Rob D. Brodman

Turn back time: Head to an Arizona campus for shops, museums, and pints

Matthew Jaffe,  – January 28, 2008

Infused with a collegiate blend of good times and artsy energy, the area around the University of Arizona has an urban vitality unlike any other Tucson neighborhood.

Take the trolley to the university and the nearby commercial area of Fourth Avenue to relive your college years while discovering a contemporary city scene. The U of A grounds are a de facto botanical garden and home to some of Tucson’s premier museums.

After a time on campus, head to the student haunt of Fourth Avenue, whose galleries and restaurants also draw residents with decidedly postgraduate tastes.


Old Pueblo Trolley (6 p.m.-10 p.m. Fri, noon-midnight Sat, noon-6 Sun; $1 one-way, $2.50 day pass; 520/792-1802), which runs almost to the university’s main gate, connects Fourth Avenue and campus. The line runs vintage trolleys, including one from Kyoto that’s urban transit and retro art piece all in one.


The B Line With both terrific baked goods and pancakes for breakfast, and a selection of Mexican entrées and pastas for lunch and dinner, it’s fresh and affordable. INFO: $; 621 N. Fourth Ave.; 520/882-7575.Joel’s Bistro The Sorbonne comes to the Sonoran, bringing a taste of Paris to the U of A scene. INFO: $$; 806 E. University Blvd.; 520/529-7277.


Frog & Firkin The pub’s expansive patio makes it a classic kick-back-with-a-pint hangout. INFO: $; 874 E. University Blvd.; 520/623-7507.


The University of Arizona Mineral Museum Tucked in the lower level of the Flandrau science center, it displays minerals, gemstones, and meteorites of positively otherworldly shapes and hues. INFO: Closed Mon-Wed; $5; 1601 E. University Blvd.; 520/621-4227.

The University of Arizona Museum of Art With a time-spanning and globe-trotting collection, it’s like a survey course in art history. INFO: Closed Mon; free; 1031 N. Olive Rd.; 520/621-7567.


Arroyo Design The store specializes in custom-designed mesquite furniture. INFO: Open Mon-Sat and by appointment Sun; 224 N. Fourth Ave.; 520/884-1012.

Conrad Wilde Gallery The attractive space is a top spot to check out Tucson’s contemporary art scene. INFO: Closed Sun-Mon; 210 N. Fourth Ave.; 520/622-8997.


Peppertrees B&B Inn (from $140, including breakfast; 520/622-7167), with its courtyard and gardens, provides a sanctuary in the heart of the university neighborhood. Stay in a Mexican-style casita with a private patio or a 1920s Territorial-style house. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, innkeeper Jill McCormick shows off her skills with creative, balanced breakfasts featuring organic ingredients.

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