By Lindsay Lawson
Travel north of Tucson on I-10 and you’ll discover the town of Marana, Southern Arizona’s diamond in the rough. Visiting for a day or weekend is definitely not enough time to experience all that Marana has to offer—with so many plans for new attractions and services in the works, even a week of exploration won’t do this destination justice. It’s no surprise many Arizonans are relocating to Marana after learning about these perks:
1. Fresh air everywhere
Becoming one with nature in the heart of the Sonoran Desert is easy when you don’t have to go far. Whether you prefer a casual hike and a picnic lunch or a more adventurous experience, the Tortolita Mountains offer pathfinders of all skill levels a trail to remember. From birding to bicycling, outdoor adventures await! Saguaro National Park borders Marana and provides a gorgeous backdrop of flora and fauna to be enjoyed by all.
2. Family fun minutes away
Keep the kids happy each summer at the Heritage River Park Splash Pad and earn yourself many cool parent points. Explore the cycling path along the Santa Cruz River and enjoy the picturesque desert waterway that attracts a variety of wildlife to observe. Annual family-friendly events hosted by the Town of Marana take place throughout the year, including the Fourth of July Spectacular, Cotton Festival, and the Holiday Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting.
3. Engaging education everyday
Today’s kids need a school environment and curriculum that embraces technology and prepares them for a bright future. Qualified and caring teachers and staff members engage students as they begin their journey as lifelong learners. Marana has an acclaimed school district with award-winning learning environments in addition to offering local charter, alternative, pre-K, and private schools to accommodate each student and family’s needs.
4. Good food = Good mood
Foodies: prepare yourself for delightful delicacies found only in Marana. From juicy burgers with creative fixings to Southwestern-inspired soups, salads, and entrées, a new dish is always waiting to be discovered in the many restaurants that make up the growing dining scene. Try Core Kitchen & Wine Bar’s True American cuisine or Cortaro Sushi’s inventive rolls.
5. UNESCO gastronomy tours
Who knew combining food and learning would be so fun? Marana’s Gastronomy Tours are the first to be approved by UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network. Walking through ancient archaeological sites, hearing stories about the cultures that farmed and foraged in the Sonoran Desert from expert tour guides, and tasting dishes inspired by local ingredients is an experience you won’t want to miss.
6. New beginnings, new homes
The appeal of Marana’s new homes with modern layouts and mountain views can’t be beat. Along Twin Peaks Road new housing developments are popping up and inviting young families, retirees, and everyone in between to get a fresh start at making memories at a lower price point than many Tucson neighborhoods. Plus, Marana’s ideal location makes trips to downtown Tucson or Phoenix a breeze.
7. It’s shop o’clock somewhere
Whether you’re shopping for necessities or treasures, you’ll find what you need in the many shopping destinations Marana offers. It’s easy to make a day of retail therapy in Marana due to the opportunities to relax between visiting unique boutiques and your favorite outlets. Live music from local bands and a kid’s play area are offered at Tucson Premium Outlets, while Arizona Pavilions Marketplace features a Harkins Theatre and popular local restaurants.
8. Cheers to that
Looking for your new favorite cocktail or craft beer? Take a mixology class at the Ritz-Carlton’s Ignite Sushi Bar, or have an expert pour you an ale featuring Marana-grown white Sonoran wheat at one of the many local breweries. New to the area, Casa Marana’s taproom offers local craft beer, a variety of wines, and coffee delights. Check out Dove Mountain Brewery, Growler’s Taphouse, Catalina Brewing Company, and Button Brew House to satisfy your thirst for great beer.
9. Nice shot!
Teeing off at any of Marana’s four championship golf courses will inspire your inner golf pro to come out and play. Desert golf is an experience enthusiasts and professionals travel worldwide for, but living in Marana means these challenging courses are available for you to conquer any day of the week. The best part of golfing in Marana? Scenic views of purple mountains, blue skies, and saguaro-lined fairways. If you don’t have the gear or time to commit to 18 holes, practice your swing at Topgolf. The party atmosphere there combines golf, food, and drink, even after dark.
10. Two words: Mesquite grilled
Choosing between a sizzling steak, finger-licking good ribs, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and flavorful chicken at Li’l Abner’s Steakhouse is tough, but no matter which you pick, you’re going to have a great meal. Since 1947, Li’l Abner’s has been a top choice for slow-smoked meats while maintaining a great ambiance for diners to enjoy. The oldest steakhouse in Marana is the perfect place for date night, time with family, or special occasions.
Ready to discover Marana for yourself? Check out discovermarana.org for even more inspiration.