Tucson Spotlight

What's New in Tucson - November 2013

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What's New in Tucson - November 2013


Tucson Ranked Among the Best Cities for Millennials. A new ranking from Vocativ, released in November, selected 35 Best Cities for People Under 35. Tucson is listed, along with Portland, Seattle, Austin, Nashville, Denver, Minneapolis and Boston, among other cities ranked on various livability factors making them attractive to the millennial generation, defined by Pew Research Center as people born in 1981 or later.


Desert Palms Adorn Tohono Chul. Palm species that are native to the Sonoran Desert are the focus of the new Desert Palm Oasis garden at Tohono Chul Park, recognized as one of the world's great botanical gardens. The new garden incorporates brahea, sabal and Washingtonia palms - usually found isolated in narrow canyons along the coast of the Sea of Cortez near Guaymas, Mexico - with other native plants of these canyons, such as rock fig and Nacapule jasmine, along with a spring-fed stream that will support a population of endangered native fish. Visitors have an opportunity to discover the beauty and rich biodiversity of this rare Sonoran Desert habitat. For details, click here or visit


Resort Builds Exhibits for Nature-lovers. Loews Ventana Canyon is a Tucson resort in tune with nature, and two exhibits recently opened there help educate guests about local flora and fauna. The new 1,500-square-foot butterfly garden, certified by the National Butterfly Association as a national butterfly garden and a monarch flyway, features 20 types of plants to attract more than 60 species of butterflies. While the 800-square-foot tortoise exhibit, built in consultation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is part of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum's Tortoise Adoption Program to benefit the welfare of captive and wild tortoises and turtles. The 100-acre resort's outdoor experience includes a paved interpretive loop and hiking trails that pass an 80-foot waterfall.


Wellness Retreats Recognized. Tucson's two celebrated destination spas, secluded in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, once again have been recognized for their unique and rejuvenating experiences. Both Canyon Ranch and Miraval were listed among the 12 best wellness resorts in "The World's Best Wellness Retreats," on, in October. According to the listing: Canyon Ranch, a pioneer in healthy lifestyle education since 1979, "goes above and beyond the typical vacation by promising a path to achieving true health and vitality; while Miraval, at which "mindfulness" has always been the core philosophy, "leaves no area of health, wellness or fitness uncovered."


Food Truck Fame. The Cooking Channel's cross-country street food show "Eat Street" recently shot a segment featuring two Tucson food trucks: Planet of the Crepes was filmed at St. Philips Plaza during Sunday's Tucson Farmers' Market and Serial Grillers was filmed from its spot at 22nd Street and Pantano Road. Serial Grillers (Tucson Weekly's Best of Tucson 2013 Food Truck winner) also was just profiled in "Food Trucks: 25 of the Coolest" on Folks are also talking about Kadooks! Costa Rican Fusion food truck, now doubling as a mobile soup kitchen for needy. To follow Tucson's food trucks, check the social media pages of individual businesses, or visit and


FC Tucson Hosts Preseason Soccer. Eleven of Major League Soccer's 19 clubs will play in 16 preseason matches in Tucson, February 1 through March 1, 2014. Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Sporting Kansas City and Seattle Sounders FC will participate in preseason friendlies on Saturday, Feb. 1, and Saturday, Feb. 8, at the new Kino Sports Complex North Stadium, 2817 E. Ajo Way. The Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution and Real Salt Lake will join FC Tucson of United Soccer League's Premier Development League (PDL) for four days of tripleheaders at the third annual FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, February 19 through March 1. The Cup's first three match days will be at the new North Stadium; the finals, on March 1, will be at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2500 E. Ajo Way. More details: or click here.


Notah Begay Golf Course Opens. More than 30,000 Sonoran Desert flowers, cacti and other native plants have been incorporated into landscaping at Sewailo Golf Club, Tucson's newest golf course, scheduled to open December 12 at Casino Del Sol Resort, an enterprise of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Sewailo, meaning "flower world" in the Pascua Yaqui language, was designed by Notah Begay III, a Native American PGA Tour player and Golf Channel commentator. The 200-acre golf course measures 7,400 yards from the championship tees and features five different tee boxes at each hole. Rolling fairways and greens complement nearly 14 acres of lakes, streams and water features. Sewailo Golf Club is open to casino resort guests and the public. Call 520-838-6623 or visit     


Holiday Express at Train Depot. A reading of the Christmas-themed children's book "The Polar Express" and a screening of the movie of the same title are highlights of the Holiday Express at the Historic Depot, in downtown Tucson's East End, on Saturday, Dec. 21. For the event's ninth year, carolers will sing and Santa Claus will be stationed near the authentic Southern Pacific Locomotive No. 1673 (star of "Oklahoma!") and available for photos with believers. Tucson's Historic Depot, originally built in 1907 and since then beautifully restored, houses the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, Tucson's Amtrak station, shops, offices and Maynards Market + Kitchen-acclaimed grab-and-go café and award-winning restaurant.


Festivus at El Casino Ballroom. KXCI-91.3 FM, Tucson's community radio, and the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association will present the annual Festivus fundraising concert at El Casino Ballroom, Saturday, Dec. 21. A few of Tucson's beloved local musicians - Peter McLaughlin and The Sonoran Dogs, Ryanhood, String Bing Folk Orchestra, Jamie Anderson, Duncan Stitt Trio and The Tucsonics - will perform at this secular, seasonal spectacular organized to raise funds for the 29th Tucson Folk Festival, May 3-4, 2014. This Festivus celebration, "the holiday for the rest of us," is based on the Seinfeld TV show's parody of commercial aspects of the holiday season. For details, click here or visit


Glorious Voices at Desert Song Festival. Several celebrated classical singers will perform alongside accomplished regional arts groups at Tucson Desert Song Festival, January 30 through February 16, 2014. The three-weekend festival will showcase works by Debussy, Ravel, Berlioz and Poulenc and include concert performances of "The Damnation of Faust" and a ballet version of "Carmen." Such internationally known stars as Christine Goerke, William Burden, Jordan Bisch and Jennifer Johnson Cano will perform with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, UApresents, Tucson Chamber Artists, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, Tucson Guitar Society and Ballet Tucson. Guest artists will join with UA School of Music faculty to conduct master classes; lectures and recitals by UA faculty and students will be open to the public.


New Year's Day Hikes. On Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 Arizona will be one of the 50 states to host First Day Hikes, ranger-led hikes at participating state parks around the Grand Canyon State. For a list of Arizona State Parks located in Tucson and southern Arizona, watch for news from individual parks in the area, posted on, or call (602) 542-4174.

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What's New in Tucson is produced monthly and distributed to travel writers by the Public Relations department at Visit Tucson. For media assistance, contact Public Relations Director Jessica Stephens. Send news to Editor Deborah Melcher. Contact Isela Cano to be added to, or removed from the mailing list. Find more travel information on