Browse the sensational succulents and other Southwestern plants at this Arizona garden

One Perfect Day at the Tucson Botanical Garden
Andrea Gómez Romero
Visit the botanical oasis of Tohono Chul Park in Tucson.

Brake for cactus: Tucson is home to the world’s largest regional cactus and succulent society (, and montly meetings are open to the public.

Go native: Desert Survivors (Closed Sun, Mon, 1020 W. Starr Pass Blvd., 520/791-9309) is your spot for super-rare natives like red barberry.

Stranges souvenir: Living rocks (Lithops) resemble tiny sea cucumbers and are great for a lonely windowsill. Browse the mother lode at Plants for the Southwest (closed Sun-Tues, 50 E. Blacklidge Dr.,

Four times a farm: If you miss the Friday farmers’ market, there’s another one Saturday and Sunday–and Wednesday, as well (times and locations at

An amusement park of plants: Located 10 worth-it miles north of downtown, Tohono Chul Park is a 47-acre botanical oasis with paths, nine gardens, galleries, greenhouses, and shops. See the wildflower displays of the Sonoran Seasons Garden, then hit the bistro ($, 520/742-6455) for lunch. The dish to try: sinus-clearing red posole, best enjoyed on the rear patio so you can watch the action in the Hummingbird Garden. $13, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte,




Andrea Gómez Romero

An ever-changing lineup of exhibits can be enjoyed at the Tucson Botanical Gardens.

Butterflies and irises: Tucson Botanical Gardens are a lush retreat tucked into the city’s heart. $15, 2150 N. Alvernon Way,

The Tiffany of garden stores: Family-run for more than 70 years, Harlow Gardens deals in local artists’ one-of-a-kind patio pieces…like a 3-foot-high metal snake wearing a cowboy hat. Something more practical: Pick up a biodegradable flowerpot made from rice husks. 5620 E. Pima St., 520/298-3303.


Andrea Gómez Romero

La Cocina Mexican restaurant serves tasty global eats, like Vietnamese salad rolls and Sonoran-style cosmos.

Veggie burger with a side of tacos: La Cocina’s sleepy Mexican village interior belies a global menu focused on seasonal ingredients. Sure, you can order tacos, but the Vietnamese and Japanese-flavored plates deserve attention–as do internationally-infused cocktails. $, in Old Town Artisans, 201 N. Court Ave., 520/622-0351. 


Andrea Gómez Romero

Stay a spell at the Arizona Inn, a 1930 resort sprawled over 14 acres.

Make it a weekend: Let yourself be coddled at the Arizona Inn, a 1930 resort sprawled over 14 groomed acres near downtown. None of the 92 casita-style rooms is the same–if you’re lucky, you’ll get one with a patio overlooking the cactus garden and fountains. From $179;

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