 77 at mile marker 96.5, about 25 miles north of Tucson. Admission for adults is $20; $18 for seniors, military, and AAA members; $13 for kids ages 6-12; ages 5 and under free. Phone 520-838-6200 or visit www.b2science.org.

Up, Up & Away
Some think it's the only way to see the Tucson Basin and surrounding mountain ranges. Local experts say the best balloon season in Tucson is Oct.-Apr., so now's the time to get airborne. Several ballooning companies offer regular opportunities to drift quietly above the saguaros. Phone Southern Arizona Balloon Excursions (520-624-3599, www.tucsoncomefly.com), Tucson Balloon Rides (520-235-5355, www.tucsonballoonrides.com), or Fleur De Tucson Balloon Tours (520-529-1025 or 520-403-8547, www.fleurdetucson.net).

International Wildlife Museum
This natural history museum features more than 400 displays of mammals, birds, and insects from around the world. Interactive computer programs and hands-on exhibits provide educational entertainment. View hourly nature films in the Wildlife Theater, then stop by the Oasis Gift Shop for food and beverages. Open Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sat.-Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Located at 4800 W. Gates Pass Rd. (the west end of Speedway Blvd.), 5 miles west of I-10. Visit www.thewildlifemuseum.org or call 520-629-0100.

Grape Expectations
The soil and climatic conditions in Southern Arizona—particularly the small towns of Sonoita and Elgin—are perfect for growing grapes. More than a half-dozen vineyards offer up tastings and wine festivals throughout the year. To get there, drive east on I-10, then head south on AZ Hwy. 83 to AZ Hwy. 82. Popular stops include Kief-Joshua Vineyards (520-455-5582), Charron Vineyards and Winery (520-762-8585), Sonoita Vineyards (520-455-5893), and Wilhelm Family Vineyards (520-455-9291). Go to www.visitazwine.com for more.

Garden of Gethsemane
In return for prayers answered during World War I, Tucsonan Felix Lucero began work on sculptures depicting biblical scenes. The result: this lovely park at 602 W. Congress St. on the west bank of the Santa Cruz River. Now it's city maintained and open from dawn to dusk. You'll find shade trees and, across Congress St., Tucson's official largest eucalyptus tree. For more information, phone the City of Tucson Parks & Recreation Department, 520-791-4873.

Sanctuary Cove
The desert and serenity go hand-in-hand. Something about the quiet, the vegetation, and the blissful desert skies allows one to find sanctuary from the modern world here. The All Creeds Brotherhood created an outdoor retreat and meditation spot in the desert on the outskirts of town. To get there, go north on Silverbell Rd. to Coachline Rd. Turn left, then make a right on Pima Farms Rd. until it comes to a dead end at Scenic Dr.; turn left and go about 1/4 mile to the sanctuary. Look for a gate on the right. Open from dawn until dusk. See www.sanctuarycove.org or call 520-744-2375.

Grand Canyon
Drive about 6 hours through some of the nation's most memorable countryside, and you'll be at one of the 7 natural wonders of the world—where you can hike, ride, fly, camp, float, and photograph a truly awe-inspiring sight. Located 80 miles south of the Grand Canyon, the city of Flagstaff offers good accommodations for the night. Phone the Flagstaff Visitors Center at 800-842-7293 or visit www.flagstaffarizona.org. See www.grandcanyon.com for additional lodging options.

Guitars & More
Some of Tucson's music stores are like funky museums where you can buy that vintage Fender guitar you've always wanted. Find new and used guitars, keyboards, drums, and more at Chicago Music Store (130 E. Congress St., 520-622-3341, and 7030 E. Broadway Blvd., 520-886-1516), family owned for more than 85 years. Rainbow Guitars, with hundreds of guitars on display, is another local favorite (2550 N. Campbell Ave., 520-325-3376). There's also The Folk Shop (2525 N. Campbell Ave., 520-881-7147), which features unusual instruments from around the world.

Main Gate Square
Searching for some U of A gear—a hat, T-shirt, or maybe a pair of Wildcat flip-flops? Find collegiate gear and much more at this bustling hub of university students, faculty, visitors, early risers, and night owls, who gather at the many coffee shops, restaurants, and pubs after a day of shopping (or studying). Located within walking distance of the museums, sports facilities, and attractions on campus, Main Gate Square (on University Blvd. between Park and Euclid Aves.) features everything from banking and cupcakes to salons, chic clothing, specialty stores, and even a hotel.

Museums of Fine Art
The permanent collection of The University of Arizona Museum of Art includes Spanish and Renaissance art, as well as 19th-century American, contemporary, and modernist works. It's on the U of A campus just south of Speedway Blvd. and east of Park Ave. near the pedestrian underpass. Phone 520-621-7567. Since the completion of a $2.7-million renovation, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block (downtown at the corner of N. Main Ave. and Alameda St.) has been able to display more of its fine collection and attract larger traveling exhibits. The museum renovated the historic Hiram Stevens House into the Palice Pavilion for its permanent collection of pre-Columbian, Spanish Colonial, and Latin American folk art. And while you're in the area, be sure to visit the John K. Goodman Pavilion of Western Art. Phone 520-624-2333. And don't miss Café à la C'Art (520-628-8533) for a little something to snack on.

"A" Mountain
Perhaps Tucson's most notable, or should we say most easily noted, landmark is "A" Mountain. Rising above downtown, the peak has witnessed the history and growth of the city. Stjukson, meaning "spring at the foot of the black mountain," was the name of the original Native American settlement in the shelter of the peak. The US Army named the mountain Sentinel Peak for its strategic importance. Since 1916, U of A freshmen have made a yearly tradition of painting the now-namesake letter "A." You can drive to the top of the peak to enjoy a panoramic view of the city Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Phone 520-791-5909.

Frybread
An initiation to the Southwest, this puffy delight can be found smothered in honey or savory toppings Sats. and Suns. at the Tohono O'odham food stands near Mission San Xavier del Bac and at seasonal events around town.

The Arizona Trail
Hike, bike, horseback ride, or cross-country ski on 800 miles of interconnecting trails through the Coronado, Tonto, Kaibab, and Coconino National Forests, from the border of Mexico to Utah. For maps and detailed information, phone the Arizona Trail Association at 602-252-4794, or visit www.aztrail.org.

El Tour de Tucson
This annual event, which began in 1983, takes place on the Sat. before Thanksgiving (Nov. 20 this year) and brings more than 5,000 cyclists to Tucson to compete for prizes and medallions. Four courses range from 31 miles to more than 100 miles. Children and parents also participate on their own 4-mile and 1/4-mile courses. Rides start all over town, but all finish downtown. For information, call 520-745-2033, or visit www.perimeterbicycling.com.

Downtown Divas
Two historic theaters reign as the grandes dames of Tucson's city center. The refurbished Fox Tucson Theatre (17 W. Congress St., 520-624-1515 or 520-547-3040, www.foxtucsontheatre.org) earned its ranking as a National Historic Landmark for its unique decor and acoustics, featuring elements reminiscent of its prime in the 1930s and 40s. It hosts concerts, film festivals, theater performances, and silent movies. Built in 1920, The Rialto Theatre (318 E. Congress St., 520-740-1000, www.rialtotheatre.com) once welcomed such stars as Clara Bow, Ginger Rogers, and Dolores del Rio, as well as touring vaudeville and musical acts. Today it hosts various live musical acts year-round.

St. Augustine Cathedral
Built in 1896 and refurbished in 1968, the cathedral's high interior, tall narrow windows, and sweeping dome of wooden slats are reminiscent of European church architecture. The exterior is a wonderful sight at dawn, dusk, or night. Every Sun. at 8 a.m. the clergy conduct mass accompanied by live mariachi music. Visitors of all faiths are welcome. Located at 192 S. Stone Ave., 520-623-6351.

Valley of the Moon
At one time, a mysterious gnome by the name of George Phar Legler roamed these mineralized cliffs, caves, pools, and mazes at 2544 E. Allen Rd. And his legacy remains. He built this funky fantasyland in the late 1920s with the philosophy that "happiness is given, not sold." Maintained by the George Phar Legler Society, this Arizona Historic Site is open by appointment for tours and special events throughout the year, including the Haunted Ruins Halloween Show in Oct. Donations are accepted. Phone 520-323-1331 or see www.tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com for current event times and dates.

Deal-icious
It's a lesson in culinary mathematics: 8 days of 3-course dinners for only $39, $29, or $19 per meal at dozens of local restaurants. That's enough to make your head spin...and whet your appetite. During Arizona Restaurant Week, held Sept. 18-26, Tucson joins a host of other cities hosting restaurant weeks throughout the nation. Participating eateries include Bob's Steak & Chop House (Omni Tucson National Resort, 2727 W. Club Dr.), Jonathan's Tucson Cork (6320 E. Tanque Verde Rd.), and Pastiche Modern Eatery (3025 N. Campbell Ave.), but call 602-307-9134 or see www.arizonarestaurantweek.com for a complete list.

Agua Caliente Park
Some call it "Tucson's best-kept secret." Pima County manages this park, which was once part of a ranch and later a mineral-hot-springs retreat. At this natural habitat, the public can enjoy acres of large trees, shaded picnic areas, several ponds, and beautiful views of the mountains, as well as an art gallery and nature shop in the newly restored main ranch house. Open 7 a.m.-sunset, the Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente ("hot water") Regional Park is on the far northeast side of town at 12325 E. Roger Rd. Phone 520-749-3718.

Toy Stores
Surrounded by rubber bugs, squirting eyeballs, ant farms, dolls, fairy wings, books, and science experiments, you'll have trouble controlling yourself—not to mention any children you might bring to Tucson's toy stores. Yikes! Toy Store (2930 E. Broadway Blvd., 520-320-5669) specializes in non-computerized, novelty, and hard-to-find toys. At Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's Toys (at Crossroads Festival, 4811 E. Grant Rd., Ste. 151, 520-326-0188), the selection includes well-made European and educational toys . Or try Lulubell Toy Bodega (439 N. 6th Ave., Ste. 187, 520-622-5858), which carries art-based collectibles and figures also known as "urban vinyl." Feel like a kid again at Mildred and Dildred (at La Encantada, 2905 E. Skyline Dr., Ste. 186, 520-615-6266)—a store that emphasizes imaginative play with toys from around the world. Bisbee Stitches Teeny Tiny Toy Store (15 Main St., Bisbee, 520-432-8028) features handmade stuffed toys by Mark Hundley.

Laughs Galore
Prepare for side-splitting entertainment at Laffs Comedy Caffé, featuring nationally known comics. At 2900 E. Broadway Blvd., Ste. 160, Laffs is open Thurs.-Sat. with a $10 cover charge. Don't miss amateur night on Thurs. with free admission. Phone 520-32-FUNNY or visit www.laffstucson.com.

Live Theater
All dressed up with no place to go? Try Southern Arizona's many antidotes—musicals, comedies, dramas, Broadway hits, and more. This fall see Moonlight and Magnolias Sept. 13-Oct. 3 at the Invisible Theatre (520-882-9721). Live Theatre Workshop (520-327-4242) offers The Gin Game Sept. 2-Oct. 10. Arizona Theatre Company (520-622-2823) presents Backwards in High Heels Sept. 10-Oct. 2. And at Broadway in Tucson (800-745-3000), enjoy The Color Purple Nov. 2-7.

Mission San Xavier del Bac
Called "the White Dove of the Desert," the San Xavier del Bac mission was founded by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino in the late 1600s. The church, built by the Franciscans in the 1700s, is one of the finest examples of Spanish mission architecture in the US. Visitors can enjoy the results of a major restoration, portions of it by experts who restored the Sistine Chapel. Take I-19 to exit 92, then watch for signs once you get onto the Tohono O'odham reservation. Phone 520-294-2624 or see www.sanxaviermission.org for more information and a mass schedule.

Movie Madness
At Cinema La Placita, located in downtown Tucson, view American classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany's and Some Like It Hot beneath starry skies. With only a $3 suggested donation and free popcorn, there's no excuse to miss Audrey Hepburn and other stars projected on the big screen outdoors. Bring a blanket for the lawn—although plastic chairs are provided—and your favorite movie munchies to 110 S. Church Ave. every Thurs. at 7:30 p.m. May-Oct. Call 520-326-5282 or visit www.cinemalaplacita.com for upcoming shows.

A Tequila Primer
The genuine article is made only in Mexico, where it's distilled from the fermented juices of steamed hearts of blue agave, a distant relative of the lily. The real stuff must contain at least 51% blue agave juices and have the letters NOM followed by an identification number on the label. Salud at JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa, Flying V Bar & Grill at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, Old Pueblo Grille, Blanco Tacos+Tequila, Miguel's at La Posada, and El Charro Café each have an extensive collection, offering at least 20 different varieties.

Gallery Hopping
Tucson has been called a "mini-mecca" for the arts, and many nationally and internationally known artists call it home. Galleries at the northeast and southwest corners of Campbell Ave. and Skyline Dr. hold ArtWalks every Thurs., with extended hours and occasional artist demonstrations, music, food, and wine tastings. On the first Thurs. of each month, Main Gate Square, just west of the university, displays works by local artists, merchants host wine tastings, and community members perform live shows. Log on to www.tucsonpimaartscouncil.org for a year-round schedule of art-themed events throughout the city.

DeGrazia's Haunt
Many works by one of Tucson's most famous artists, Ted DeGrazia, are housed in DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. Built by the artist with the help of close friends, the compound of low-slung adobes (constructed of materials from the surrounding desert) at one time served as his home and studio. The permanent collection includes works by DeGrazia; rotating exhibits and a gift shop round out the mix. The 10-acre site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at 6300 N. Swan Rd. Phone 520-299-9191 or visit www.degrazia.org.

World-Class Spas
Some of the nation's premier spa getaways are right here in the Old Pueblo, including multiyear winners of Condé Nast Traveler's Best Spa award Canyon Ranch Health Resort (520-749-9000) and Miraval (520-825-4000). Both Westward Look Resort's Sonoran Spa (520-917-2467) and the spa at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (520-529-7830) provide programs to meet individual guests' needs. Nature-inspired spa services are available to guests at Hashani in the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa (520-791-6117), while Red Door Spa at the Westin La Paloma Resort (520-742-7866) pampers its guests with a eucalyptus sauna. Omni Tucson National Resort (520-877-2367) features the Desert Stone massage, and The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Dove Mountain (520-572-3000), offers personalized blends of indigenous aromatherapy oils. Gadabout SalonSpas (520-325-0000) also offers many relaxing options, including a spa exclusively for men.

Old Town Artisans & More
In the historic Presidio district, Old Town Artisans (201 N. Court Ave., 520-622-0351) is a haven for those seeking beautiful arts & crafts or a relaxing lunch in a wonderful courtyard at La Cocina Restaurant & Catering (520-622-0351). The historic adobe structure is filled with items ranging from prickly-pear-pad spoon rests and handmade gargoyles to dried-flower arrangements, Western wear, and handcrafted jewelry and pottery. Nearby, you'll find historic homes, El Charro Café (520-622-1922)—purportedly the oldest family-owned Mexican restaurant in the nation—and more. It's a great area for shopping and sightseeing.

Besh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological Park
With an interesting name and an even more interesting history, this Arizona attraction will not disappoint. Home to the Salado people from about ad 1240 to 1400, the Besh-Ba-Gowah site (meaning "place of metal" or "metal camp") is thought to have been a prehistoric trading center. The site has given archaeologists evidence of people who survived by both farming and trade. The park features interpretive signs; a museum displaying artifacts, models, and photographs relating to the site; and wheelchair-accessible trails. In Globe on Jess Hayes Rd. Phone 928-425-0320.

Family Fun Centers
Pack up the kids and head out the door, because Arizona is perfect for enjoying the great American pastimes of miniature golf, bumper boats, batting cages, go-carts, and video arcades. Visit Funtasticks Family Fun Park at 221 E. Wetmore Rd. (520-888-4653) or Golf N' Stuff at 6503 E. Tanque Verde Rd. (520-885-3569).

La Encantada
For some of Tucson's premier upscale boutiques, national retailers, and unparalleled mountain and city views, head to this 2-story open-air complex for a complete day of shopping. Six unique restaurants—offering everything from sushi to wine flights—and a gourmet grocer complement the impressive selection of stores. At the northwest corner of Campbell Ave. and Skyline Dr., 520-615-2561, www.laencantadashoppingcenter.com.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
This takes some driving—168 miles of it—but it's worth it. AZ Hwy. 86 will take you west to the tiny town of Why. Turn left on AZ Hwy. 85 to get to the monument headquarters. Along the way you'll pass by Robles Junction (also known as Three Points), Kitt Peak, and the Tohono O'odham capital, Sells. When you get to Organ Pipe, enjoy a drive or take a hike through the 516.7-square-mile preserve of rare cacti. Phone 520-387-6849.

Pedal Pushing
If you find yourself in Tucson without a bike, consider renting one from Broadway Bicycles (520-296-7819), RC Bicycles (520-624-2285), or Fair Wheel Bikes (520-884-9018). Some lovely routes include the Rillito Parkway Multi-use Path, Old Spanish Trail, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, and various other paths around town. Pick up a free bicycle map at the Tucson-Pima Public Library downtown (520-594-5500). For more information on renting bikes as well as some great trails, check with your hotel concierge—and don't forget to wear a helmet.

Catalina State Park
Just 12 miles north of Tucson on Oracle Rd. (AZ Hwy. 77), this park offers the best views of the canyons, cliffs, domes, and spires on the north side of the Santa Catalina Mountains. White-tailed deer abound. Walk the Romero Ruin Interpretive Trail to the archaeological site of an ancient Hohokam village that was later a Spanish hacienda. Picnicking, camping, biking, and hiking are available. A day pass is $7 per vehicle. Phone 520-628-5798.

Mariachi Music
Mariachi is a music born of many influences, including modern radio. The instruments, clothes, and voices are all part of a studied tradition. Tucson hosts an international mariachi conference every Apr., but mariachis play year-round at various Mexican restaurants, including La Fuente (Fri.-Sun., 1749 N. Oracle Rd., 520-623-8659), Las Cazuelitas de Tucson (Fri. and Sat. nights, 1365 W. Grant Rd., 520-206-0405), and El Mezon del Cobre (Fri. and Sat. nights, 2960 N. 1st Ave., 520-791-0977).

Sonoita & Elgin
Wineries, fine dining, and charming B&Bs are hallmarks of the Sonoita/Elgin experience. The picturesque countryside has provided the backdrop for several Hollywood movies, including Oklahoma! and Red River. Numerous restaurants, such as Canela Bistro (520-455-5873) and The Steak Out Restaurant & Saloon (520-455-5205), draw folks from around the world. Don't miss the colorful shops of Many Horses Trading Company (520-455-5545), Buffalo Gals of Sonoita (520-455-5523), and Steve Getzwiller's Nizhoni Ranch Gallery (520-455-5020). From Tucson, take I-10 east to AZ Hwy. 83. Sonoita is at the junction of Hwys. 83 and 82. Elgin is just a few miles down the road off Hwy. 83. Phone the Sonoita-Elgin Chamber of Commerce at 520-455-5498 or visit www.sonoitaelginchamber.org.

Phone Line Trail
Following the route of an old phone line that went up the mountain to the Palisades Ranger Station, the Phone Line Trail affords a view of Sabino Canyon seldom seen by the casual visitor. At its highest, the 41/2-mile trail takes you about 400 feet above the canyon, reducing to miniature the shuttles along the paved road and giving you an eagle's-eye view of the activities below. Ask for directions at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center, 5900 N. Sabino Canyon Rd.

Hot Nights
Unwind after a long day with an exhilarating night of dancing, drinks, and music at some of Tucson's hippest nightclubs. Check out Level Bar Lounge (520-615-3835) for a variety of exciting theme nights and live DJs every Wed.-Sun. Mix and mingle on the dance floor or rent your own lounge at Pearl (520-888-8084) for the ultimate A-list experience. Enjoy gambling and great food, plus live music, DJs, and dancing at Desert Diamond Casino & Hotel's nightclub, Monsoon (520-294-7777). Zen Rock (520-624-3800) downtown boasts go-go girls, DJs, and 3 distinct levels, or drink in picturesque views of the city from the opulent rooftop bar at Sapphire Lounge (520-623-5400). Some places enforce a dress code, so call ahead for details.

Photography Center
Established in 1975, the U of A Center for Creative Photography is one of the finest institutions of its kind. Patrons may request appointments to view photos from the permanent collection, including works from the archives of Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. It's located just east of the westernmost U of A pedestrian underpass (park in the garage at Park Ave. and Speedway Blvd.). For current exhibitions, phone 520-621-7968 or visit www.creativephotography.org.

Bisbee
When you visit this old mining-town-turned-artists'-enclave and wander among the steeply tiered hillside houses or delve 1,500 feet underground on the Queen Mine Tour (520-432-2071) to experience what mining was really like, you'll understand why people speak so fondly of this little town. Take a Lavender Jeep Tour (520-432-5369) to find more of what Bisbee and Southern Arizona have to offer. At night, see who—and what—haunts this hamlet with Arizona Ghost Tours (520-432-3308). Located about 90 miles southeast of Tucson on AZ Hwy. 80. Phone the Bisbee Visitor Center, 520-432-3554 or 866-2BISBEE, or visit www.discoverbisbee.com.

Sunday Brunch
When Sun. rolls around, pamper yourself with the luxury of brunch at one of Tucson's world-class resorts or fine restaurants. Ice carvings, fresh-squeezed orange juice, smoked salmon, omelettes with anything you want, Belgian waffles, pastries, soft music, and several dozen other comforts are the norm rather than the exception at these culinary destinations.

Gates Pass
A winding uphill drive west on Speedway Blvd. (which becomes Gates Pass Rd.) brings you, at its apex, to Gates Pass—and panoramic views of Tucson to the east and Saguaro National Park to the west. It's a perfect setting for inspiring sunrises, midday contemplation, and romantic sunsets. (It's a favorite ride for bicyclists, too—be aware!)

Planes, Trains & Automobiles
How much of the environment (and money) would we save if we all traveled by rail? That's one of the questions posed at the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, located in the renovated historic train depot in downtown Tucson. Here, visitors can contemplate the pros and cons of alternative transportation, practice Morse code as the conductors of the railroad once did, view historic artifacts and photos, and visit the restored 1900s locomotive parked trackside. Open Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sun. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Free admission, but donations are accepted. Call 520-623-2223 or see www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org.

Poetry Center
Sing the body electric, trek the wasteland, hear Ginsberg's howl, or discover a new favorite at the U of A Poetry Center. Established in 1960, this nationally acclaimed literary resource has more than 60,000 books, periodicals, audio/video recordings, and artist-designed and limited-edition books in its exhilarating home at 1508 E. Helen St. Open Mon. and Thurs. 9 a.m.-8 p.m., Tues. and Wed. 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone 520-626-3765 or see www.poetrycenter.arizona.edu.

Book Browse
What better activity for a bibliophile than browsing through Tucson's independent bookstores? The Book Stop (214 N. 4th Ave., 520-326-6661) has thousands of quality used and out-of-print copies, while Bookmans Entertainment Exchange (1930 E. Grant Rd., 520-325-5767; 3733 W. Ina Rd., 520-579-0303; and 6230 E. Speedway Blvd., 520-748-9555) offers a veritable warehouse of used books, magazines, video games, movies, software, and CDs. Antigone Books (411 N. 4th Ave., 520-792-3715) boasts an impressive collection of books by local writers, as well as humorous greeting cards and calendars. Clues Unlimited (3146 E. Ft. Lowell Rd., 520-326-8533) is dedicated almost solely to mysteries, while A Children's House of Books (2624 N. 1st Ave., 520-822-8211) encourages the little ones to read with gently used books and story time. Don't miss Mostly Books (6208 E. Speedway Blvd., 520-571-0110), which carries everything from audio books and biographies to mysteries and travelogues.

Tucson Mountain Park
More than 22,000 acres of lush Sonoran desert and mountains, offering astounding sunsets, numerous hiking and equestrian trails, mountain biking, and picnic areas, are just 14 miles west of town in Tucson Mountain Park. The park is also a first-rate camping and RV destination, with spaces available on a first-come, first-served basis. The park is home to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, and the popular Gates Pass overlook. Phone 520-877-6000.

El Tiradito Wishing Shrine
A love triangle, broken hearts, and a crime of passion are all pieces of the intriguing legend behind this shrine. A plaque mounted at the shrine tells the most accepted version. At 400 S. Main Ave. (and Cushing St.), El Tiradito is a national historic site that has been part of the local scene for more than a century.

Desert Greens
Find an urban oasis near you! Tucson Botanical Gardens (2150 N. Alvernon Way, 520-326-9686, www.tucsonbotanical.org) has demonstration gardens; a seasonal café; tours; lectures; classes; a gift shop; and exhibits of arid, semitropical, and tropical plants—all displayed in intimate garden settings around an adobe home. Tohono Chul Park (7366 N. Paseo del Norte, 520-742-6455, www.tohonochulpark.org) was created to promote the conservation of arid regions. It includes nature trails, art and cultural exhibits, a greenhouse, a children's garden, a tearoom, and gift shops.

Native Seeds/SEARCH
In an effort to preserve ancient desert crops and farming methods, Native Seeds/SEARCH, a visionary Tucson-based conservation organization, has traveled into remote areas and collected more than 1,800 desert-adapted crop seeds. Researchers cultivate the plants and make the seeds available by mail order to seed banks, farmers, and gardeners. Their offices and retail sales are found at 3061 N. Campbell Ave. (520-622-5561, www.nativeseeds.org).

Narrated Tours
Here's a great way to get a quick orientation to the city and Southern Arizona—contact one of Tucson's tour companies, Gray Line Tours (520-622-8811, www.graylinearizona.com) or Reisen Arizona (520-319-8130, www.reisenarizona.com). A typical day tour will visit "A" Mountain, the downtown historic district, the U of A campus, Sabino Canyon, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, Old Town Artisans, and Mission San Xavier del Bac. For a unique perspective, hop on a Segway for 2-hour guided tours along the Presidio Trail or around the university area. Call Roll With It! at 520-749-5325 or see www.tucsonrollwithit.com.

Sunrise
Sunsets are spectacular; sunrises are for meditative moods. Watch the Santa Catalinas as the first rays of light begin to play across the peaks and canyons. Turn away and look back a few minutes later and the whole scene will have changed—subtly, but beautifully. A good sunrise will set you up for the whole day.

Arizona Summits
In the Santa Catalina Mountains, 9,157-ft. Mt. Lemmon is an instructor's manual in vertical life zones. The winding Catalina Highway takes you from the saguaro-studded desert floor to a forest of pines, aspens, and firs. Summerhaven, a quaint village near the top, makes a great rest stop. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley, a little farther up the mountain, is the site of many outdoor festivals. A road fee is charged for use of Forest Service facilities only. At 4,687 ft., Wasson Peak in the Tucson Mountains affords a spectacular view of the Tucson Basin and, on a clear day, miles beyond. The highest peak in the Santa Rita mountain range at 9,453 ft., Mt. Wrightson has numerous trails of varying difficulty. Drive south on I-19 to Madera Canyon and look for the signs. And finally, Mt. Graham, a sacred site for Apaches, is a 10,720-ft. peak in the Pinaleño Mountains, about 125 miles northeast of Tucson near Safford. Check the weather forecast and check in with park rangers before hiking on cold days or during hot, dry weather—and always take water, sunscreen, and a cell phone.

Muleshoe Ranch
Join the ranks of outlaws, settlers, ranchers, ecologists, coatimundis, javelina, mule deer, hummingbirds, herons, and hawks. Operated by the Arizona Nature Conservancy in the Galiuro Mountains, part of the Coronado National Forest east of Tucson, the ranch affords its visitors rich riparian and backcountry wilderness areas, plus a visitors center, overnight casitas with natural hot springs, a nature trail, birdwatching, photographic opportunities, hiking, and a knowledgeable staff. Phone 520-212-4295 or visit www.nature.org/arizona.

A Family That Plays Together...
Find something the whole family can enjoy every Sat. and Sun. at Family Friendly Weekends—from story time at the main library and hands-on activities at the Tucson Children's Museum to performances by the Arizona Theatre Company and U of A hockey games at the Tucson Convention Center. Try the fare at an iconic restaurant or walk the Presidio Trail to learn more about the area's history. The possibilities are endless, and it all happens right downtown. Dial 520-624-1817 or see www.familyfriendlyweekends.org.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Wandering through this living museum is like taking an enchanted walk through the desert—with no fear of snakes or critters. There's lots of information, plenty of shade and water, and close-up views of bobcats, prairie dogs, coyotes, hawks, Mexican gray wolves, scorpions, rattlesnakes, roadrunners, quail, and more. Aviaries offer a birder's haven. The internationally famous museum has seasonal fine dining and year-round casual dining. Trained museum docents give live-animal demonstrations and seasonal guided tours. Admission fee. Open daily at 2021 N. Kinney Rd. Phone 520-883-2702 or visit www.desertmuseum.org for hours of operation.

Sabino Canyon
Enjoy narrated tours through the place where mammoths roamed, ancient Hohokam people made irrigation dams, pony soldiers discovered swimming holes, and the Civilian Conservation Corps built bridges and cut hiking trails. Trams run daily, with multiple stops, including one at the trailhead of a lovely 2.6-mile one-way hike to Seven Falls. Evening shuttles run (by reservation) just before each full moon Apr.-June and Sept.-Nov. When there's water in the creek, a round-trip trail from the lower portion takes you up to cool, clear pools. Swim, laze, or play lizard on the rocks. Be sure to stop by the visitors center. Located on N. Sabino Canyon Rd. (520-749-2861). Fees for parking and the tram. Phone ahead for tram schedules and stops.

Rattlesnake Bridge
With shiny fangs and a winding tail, a huge diamondback rattlesnake serves as a bicycle and pedestrian bridge over Broadway Blvd. at the Barraza-Aviation Parkway, just east of downtown Tucson. This eye-catching structure, designed by artist Simon Donovan, won an award as one of the nation's best road projects from the Federal Highway Administration. A hollow stomach serves as the covered bridge—another Tucson success in combining public art with city improvement projects.

Boyce Thompson Arboretum
In 1927, William Boyce Thompson established this arboretum near Superior (11/2 hours north of Tucson) to preserve desert plants and experiment with their potential as usable resources. The arboretum hosts several events and tours throughout the year, including guided birding walks. Phone 520-689-2811 or visit http://arboretum.ag.arizona.edu.

Buckle Up
Dressing in the Old Pueblo is a cinch—when you have the right accessories. Belt buckles not only are functional but also serve as a Western signature to most outfits. They can be silver, gold, inlaid, engraved, cast, fabricated, or hand-stamped. They can also hold a rainbow of stones, including turquoise, coral, sugalite, and quartz, to name just a few. Check out Desert Son (520-299-0818), Morning Star Traders & Antiques (520-881-2112), Dark Star Leather (520-881-4700), Loop Jean Company (520-219-9785), or Old Presidio Traders (in Tubac, 520-398-9333) for one-of-a-kind pieces.

Falling into Autumn
The changing season means piles of fallen leaves, a nip in the air, and fresh-from-the-farm produce. On weekends Sept. 25-Oct. 31, Apple Annie's Produce & Pumpkins in Willcox, 80 miles east of Tucson, offers hayrides, a pumpkin patch, and adventures through Arizona's largest corn maze. A quick 5-mile jaunt down the road leads to Apple Annie's Orchard, with apple trees ripe and heavy for the pickin'. Also enjoy country-style pancake breakfasts, apple-wood smoked burgers, homemade baked goods, and much more. Call 520-384-2084 or see www.appleannies.com for directions and hours.

Rafting
For some people, rafting means the thrill of whitewater rapids. For others, it means drifting down secluded canyons. Arizona's waters offer both types of experiences. Outfitters offer various packages, ranging from a few hours to many days. Phone Arizona River Runners (800-477-7238), Cimarron River Company (480-994-1199), Far Flung Outdoor Center (800-839-7238), Wilderness River Adventures (800-992-8022), or Mild to Wild Rafting (800-567-6745).

Walk The Presidio Trail
Head downtown to explore Tucson's historical landmarks on this self-guided walking tour. The 2.5-mile trail takes you to 23 sites, including Hotel Congress, Armory Park, the Pima County Courthouse, and Fox Tucson Theatre. A turquoise-colored line keeps walkers on track, while plaques along the way provide historical information. Pick up a free Presidio Trail map at the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, 100 S. Church Ave., or download it at www.tucsonpresidiotrust.org. Call 520-624-1817 for more information.

Play Hard
Sometimes Frisbee in the park just doesn't get the adrenaline flowing. For those times, Tucson has various recreational activities sure to get your heart racing. Disruptive Paintball (1015 W. Prince Rd., 520-293-5850) and Desert Fox Paintball Field (9651 S. Houghton Rd., 520-574-9232) rent all the necessary equipment and provide game fields for a day of friendly paintball competition. Rocks and Ropes (330 S. Toole Ave., 520-882-5924) has enough equipment for 100 people to climb on its indoor climbing walls at the same time.

Willcox Museums
Nearby Willcox, birthplace of the late Western film and singing legend Rex Allen, now honors him with the Rex Allen Museum (150 N. Railroad Ave., 520-384-4583), which traces the life of the "Arizona Cowboy" through movie posters, costumes designed by Nudie (of Elvis-outfit fame), and photographs of Allen during his Hollywood heyday. Exhibits at the Chiricahua Regional Museum and Research Center (127 E. Maley St., 520-384-3971) focus on the Apache Indians and area agriculture and ranching. Take I-10 east for 90 miles to exit 336.

UApresents
The University of Arizona's performing arts series brings leading artists from around the world to Tucson's Centennial Hall. The 2010-2011 season features nearly 30 different performances, including Mariachi Sol de México and Vikki Carr Sept. 24, the Venice Baroque Orchestra Oct. 31, and Savion Glover Nov. 13. Visit www.uapresents.org or phone 520-621-3341.

Some Like it Hot
For authentic Mexican food, beautiful scenery, and some of the hottest salsa in the Southwest, follow the fiery flavors of Arizona's Salsa Trail. Beginning in Safford, about 1½ hours east of Tucson, the trail has stops at 12 family-run restaurants, a market, a chile company, and a tortilla factory in 7 small towns along US Hwy. 70 (also known as the Old West Highway). In Sept., SalsaFest hosts salsa-making competitions, food demos, and a daring jalapeño-eating contest. Think you can handle the heat? See www.salsatrail.com for a map and directions, or call 888-837-1841 before heading out.

Let's Bowl!
If you're wondering where the action is, try a little moonlight, a little music—and the crack of the pins. Golden Pin Lanes (520-888-4272) sponsors Kosmic Bowling Mon.-Sat. Bedroxx (520-744-ROLL) features Club Bedroxx on Fri. and Sat., with top-40 music, videos, and a live DJ. Or try Cyberbowl—a discolike atmosphere complete with black lights and music—at Lucky Strike Bowl (520-327-4926), Cactus Bowl (520-327-6561), Tucson Bowl (520-747-1363), Santa Cruz Lanes (520-622-2186), or Fiesta Lanes (520-887-2695). Event nights vary according to location. Call for details.

Tiny Treasures
Let Caitlin, The Mini-Time Machine Museum of Miniatures' wee resident fairy, guide you through the wonders of this fantastical place. Discover intricate details in the more than 160 miniature houses and room boxes—all part of the museum founder's extraordinary 30-year collection. See one of the oldest miniature homes in the US, from circa 1775, a haunted house filled with witches and misdeeds, a kid-centric area filled with enchanting collectibles, and much more. Open Tues.-Sat. Admission is $7, $6 for seniors, $5 for children, and free for children under 3. Located at 4455 E. Camp Lowell Dr., 520-881-0606, www.theminitimemachine.org.

Tohono O'Odham Museum
The recent recipient of a $15-million renovation, the Tohono O'odham Nation Cultural Center & Museum, located 10 miles south of Sells, boasts an impressive collection of artifacts, including some dating back 5,000 years. The museum also displays historical pieces from O'odham war veterans and the work of tribe artists. Enjoy the newly built amphitheater and covered patios. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. Phone 520-383-0201 for directions and special events.

Bead It
Beads date all the way back to prehistoric times. Many ancient cultures used beads to denote wealth or social position, and some believed beads possessed magical qualities. Beading remains popular today, and several shops in Tucson offer classes, along with beading supplies. Check out Strung Out On Beads (5460 E. Speedway Blvd. #B105, 520-323-6233), A Bead Circus (3301 E. Pennsylvania St., 520-696-9490), and DAH Rock Shop (3401 N. Dodge Blvd., 520-323-0781).

Cat Mountain Station
This unique artisan and gift center at 2740 S. Kinney Rd. houses several regional shops and studios nestled in the heart of Tucson Mountain Park. Find Native American arts & craft galleries, jewelry, furniture, vintage collectibles, beads, and Coyote Pause—a charming breakfast and lunch café. Stop by on the way to Old Tucson Studios or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, just a short drive away. Call 520-578-8795 or see www.catmountainstation.com.

Tombstone
About 70 miles southeast of Tucson is the "town too tough to die," where Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp fought the Clantons at the famous OK Corral. Fuel up at Big Nose Kate's Saloon, Longhorn Restaurant, or Six Gun City, and pop in to some of the town's quaint shops and galleries, including The Shady Lady's Closet for Western attire and Arlene's for Native American jewelry, pottery, and rugs. Relive the exciting times of the Old West with historical tours, shoot-outs, reenactments, and a walk through Boothill Graveyard. To get to Tombstone, take I-10 to Benson and head south on AZ Hwy. 80. Phone the Tombstone Office of Tourism/Bird Cage Theatre at 520-457-3421, or the Tombstone Chamber of Commerce at 888-457-3929, or see www.tombstonechamber.com.

Skydiving
If your life is too rooted in the practical and mundane, skydiving centers around Tucson are ready to show you how exciting it can be to plunge through the air after stepping out of an airplane soaring as high as 13,000 feet. Several diving options are available, including tandem, accelerated free-fall, and static-line jumps. All centers have certified instructors and require an initial training session. Phone Desert Skydiving Center (800-441-5867) or Skydive Arizona (800-SKYDIVE). SkyVenture Arizona (888-BODY-FLY) offers classes for adults and children (ages 3 and up), who free-fall in a simulated indoor skydiving tunnel.

Reid Park Zoo
If you see a young giraffe learning to run across an open field; a polar bear taking a plunge; or ostriches, cranes, and other birds sharing an African grassland with antelope, you must be at Reid Park Zoo. The zoo has carefully created natural habitats and multispecies exhibits—a pleasant setting for animals and visitors alike. The South American exhibit has jaguars, bears, and capybaras. Don't miss the rhinos, elephants, tigers, and lions, too. Located in Reid Park off 22nd St., between Alvernon Way and Country Club Rd. Open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Special-event hours and admission fees vary. Phone 520-791-3204 or visit www.tucsonzoo.org.

Stroll Fourth Avenue
Called Tucson's "most eclectic shopping district," the avenue has numerous boutiques, galleries, restaurants, cafés, jewelry stores, furniture stores, and more. Adding to its charm, the historic shopping and dining district hosts free entertainment at various stops along the avenue the 1st and 3rd Sats. of the month. In spring and winter, don't miss the Fourth Avenue Street Fair, with more than 400 artisans plus food and live entertainment. Phone 520-624-5004 or check out www.fourthavenue.org.

 

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John S Bogers
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