29 September, 2020, 16:19

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide to Food & Drink

Destination: Tucson.

When it comes to eating in Tucson, you know we have you covered. But if this is your first time on the website, it can take a bit of digging to find exactly what you want. After all, we have over 3,000 articles on Tucson food.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our most comprehensive lists and guides into one tidy article: our Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide. Have fun and bon appétit.

*Click the title of the article that you want to read, it’s highlighted in red.

The Essentials

Street Taco and Beer Co. carne asada taco and al pastor taco in front of a Joe Pagac mural (Photo by Melissa Stihl)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Street Taco and Beer Co. carne asada taco and al pastor taco in front of a Joe Pagac mural (Photo by Melissa Stihl)

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these lists are all helpful reference points.

30 can’t-miss things to see, do & experience in Tucson

While the focus is on food, we certainly highlight other realms; check out this guide for activities and destinations such as hikes, parks, museums, and local entertainment.

Your Guide to 31 of Tucson’s Most Iconic Dishes

These aren’t the hidden gems; these are the dishes that have made a lasting impression across Tucson. Some have even inspired copycats and spin-offs.

Your Guide to 50 Downtown Tucson Restaurants

The various downtown Tucson restaurants span the gamut. From authentic Mexican to Thai to local cafés and coffee shops, each spot offers a unique atmosphere.

23 Spots For Late-Night Eats in Tucson

Tucson goes to sleep early, so not too many eateries stay open late. We’ve compiled the options for you so you know exactly where to eat after a late night partying, studying, working, or whatever.

32 (seriously cool) fun places to meet up for a first date

If you don’t want to overthink it and eat somewhere fun, check out this list.

Date Night in Tucson: 34 Places to Take Someone Special

Both your significant other and your mom would appreciate it if you treated them to something a little nicer.

Kids’ meals your little ones won’t fuss over (not making promises though)

For adventurous little eaters, read this guide.

Eating Al Fresco

Patio view at Charred Pie (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Patio view at Charred Pie (Credit: Jackie Tran)

What better way to take advantage of Tucson’s beautiful weather than by dining outside in the fresh air?

16 of the best restaurant patios in Tucson

For gorgeous natural views and cozy courtyard vibes, check out this list.

111+ dog-friendly restaurant, bar & cafe patios to take your furry friend

If you have a canine companion, refer to this comprehensive guide.

Urban picnic, anyone? 9 Spots to dine outdoors, a la carte

Those who don’t want to stray too far from the city can still enjoy a picnic at these locations.

For those on the move

Seis-Chata, Chorizon con Papas breakfast tacos at Seis Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Seis-Chata, Chorizon con Papas breakfast tacos at Seis Kitchen (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Enjoy a post-workout indulgence or a leisurely picnic with these guides. The hikes include out-and-back options, loops, longer versions and shorter walks with views.

7 Tucson Hikes with Nearby Eats to Ring in the New Year
7 (More) Tucson Hikes with Nearby Eats to Beat the Imminent Heat
8 Places to Pick Up Picnic Snacks in Tucson

For a cute date, impress and BYOCB: bring your own cheese board.

Brews & Booze

Mi Rey, Royale, Coup D'Etat, and Noble Intentions cocktails at the Royal Room (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Mi Rey, Royale, Coup D’Etat, and Noble Intentions cocktails at the Royal Room (Credit: Jackie Tran)

From coffee to cocktails, check out Tucson’s wide array of beverage options.

54 Hot Happy Hour Picks in Tucson

To impress your coworkers with your knowledge of where to eat after a day shift, keep this article bookmarked.

Your Guide to 21 Tucson Breweries that are Hoppin’

Savor Tucson’s warm community of beer enthusiasts and check out all the breweries on this list.

Ditch the Jack & Coke. Try a craft cocktail at these 20 Tucson bars & restaurants

Tucson’s craft cocktail scene has evolved marvelously in the past decade; embrace it at one of these bars.

Ultimate Coffee Guide: 16 roasters in Tucson to froth over

Tucson might not be a coffee-growing region, but the coffee-roasting scene is excellent.

a.m. Eats

Huevos Rancheros at 5 Points Market & Restaurant

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Huevos Rancheros at 5 Points Market & Restaurant (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Tucson loves its breakfast, whether it be a greasy spoon or posh mimosa brunch.

Guide to 32 Essential Tucson Breakfast Diners

Whether you need a hangover cure or simply want a hearty breakfast, Tucson has an impressive selection of breakfast diners scattered throughout town.

30+ mouth-watering brunch plates that’ll kickstart the weekend

For morning eats, it’s hard to beat the restaurants on this list.

Feasts, Views & Mimosas: 6 Fancy Sunday Brunch Buffets to Indulge in

To indulge in brunch with a view, check out these options.

Tacos

All the tacos from Carniceria los Vaqueros (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: All the tacos from Carniceria los Vaqueros (Credit: Jackie Tran)

This ain’t hard shell country.

Visual guide to over 30 different types of tacos in Tucson

If you can’t tell your birria from your chicharrones, take a few moments to learn with this article. While it’s easy to pick carne asada tacos every time you visit a taqueria, take advantage of Tucson’s diverse options and you’ll probably find a new favorite.

Tucson Taco Tour Master Map & Gallery: 5 Tours for 22 Tacos

If you just need to figure out where to eat tacos, check out our handy map with tantalizing tacos all around Tucson.

The Tohono O’odham Swap Meet is Tucson’s secret taco heaven

For a one stop-shop for a variety of exceptional tacos, check out the Tohono O’odham Swap Meet on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Just don’t forget to bring cash.

Burritos & Burros

Chorizo, egg, and potato burro from Anita Street Market

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Chorizo, egg, and potato burro from Anita Street Market (Credit: Kate Severino)

If you’ve never had Tucson burritos, prepare yourself.

Sonoran flour tortillas are special to Tucsonans. But why?

Tucson burritos are a breed of their own. Read up about Sonoran flour tortillas and why you will love them more than the travesty of national mass-produced flour tortillas.

9 of the Best Burritos in Tucson

Although a drive-thru burrito is a lifesaver when you’re not feeling social, you should take the time to enjoy an exceptional burrito. Especially the ones with pillowy fresh tortillas.

5 Best Breakfast Burritos in Tucson

If you don’t feel like sitting down at a diner, the breakfast burrito might be for you. Hint: stuff one in your hiking backpack for an indulgent post-hike reward.

Gift Local

Tucson Foodie gift guide (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Tucson Foodie gift guide (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Send a piece of Tucson far away, or just indulge at home in your sweatpants. We won’t tell.

The Ultimate Food Lovers Gift Guide with Local Gifts from Tucson

Whether you want to treat someone special or just indulge yourself, check out our variety of locally created gifts, simplified in one massive guide.

8 Tucson hot sauces & salsas that bring the heat and flavor

Spice up your life with one of Tucson’s locally made hot sauces and salsas.

Dig Deeper

Carne seca chimichanga bandera style at El Charro Cafe (Photo courtesy of El Charro Cafe)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Carne seca chimichanga bandera style at El Charro Cafe (Photo courtesy of El Charro Cafe)

Mexican food is more than tacos and burritos. Check out the other facets that make it so unique.

Where to get your fill of Tucson’s iconic chimichanga (& a word on the origin)

Learn about the chimichanga’s history, along with where to eat them, directly from the person who wrote the book, Rita Connelly.

Our ultimate & comprehensive guide to Sonoran food in Southern Arizona

For a true taste of Tucson, look out for indigenous ingredients and regional techniques listed in this article.

Guide to 8 Outstanding Sonoran Hot Dogs In Tucson

For a primer on where to find Tucson’s best Sonoran hot dogs, read our guide.

Must-have mole: 9 local spots serving the sensational sauce

Mole sauce is famous for its use of chocolate, but doesn’t always include it; here is the varied list of flavorful spiced mole options.

3 Must-Visit Sonoran Food Stops on 22nd St. & Sixth Ave.

This particular street intersection captures various facets of Tucson Mexican food quite well; stay tuned for additional guides on other notable corners.

12 Eateries Along Grande Avenue to Put on Your Radar

This small western stretch in Tucson features fabulous Mexican food and an iconic chili dog stand.

Chalupas and Cemita at El Antojo Poblano (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Chalupas and Cemita at El Antojo Poblano (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Guide to regional Mexican food from Baja California to Veracruz in Tucson

Although Sonoran is our specialty, don’t miss out on the other Mexican specialties Tucson has to offer.

Explore Tucson’s culinary depth with ethnic dishes from 28 different countries

While Mexican food is one of the main tourist reasons to visit Tucson, we also feature cuisine from countries around the world. From Bosnia to Venezuela, you can count on finding something to tickle your cultural fancy.

Cooking at Home

Assorted chili peppers (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Assorted chili peppers (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Don’t let your kitchen go to waste.

Guide to chili peppers at Mexican markets in Tucson

Whether you want something spicy, grassy, fruity, or even chocolaty, read this article to figure out the right pepper for the job.

Guide to 15 diverse ethnic markets in Tucson

If you’re a local foodie who wants to create something exciting at home, check out our list of various ethnic markets.

Neighborhood Guides

Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish at Kingfisher (Credit: Jackie Tran)

If you simply don’t want to drive more than a couple of miles for good food, check out one of our handy area maps and guides.

Even more specific

Arizona Guides

Bun Ca Kien Giang (Mekong Delta Fish Noodle Soup) and Ca Ri Ga (Chicken Curry) at Thuy's Noodle Shop in Bisbee, Ariz. (Credit: Jackie Tran)

Ultimate Tucson Visitor’s Guide: Bun Ca Kien Giang (Mekong Delta Fish Noodle Soup) and Ca Ri Ga (Chicken Curry) at Thuy’s Noodle Shop in Bisbee, Ariz. (Credit: Jackie Tran)

If you’re a Tucson local and want to explore more of what the state has to offer, check out our other city guides. More are on the way!

The guides linked within this article are updated periodically—keep referring back to stay in the know.

Jackie is a food writer and photographer native to Tucson. He loves corgis and still thinks rickrolling is funny. If you'd like to stalk him, visit jackietran.com and his Instagram @jackie_tran_.

X