Authentic Southwest

In a former Spanish presidio in Tubac, Arizona, ristras adorn doorways and artists display crafts. Here's where to stay and what to do

With adobe buildings, dusty streets, and its setting in a mesquite-and-cottonwood bosque along the Santa Cruz River, Tubac has to be Arizona's most Southwestern town.

In November, you'll find clear days, smoke curling from chimneys, and doorways festooned with red-chile ristras. Check names off your holiday gift list at regionally specialized shops and galleries, but also take time to learn about the town's history and sample Mexican cooking.


Tubac is about 45 miles south of Tucson; from I-19, take exit 34. For more info, contact the Tubac Chamber of Commerce (520/398-2704).


Tubac Presidio State Historic Park Browse the history museum, ruins of the Spanish presidio dating to 1752, a 19th-century schoolhouse, and a restored 1890s adobe row house. INFO: $3; 1 Burruel St.; 520/398-2252.


Tubac Center of the Arts Admire painting, sculpture, and photography by Arizona artists, then hit the center's annual Holiday Art Market (Nov 16-Dec 24) to snap up crafts. INFO: Free; 9 Plaza Rd.; 520/398-2371.

Tortuga Books At this indie bookstore, load up on Arizona and Southwest travel, art, history, design, and biography titles. INFO: 19 Tubac Rd.; 520/398-2807.

Graham Bell Gallery Look for cowboy art, photography, poetry books, and antiques, as well as rustic outdoor furniture and accessories, all in a ranch-house setting. INFO: 1 Will Rogers Lane (off Tubac Rd.); 520/398-9111.

The Country Shop Take your time scanning the merchandise at this rambling store and patio brimming with Mexican pottery, punched-tin mirrors, margarita glasses, and tiled tables. INFO: Closed Mon-Tue; 30 Will Rogers Lane (off Tubac Rd.); 520/398-2121.


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