Go from hiker to shopper in Tucson
At the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Tucson's Foothills neighborhood is known for its miles of scenic desert hiking trails.
Now with newly opened shops and a burgeoning restaurant scene, the locale has evolved into the city's shopping and dining epicenter. Take note of what the locals are wearing: More often than not, accessories of choice aren't Manolo mules or Birkin bags. Instead, shoppers and diners are likely to sport dusty hiking boots and well-worn backpacks.
Ventana Trail. WHAT: A spectacular canyon wash, and as reward for not turning back early, Maiden Pools may be deep enough for dunking. The trail is 6.7 miles one way; part of it enters Coronado National Forest. WHEN: Sunrise to sunset daily. HOW MUCH: Free. WHERE: Trailhead is at far end of the employee parking lot of Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 N. Resort Dr.; Santa Catalina Ranger District, 520/749-8700.
Casas Adobes Plaza. WHAT: Charming Italian-meets-Spanish-Colonial plaza, with shops such as Rochelle K (recycled silk cargo pants, cute tanks; www.rochellek.com or 520/797-2279); J. Gilbert Footwear (otherworldly Thierry Rabotin shoes; www.jgilbertfootwear.com or 520/531-8385); Studio Encanto (chunky Mexican candles, cashmere throws; www.studioencanto.com or 520/318-9300). WHEN: Most shops open daily. WHERE: Southwest corner of Ina and Oracle Roads; www.casasadobesplaza.com or 520/299-2610.
La Encantada. WHAT: The new kid on the block, with a bevy of high-end chains and a great market―AJ's Purveyors of Fine Foods. WHEN: Most shops open daily. WHERE: Northwest corner of Skyline Dr. and Campbell Ave.; www.laencantadashoppingcenter.com or 520/299-3556.
J Bar. WHAT: James Beard award-winning chef Janos Wilder's cozy bar set in a mesquite grove; try a micheladas (beer, Clamato juice, and lime over ice). When: 5:30-9:30 Mon-Sat; closed Thanksgiving. HOW MUCH: $$. WHERE: The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa grounds, 3770 E. Sunrise Dr.; www.janos.com or 520/615-6100.
Sauce Pizza & Wine. WHAT: Modern, airy restaurant with a great wild-mushroom and truffled-arugula pizza, and chopped salad. WHEN: Lunch and dinner daily. HOW MUCH: $. WHERE: 7117 N. Oracle Rd.; www.foxrc.com or 520/297-8575.
INFO: The Foothills neighborhood runs along the eastern end of Ina Rd. and continues on Skyline and Sunrise Drives. www.visittucson.org or 800/638-8350.