Today, I give you part 2 of my Tucson Top 10. Enjoy!
6. Congress Street/4th Avenue/University Blvd walk: I might be a little sentimental since my significant other and I did this walk on our first date, but I think it provides a great picture of Tucson’s heart, culture, and personality. The update to the 4th Avenue underpass with its mural of Tucson faces makes for great conversation, and the underpass creates an easy connection between 4th and Congress Street. Take 4th Ave. to University Blvd and let yourself head east through the lovely historic West University district. (I’m obsessed with those picturesque bungalows and their deep front porches.) You’ll eventually find yourself in Main Gate Square, and your Wildcat spirit starts to kick in.
7. Pastiche’s Corn-Crusted Waffle Fries: So here’s the thing about these fries. They’re not always on the menu at Pastiche so you may not even know what I’m talking about or be able to rush out to Pastiche Modern Eatery and try them. But I’m telling you, these are the best fries in town. French fries are my comfort food, my favorite food, and I eat them far more often than is good for me, so I know my stuff. These are waffle fries (criss-cross fries, if you prefer), and they’re tossed in corn masa, fried to a lovely crispness, and served with a little chile remoulade dipping sauce. Dipped in the sauce, they are crispy with a slight kick, and quite simply, can turn a bad day into a good one (at least for me).
8. Agua Caliente Park: I was told to find this park one day for an assignment for my photojournalism class, and I have loved it ever since. We weren’t told where it was, of course—we were supposed to be journalism students after all. A quick Google search will tell you that Agua Caliente Park is also known as the Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park, and it’s located in what looks like Tucson’s east side middle of nowhere. When you finally find it (and it’s really not all that hard to find with a good Google map), it’s like discovering an oasis. The sprawling grass, the shade of the palm trees, and the lake (?!) all combine to create a serene, not very desert-like setting. Take a picnic, take the kids, take your significant other, take yourself. It doesn’t matter—just go there this weekend.
9. La Baguette Parisienne: This is a little bakery on the east side at Broadway and Pantano in the Sunflower Market plaza. The minute you walk in you’re overtaken by the scent of fresh baked goods. I’m especially fond of the flutes and the chocolate chip shortbread cookies. All of the breads and pastries are also incredibly inexpensive. Fair warning—the bakery only accepts cash.
10. Climate: As I write this, it has been days upon days of an average 77 degrees in Tucson in December/January (and when I post this, the high temps have still been about 65+), and perhaps that is my very favorite thing about this city. I grew up in NJ, but over the years I have embraced the fact that I am a warm weather girl. Is there really anything better than a blue sky, going out without a jacket, and having lunch on a patio in January? I think not.