Congress Street District
Where hip meets history. Meet-up downtown and find much more than there was before.
Downtown’s Main Drag is Everything But
Congress Street District
In Tucson’s cultural core, in and around historic Congress Street, enjoy the excitement of old colliding with new. Concrete-and-glass skyscrapers align with colorful barrio dwellings and preserved historic sites. Sidewalk cafés, acclaimed restaurants, and vintage shops are neighbors to theaters, live music venues, renowned art havens, and paint-spattered startup studios alike.
The Tucson Museum of Art and the Museum (which marks 95 years in 2019) of Contemporary Art (MOCA) consistently show outstanding art collections, while Etherton Gallery is one of the most compelling galleries of photography in the United States. Concerts, comedy shows, and plays at Temple of Music and Art, Rialto Theatre, and Fox Tucson Theatre -- as well as newer options like The Screening Room and Cobra Arcade Bar -- prove the only thing that's aged within this energetic scene are the historic buildings themselves.
The Historic Depot, a train terminal since 1860, is an active Amtrak station plus home to the vintage Locomotive 1673, a train museum, shops, and Maynards Market & Kitchen restaurant. If you want to stay on the rails, explore downtown districts on the four-mile Sun Link Streetcar route with a day pass. Or, tour the area on yellow bicycles rented at a Tugo Bike Share self-serve station.
Hotel Congress, celebrating its centennial in 2019, is infamous as the place where the FBI’s Most Wanted, John Dillinger, was captured by local law enforcement during a 1934 fire. This cornerstone of downtown Tucson lodging is also known for its restaurant, bar, and music venue, while its homegrown events, like HoCo Fest and Agave Heritage Fest, keep the city buzzing year-round. (Don’t mind the ghosts.)
On downtown's far east end, just south of the University of Arizona, The Lost Barrio historic warehouse district features three blocks filled with colorful shops selling world imports, antiques, furniture, artwork, and more in the neighborhood known as Barrio San Antonio. There’s also Tooley’s, a small café offering a casual breakfast and lunch menu.
Then there are the neighboring spots for fantastic food and drink: A James Beard award-winner (Janos Wilder at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails), thrilling takes on Mexican cuisine (Elvira's, Cafe Poca Cosa, The Little One, Penca, El Charro Café, steakhouse Charro Steak, and seafood-centric Charro del Rey), comfort food re-imagined in delicious ways (HUB, 47 Scott, Diablo Burger, and Reilly’s) and much more. Throw in cutting-edge craft breweries (Borderlands, Iron John’s Beer, Pueblo Vida, Ten55 Brewery and Sausage House, and Thunder Canyon Brewstillery) that harness the flavors of the Sonoran Desert in their beers, and you have a perfect place from which to anchor your Tucson adventures!
Hit the street and explore.
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