Feel the holiday spirit in Tucson's El Presidio District

Shop for folk art and enjoy the season in this historic Western town

El Presidio District

On the National Register of Historic Places El Presidio District in downtown Tucson is one of the nation's oldest continuously inhabited sites. It has evolved with shops galleries and restaurants.

Edward McCain

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El Presidio District locator

  • El Presidio District locator

As the holidays draw near, Arizona artist Maria Luisa Teña assembles hundreds of terra-cotta figures at the Tucson Museum of Art to create El Nacimiento, a room-size installation that depicts the Nativity and scenes of Mexican religious and village life.

It's the highlight of a visit to Tucson's historic El Presidio District, where bougainvillea, cactus, and brightly painted walls preserve a village atmosphere even as offices have set up shop.

With the museum's diverse collection and the galleries at Old Town Artisans, the 15-square-block district is a prime stop for art lovers looking for a soulful shopping experience. Like El Nacimiento, the neighborhood celebrates art and tradition in the shadow of a rapidly changing city.


El Presidio District is east of I-10 on the northern end of downtown Tucson. It's bounded by Granada and Stone Avenues and Alameda and Sixth Streets.


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