Downtown Tucson has its charm – Slide show and poll

Downtown Tucson is always getting slammed – and often unfairly.

Disturbed horseman adds to downtown's charm/Ryn Gargulinski

Disturbed horseman adds to downtown's charm/Ryn Gargulinski

Sure, it could use some free parking and a few thrift stores, but it does have a slew of charming features as long as you know where to look.

Then again, I find a wad of c-shaped chewing gum in an ashtray charming.

When you’re stuck downtown during a jury duty lunch break, you get ample opportunity to find that charming chewing gum and other fine features of our glorious downtown.

Check out downtown photos from A to Z, but be forewarned the slide show concludes with the ugliest building on Earth.

[tnislideshow] [tnipoll]


Do you ever go downtown for fun?

What’s your favorite downtown feature?

Your least favorite?

Did you ever note the horseman looks so dang disturbed?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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30 Responses to Downtown Tucson has its charm – Slide show and poll

  1. azmouse says:

    I love Hydra!

    It’s fun wondering around downtown. I like those weird little waterways that run all over the place, although I’m not sure why they are there, but I think they’re cool.
    There are also neat little shops tucked into weird little places.

    Oh, and I also really like that cool tiled dome.

    • azmouse says:

      Great slide show, by the way.  Did you hold up okay through a long, grueling wait yesterday Ryn?
      I hope you have a fabulous Wednesday!

      • Rynski says:

        Hey AZMouse – thanks for comments – and compliments! Yes, I held up OK during yesterday’s jury duty call. it was the farthest along i’ve ever gotten – actually got to leave that cell block room to go to a courtroom to be considered for a case. guy was accused of selling cocaine. i didn’t make the cut, maybe because me and the person next to me kept whispering and laughing? would that deter someone from putting you on a jury? haha

      • azmouse says:

        Ah, you made a friend while doing your civic duty. Very nice.

  2. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski!…Hey! I worked on the Deconcini monstrosity, even harder to build than it is to look at. Downtown definitely has it’s pluses, but they are outweighed by the poor planning and lack of architectural cohesiveness. Someone should come up with a master plan for the area, and squander millions in the process.  Maybe they could call it something catchy and southwestern…Rio Nuevo? Sorry downtown, had to vote overall hellhole. PS-the parking there is also an adventure.

    • Rynski says:

      mornin’ radmax! that deconcini bldg is DEFINITELY a monstrosity. geesh. i bet it wasn’t even hip when it was supposed to be hip – mid-70s? like your idea about a master plan that costs millions and goes nowhere – why didn’t anyone else think of that? haha. i actually found OK parking from a tip from one of my stellar sources – but I’m not going to disclose the location since then it wouldn’t be good parking anymore if everyone was onto it. p.s. it DID cost $6.

      • azmouse says:

        I usually park at TCC and hoof it the rest of the way. I think when it comes to getting around downtown, taking the bus is a good idea, plus you get to meet really cool people!

      • Rynski says:

        i would agree – to an extent – since i saw the state of some of the bus stops! one reeked of urine worse than a nyc subway station stairwell.

      • azmouse says:

        Alos, some of those bus stops are a likely place for anyone to become a crime victim….but I like to live on the edge.

      • radmax says:

        Geez Rynski, you must think I’m about 150 yrs old! The fed courthouse started in 2000 or so. Took a couple of years to complete. Kinda makes you wonder what look they were trying for. Nouveau Crappy?

      • azmouse says:


      • radmax says:

        Greetings az. Yeah, I remember when this place was only a presidio… 🙂

      • Rynski says:

        no NO WAY!! that’s a MODERN?????!!!! installment. oh, man. the only forgiveness i had for the thing was that it was some 70’s architectural dream gone sour. yuck-o-rama!! how awful…glass walkways…c’mon, are you pulling my leg that’s not a 70’s installment?

      • radmax says:

        Sad to say, ultra modern. Job was such a snafu that the rfi’s(requests for information) from the architects filled VOLUMES. Then you had to figure out which ‘team’ to submit to. I believe there were about 5 of ’em scattered around the country. Not one of ’em on the same page! Your tax dollars hard at work…

      • Rynski says:

        what a shame…just may have to change my vote to “hell hole” haha.

      • koreyk says:

        Believe it or not, the “style” of the Deconcini Courthouse is contemporaneous with the time of its construction.  Among other things, it would be visually simpler if it were designed in the 70’s. 

      • Rynski says:

        …and maybe it would be run down enough by now to then tear it down! haha.

  3. leftfield says:

    I like downtown Tucson.  It’s true that parking is a mess and much of the charm has been replaced by the nightmares of demented architects, but places like the Rialto, the Fox, Hotel Congress, etc; and events like the Folk Festival and La Placita Cinema still bring me there. 
    My biggest fear is that it should turn into Oro Valley South.  Let Downtown remain a little messy and chaotic.

    • Rynski says:

      so true! the mess and chaos is part of what drew me to tucson in the first place. i remember telling people it has its “seedy charm.” haha.

  4. Carolyn Classen says:

    Two of the buildings I used to work in and still work in part time are in your slide show.  Downtown is mixed — some nice, charming spots (as shown in your photos), some  ugly, run down areas that still need help like E. Congress Street and Toole St.  And yes, taking the Sun Tran bus for only $1.25 one way is a good alternative to trying to find parking.

  5. radmax says:

    BTW…that statue is of our old pal Pancho Villa…perhaps depicting a quick getaway from one of his countless border raids, or maybe “Black Jack” Pershing was hot on his tail…definitely a Tucson icon.

  6. commenter says:

    Do you ever go downtown for fun?

    All the time because people like skull and crossbones aren’t there just diverse, easy going, fun loving friendly people who appreciate tucson’s funky charm

    What’s your favorite downtown feature?
    Too many to note – love the and live music venues, the eclectic murals everywhere (you only took pics of a couple of them) or the neat houses in el presidio and barrio viejo. olde town artisans area. the restaurants are fabulous i love poca cosa, on a roll, maynards, cafe milano, cafe alacart, and casa vicente -the tapas place on stone. oh forgot cushing street, salsa verde, cup cafe and el minuto! dang this would take all day listing them all.
    Your least favorite?
    The barren areas around the train tracks and st. marys that somehow some neigbhors don’t want improved. but the transit alignment improvements will correct that area

    Did you ever note the horseman looks so dang disturbed?
    not until you pointed it out – nice eye!

    • radmax says:

      I’m down there all the time, commenter. Recently saw an excellent Woodstock commemorative concert at the Rialto. See you there! BTW-You don’t work for Rio Nuevo, do you?

    • Rynski says:

      thanks for your comments, commenter.
      the murals are great, at least the few i was able to snap during the lunch break.
      you’re right, too, on the old town artisans area – that place is like a little secret haven. haven’t checked out any of the restaurants save for getting a bagel now and then at bruegger’s – but now i know where to try.
      long live the disturbed downtown horseman!

  7. azstargirl says:

    i love downtown! have lived here since moving from NYC.  it is a far cry from what i am used to but there is so much great art, music and food to be found here that so many are missing out on.

  8. Jim Bodkins says:

    I seem to recall the statue of the horseman as being Pancho Villa … just in front of the three flag poles that used to fly the US, Arizona and Mexican flag. Dont know if that is still the case.
    By the way, I completely support the statue and flag choices.

  9. mike_brewer says:

    I love the Gazebo and park area at La Placita. When my border collie and I go park hopping at night we always stop in the small park area there to pray for the downtown! Es vedad!

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