Sports-Themed Hotel Close to University and Downtown
The lobby at Varsity Clubs of America leaves no doubt as to its theme. Above the front desk, former University of Arizona star Steve Kerr glances down court, and a gymnast readies herself for a balance-beam cartwheel. With the University of Arizona campus 2 miles away, the hotel caters to those visiting town to catch Pac-12 games at the nearby stadiums. And if tickets are sold out, the hotel's bleacher-style seating area, painted in Wildcat red and blue, faces a 103-inch plasma-screen television.
Outside, a swimming pool framed by palm trees shimmers in the desert sun. The Catalina Mountains loom above Saguaro National Park beyond the hotel's red spanish-tile roofs. For families visiting the university or those exploring the American Southwest, the hotel provides comfortable, spacious digs close to downtown Tucson.
The lobby's athletic theme extends to the one-bedroom units, where simple contemporary furniture mixes with large canvas paintings of Arizona sports stars. Amenities include plasma TVs, pillow-top beds, and separate living rooms. Each suite also has a kitchenette with a full-size fridge, a stovetop, a microwave, and utensils. The bathroom's whirlpool tub offers a spot to unwind at the end of the day.
Tucson, Arizona: Southwestern History and Culture Amid the Cacti
Tucson—or the Old Pueblo—is a bastion of southwestern culture surrounded by mountains and desert. Over the city’s long history, it's absorbed elements from the many peoples who have lived or passed through here: Native Americans, Europeans, Latinos, and Asians to name a few. Today, this unique blend is especially evident in the downtown restaurant scene, where you can get authentic chilies rellenos, sushi, and upscale bistro fare with fine wines from nearby vintners.
Those willing to make the short trip outside of downtown can soak up the area's gorgeous natural landscape at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a combined botanical garden and zoo. Here, mountain lions, gila monsters, and more than 1,200 kinds of plants inhabit 21 acres of desert scenery.
Mission San Xavier del Bac, the "White Dove of the Desert," is one of the oldest intact European structures in Arizona. This sprawling white adobe church, located about 10 miles south of downtown, was built in the 1700s. It's a striking example of the area's Spanish colonial architecture, with an interior adorned with frescoes and sculptures.