Published Mar 3, 2023 9:52am
Updated Mar 3, 2023 2:58pm
Spring break often calls for sandy beaches, exotic vacations and relaxation.
Some students might be traveling out of the country to forget about their school worries and enjoy a week free of homework and quizzes.
For those who aren’t so lucky to travel, Tucson still holds the key to an eventful spring break.
University of Arizona senior Julianna Myer and a couple of her friends plan to spend the break here, going out to eat, hanging out with friends and going out to bars.
If your spring break plans include staying in town, we’ve found fun events throughout the week that will make you feel like you’re on vacation.
Tucson Festival of Books
The UA Mall: Saturday, March 4, and Sunday, March 5, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Kick off spring break with the annual Tucson Festival of Books, a gathering of hundreds of authors and literary types talking about their books and the art of writing. The festival, sponsored by the UA, Tucson Medical Center and the Arizona Daily Star, typically attracts around 140,000 people.
Guests can walk around the venue and interact with vendors selling everything from independently published books to handmade crafts, as well as community groups offering information about their causes.
There are also nearly 16 food vendors.
In addition to high-profile authors, this year’s festival also includes a conversation with Linda Ronstadt at 1 p.m. Sunday and a conversation with Bernie Sanders at 4 p.m. Sunday.
Admission to the festival is free. For details and the schedule, visit the Tucson Festival of Books website.
The Loft Cinema, at 3233 E. Speedway Blvd: Monday, March 6, at 8 p.m.
Every Monday, the Loft Cinema screens a film that is weird and wacky. Dubbed Mondo Mondays, the event each week attracts nearly 200 audience members, according to Jeff Yanc, the Loft’s program director.
Mondo Mondays began in 2008 when Yanc began working at the arthouse cinema. The Loft needed something to show Monday nights, the slowest night of the week for movie theaters. From there, Mondo Mondays was born.
Yanc described the films as “cheesy and sometimes bad, but fun bad.” He said the audience, comprised of dedicated Mondo viewers as well as newcomers, is part of what makes the showing fun.
Yanc, who also hosts the Mondo Monday showings, typically begins the evening with a short introduction of the film. When the film begins, newcomers may be surprised to hear the audience commenting on the film as it’s showing.
“People should expect an interactive experience,” Yanc said, who also said audience participation is encouraged. “It’s much more fun to watch with an audience that’s having a good time.”
The films are often outlandish and wacky. Yanc’s favorite is 1994’s “Tammy and the T-Rex,” a horror/comedy about a high school cheerleader who falls in love with an animatronic tyrannosaurus rex that contains the transplanted brain of her dead boyfriend.
On March 6, The Loft will show “The Devil’s Rain,” a horror film that follows a satanic cult in the American Southwest.
“People have said they’ve come to one movie, and they’ve gotten hooked,” Yanc said.
Jane’s Addiction in concert
The Rialto Theatre, at 318 E. Congress St.: Tuesday, March 7, at 7 p.m.
One of the 1980s biggest headbanger rock bands, Jane’s Addiction, brings its 2023 tour to Tucson. The band, which was formed in Los Angeles in 1985, is crisscrossing the globe this year.
Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets are $96.50-$129.50 through the Rialto website. Arrive a bit early or stay a little later and pop into the Rialto’s R Bar next door or take a walk through the downtown entertainment district.
Hike Tumamoc Hill
The hill is open to walkers from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily across from St. Mary’s Hospital off North Silverbell and West Anklam roads.
Spend Wednesday (or any day really) hiking Tumamoc, a nearly three-mile paved trek that rises 700 feet in elevation with flat-ish switchbacks that give way to steep inclines. The trail offers views of the city and, if your timing is right, glimpses of wildlife, including deer and javelina.
Erin Tanaka, the Tumamoc Hill program coordinator, said the daytime weather should be perfect to hike anytime over spring break. On average, the hill sees about 1,000 walkers each day, according to Tanaka. She recommends that hikers stay on the paved road and leave your skateboards, bicycles and pets at home; they are not allowed on the hill, which is owned by the University of Arizona and has a research center that focuses on plant physiology, ecology and arid land studies. For more details, visit the Tumamoc Hill website.
Paint and Sip
Brother John’s Beer, Bourbon & BBQ, 1801 N. Stone Ave.: Thursday, March 9, at 6 p.m.
Perfect for a date night or just a night out with friends, Painting and Vino Tucson is hosting “Cosmic Prickly Pear Wine and Paint” at Brother John’s, where you can sip wine and enjoy barbecue and bourbon-based drinks while participating in a guided painting class.
Instructor Emma Muir, who owns Painting and Vino Tucson, said the event, one of many the group puts on all over the city, is for people with little to none or plenty of painting experience. Admission includes the painting lesson and supplies, including brushes, easels, aprons, paint and a 16-inch by 20-inch canvas to take home after the lesson.
“The goal is to relax and have fun. It’s a very low-pressure environment, and our events are a judgment-free zone,” Muir said.
The lesson typically takes about three hours, including breaks. Muir said during the lessons, the instructor will work with each person or group to make sure that the guests are happy with the outcome.
On March 9, Painting and Vino instructor Xenia will lead the participants in painting a prickly pear cactus. Tickets are $45 per person and does not include food or drinks. Get tickets on the Painting and Vino Tucson website.
Hotel Congress, at 311 E. Congress St.: Friday, March 10, at 7:45 p.m.
If you’re looking for a supernatural experience, step into the historical and haunted Hotel Congress to take part in an authentic reenactment of an 1800s séance. The event takes place in the only room on the third floor to survive the infamous 1934 fire that led to the capture of outlaw John Dillinger and his gang.
The séance takes place on Friday nights and tickets are $25 to sit at the séance table and $12.50 to be a séance witness. The fun doesn’t have to stop there. After the séance, guests can enjoy the atmosphere of Club Congress and its sister jazz lounge, the Century Room; or explore Downtown Tucson on a busy Friday night. Learn more on the Hotel Congress website.
Tucson Mardi Gras
The Slaughterhouse, at 1102 W. Grant Rd.: Saturday, March 11, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 12, from noon to 6:30 p.m.
The third annual Tucson Mardi Gras recreates a New Orleans Mardi Gras experience with authentic Cajun eats and drinks, live music and a parade. Admission is free, but you may want to get there early; if the Slaughterhouse fills up, they will close the doors.
To guarantee you get in, you can buy a ticket from $10 to $1,000 through the Tucson Mardi Gras, which also gets drink and food tickets and passes to ride on parade floats. Guests can also experience a Mardi Gras tradition, collecting beads.