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#1 Starhawk

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:33 AM

Someone emailed me with some questions and suggested I need to post my answer. I've added a little more.

Marriott Start Pass- West end of 22nd street (Where it becomes Starr Pass blvd)- arguably the nicest Tucson has to offer. Very pretty hotel with convention facilities, endless river pool restaurants, major golf course, and a visible Milky Way.

Lodge in The Desert- sort of the traditional best hotel in Tucson. It's older, but has just been remodeled. It has first rate food, but is in the city so everything is nearby.

Doubletree on Alvernon- This has a conference center and decent food. It is very central for going anywhere in town, but not one of the highest end resorts. I've stayed here and it is nice, and should be reasonably economical.

Loew's Ventana Canyon Resort- This is in a beautiful area of to the Northeast of the city. The food is good, though the overall hotel is starting to look a little dated. The main thing here is golf, and it is not well located for getting to the convention center.

Westin La Paloma- a famous resort and outwardly an equivalent to the Marrriott Starr Pass. It has, however, seemed to be having management difficultites the last couple of years, which have regularly showed up with them getting sub-par reports on their restaurants from the health department. I mention this since it is commonly found on web searches.

Hilton El Conquistador Resort- This one is up north, and is the one resort I haven't attended events and conferences at. For whatever reason it's the one folks here seem to forget exists, but I don't know why that is.

Hilton on East Broadway: A regular high-rise hotel. It's in an unusual location to find it. Note 22nd street, one major block south of Broadway is much faster for moving east and west than broadway, which is congested and ends in an incomprehensible knot in the downtown area.

Residence Inn- There are several of these around town. If you aren't familiar with them, they have a sort of living-room/ kitchenette equipped room type so they have space for a few days. The food they have is a basic breakfast and snacks in the evening. This is not restaurant style dining, but they have space, will have a hot tub, and are economical.

I'm sure others will have suggestions as well.

-Rich

#2 Starhawk

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:38 AM

Here are some other things to do in the greater Tucson area.

Aviation:

Pima Air and Space Museum- huge and extraordinary variety.
Titan missile museum
Davis Monthan AFB boneyard (tour is thru the air museum).

Wildlife:

The Desert Museum (living exhibits)
The international wildlife museum (basically a huge collection of stuffed animals from all over the world- kids seem to like it).
Tucson Zoo (small, but they've tried to make it nice).
Tucson Botanical Garden (large variety of desert plants, and in town so it isn't far).

Astronomy:

Kitt peak- about an hour out, has day and night programs (not for the advanced observer).
Mount Hopkins- about an hour south on I-19, has striking scenery, visitor's center has a guided tour up the mountain.
Large Binocular Telescope- this is 2 hours out, so it's a bigger deal, and requires reservations.

Parks:

Saguaro National Park: Tucson is bracketed by it on the east and west- no real park facilities; just enjoy seeing the giant cacti.
Collosal Cave- park at the east end of Old Spanish Trail road- scenic area and an unusual underground cavern.
Chiricahua National Monument- 2 hours from Tucson on I-10- quite a striking set of natural rock formations near where a lot of the famous western stories happened. The less I tell you, the better the pleasant surprise.

-Rich

#3 desertstars

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:56 AM

For those short on time, who still want a look at classic Sonoran Desert landscape, consider driving west on Speedway Blvd. as far as the entrance to Saguaro National Park. If you time it right, stop at the top of Gates Pass on the way back and watch the sunset.

Bring a camera.

#4 hm insulators

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 03:21 PM

Another vote for the Pima County Air Museum; it's quite spectacular if you enjoy historical aircraft of all sorts.

For the ladies (and a few of us guys), there is a museum that has all sorts of elaborate dollhouses and the like. I think it's called the Tucson Miniatures Museum or some such and I believe it's on Fort Lowell Road or Grant Road. Some of you CN'ers in Tucson might be able to offer more information on this rather unique museum.

#5 EricCCD

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 09:19 PM

Rich,

Of those hotels listed, which is closest to the venue? I only need a place to crash Saturday night, Sunday at the most, before I head off for the real reason I'm flying out there.

Eric

#6 Starhawk

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:20 AM

Bizarre as it sounds, there really isn't much of anything around the convention center. This has been a bone of contention in town for a while as various schemes have been advanced to redevelop the old downtown area.

Depending on what time of day you are getting in, the Marriott Starr pass is about the easiest to get to downtown from, traffic wise.

If you're getting in late and expect to be drained, staying by the airport makes more sense, though it isn't especially convenient.

-Rich

#7 rboe

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:38 AM

My wife's dog people friends say the airport area is not particularly safe so they avoid it. Just one data point; but folks may want to stay in an area with more things to do and see - and safer.

#8 Starhawk

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 12:07 PM

I work next to the airport (not figuratively- my worksite has a hangar anf includes taxiway access onto the runway). Away from the airport it gets worse. But that's mostly in the wee hours of the morning; daylight is pretty safe, and folks here are nice, anyway. The thing is, you have to transit that area to get to any fun stuff, and besides ASAE, there really isn't much going on downtown, or to the south of it.

Unfortunately, while there is much to see around the University of Arizona campus, it has the worst traffic in the city. I urge everyone to really look at a map of where the convention center is with particular attention to where one needs to go to significantly away from there. S main becomes 10th avenue to the south of the convention center, which makes this one of the easiest routes to a major access corridor; 22nd, which spans the city, and avoids bad traffic 24/7. If you want to cross town, 22nd is fastest. 22nd also makes for an easy rule of thumb- better parts if town are to the North of it. With that said, compared to where I last lived, New Orleans, Tucson simply doesn't have a bad part of town.

To the north of the convention center is Speedway, which along with Broadway and Grant also cross the city, but have significantly heavier traffic (Friday this will be a concern). It is possible to get to Broadway directly, though confusing (see the map). Broadway has lots of good places to eat along it as does Speedway.

Several of the hotels on my list are in this area. The Doubletree is at the geographic center of the city, is next to a large park which includes the zoo and a driving range, and is basically convenient to everywhere but the observing sites. If you get on Alvernon where it crosses broadway next to the doubletree, there are a few odd features. First, this street actually starts down south of the airport running e-w, then turns north as Alvernon, and crosses Valencia (Tip- this is the easy way to-from the airport). It goes up to just south of golf links (a major e-w) and you have to take what looks like a highway off ramp to stay on Alvernon, because the main roadway turns east to become Golf Links (again, odd). The next major cross street is 22nd, and the good news is you're in the part of the city organized as a Cartesian grid. If you run west from here, you will pass the Reid park zoo, then later go by to the south of downtown, and eventually wind up at the Starr Pass Marriott.

If you go east on 22nd, you can turn left on craycroft or wilmot to get to the nicest general purpose shopping area in the city, and the crossings with broadway and speedway come with many dining choices nearby.

Continuing north on Alvernon, the doubletree is on the right with a driving range on the left. At broadway there is a shopping center with a very popular sushi place called sushi garden and a subway (I'm trying to remember what else is there). Continuing north on Alvernon there are crossings at Broadway, Speedway, and Grant. Basic services like pharmacies and such can be found along here with a McDonald's and a large Fairfield inn. There is also a fancy Chinese restaurant named Gee's which had unusual food- the main dishes are served with rice on the side and have a meat portion, which though perfectly prepared, will have no vegetables of any kind with it. If you ask for that, they come on a separate plate and not in a form compatible with the main dish. So, I haven't figured out what the deal is, and it hasn't come up since there are a bunch of options of all kinds near us.

From there, Alvernon becomes a sort of Stealth "Route 1" shortcut which slaloms along and becomes River Rd on its way to the northwest of the city. This isn't obviously useful for getting to the convention center, but it's the easiest way to get to businesses on Oracle, such as Starizona, without getting into the UoA traffic.

The Northwest has the most congestion with Oracle really serving as the single primary route. The main restaurant nexus there is around Tucson Mall, which is the largest mall in the city.

The oddest thing about Tucson is how a city of a million people gives the impression of being a small town. And it's this unique layout which seems to have a lot to do with that.

-Rich

#9 rboe

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 01:12 PM

Thanks Rich! :bow: When I lived down there in 92 it was a smaller town. We lived on Magee and Oracle (just north of Ina) so I used to be much more familar with that area. My knowledge set is really dated. :p

#10 Skip

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Posted 20 October 2012 - 10:33 AM

My folks lived in Tucson from 1975-2000. I visited them often and got to watch Tucson grow during that time. It changed a bunch in those 25 years! They lived in the NW part of town and so I'm way more familiar with the northern area. Downtown - not so much.

#11 Tom and Beth

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Posted 22 October 2012 - 01:48 AM

Should any of you be interested, here's a link for the local bus service. The Downtown Bus Station (Ronstadt) is a few blocks from the Convention Center.

http://www.suntran.com/routes.php

#12 okieav8r

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Posted 24 October 2012 - 08:44 PM

I'll probably be looking for something along the lines of Motel-6 or Days Inn. Hope there's plenty of those in Tucson.

#13 Starhawk

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:42 AM

Indeed, that's not a problem. There's a LaQuinta at Wilmot and Broadway, for example, and there's a Hampton Inn right near there. Everything one needs to live is near that corner, and a few things one doesn't.

-Rich

#14 Tom and Beth

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 03:30 PM

Indeed, that's not a problem. There's a LaQuinta at Wilmot and Broadway, for example, and there's a Hampton Inn right near there. Everything one needs to live is near that corner, and a few things one doesn't.

-Rich


I didn't want to put this in the Sat Dining thread, but since Rich gave a good leadin :lol:

For any of you who MUST have pork roll and other "New yawk" grub, Just west of Wilmot and 22nd is "Tony's". It's a small hole in the wall place with good food and friendly staff. Think of it as an Italian Deli.

#15 Clay Kessler

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 09:58 AM

Is "Gus Balone's" (SP??) still open?

#16 Starhawk

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 10:33 AM

Tony's is actually run by Italians. They make their own gelato. Try the Zoupa Inglesi.

I'm sorry, but I have no idea on Gus Balone's.

-Rich

Indeed, that's not a problem. There's a LaQuinta at Wilmot and Broadway, for example, and there's a Hampton Inn right near there. Everything one needs to live is near that corner, and a few things one doesn't.

-Rich


I didn't want to put this in the Sat Dining thread, but since Rich gave a good leadin :lol:

For any of you who MUST have pork roll and other "New yawk" grub, Just west of Wilmot and 22nd is "Tony's". It's a small hole in the wall place with good food and friendly staff. Think of it as an Italian Deli.



#17 Alan S

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 09:37 AM

Yes, still there, however, Gus passed away about a year or two ago (I was told) and things are definitely not the same...in my opinion...although they still have a very loyal following.

#18 hm insulators

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 12:46 PM

For those of us who love vinyl records, according to Highroads, Triple-A Arizona's magazine, there will be the 8th Annual Tucson Record Show on November 11. I hadn't planned on staying overnight Saturday, but I guess I will to check out the records.

The show will be held at Las Cazuelita's Event Center, 1365 W. Grant Road.

#19 Dragonwatcher

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:21 PM

I'm staying at Days Inn Convention Center. Should be a short walk & I really valued that over a nicer, more distant place.

#20 Skip

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 03:26 PM

I'm staying at a HI Exp 1500 block Grant Road. I believe it is on the other side of freeway from convention center and a mile or two away. Don't know anything about the neighborhood. I've got a rental car reserved and plan to drive to and from Convention Center. Anyone know anything about parking at the Center?

#21 okieav8r

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 06:15 PM

I'm staying at Days Inn Convention Center. Should be a short walk & I really valued that over a nicer, more distant place.


That's the kind of lodging I'm looking for--something cheap and close. I wonder if I should make reservations?

#22 Joe Cipriano

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 08:11 PM

I'd make them quickly, if I were you. Between the ASAE, U of A homecoming, and the beginning of the area's tourist season, selection may become scant rapidly. Also - generally (not always), the farther out you book, the cheaper the rates are.
I booked a room for 2 nights (09 -11 Nov) at The Quality Inn on Oracle (couple of miles north of Starizona) on 09 Oct, for $71/night - it's listed for $80/night right now.

#23 PGW Steve

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 09:21 PM

I'm booked at the Starr Pass Marriott for the 4th, 5th then Adam Blocks workshop, then back to the Starr Pass for the 9th and 10th......Astro overload! I might sneak out on the golf course for some night scapes.

#24 Starhawk

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 10:03 PM

The area where the Days inn near the convention center is is pretty stark. North or east are where all the eating places are. The interstate is unusual in Tucson; it isn't a shortcut for anywhere you want to go in town.

-Rich

#25 Starhawk

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 11:19 PM

It's actually right along the freeway. There really isn't much of anything in that area. The phrases "Downtown" and "Along the interstate" usually mean things kind of central to what's shaking. Except in Tucson; here the interstate goes to parts far away, but is on the edge of town for anything useful. At the same time, the downtown is really off to the south and west of just about everything. This is why there are hotels scattered all over the city.

Parking at the convention center isn't especially difficult or easy- you may be doing a bit of a walk, anyway, though.

-Rich






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