Yelp’s Hidden Gems – Navigate Tucson Like A Local

DeGrazia’s “Free as the Wind”, oil on canvas- Degrazia Gallery

It’s that time of year again, Tucson Gem & Mineral showcase is back.  As 50,000+ visitors join us in the Old Pueblo, you may be wondering how you’ll navigate through the hustle and bustle. The gem show includes over 45 shows at various locations around town, from roadside exhibit tents to ballrooms and hotel rooms, in addition to lectures, seminars, and workshops!  Whether you’re a Tucson local or posting up in the Old Pueblo for the next few weeks, this guide will lead you to local hidden gems near the exhibits across town. Let the treasure hunt begin!

Fuel Up 

Exo Roast Co

Cafe, bar, work space all in one, offering breakfast as well as an array of mezcal, natural wines, cocktails and small plates during evening hours. “EXO has a strong sense of identity that shows up in their high quality products and ambiance – Michael R 

“If you blink, you’ll miss this little spot, hidden among tons of great Mexican restaurants on the same street. However, if you do find it, stop immediately and get a chorizo burrito with a barrio cold brew.” – Nick F

Anita Street Market

“The breakfast burritos are totally worth it… The bonus is picking up a dozen or more fresh made tortillas for the rest of the week. It’s great that this little gem exists in the humble Barrio Anita.” – Alexis F





“From the cactus light-fixtures to the Arizona/Tucson wall art, it just screams Arizona! Awesome Tucson bar in the heart of downtown but nicely hidden.” Stephanie Q  

Owls Club

“The old Bring’s Funeral Home is quite inviting and has a great bourbon/rye whiskey list as well as many libations, wines and beers. A nice space with memories galore!” – John C

The Royal Room

“The atmosphere is urban, chic and begs you to sit for hours drinking wine.  Which I have done, on a couple of occasions.  This is a beer and wine place.  The wine list is varied, interesting and well priced… But maybe my favorite thing about this place is the make-your-own charcuterie board!” – Nansi N


To Eat 

The Little One

“If you are visiting Tucson this place is a must! If you live in Tucson and have not eaten here, what is wrong with you? The Little One is home! This place represents Tucson with great food and when you leave the owner always gives out her warm hugs. You are not just a guest but family.” – Kala W


“Best pizza crust in Tucson. Truly, hands down, bar none — best crust. Sourdough made by the owner and then lovingly coaxed into a chewy thin wood fired crust.” – Karen M

Daisy Mae’s Steakhouse

This place has been here forever and has such a rustic lived in feel.  It was very comfortable setting, no fancy clothes required.  This is the only steakhouse I’ve been to in Tucson where the cuts and quality were incredible. Don’t expect fancy settings, it’s a very casual place and I believe the plates and bowls we ate out of were plastic.  But that was an incredibly solid steak.” – Tammara W


Sonoran Hot Dogs- A must do in Tucson

Sonoran Hotdogs carts and taco stands are bountiful in the Old Pueblo and these reign supreme!

El Sinaloense

El Sinaloense Hotdog Cart

The bun was fresh, buttery and perfectly toasted. The dog had the right ratio of beans, onions, sauces, etc.! I was worried it would be too spicy but it had the perfect amount of heat. I will definitely be back and plan to take our visitors from the Midwest. Sonoran hot dogs definitely take the number one spot over a Chicago hot dog any day!” – Greta G

Ruiz Hotdogs

“So what makes Ruiz’s stand out? They toast their bun. On both sides and on the top. El Sinaloense toasts theirs on one side, I think. To me the toasting is imperative. I’ve discovered that I really prefer my Sonoran Dog with a toasted bun.” – Brad H

Tacos Apson

Every time my dad comes to visit, we come straight from the airport to Tacos Apson. You go up to the outdoor window to order. Tacos are dirt cheap, and you can get an assortment of other things (including ribs!).” – Wen-Fai F

To Do

Tucson is a city rich with cultural heritage and the first city in North America to become part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network for gastronomy. Explore our heritage ingredients, historical sites and desert scenery!

Gates Pass

Native Seeds/SEARCH

“This place IS Tucson. If you’re a historian, a gardener, a lover of culture, food, the land, and so much more, you’ll love Native Seeds, too… I always walk away with so many more treasures than I intended to buy. Locally grown chickpeas, onion starters, a book on the origin of Tucson foods.” – Gretchen W

DeGrazia Gallery

“There are little details everywhere. Don’t forget to look around, especially down at the floors…The views from the property are some of the nicest in Tucson. An early lunch at a Mexican restaurant and a visit to the DeGrazia Gallery is a perfect way to savor an afternoon in Tucson.” – Maria G

Saguaro National Park

Make sure to carve out time to relax and catch a desert sunset surrounded by the nations largest cacti. “You just don’t see this many cacti in one location than anywhere else, and I must admit Saguaro is photogenic.” –Yuko H

For more local gems across the area, follow the custom Bookmark collection of businesses on the Yelp Mobile app. Please tag @Yelp and share your Tucson discoveries with us on social as well!