Family Vacation Fun
- Fuel Up.
Start the day with one of Tucson’s most beloved breakfasts at Prep & Pastry. With hearty dishes like Chicken and Toast (fried chicken and rosemary brioche with a blueberry reduction) and the kid-favorite S’Mores French Toast (graham cracker brioche, Nutella, house-made marshmallow fluff), there’s something for everyone.
- A Living, Breathing Museum.
With 230 animal species and 1,200 types of plants, the 98-acre Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is part zoo, part botanical garden, making it the perfect place for young minds to explore the Sonoran Desert — and catch safe glimpses of things like mountain lions, snakes and scorpions.
- An Afternoon Swim.
Retreat back to your desert oasis for a refreshing dip in the heated pool at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. The kids will be thrilled to practice their cannonballs, and parents can enjoy watching from a lounge chair.
- The Wild West.
A Tucson institution for nearly 50 years, El Corral serves steaks and ribs cooked the old-fashioned way — over a mesquite fire. It’s not uncommon to see a real, live cowboy at the next table.
- Take a Hike.
Step out your backdoor and onto a hiking trail. Nestled in the Tortolita Mountains, Dove Mountain is home to more than 50 miles of trails that will challenge your stamina as they delight your senses. Tackle the upper reaches of Alamo Ridge or descend into Wild Burro Canyon to explore the historic ruins of T-Bench-Bar-Ranch.
- Back to School.
Head down to the lively University of Arizona area, where the locally sourced pizzas at Time Market make for a lunch that kids and adults alike will love.
- Market Share.
Hop on the Tucson Streetcar and head west to the Mercado San Agustin, an open-air courtyard encircled by shops and restaurants. Peruse the stylish wares at the bright and airy boutique Mast and enjoy an afternoon treat at local favorite La Estrella Bakery.
- You Can Always Go Downtown.
End your evening in Tucson’s revived city center, where places like Penca, which serves authentic Mexico City fare in a beautifully restored warehouse, have helped put the Old Pueblo on the culinary map. For a family-friendly nightcap, head to Hub Ice Cream Factory, where ice cream cones can be served virgin or spiked.
- Breakfast in Bed.
Indulge in everyone’s favorite room-service treat with fresh pastries, coffee and juice delivered right to your room.
- Thrill Ride.
Journey deeper into the desert on an off-road adventure. A guided Jeep tour provides just enough excitement to suit kids of all ages and can give you access to otherwise impenetrable sites, like ancient ruins and petroglyphs.
- Off to the Races.
Head back to the resort’s pool, where the kids can compete to be the fastest one down the water slide.
- Saddle Up to the (Burger) Bar.
Enjoy gourmet burgers and shakes in a relaxed atmosphere at Cayton’s Burger Bistro. Bonus: breathtaking mountain views and stunning Arizona sunsets come standard.
- Tee It Up.
Take to the links at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Golf Club at Dove Mountain. Sneak in a quick nine if the kids are short on patience, or enjoy a full round with the family.
- Take Flight.
Explore the Pima Air & Space Museum, where future astronauts can revel in the hundreds of aircraft and spacecraft housed on-site.
- Dinner and a Show.
Head back downtown for dinner at the Cup Café inside the legendary Hotel Congress. Ask for a patio table — more often than not, there’s live music that lends the space an animated atmosphere. And don’t miss the mini museum that recounts the hotel’s history as a John Dillinger hideout. It’s tucked in a back hallway but worth seeking out.
- Go Glamping.
Spark young adventurers’ imaginations with the in-room camping experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, where staff will deliver and set up a tent in your guest room.
- Ride Off into the Sunrise.
Beat the heat with an early morning horseback ride that will take you along desert washes and through seas of saguaros, the iconic cactus that can be found only in this corner of the world. Novices are welcome — the hotel partners with nearby Tucson Mountain Stables to offer guided trail rides suited for all levels.
- A Shortcut to Mexico.
Tucson is home to some of the most authentic Mexican food this side of the border. Foodies flock to Boca Tacos y Tequila, where the rib-eye tacos are the star of the show.
- Arcade Fire.
Make a stop at D&D Pinball on quirky Fourth Avenue, where the classic games reign supreme, and there’s not an Xbox in sight.
- Astronomy 101.
Thanks to its clear skies and dark-sky ordinance to reduce artificial light, Tucson is known for its stunning views of the night sky. Gather around a fire pit at The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, where your own personal astronomer can help you spot your favorite constellations.