FOR YEARS Phoenix and Scottsdale remained squarely in the Canadian spotlight as the Arizona getaways, and as a result little attention was paid to Tucson, their southern sister. That’s no longer the case. A serious investment in the city’s downtown infrastructure, a plethora of new restaurants and the resorts that have long lured serenity seekers to great spas and sunsets means that Tucson is ready for its moment in the vacation spotlight. After your client meeting in Phoenix, consider a weekend in Tucson.
> Eat: A 4,100-year continuous history of agriculture garnered Tucson a UNESCO City of Gastronomy designation in 2015. It’s the only city in North America with the designation and recognizes Tucson’s commitment to keeping the produce once relied on by Native and Latin cultures alive and well for future generations. The work of Native Seed Search, a local non-profit repository, has also spawned a restaurant revival. Among the chefs you’ll find embracing the movement here are James Beard Award-winning cook Janos Wilder, who showcases local history and world cultures at his Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant.
> Drink: Stephen Paul credits his wife for coming up with this idea: why not take the mesquite wood he was using to create handmade furniture and use it to malt barley instead? The result is Whisky Del Bac, where everything from malting the barley right through to the bottling happens under one roof.
Pop in for a tour and a taste of its award-winning regional single-malt whisky.
> Sleep: A multimillion-dollar renovation to a former girls' ranch school has added high ceilings, patios and outdoor showers to the already gorgeous Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch resort. Mountain views and gorgeous sunsets still come standard. Save time to peek at the historic photos on corridor walls. Among the famous visitors during the property’s almost 90-year-old history are Sandra Day O’Connor, who came as a child, and Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who slipped away here as adults. Don’t miss dinner at The Grill, where chef Bruce Yim works magic with every morsel.