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Things to Do in the Catalina Foothills

Gray St. Onge July 2, 2024

Things to Do in the Catalina Foothills

Set against the majestic Santa Catalina Mountains, the Catalina Foothills offer a scenic escape from Metro Tucson. While this picturesque area is known for its natural beauty, it’s also a vibrant community with a rich history and a wealth of activities for visitors, full-time residents, and snowbirds. Whether you're looking for outdoor adventures, fine dining, or cultural experiences, these are just a few of the many activities in Catalina Foothills that offer something for everyone.

Explore Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon is a natural oasis in the Catalina Foothills, perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. One of the highlights is Sabino Creek, which flows seasonally and creates beautiful pools and waterfalls. It's a great spot for a family picnic or a refreshing swim. Visitors can enjoy hiking, biking, and scenic tram rides through this stunning desert landscape. The Visitor Center provides maps and information to help you make the most of your visit.

Visit DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

Art lovers will appreciate visiting the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, a historic art gallery and museum in the Catalina Foothills. This unique gallery showcases the work of Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia, a renowned southwestern artist. The gallery is a work of art built in the traditional adobe style. You can take in exhibits featuring DeGrazia's paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. The gallery also hosts special events and workshops throughout the year — it’s a must-visit for those interested in southwestern art and culture.

Hike the Finger Rock Trail

The Finger Rock Trail offers a rewarding experience for those seeking a more challenging hike. This trailhead is located in the Catalina Foothills, leading hikers to the distinctive Finger Rock formation. The hike is strenuous, but the panoramic views of Tucson and the surrounding mountains are well worth the effort. Along the way, hikers will encounter diverse flora and fauna, including cacti, wildflowers, and wildlife. Be sure to bring plenty of water and wear appropriate footwear, as the trail can be rocky and steep in sections.

Enjoy La Encantada Shopping Center

La Encantada is an upscale shopping center in the Catalina Foothills. It offers a mix of high-end retailers, boutique shops, and fine-dining restaurants. The center's open-air design creates a pleasant shopping environment, with beautiful landscaping and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Popular stores include Anthropologie, Apple, and Tiffany & Co. Dining options range from casual cafes to gourmet restaurants.

Golf at Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club

Golf enthusiasts will find the Ventana Canyon Golf & Racquet Club a top destination in the Catalina Foothills. This exclusive club offers two championship golf courses designed by Tom Fazio, known for their challenging layouts and breathtaking scenery. In addition to golf, the club features tennis courts, a fitness center, and a luxurious spa. Members and guests can also enjoy fine dining at the club's restaurant, which offers panoramic views of the Catalina Mountains.

Explore the Rillito River Park Trail

The Rillito River Park Trail is a multi-use path along the Rillito River, offering a scenic route for walking, jogging, and cycling. The trail connects the Catalina Foothills with other parts of Tucson, providing easy access to parks, shopping centers, and restaurants. Along the trail, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty of the desert landscape, with opportunities to spot local wildlife. The trail is well-maintained and features rest areas and water fountains, making it a convenient and enjoyable option for outdoor recreation.

Visit St. Philip's Plaza

St. Philip's Plaza is a charming shopping and dining destination in the Catalina Foothills, known for its Spanish-style architecture and beautiful courtyards. The plaza hosts a variety of boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, offering something for everyone. On weekends, it comes alive with a farmers market featuring fresh produce, local crafts, and live music. It's a great place to spend a leisurely morning or afternoon exploring the shops and people-watching in a laid-back atmosphere.

Experience the Catalina Foothills Farmers Market

The Catalina Foothills Farmers Market is a popular spot for locals and visitors. It offers a wide range of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and handmade crafts. The market is held weekly and provides an opportunity to support local farmers and artisans. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, you'll find baked goods, cheeses, and unique gifts. The market often features live music and food vendors, creating a lively and enjoyable shopping experience.

Relax at Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

If you’re looking for a staycation in the Catalina Foothills, check out Loews Ventana Canyon Resort. Nestled in the Foothills, it offers stunning views of the mountains and desert landscape. The serene resort features elegant rooms and suites, two championship golf courses, and a full-service spa. Guests can enjoy multiple pools, tennis courts, and fine dining restaurants. The resort's hiking trails and nature tours allow exploration of the surrounding wilderness.

Sample Delicious Cuisine at World-Class Restaurants

The Catalina Foothills boast a diverse culinary scene with a range of restaurants to tantalize your taste buds. Here are a few of the best restaurants to consider during your visit:

  • The Flying V: This upscale restaurant offers innovative American cuisine with breathtaking mountain views. Enjoy a creative menu featuring seasonal ingredients and impeccable service in a sophisticated atmosphere.
  • Wild Garlic Grill: This family-owned bar and eatery is a local favorite known for its warm vibe and New American comfort food. Their menu features steaks, seafood, pastas, and pizzas alongside an extensive wine list.
  • Contigo Latin Kitchen: Embark on a culinary journey through Latin America at Contigo Latin Kitchen. This vibrant restaurant offers a menu showcasing the diverse flavors of Spain, South America, and the Caribbean. Enjoy tapas, tacos, ceviches, and flavorful main courses prepared with fresh, authentic ingredients.
From casual cafes and bistros to fine-dining establishments, you'll discover delicious food prepared with fresh, local ingredients. Many restaurants offer outdoor seating, allowing you to enjoy stunning mountain views while savoring your meal.

Take a Scenic Drive through the Catalina Foothills

A scenic drive through the Catalina Foothills offers breathtaking views of the mountains and desert landscape. The area is known for its beautiful homes, lush landscaping, and stunning vistas, making it a perfect route for a leisurely drive. Popular routes include Skyline Drive and Campbell Avenue, which provide panoramic views of Tucson and the surrounding mountains. You can stop at scenic overlooks, parks, and restaurants along the way, making it a delightful way to explore the area.

About Gray St. Onge

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