Almost a month ago I went back to one of my favorite cities in America: Tucson, Ariz. I went to college here. It’s the site of many poor decisions (only a few of which I regret), as well as some of the best decisions of my life (attending nearly every home UA basketball game). But that’s neither here nor there…
The weekend of March 9th all of my college girlfriends reunited for a wedding. The very first of us was getting married and we had to celebrate BIG.
One of our favorite places in Tucson is The Hotel Congress, it’s a spot with deep roots in history, the arts, and (above all) fun. My girlfriends and I spent many a late night dancing in the hotel’s Optimus Club.
This weekend there was some of that dancing into the wee hours, but there was also gaining a bigger appreciation for the hotel that we had only really seen under the cover of darkness.
When we were booking our trip, we knew we had to stay at Hotel Congress, there was no other place to stay (despite the nearly dozen hotel spas in the area). We had to see what was up the stairs in the actual hotel since we’d never been allowed up there before.
The hotel’s lobby is always abuzz with life. It doesn’t hurt that the lobby is home to one of the five hotel bars. Copper-colored saltillo tile covers the floors, Southwestern motifs painted on the walls, and local artwork is hung up, ready for purchase. This round of artwork was a mash-up of Dia de los Muertos skulls and traditional Southwestern cowboys and cowgirls.
We enjoyed exploring the hotel as guests, and not as annoying undergrads who flock to the hotel for cheap, and delicious drinks. (Side note: My NYC-based friend and I were shocked at how many drinks we could buy in Tucson for $20. Shocked!)
Many rounds of Bloody Mary’s and mimosas were drank in the hotel’s Cup Cafe, followed by Southwestern-themed breakfasts like “The Deposition” and the “Gunpowder.”
I would recommend staying a Hotel Congress if you enjoy a lively scene of college students and hip, artsy Tucson locals mingling in a nearly 100-year-old hotel, which once was home to noted criminal John Dillinger (and the site of his capture).
Where to find it:
311 E. Congress St.
Tucson, Ariz. 85701
Photography by me. March 2013.