At the southern end of Arizona sits a gem of the Wild West. Tucson is known for its sweeping desert vistas, rocky mountain ranges and diverse food scene (hello, Gastronomy capital of America). There is so much to love about this city with endless sunshine.
But for many, Tucson is more of an acquired taste. The saguaro cacti just aren’t enough for those who like a little more greenery in their scenery. Not to mention the abrasive heat — that’s a tough one even for the most seasoned Tucson residents.
Yet, even the most apprehensive travelers, students and future "Dirty T" dwellers could learn to love the city in the book “100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die” second edition by Clark Norton.
Written by an honorary Tucsonan, Norton’s book is a love letter to the southwest and the city he now calls home. Filled with extensive advice on where to go, what to eat and how to beat the heat, Norton created a guidebook perfect for any Tucson newcomer.
The book is broken up into sections directing the reader to the best and brightest eats, entertainment, sports, shopping and more. Readers will find one to two-page dedications to all of the most wonderful Tucson haunts. So, with that said, here are some of the highlights of “100 Things to Do in Tucson Before You Die” second edition.
- Sonoran Hotdogs are one of the many high-blood-pressure-inducing delicacies known to Tucson (but they’re really, really delicious). Norton recommends El Güero Canelo and BK Tacos to enjoy this iconic Tucson food.
- If you’re someone who likes some good ‘ol fashioned fun, the Pima County Fair is for you. While many shy away from the horror of the Zipper ride, Norton assures readers that there is much to offer for those of us who are a bit less danger-prone. The Pima County Fair offers impressive percussive dance performances, rodeos and plenty of alcohol.
- Looking for an interesting way to spend a Saturday night? Norton points you in the direction of the Rogue Theater located at 300 E University Blvd. With everything from musicals to Shakespeare, this small-town theater packs a big punch.
- On the subject of performances, Norton makes sure to mention the Tucson Desert Song Festival. The festival attracts dozens of big-name artists; Norton noted that past acts have included Kristin Chenoweth (“Wicked,” anyone?) and René Izquierdo. So put on your fishnets and cowboy boots and get ready to make the obligatory Instagram posts that the festival demands.
- While you’ve got your boots out, Norton recommended heading to the Tanque Verde Ranch. A family resort and place to ride horses, the Tanque Verde Ranch has something for everyone, truly embodying the Wild West spirit with a modern twist.
Whether you’re new or old to Tucson, there is always something, somewhere to do. Make the most of your time in “Old Pueblo” and try something new. It’s hard to get bored with 100 great activities at your disposal.
*Editor's Note: All opinions expressed in this review are held by the writer only and are not shared by the Daily Wildcat.
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Sophie Applin is the current Opinions Editor for the Daily Wildcat. She enjoys reading, writing and having strong opinions.