Archive for the ‘Tucson Attractions’ Category

Fox Theater Tucson

July 17th, 2016 by samhughesinn

The Fox Theater Tucson – Film, Music, Special Events
1929 Theater

Fox Theater Tucson

The Fox Theater Tucson began construction in summer of 1929, designed by the architect M. Eugene Durfee to feature movies and the then still popular, vaudeville. It opened in April of 1930 with the film, “Chasing Rainbows”, starring Jack Benny in one of his few and unmemorable movie credits. The gorgeous insides are a blend of southwestern desert and Art Deco with touches of Egyptian, Native American and Mayan inspired designs.

For the first scheduled event, the streets were closed to traffic and waxed for dancing. More than 3,000 people bought tickets for the show and the event became a local “must-see” featuring live bands outside and free trolley rides downtown. (Tucson’s original trolley was still operating then and has since been replaced by a shiny new streetcar version in the past few years.) The Fox Theater Tucson flourished for forty years and then, with the advent of more outlying theaters, drive-in movies, television and the loss of retail space, people found other forms of entertainment and popularity declined. The Fox Theater Tucson closed in 1974 and sat vacant for 26 years. The owners had various plans in mind for the building, including destruction, but never got around to any of them.

In the year 2000 the Fox Theater was purchased by a not for profit organization and $13 million dollars were spent for restoration. Its interior was as faithfully reproduced and restored to be as much like the original as possible. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and reopened for business on New Year’s Eve, 12/31/2007. About 1,100 of 1,200 available tickets were sold in the opening fund-raising event in which tickets cost $250 per seat and $1,000 per couple for the balcony “love seats.” The restoration of this theater, along with many restaurants and new living spaces, has contributed to the overall vitality of a revived downtown.

Oldies-but-goodies movies and film festivals are scheduled throughout much of the year currently but along with these are many live presentations featuring, singers, musicians, combos and many other special events. Check the schedule, seating chart & ticket sales for entertainment the rest of this summer and coming up for fall and winter. See featured videos on YouTube. Fox Theater Tucson, 17 W. Congress Street.

Fox Theatre Tucson

Fox Theatre

 

More Great Tucson Restaurants

September 18th, 2015 by samhughesinn

A month ago we described a group of “original” to Tucson eateries and now would like to note that there are many more great Tucson Restaurants close by. In most cases, these are one of a kind eating experiences to suit the most devoted foodie. Some of our favorites include the following, ethnic spots to enjoy fabulously different food experiences from other countries.

Mexican

Mexican Cuisine

Café Poca Cosa (Unique Mexican), is always the first answer to the question “Are there any good Mexican restaurants?” It seems absurd in a town like this so close to the border. There are, of course, many, many good Mexican restaurants but only one is Café Poca Cosa. Unlike many other restaurants the owner/chef, Suzana Davila, is generally present in the dining room making sure everything is perfect. She is a master of molé and changes the menu twice a day based on market purchases.The menu is presented on chalkboard and requires at least the basic knowledge of chicken, fish and beef in Español (or the helpful staff will translate). A unique dining experience featuring regional flavors culled from Suzana’s Guaymas, Sonora home. This is my personal favorite Tucson restaurant at 110 Pennington Street in the middle of downtown Tucson. Reservations are recommended; the place is incredibly popular. Call 520-622-6400. Open until 10 p.m. Friday & Saturday; until 9 p.m. other nights, and closed Sunday & Monday.

Zemams (Ethiopian) is now two times as good. The original location at 2731 E. Broadway (520-323-9928) has expanded to Zeman’s Too at 119 E. Speedway (520-882-4955).Though they have no

Ethiopean

Ethiopian Cuisine

liquor license you are encouraged to bring your own for a $1.50 corking fee. Featuring Ethiopian specialty dishes both meat and veggie served on a delicious giant circle of native Ingera bread torn into bite size pieces and eaten with “your hands”, the way you remember it from childhood. Zemams also offers a gluten free version of the bread if you order it before your arrival to avoid waiting. Surroundings are unpretentious and the food is just wonderful. Open 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and closed Monday.Many restaurants are closed on Sunday so this is a nice alternative to the Sunday blahs.

 

Greek

Greek Cuisine

Athens on 4th Avenue (Greek) is at 500 N. 4th Avenue & 6th Street. The food is authentic Greek, featuring fresh fish & seafood, meat dishes & vegetarian specialties plus homemade soups and desserts, all at a moderate price. As you will see on their website, chef Andreas Delfakis opened his restaurant in Tucson in 1993 and has been honored with Best Greek Restaurant mentions in many publications over the years. Athens has a faithful following and is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Call 520-624-6886. If you like Greek food you will love this place on the very touristy 4th Avenue shopping street. Opah!

Bangkok Cafe (Thai) is located at 2511 E Speedway Blvd. (520-323-6555) just across the street from the Sam Hughes Historic District.Open Monday through Thursday until 9 p.m. and Friday/Saturday until 9:30 p.m., closed on Sunday. Serving authentic Thai dishes featuring beef, pork, chicken, shrimp and squid with noodles in varying degrees of spiciness from mild to intense, according to the diner’s wishes and including exotic spices and sauces. Many curry dishes are also

Thai

Thai Cuisine

on the menu. Jasmine or Green Tea, tropical juices and even an Arnold Palmer (50/50 tea & lemonade) are some of the beverages. There is no bar service.Homemade ice creams for dessert.

More favorite restaurants will be featured in months to come. In the meantime, try one of these great places in central and downtown Tucson, AZ.

 

Tucson Festival of Films

September 1st, 2015 by samhughesinn

Tucson Festival of TilmA new player in the crowded field of local film festivals will be the Tucson Festival of Films, (sponsored by Cox Communications) to be held in the Temple of Music & Art,the grandly

Arizona Theater Company

Temple of Music & Art

named 1920‘s era performing arts theater which also houses the Arizona Theater Company at 330 S. Scott Avenue. From October 8 – 10, films chosen from eight of the longest-running Tucson film festivals will be shown.

A selection of film shorts, plus musical & filmmaker guests will also be announced soon. But for now the lineup of films include the following (according to the Arizona Daily Star):

Sounds of Tucson, Presented by Tucson Festival of Films & Tucson Film & Music Festival, this is a 63 minute documentary describing the “mix of South American music & American Rock” which has been attracting musicians to Tucson for many years.

Güeros, (presented by Tucson Festival of Films & Tucson Cine México) is a comedy which won five Ariel awards in Mexico plus Best First Feature at the Berlin Film Festival. The is described as a “cool, retro, black and white portrait of Mexico City” and of three young men trying to find their purpose and futures in a city of many millions of people.

The 40th anniversary screening of Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore will be presented by Tucson Festival of Films & Loft Film Fest. It was filmed here in Tucson and southern Arizona so long time residents will recognize the shopping center, Monterey Village, the Chicago Music Store and the now closed Longhorn Bar & Grill in Amado.This 1974 hit movie stars some still familiar faces – Ellen Burstyn, Kris Kristofferson, Harvey Keitel, Diane Ladd & Jodie Foster.

Death In The Desert, presented by Tucson Festival and Arizona underground Film Festival, is based on the life story of Ted Binion, the heir to the Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, the original home of the World Series of Poker.His colorful career included drugs & connections to the mob and ultimately ended tragically.

Landmine Goes Click is presented in cooperation with The Tucson Terrorfest. Described as the Arizona premiere of a film about 3 American tourists backpacking through European Georgia. Time to bring out the garlic and a big cross I think.

Maína, from the Festival of Film along with Native Eyes Film Showcase, has won 3 American Indian Film Festival awards and concerns two early civilizations in America.

Dropkick by Tucson Festival and Arizona international Film Festival, is a comedy about a group of women rugby players and was shown in Tucson at the last Arizona International Film Festival. It features local actors and locations.

Tucson is a film friendly town all year and not just in the summer when the AC is turned on high. Watch the website for times and dates of each of these unusual film offerings in October.

Restaurants Found Only in Tucson

August 15th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Chain restaurants can be found in abundance in every city of a certain size but locally we are lucky to have a group of sophisticated restaurants found only in Tucson. Those featured here are, for the most part, elegant & unique restaurants where visitors will find original cuisine highlighting local food sources. Some belong to a group called Tucson Originals and some to another group called eatlocaltucson,

The underlying appeal of these restaurants is that they are locally owned and dedicated to, as much as possible, using food products locally grown and/or produced.

In a class all by itself, is the Arizona Inn at 2200 E. Elm St., a family owned and run luxury hotel/resort on any tourist’s “must see” list since the early 1930’s. Boasting all the amenities of a 5 Star Hotel/Resort, it has two dining rooms, Main Dining (inside and with a stricter dress code than most Tucson restaurants) and the Audubon Bar, which is casual and opens to the beautiful lawns and gardens on its patio facing side. Arizona inn menus offer a variety of taste treats from the small and reasonably priced items, to full dinners when price is not an object for the very special occasion. A brunch menu is offered on Saturday and Sunday. The inn is located just 1.6 miles directly north of Sam Hughes Inn, presenting a nice way to walk off a full meal if you’re staying here and eating there.

Special Event

Primavera Cooks 2015

Pastiche Modern Eatery, (also not far from Sam Hughes Inn), at 3025 North Campbell, has been part of the Tucson scene for many years and almost never disappoints with its variety of popular offerings that appeal to anyone who loves to eat out.

On September 9, 2015 Pastiche will be one of six “Restaurants found only in Tucson” participating in a yearly dinner event called Primavera Cooks,, Described as “possibly the most fun you will ever have at a nonprofit fundraising dinner” the meal will consist of a 4 or 5 course, wine paired fabulous evening out. Three of the restaurants have already had their fund raisers earlier in the summer. Sorry to have missed them.

Another restaurant still planning its Primavera dinner on August 30th, is Kingfisher. 2564 E Grant Rd. This perennial winner of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence is also proud of its specialty oyster menu. Plenty of seafood is on offer here (For 8 years Tucson Weekly has voted Kingfisher the Best Seafood Restaurant in town) along with a variety of meat dishes.

If you read this blog in time, Tavolino, an Italian “ristorante”at 2890 E. Skyline Drive will have its specialty dinner on Wednesday, August 19. On the regular menu you’ll find home-made pastas and signature pizzas made in their wood burning oven. Described as elegant but relaxed, Tavolino also has an excellent patio dining area.Late summer hours begin on Memorial Day. (This is Tucson, so summer lasts quite a long time here.

All reservations made for the remaining special event dinners are through Primavera NOT the restaurants. For reservations call David at 520-308-3104. Unless otherwise specified, all dinners begin with a check-in between 6-6:30 with seating at 6:30PM.

Acacia, also in the Catalina Foothills not far from Taolino at 3001 E. Skyline Drive, boasts a Sunset menu until August 31st at $30 per person between 4 and 6PM. Dinners feature the usual assortment of American favorites, chicken, pork, duckling, steak but all with special chef touches that make them unique to this fine restaurant.Also on the menu is a surprising main dish, roasted garlic custard that would certainly satisfy a vegetarian.

Feast, is an appropriately named and creative restaurant at 3719 E Speedway Blvd. It describes itself as a “Relaxed bistro for market-driven, eclectic cuisine that changes monthly, plus a lengthy wine list”. One of their interesting appetizers for August is  “Pickled Shrimp and Fried Smelts, served over white beans and Spanish chorizo with lettuce juice and kale.” Yum!

And last on this small specialized list, Downtown Kitchen & Cocktails, at 135 S 6th Ave, is handily named for its location in the middle of the downtown area. Locally renowned chef, Janos Wilder, is the creative mind and body behind this popular restaurant A busy spot featuring global fare and creative cocktails, Janos was one of the first chefs to take a chance on revitalizing the now bustling downtown restaurant scene.So far so good!

These are just a few of the many wonderful Tucson restaurants. Others have taken root in the past few years and now this city can be proud of its collection of chefs dedicated to making this a great place to eat out..

 

 

Summer in Tucson

May 24th, 2015 by samhughesinn

Summer Sun

Summer in Tucson:

Arizona enjoys more than 300 sunny days a year and in the summer months it’s important to find ways to endure and also enjoy, summer in Tucson. A little creativity is necessary and it’s always good to remember that even though it may be beastly hot outside, it will never prevent you from pursuing activities the way winter in colder climes does. You don’t have to shovel it and you don’t have to scrape it off your windshield and if you’re lucky, summer will only last until mid-October. After that, it’s heavenly here. You just have to find places and things to do that keep you out of the blazing sun during the hottest hours of the day.

Until the middle of May the nights and mornings in Tucson are cool and pleasant. As June, the nastiest month, approaches, night and morning begin to come close to daytime heat, minus the sunshine. Air Conditioning is our salvation, in the house, in the car, in stores & theaters; it’s everywhere you want to be. You just have to figure out how to navigate from air conditioned place to air conditioned place and remember to drink lots of water.

One new reason to spend part of summer in Tucson is the Summer in the City Discount Card. About 130 merchants in the five shopping and entertainment districts are offering discounts up to 50 percent with the card.You can order it online for $5 and there is no limit to the number of times you can use it. Stay at Sam Hughes Inn Bed & Breakfast and two people can use the inn’s cards to receive discounts on food & drink, to purchase something special, or take a yoga class. The possibilities for savings are at least 130. Cards are valid through the end of August. Check the website for the list of merchants participating.

COOL PURSUITS:

Mt. LemmonMt. Lemmon Sky Center
has the largest public viewing telescope in the Southwest. They offer nightly presentations by gifted astronomers at an always cool altitude. Check the website or phone 520-626-8122, Mt. Lemmon at any time of day will be considerably cooler than Tucson.

DeGrazia Gallery

DeGrazia Gallery

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun occupies ten acres created and built by late Tucson artist Ted DeGrazia. Multiple cleverly conceived buildings house the huge collection of originals: oils, pastels, metalwork, pottery, ceramics & sculpture all designed by this incredibly talented artist. Some of the interesting creations are outside but you can spend almost all the time indoors in the labyrinth of rooms housing his works. 6300 N. Swan Rd. 520-299-9191.

La Vida Fantastica

Unknown Artist, Kuna Culture

The Tucson Museum of Art at 140 N. Main Ave. in downtown Tucson, is located in the El Presidio Historic Block of early Tucson architecture.. This summer will feature several interesting exhibits. The WPA Connection: Selections from the Modern Art Collection and La Vida Fantastica: Selections from the American Folk Art Collection. Along with its vast permanent collection  you can spend many happy hours in the cool of the museum and grab a bite to eat at their yummy Cafe’ a la C’art. No sweat guaranteed!

Summer 2015 Exhibit

Summer Exhibit Mini Time Museum of Miniatures

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures offers 10,000 square feet of air conditioned wonder as you peek into the fascinating tiny world of hundreds of different miniature art displays. Antique & contemporary miniatures are sure to please young and old. Closed on Mondays so check the website for hours on the other days. 4455 E. Camp Lowell Dr., 520-881-0606.

Field, Pima Air & Space

Pima Air & Space Museum

Pima Air & Space Museum has five air cooled hangers featuring commercial, military and civil aviation exhibits. You can also enjoy a toasty tram tour of its 80 acres of famous and not so famous aircraft and/or tour the Boneyard with its hundreds of mummy wrapped aircraft lined up by type. These tours are true examples of a Summer in Tucson experience and are not likely to be cool, so bring a spray bottle of water or a hand fan if you decide to indulge. 520-574-0462

Queen Mine

Queen Mine

 

And if you’re spending a few days of Summer in Tucson and want to venture a little further out, visit the cooler old world town of Bisbee (at an altitude of more than 5500 feet), and its Queen Mine,once a busy working copper mine. The mine is an always chilly 47 degrees so you’ll need a jacket. You’ll ride the mine train deep inside the tunnel while wearing miner’s hats, slickers and lanterns. The tour lasts about an hour & fifteen minutes. Call 866-432-2071 for reservations.

 

Cave interior

Cave stalactites, stalagmites

And for another cool subterranean adventure, don’t miss Kartchner Caverns State Park to witness a still forming, water dripping, perfect cave, undisturbed by man until its discovery in 1974 and featuring awesome stalactites and stalagmites. Great care is taken that nothing harms the interior of this cave so no cameras, or equipment of any kind, purses, backpacks, etc. – all must be tucked into lockers before the tours begin.Reservations are a must so check the website to make online future or same day arrangements. For those wanting to experience the cave the way its discoverers did, Helmet and Headlamp tours are also available but only on Saturdays. Kartchner Caverns Park is located near Benson, AZ, about an hour & a half from Tucson. (520) 586-2283

 

Nandi – Reid Park Zoo Baby Elephant

December 23rd, 2014 by samhughesinn

Nandi at 2 months

Nandi at 2 months

Reid Park Zoo & Baby Elephant Nandi

Reid Park zoo and its star attraction, the baby elephant, Nandi, are set to break attendance records in 2014. This was the first elephant birth for the zoo and has captured the attention of countless fans.

Nestled in the middle of bustling mid-town Tucson, the zoo has always been a tiny marvel. Once inside visitors forget that they are in the middle of a heavily populated city surrounded by highways and traffic. Its clever design makes a jungle-like oasis only about five minutes from the University of Arizona and a few minutes more to downtown Tucson. This year people waited anxiously knowing that a pregnant elephant was about to give birth. Nandi was born on August 20th but kept in a quiet area with her mother, Semba. Even a royal birth might not have been so closely watched as zoo staff kept a vigil 24 hours a day, until she was born. At night interns stayed up observing with night vision goggles for any signs of labor.

Weighing in at 245 lbs she seemed like a toy animal next to her mother who tipped the scales at more than 7,000 lbs. They were kept in seclusion for a month until the baby was healthy enough to be allowed in the viewing area. In December she weighed more than 500 lbs but still looks tiny next to the three adults and one 3 year old in the herd. All the elephants were rescued from Swaziland and came to Tucson via the San Diego Zoo after new construction greatly increased the size of the elephant enclosure. Her dad is Mabu and he weighs more than 8 tons. We’re not sure how they weigh elephants but we’ll take their word for it. The zoo opens at 9 am during the cool months and Nandi is usually on display until about 11:30 am. You won’t want to miss Nandi when you visit Tucson; it’s going to take her quite a few years to be as big as her parents, the three year old, and the other giant males.

Nandi's Extended Family

Nandi’s Family

Mom - Semba

Mom – Semba

The zoo’s small size makes it an ideal place to spend a few hours being amazed at the diversity of the animal world.

There are many other reasons to visit this gem of a zoo, which has a wide range of animals and birds big and small, including Herbie, the giant turtle (500 lbs. who could be as old as 100 years but he’s not talking.)

Herbie (photographer Jeff Whitlock

Herbie –  [photography, Jeff Whitlock, www.theonlinezoo.com]

Ample parking surrounds the zoo, just 2.5 miles from Sam Hughes Inn and next to the Randolph Park Golf Course, Tennis courts and directly opposite Edith Ball Adaptive pools (swimming & therapy pools heated and open year round) with UV protected circus tent style roof. You can bring a picnic lunch and eat in the park near a large man made lake with fountain and the usual visiting duck population.

 

»