Tucson, AZ: Where to stay, what to do?

Looking for recommendations for Tucson. A few friends and I are planning a trip there to see some of the first round games of the 2011 NCAA tournament. Games will be played at the McKale Center (?). There will be five or so of us, all male (if that matters). We’ll arrive at various times from different parts of the country on Thursday, 17th March and fly out at various times on Sunday, 20th March. Hehe, as I typed this I just noticed that we’re planning to arrive on St Patrick’s Day.

Probably aim to stay at a decent, not extravagant hotel - about $100-200/night/room - and will have Friday somewhat free to do something. Saturday we’ll be at the games. I’m thinking probably a nice dinner somewhere on Friday night, then a late dinner somewhere on Saturday.

Suggestions? I’ve never been to Arizona - hopefully I won’t get deported.

The McKale center is on the campus of the University of Arizona. Here is a list of hotels within a mile of the campus (http://wc.arizona.edu/LodgingNearUA/). The Sheraton is really close, an easy walk to the McKale Center, but it’s also on the intersection of two major streets, so it might be noisy.

For a day trip, I’d recommend you spend the day at the Saguaro National Park West (http://www.nps.gov/sagu/), and then go to the Desert Museum (http://www.desertmuseum.org/).

March is a beautiful time to visit Tucson. The temperature will probably in the mid 70s, and it almost never rains then.

I’m in Tucson right now, but I always stay at my mom’s house when I visit. She probably wouldn’t let you stay here–sorry. If you like Mexican food, there is a ton of awesome Mexican food around.

Kitt Peak Observatory has a Nightly Observing Program that is fascinating. And Day time tours too.

Opal, can you recommend any specific places near the university?

If I was anywhere near the UofA campus, I’d be sure to hit this Cuban restaurant right next to campus.

Since I’m from one of the most Cuban parts of the country (possibly the most), I’ll probably give it a pass. But thanks for the suggestion.

Yes, La Indita is very close to the university and it’s my favorite restaurant in the whole world. It’s inexpensive and delicious. Ask to sit in the second room (the one with the wood paneling and tables) for a better atmosphere. The front room with the booths is kinda dingy but the other room is quite nice.