A Well-Designed Day in Tucson, Arizona

A Well-Designed Day in Tucson, Arizona

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Adrienne Breaux
Jul 8, 2016
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

Theresa Delaney is from the East Coast, but she's fallen completely in love with Tucson, where she shares a cute apartment with her Tucson-native boyfriend James (and two rowdy pups). She writes: "We love being a quick ten-minute drive from downtown or the University of Arizona, and minutes from our favorite spots in the foothills. The large yard, quiet neighborhood and desert scenery don't hurt, either!" Today, she shares some of her favorite spots in Tucson.

(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

All great days begin with a delicious, indulgent breakfast. And if you’re really lucky, that breakfast comes in the form of a giant scone from Raging Sage. Take your pick of these fresh, smothered-in-jam delicacies and grab a seat in the courtyard. You’ll hardly believe this little outdoor retreat is just steps from the cars speeding by on Campbell Avenue. There’s no shame in grabbing extra flavors to go (who can resist?), but know that there is plenty of delicious local food ahead.

DeGrazia Gallery
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
DeGrazia Gallery
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

After you’ve eaten your fill, head to the DeGrazia Gallery In the Sun! Set aside the rest of your morning to spend at this creative escape, nestled up north in the Catalina Foothills. This 10-acre museum and registered historic district was designed by, and houses the work of, artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia. DeGrazia is famous for his portrayals of Native American life and landscapes of the great American Southwest. Take your time wandering the property—you won’t want to miss any of the colorful details! (Your Instagram followers will thank you.)

(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

When you’re ready to take cover from the sun, hop back in the car and drive down to the University district. It’s time for lunch! Stop in at Time Market for a slice of irresistible pizza, the day’s sandwich special, or the best kale salad of your life. With all the homemade bread and locally-sourced ingredients, you really can’t go wrong. Just make sure someone at your table gets a slice of pizza, okay?

Mission San Xavier del Bac
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

Ready to head south? Just after the freeway signs on I-19 switch from miles to kilometers, you’ll see a white structure to the west, standing tall and distinct from the surrounding desert. This is Mission San Xavier del Bac, located on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. The mission was founded in 1692, though the original mission was destroyed by Apaches in 1770. The Spanish Colonial-style stunner you see today was built between 1783-1797. If you go on the weekends, you can try some Indian fry bread and check out local vendors in the courtyard.

(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

Next up, Mercado San Agustin. Finding a marketplace with excellent food, thoughtfully designed restaurants, gorgeously curated shops and a plethora of free parking is rare. The mercado is just that, with a spacious brick courtyard surrounded by favored local businesses. Explore the handmade moccasins at San Agustin Trading Co., the covetable homeware at La Cabana, and the selection of artisan goods at MAST. If you’re ready for your next meal (or just appetizers) try chips and guacamole, tacos, or a Mexico City-style quesadilla from Seis Kitchen. Be sure to drop back in tomorrow morning for a few Mexican pastries from La Estrella Bakery. And a coffee from Stella Java to dunk them in, of course.

Barrio Libre
(Image credit: Theresa Delaney)

Tucson wouldn’t capture hearts and minds without the history and culture that the city is built on. Savor the last of the daylight walking around our oldest neighborhoods, Barrio Libre and the Presidio. Prepare to fawn over every colorful house, inlaid doorway and piece of intricate ironwork. You’ll head home ready to paint your house cotton candy pink, creamsicle orange or electric blue.

When the sun goes down and it’s time to relax with a specialty cocktail, end (or start!) your night at the Hotel Congress downtown. If you’ve heard the story of infamous bank robber John Dillinger’s capture, you’ve heard of this historic landmark. Yep—it all went down right here in 1934! These days, the hotel is serving up some of the best food in town courtesy of the Cup Cafe, an array of adventurous drinks from four bars, and premiere people-watching. Kick back at a table outside and marvel at all the delightful, surprising, quirky, historical experiences that this little desert town has to offer.


(Image credit: Theresa Delaney )

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Our "well-designed day" neighborhood guides are a visual tour of what a great day looks like from the perspective of a local.

You've loved the peeks inside gorgeous homes from around the world, so we thought we'd ask house tour stars to share their other homes—the neighborhoods and cities they live in. These are the stylish, colorful, bold and fun spaces that these locals would visit if they were designing a great day of stopping at favorite spots (or lounging around at home!). You can follow on our Instagram as we post images from their well-designed day and read more about this series.

Thanks, Theresa!

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