Tucson Awarded City of Gastronomy

Tucson UNESCO Award for Creative City of Gastronomy
Tucson UNESCO Award for Creative City of Gastronomy

UNESCO Awards Little Ol’ Tucson as Creative City of Gastronomy

Darren and I have been saying it for years; Tucson has Outstanding, Amazing, Spectacular, Delicious, Unique, Hard to Find Anywhere Else, Marvelous, Take Your Breath Away, Extraordinary Food! Thanks UNESCO for agreeing, sort of.

UNESCO recently awarded Tucson with the highly prestigious honor of being the first and only city in the United States to earn the title of, “Creative City of Gastronomy.” Tucson has made the New York Times!

What is Gastronomy?

Gastronomy – gas·tron·o·my – ɡaˈstränəmē/ (noun)

No, it is not a hybrid of gas and astronomy. It’s true you can see the stars very clearly here from Tucson especially from Kitt Peak National Observatory which houses the largest and most diverse gathering of astronomical instruments in the world, and it’s also true we love our beans in Tucson– beans beans the magical fruit… very funny. No, GASTRONOMY is the practice or art of choosing, cooking, and eating good food and the cooking of a particular area.

After living here for most of my life, I have dined out a lot and here’s what I can tell you about Tucson food.

Tucson Food

We Love Calle Tepa, a Great Mexican Restaurant in Tucson, City of GastronomyFilled with mom and pop shops, one-of-a-kind eateries and unique hole-in-the-wall cafes, Tucson is a Foodie’s Paradise. This is especially true, if the delicious, hard-to-find-elsewhere, Southwest, Mexican culinary style lights you up! There’s no doubt about it, Mexican food is a specialty and treasure in the Sonoran Desert. The rich history of this area lends itself to many homemade restaurants (and Food trucks) that showcase traditional family recipes.

If that’s not enough, a surplus of quality places and a community of people who appreciate food has inspired people to be creative and innovative. No matter what preference, traditional or adventurous, all pallets can be satisfied in Tucson.

You can try all kinds different dishes here, many of which, explode with flavor from all the different kinds of chili peppers. Some of them are strange like eating nopalitos aka cactus and some of them are mouthwateringly bold and unique like our famous Sonoran Hot Dogs.

Note:

Do not try a Sonoran Hot Dog if you want to enjoy hot dogs the “ballpark way” again, these bad boys are wrapped in bacon, grilled and loaded with beans, grilled jalapenos, sour cream, salsas and I don’t even know what else but they are something to be experienced.

But that’s not all, you can pair your food with local off-the-beaten-path tequilas and agave-derived liquors or with wine from the nearby vineyards in Soniota, AZ just minutes South of Tucson.

As a whole the Mexican food in Tucson in unparalleled with any part of the country including Southern California, New Mexico and Texas, Sorry other states but Tucson does Mexican food like no other! As good as it is, Mexican food is not the be all–end all for this little foodie mecca. There are many other food styles to be enjoyed from a wide array of different styles of Asian Cuisines, a plethora of Indian food places, BBQ, nice Sushi Restaurants, Italian food, Steak Houses and some vegan and vegetarian places as well.

The UNESCO City of Gastronomy Award

Tucson has always been a city of gastronomy but it was officially designated a World City of Gastronomy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and is the first city in the United States to receive such a designation.

There are eight Cities of Gastronomy worldwide—

  • Popayán, Colombia
  • Chengdu and Shunde, China
  • Östersund, Sweden
  • Tsuruoka, Japan
  • Jeonju, South Korea
  • Florianopolis, Brazil
  • Zahle, Lebanon
  • Tucson, United States

Some of Our Favorite Restaurants in Tucson

There are so many brilliant places to eat here and these are just some of our favorites:

We Love North, a Charming Restraunt in La Encantada Mall in Tucson, City of Gastronomy

ZinBurger

ZinBurger is one of the most happening restaurant development groups in town and all of their restaurants are wonderful. Specializing in burger sandwiches you can build your own creation with options such as organic beef, bison, chicken, ahi tuna and veggie burger served with french fries, sweet potato fries, fried zucchini and more. Everything here is yum and there are multiple locations around town!

Penca

Penca is one of my favorite fancy Mexican food places to eat. The food here is so creative and fresh. Homemade chips and 4+ different varieties of fresh salsa daily. Penca has all of your traditional dishes with a twist and the cocktail menu is amazing as well featuring fresh squeezed juices and homemade beers and sangria to delight.

Cafe Poca Cosa & The Little One

This family owned restaurant has 2 locations that are both downtown a few blocks from each other. I recommend the chef surprise dish which is a random sampler make of three of the chef’s nightly dishes. The Little One is a cash only breakfast and lunch cafe featuring some of the favorite menu items off of Cafe Poca Cosa’s menu.

Urban Fresh

Stop into Urban Fresh and be sure to try their freshly squeezed juices. Also, try the salads and wraps. Most of the food, if not all of it, is organic. Check out their rotating lunch special; always delicious. You could also grab a fancy salad or healthy wrap to go.

Ermanos

Ermanos is a wine and beer bar that also specializes in locally grown fresh foods. Everything on the menu is so fresh and mostly local. The wine and beer menu is expansive and it is right on 4th Avenue and open late!

Tucson wasRecently Named the First UNESCO City in North America for GastronomyThe Hub & The Hub Ice Creamery

The Hub boasts a diverse menu of homes style cuisine making this  a great selection for families, large groups or even a first date. After dinner enjoy as scoop of some of the best ice cream in town; it’s homemade!

Martines

Another of my favorite Mexican food restaurants featuring secret family recipes. This place is so charming and delicious. Filled with beautiful art, this place has some seriously cool vibes and it’s BYOB! I recommend trying the veggie tacos or veggie mole burrito but everything is mouth watering.

Time Market

Time market is a great coffee shop and small grocery store filled with healthy, hard to find items. The pizza and salad are to die for and so is everything else.

5 Points Market

This is a go to breakfast and lunch spot for us. Everything here is good: the salads, the sandwiches and the coffee. Plus, there’s a small healthy grocery market in the back with specialty selected items. It’s located downtown near the Ice House Lofts on Stone and 17th Street.

BK Tacos

This is one of our go-to’s for Sonoran Hot Dogs and tacos. This authentic taco shop features a ginormous, help yourself salsa and salad bar with every kind of salsa and taco fixing you could imagine. They also have homemade sangria and a fantastic drink menu. They are open late and it on 1st Ave just North of the University of Arizona.

The Most Underrated City: Tucson

underrated cities

 Most Underrated City: Tucson!

Tucson made Travel & Leisure’s List of the Most Underrated Cities. In fact, Tucson was ranked #3 on a list of 31 underrated cities.

It’s not all wild, wild west culture and year-round golf in this laid-back, nature lover’s paradise; With a population of 500,000+, Tucson has much to offer residents and vacationers alike.

Tucson’s natural beauty is enhanced by the magical weather patterns. Monsoon rain storms, rainbows, breath-taking sunrise and sunsets that always astonish locals and tourists alike.

Surrounded by mountains and The Saguaro National Park, Tucson attracts all kinds of outdoor enthusiasts. The Tucson mountains bring together hikers, cyclists, rock climbers, bird watchers, storm chasers; all thrilled with what Tucson has to offer.

Downtown Tucson has an amazing list of attractions. Decade-long efforts to redevelop the area have resulted in top-rated restaurants for one. Tucson was also named UNESCO’s City of Gastronomy for one reason; the restaurants. Restaurants like The Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails and Poca Cosa.

In 2015, Tucson was even given this prestigious award for being a foodie’s paradise. Tucson was the first city in America to receive this honor. The city was also rated as most playable city for kids and families.

Tucson Ranks in Top 50 Places to Visit in 2021

Travel And Leisure Rank Tucson Top 50 Places to Visit in 2021
Travel And Leisure Rank Tucson Top 50 Places to Visit in 2021

According to Travel & Leisure, our very own desert jewel Tucson is ranked #45 in their top 50 list of places to visit in 2021. And let’s face it, after 2020 we are ready to spread our wings and fly. For some of us, we don’t have to go far since we already live in paradise!

What They Said

Hotel Tuxon
Hotel Tuxon

T&L acknowledges that while we’ve often been in the shadows of our larger more metropolitan sisters like Phoenix and Santa Fe. However, we were catering to the wellness crowd years before “wellness” was really a thing. Our beautiful rolling vistas are a favorite of spas, outdoor enthusiasts, and artists.  

As beautiful as we are, we are also quirky and filled with personality. The accommodation for out-of-town visitors is unparalleled. From the Tuxon to Hotel McCoy you’re sure to enjoy the personality these venues offer. Or perhaps you’re looking for something a little less commercial. The Joshua Tree House Tucson boasts 5 beautiful suites backed up right next to the Saguaro National Park.  

Did you know that Tucson ranks gold as a bike city? Oh yea, it’s so great for cyclists that a new bike guest ranch is in the works to cater specifically to bicyclists! The Bike Ranch will be Tucson’s first sustainable eco-resort.

Come On Down

Yes, we know that 2021 is halfway over but we are confident that Tucson is going to remain in the top places to visit for years to come. We’ve already been identified as one of the top cities poised for recovery after the pandemic. Don’t believe us? Well, you’ll just have to come visit and make up your mind, it’s okay, we’ll wait.

Tucson Rated 20th Best City to Live In America

Well, look what we have here! Yet another accolade and feather in Tucson’s cap. According to Resonance Consultancy Tucson is the 20th best city to live in America! That’s no small feat, there are a lot of other cities from sea to shining sea in the USA. And just so you know, that’s up 21 spots from where we ranked last year. Let’s take a look at what made Tucson 20th best city to live in.

Tucson Was Rated Using These Categories
Tucson Was Rated Using These Categories

The 20th Best City

Resonance Consultancy used 6 major categories to grade upon: People, Place, Product, Programming, Promotion, and Prosperity. 

Notably, we ranked #14 in Place,

“Fast-growing Tucson is buoyed by its sense of place, ranking #10 in both our Weather and our Parks & Outdoors subcategories. The city is poised to ascend up future national rankings, due to a torrent of new investment in all manner of green and common space,” said Resonance.

The company also rightfully credits the University of Arizona for our cities “youthful bounce” considering that almost 25% of our fair city are between the ages of 20-35 years old. We’ve all seen the construction blowing up around the UA and downtown. Growth is coming ready or not. And honestly, we think Tucson is ready for it. You can’t stop the march of progress.

We also ranked #10 nationally on Prosperity if you can believe it. We can. Housing prices are steadily climbing as more and more people take notice of our little jewel in the desert. And, despite the pandemics brutal economic impact on Tucson, we still ranked an impressive #17 in shopping!

What’s Next?

We have no doubt that by 2022 Tucson will continue to scale the Best City list from the 20th best city until we break into the top 10! Where do you think we will rank next year? What about 5 years from now? Well, no matter where we land, we here at See Tucson Homes are ready and excited for it.