Photo by @emilyorzel

My Creative City: Tucson, Arizona

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Maybe we’re a bit biased, but we think this desert city has got some real flair. We’ve rounded up a list of spots here in Tucson, Arizona that we consider hubs of creativity!

The places you’ll read about below are improving our city by finding or inventing innovative ways to promote art, build community, and supply inspiration. From coffee shops to theaters to small shops, we carefully selected these spots for their consistency and accessibility, – in other words, they’re open to the public nearly year-round! – and, of course, their unique approaches to creativity.

 

CAFE PASSE

415 N 4th Ave.

A coffee shop and restaurant on Fourth Avenue that offers an intimate garden courtyard and a food and drink menu. The perfect location for a casual breakfast or outdoor workspace on a sunny day.

 

SAVAYA COFFEE

6 Locations across Tucson!

With coffee beans that are imported from more than 60 different farms around the world, Savaya’s Turkish-inspired coffee is some of the best in Tucson. With six (soon to be seven!) locations across the city, there’s always a freshly-roasted cup of Savaya coffee nearby!

 

CASA VIDEO & CASA FILM BAR

2905 E Speedway Blvd.

The perfect space to talk about the latest cinematic masterpiece with your friends! The bar is stocked with food, coffee, and locally-sourced beer, and you can rent all the classics and find the perfect film for your evening at home in the video store. They host multiple events every month, including game nights, viewing parties, and trivia competitions. Plus, free popcorn as you browse!

 

Crave Coffee Bar

530 E Broadway Blvd.

One of Tucson’s more spacious coffee spots, Crave’s modern, bright interior is filled with extensive seating options, making it the perfect place for anything from working solo to large group meetings.

 

DEGRAZIA GALLERY

6300 N Swan Rd.

This ten acre site was built by artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia in the early 1950’s and now features his paintings, sculptures, murals, and other artistic ventures. Nestled in the foothills, the gallery is surrounded by natural desert, giving the feel of the outdoors without having to go too far.

 

EXO Roast Co.

403 N 6th Ave.

Exo started as a small hole in the wall coffee shop, but quickly became a popular gathering space here in Tucson. Exo hosts a monthly cupping the third Saturday of every month at noon, and amonthly analog hour (no wifi + free books) in partnership with the Pima County Library. They also recently opened SAWS, or Southern Arizona Workspace. SAWS regularly holds lectures and workshops with the self-declared motto: “A Place To Learn About Place.” As if the culture curated here isn’t enough, they roast their beans in-house and serve come of the best cold brew in the city.

 

Obon Sushi Bar + Ramen

350 E Congress St.

A series of restaurant concepts including Obon, Goodness, and Bird. These restaurants merge modern ideas and classic comfort with their fresh ingredients and contemporary choices. Each restaurant has a distinct theme that is impeccably executed from the plating to the interior design.

 

Pima County Libraries

All over!

The Pima County Libraries are about much more than books – they’re about community. From story time and board game groups to homework help, the libraries provide invaluable ways to participate in your the community.

 

POPCYCLE

422 N 4th Ave.

@codibott

Local handmade goods are curated in this quirky 4th Avenue space that perfectly encapsulates this desert city. The owners of the store are artists who use repurposed and recycled materials for their work, and they commit to carrying products made from these supplies in Popcycle. It’s shop is the perfect place to find a one of a kind gift – for a friend or yourself!

 

The Loft

3233 E Speedway Blvd.

The Loft is Tucson’s only independent movie theater. The nonprofit creates community through film, and aims to encourage love and understanding for the art form. On the first Friday of every month, they host a short film contest where locals can submit their own masterpieces. Throughout the rest of the month you’ll find them screening a mixture of cult classics, timeless art films, and documentaries. The love of all things local can even been seen in the concession stand options – with sandwiches from the 4th Avenue Deli, tamales from Tucson Tamale Co., and Ice Cream sandwiches made using Isabella’s Ice Cream and Tucson Cookie Company Cookies.

 

TINY TOWN GALLERY

408 N 4th Ave.

Tiny Town is a gallery and retail space that specifically features local artists. There’s an array of well-priced Tucson gear that you can use to decorate any space, and you can show off your Tucson pride anywhere with their prints, stickers, patches, and shirts.

 

Tucson Arts Bridgade Murals

All over!

Downtown Tucson has become exponentially more colorful thanks to the local non-profit, Tucson Arts Brigade (TAB). TAB seeks to engage Tucson’s population in a dialogue about community issues to find art-based solutions for the city. Do yourself a favor and visit one of their recent mural projects, your Instagram feed will thank you! (Our favorite is on the west-facing wall of the Tucson Warehouse and Transfer Co. building.)

 

MSA Annex

267 S. Avenida del Convento

The shops and restaurants at this Mercado San Agustin expansion are housed inside modified shipping containers, making this retail space one Tucson’s most unique new spots. Of the 26 businesses in the annex, many are minority and women-owned, and feature the work of several local Tucson artists. It’s the perfect place to spend a weekend day shopping, eating, and sipping a local craft brew.

 

TUCSON MUSEUM OF ART

140 N Main Ave, Tucson, AZ 85701

Covering an entire city block in historic downtown Tucson, the Tucson Museum of Art features original and rotating exhibitions focusing on Art of Latin America, Art of the American West,Asian Art, and Modern and Contemporary Art. The museum also offers education programs and studio art classes.

Bonus: Cafe A La Cart is also found in the historic block, and is a lovely spot to stop for a bite after spending the day perusing art!

 

Next time you’re visiting the city, or have a day off, check out these spots and let us know what you think. Share your adventures using #MyCreativeCity! Didn’t see your favorites? Tell us about them in the comments below!

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