Arizona Revealed: Tucson

What makes a destination unique? Who are the people that give a place life and spirit? The video series “Arizona Revealed” delves into these questions – and more – as it explores the state’s big cities and small towns. This episode takes us to Tucson.

Tucson is many things to many people. It’s the ancient homelands of Indigenous tribes. An artists’ community where vibrant murals adorn buildings. A world-renowned hub of culinary greatness and a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. It’s flush with Western heritage, where folks ride horseback through the city’s river washes, steaks are cooked over an open flame and everyone comes out for February’s La Fiesta de Los Vaqueros, a top rodeo on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association circuit.

And, as historian Mauro Trejo points out, Tucson is also a place where history and culture run south-north, infusing the city with Sonoran influences seen in everything from music to food to agriculture. Nowhere else in Arizona will you find a destination and its people so deeply steeped in a Sonoran way of life.

In this episode of “Arizona Revealed,” you’ll meet:

  • José Luis Baca - The director of Ballet Folklórico Tapatío, Baca leads a talented group of dancers in showcasing the art of traditional Mexican folk dancing. The troupe travels the nation to perform but calls Tucson home.
  • Don Guerra - Baker and owner of beloved Barrio Bread, Guerra uses centuries-old baking techniques and heritage grains like White Sonoran in his breads and pastries, a commitment to artisan baking that earned him a James Beard Award in 2022.
  • Nadia Hagen and Danitza Soto - As artistic director of Tucson’s annual All Souls Procession – a 35-years-strong event loosely inspired by Day of the Dead – Hagen and her team welcome nearly 200,000 attendees who gather to honor deceased loved ones in a jubilant celebration. Sonoran-born Soto serves as director of the Procession of Little Angels.
  • Maegan Lopez - Member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Lopez is a gardener and cultural outreach liaison at Mission Garden. Here, she grows ancient foods and educates the public about traditional food pathways.
  • John Martinez - Third-generation Tucsonan, chef Martinez helms Tito and Pep, his much-acclaimed restaurant where Sonoran ingredients take center stage; Martinez was named a James Beard Award “Best Chef” finalist.
  • Mauro Trejo - Historian and owner of Trejo’s Walking Tours – which offers fascinating guided tours of Tucson paired with a deep dive into the city’s rich history – Trejo is also a proud seventh-generation Tucsonan.



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About the Author

Jessica Dunham

Jessica Dunham is a travel, food and fitness writer whose work has been published in PHOENIX Magazine, Runner's World, Phoenix New Times, Valley Guide, Phoenix Travel Guide, Modern Luxury Scottsdale and more. She is passionate about all things Arizona, especially spontaneous Saturday daytrips around the state. She can be reached at


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