Travel Diary: Tucson, Arizona

Whenever I tell people that I’m traveling to Tucson, they always seem confused, typically asking me, “Do you have relatives out there or something?” I guess I never realized that my East Coast family (who has been heading to Tucson annually since I was in middle school) had found the hidden gem of American vacation spots. You really couldn’t scout out a better place for rest, relaxation and restoration. The sun is always shining over the  picturesque mountains, and the dry heat is perfect for spending hours curled up poolside reading a book. Although it’s a quiet city, there is still plenty to do and see (and shop for!) in Tucson.

Here’s a snapshot I took of one of the main pools at The Paloma – isn’t the view to die for?

Where to Stay:
1. The Westin La Paloma - The Paloma is my favorite place to stay in Tucson. Nestled right beside the mountains, it is a gorgeous, family-oriented  resort, fully equipped with a water slide, swim-up bar, multiple pools/jacuzzis and an Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.

2. El Conquistador - This Hilton resort is a peaceful retreat for couples that may (or may not) need a break from the kids, especially for those of you that are into golf or tennis!

3. The Starr Pass - If you’re looking for something a little more sequestered than usual, try the Marriott’s Starr Pass Resort and Spa. You can spend your time floating in the lazy river by day and star gazing at night.

A few of the many colorful shops on 4th Avenue (via Tucson Real Estate Blog).

Where to Shop:
1. Explore 4th Avenue - Tucson is a surprising mecca for vintage shopping. Spend a day strolling along 4th avenue (right near the University of Arizona) checking out the book stores, thrift shops and cafés – I promise you’ll find something special.

2. La Encantada - This upscale, open-air shopping plaza provides a great combo of local boutiques and my go-to stores like Anthropologie and J.Crew.

3. The Buffalo Exchange - I’ll visit the Buffalo Exchange thrift stores in New York City from time to time, but they’re always so picked over compared to the ones in Tucson! I make a point to spend a few solid hours here every time I visit the city, and always bring home awesome steals.

This ultra-cool Italian restaurant is one of my favorite places for a delicious meal in Tucson. (via Town Crier)

Where to Eat:
1. Luna Bar’s Sunday Champagne Brunch - As a New Yorker, it takes a lot to impress me when we’re talking about brunch, but the Sunday buffet at Luna Bar literally blows my mind every time I come back to Tucson – especially considering that I’ve never even had to wait for a table. For $24.95 it’s all you can eat prime rib, omelets, oysters, belgian waffles, grilled salmon, eggs benedict – you name it! Just make sure to show up between 10 and 2.

2. Vero Amore – For lunch or a low-key dinner, you have to try Vero Amore’s Neapolitan pizza. Don’t forget to start off with the antipasto appetizer and leave room for the giant, homemade chocolate chip cookie for desert.

3. North - If you’re looking for a trendy spot with an excellent, modern cuisine then definitely hit up North – my favorite dish has to be the seared scallops.


What to Wear in Tucson
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By Kelly Mullins
What to Wear: Style in Tucson is very laid-back, so when I visit, I like to pack easy staples like a tan maxi dress, oversized sunnies and a fun, printed bathing suit since about 75% of my time is spent poolside anyway. At night, I like to dress up my look with Western touches (which means lots of fringe and Native American-influenced accessories) but still keep it casual in flat sandals. Call me a fastidious fashion girl, but I also always like to make sure that I have a bright mani to contrast with the taupes and tans of the desert.
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