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Our Staff's Top Picks

We've got the inside track on all there is to see and do in Tucson. Check out our favorite events and experiences here, hand-picked by locals who know the area well.

  • This August, Bird's the Word

    This August, Bird's the Word

    Seasoned birders know that Southeastern Arizona is home to more than 400 species of birds; making this area of the country one of the most popular places for bird-watching. The region is either the permanent home or a migration stopover to species that cannot be found anywhere else in the country, including a particularly rare type of hummingbird. This year, the area will play host to not one, but two birding festivals in honor of our feathered friends and those who study them. The Southwest Wings Birding Festival will take place on August 2nd through August 5th, and the Tucson Audubon Society will present the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival from August 10th through August 13th.  

    August is an especially rewarding month for birding here, as northern birds join subtropical species in Arizona’s mountain canyons. This month offers the best opportunity for watching and studying the above-mentioned hummingbirds and grassland sparrows, along with the possibility of visits from Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental and maybe even some early fall migrating species. For more information, visit http://tucsonaudubon.org/news-events/southeast-arizona-birding-festival/.

  • Celebrate July 4th Tucson Style

    Celebrate July 4th Tucson Style

    This Independence Day, the air will be filled with the smell of hot dogs and hamburgers sizzling on grills, blaring horns and crashing cymbals will accompany bands marching to the sounds of Sousa, and a dazzling array of fireworks will illuminate night skies nationwide as we come together to celebrate our most American holiday. Guests of the Hilton El Conquistador can select from many family-friendly and festive event and activities, two of which are listed below.

    On Saturday, July 1st, the Firecracker 100 will be held at the Tucson Speedway from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., with a fireworks show following the race. And return to the Old West at Old Tucson, with shows, living history presentations, train rides, and a daily patriotic flag ceremony. The little ones will love the petting zoo and their vintage carousel, and there will be contests for kids of all ages. Open from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Old Tucson adds to the July 4th fun with a parade, a pie-eating contest, and chuck wagon-style food.

  • Treat Dad to a Distillery Experience

    Treat Dad to a Distillery Experience

    This year, forget the ties, the after-shave, and the campy boxers, and give Dad something he'll really appreciate – a Tucson staycation and a visit to Hamilton Distillers. Whether he’s a whiskey aficionado or not, the knowledgeable staff at the city’s only distillery will make sure Dad’s tour and tasting is fun, interesting, and memorable. Family owned and operated, Hamilton Distillers offers genuine artisan whiskey. Everything is done in house, from the malting of their own barley, to the mashing, fermenting, distilling, barreling and bottling; it’s all done under one roof.

    Tours and tastings are offered most Saturdays at 3:00 p.m., but for a truly unique experience, encourage Dad to sign up for a bottling shift. One of the most popular events at the distillery, a shift offers the experience of working with the team; helping to fill, cork, seal, label, and box up bottles. The distillery provides lunch, and after Dad’s shift, he can take home a complimentary bottle of whiskey that was bottled on his shift. Ready to book your Tucson getaway? For information on reservations and special packages, visit: www.hiltonelconquistador.com/specials, or call (520) 544-5000.

  • A Tucson Tradition: The 32nd Annual Tucson Folk Festival

    A Tucson Tradition: The 32nd Annual Tucson Folk Festival

    May 2017

    The 32nd Annual Tucson Folk Festival starts off with a bang on Friday, May 5th with a festival kick-off party from 6 to 10 pm. After setting up, there will be a gathering at La Cocina, featuring the Greg Morton Band and some additional performers. A $10 donation is suggested. Afterward, on the weekend of May 6-7, over 10,000 folk music fans will converge on El Presidio Park in downtown Tucson for the one of the oldest folk music festivals in the country. This family-friendly event will feature over 200 local, regional, and national musicians performing on five stages. Food vendors and additional entertainment will add to the festivities, and the festival is free to the public.

    This year’s National Headliner for the children’s show is 25-year veteran performer, composer, educator, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Billy Jonas. Jonas’ use of voice, guitar, and industrial repercussion has entertained audiences worldwide. The National Headliners are The Black Lillies, whose latest album, “Hard to Please,” hit #1 on the Roots Music Report and #4 on the Americana radio charts. Festival times are Saturday, May 6th from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., and Sunday, May 7th from 11:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

  • Frida Kahlo's

    Frida Kahlo's "Art, Garden, Life"

    April 2017

    The Tucson Botanical Gardens has been selected as the sole institution to host the New York Botanical Gardens exhibit of “Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life” through May 31. Years of work and preparation have gone into this exhibit, which scrutinizes the artist’s work via the plants and natural life in her paintings and personal gardens. This is the first show to focus on Kahlo’s appreciation of and insight into the world of nature, particularly the plant life of her native Mexico. The exhibit’s focal point is a re-creation of Kahlo’s gardens at La Casa Azul, her home in Mexico City. Also featured is a replica of Diego Rivera’s pyramid built in Casa Azul’s courtyard. This Meso-American inspiration is the backdrop for an assemblage of succulents native to the deserts of Mexico and the Southwestern U.S. A poetry walk complements the exhibit with a series of placards strategically placed throughout containing selections of poetry written by Kahlo’s fellow countryman Octavio Paz. Tucson Botanical Gardens will also present tours, lectures and other events throughout the duration of the exhibit. For more details, call (520) 326-9686.

  • Playing with the Pros: the Tucson Conquistadores Classic

    Playing with the Pros: the Tucson Conquistadores Classic

    March 2017

    Golfing enthusiasts can look forward to two fabulous events this month: golfing at the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, and the PGA TOUR Champions Tour - Tucson Conquistadores Classic.

    First, check out the pros at the PGA TOUR Champions Tour-Tucson Conquistadores Classic. Watch your favorite golf legends compete during three exciting days on the Catalina Course at Omni Tucson National Resort. Featuring a no-cut format and a two-day pro-am, this event will take place from March 15-19.

    Then, bring your best game to the largest and most popular golf resort in Tucson, and one of the best in Arizona. We offer three superior courses with 45 holes of championship golf. Challenge yourself on our nine-hole Pusch Ridge Course. For a more traditional game, both the 18-hole Conquistador and Cañada Courses are ideal.

    A putting green and chipping green are available for practice and warm up, and collared shirts and closed-toe shoes are required on all courses and their affiliated facilities. Tee times and driving range reservations should be made at least two weeks ahead. Call (520) 229-5353 or (520) 229-5354.

  • Mission Garden Project: A Taste of History

    Mission Garden Project: A Taste of History

    February 2017

    The historical floodplain that would become the Mission Garden Project was brought to light by an archaeological excavation just west of downtown Tucson. Located on its original site, and representing over 4,000 years of agriculture, the project was re-created as the walled garden that was part of the San Agustin Mission established in 1692.

    Thanks to the non-profit group, Friends of Tucson, this urban garden project features vegetable gardens and Sonoran Desert-adapted fruit orchards. A Native Plant section is one of the highlights of the project, along with the Michael Moore Medicinal Garden, which features heirloom medicinal and edible plants. Also, pollinator gardens were added as a habitat for bats, birds, and helpful insects.

    The garden is a significant educational and tourism destination – a living agricultural museum that is also a primary factor in the city’s economic development. Additionally, the project was chosen as the first UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States, and featured on the front page of the New York Times.

    Mission Garden winter hours are Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. For tours, email: missiongarden.tucson@gmail.com, or call (520) 591-0478. Or, visit www.tucsonsbirthplace.org/, and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mission-Gardens/358104014364907

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