The saguaro-studded hillsides, lush gardens and famous desert sunsets of Tucson are ready-made for romance. Set the mood for a memorable getaway with this couples-friendly itinerary to the Old Pueblo.
Breakfast at Cup Cafe
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast on the sunny patio at Cup Cafe, adjacent to the perennially hip and historic Hotel Congress. This busy downtown mainstay is bright, inviting and makes a great perch for people watching. It also happens to dish out consistently great fare, like the signature cast iron baked eggs. It's a smoldering, creamy serving of eggs, ham, leeks and Gruyère cheese, topped with French herbs and served with potatoes and toast.
This is a popular brunch spot, so there's usually a wait. Luckily, there's a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar where you and your significant other can sip on a drink while you wait for a table. Enjoy a cozy breakfast for two at the Cup Cafe in downtown Tucson — Photo courtesy of Hotel Congress/Cup Cafe
Afternoon in a desert garden
Spend the afternoon exploring Tohono Chul Park, considered one of the world's greatest botanical gardens. This desert oasis offers a look at the cultural traditions of the Sonoran Desert and is home to an exceptional collection of desert flora and fauna. It's the perfect setting for a special date, and a popular venue for desert weddings. Along with walking trails, there's an art gallery, sculpture garden and gift shop.
For a memorable late lunch or afternoon tea, stop by at the Garden Bistro. The afternoon menu features artful tapas, desserts and drinks, like smoked salmon tar tar and Sonoran shrimp cocktails. One of the most popular chef specials is the house pizzette, a miniature pizza topped with Roma tomatoes, basil pesto, fresh mozzarella and served with a fresh squash salad. The menu changes seasonally based on the availability of local, organic ingredients. Romance comes easy at Tohono Chul Park, a 49-acre botanical garden with walking trails, art installations and an award-winning bistro — Photo courtesy of Tohono Chul Park
Sunset views and gourmet food
For a dramatic end to your day, drive up to Sentinel Peak Park on Tucson's west side. This hillside park is the ideal spot to take in one of the city's best free attractions: the kaleidoscopic sunsets that blaze over the western horizon every evening.
After sunset, make the short drive into downtown for dinner at Maynard's Market and Kitchen, located inside the historic railway depot. This foodie destination has some of the city's best foie gras. Or try the roasted chicken for two, made with organic Niman Ranch chicken, roasted and carved to order with roasted fingerling potatoes, pearl onions and farm carrots with a lemon-thyme pan jus. A good selection of wines is available from the neighboring gourmet market.