Your next vacation will be spent eating in Tucson, Arizona.
On the banks of southern Arizona’s Santa Cruz River, hunter-gatherers banded together to cut a complicated network of irrigation canals, grow hardy plants like corn, and establish villages that, in the time of their descendants, the Hohokam, grew to support populations of thousands across the region. This sophisticated civilization was the foundation for Tucson’s culinary marvels. We’re not just referring to stout chimichangas or the potent bacanora agave spirit — but we’re not sleeping on those either. The Old Pueblo, as Tucson is endearingly called, attracts folks for a whole bunch of reasons edible and potable.
- Fingers of mesquite-fueled Whiskey Del Bac
- The magical “23 Miles of Mexican Food”
- Farmers markets that continue the area’s 4,000-year agricultural tradition
- Barrio Bread, where Don Guerra produces artisan bread from local heritage grains
- The world-renowned bacon-wrapped Sonoran hot dogs of El Güero Canelo, among others
- UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation honoring the municipality’s significant historical and cultural heritage through UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network
Frankly put, Tucson should be your No. 1 culinary getaway. Afterward, high-tail it to San Antonio, Texas, which at the time of this writing is the only other American UNESCO City of Gastronomy. Combo platter included.
All images courtesy Visit Tucson. Subscribe to the forthcoming monthly Taste of the West e-newsletter below.