Ask ten people the number one reason they live or winter in Green Valley, AZ and you will hear at least ten different answers:
Golf! It’s so affordable! I never want to clean maple leaves out of gutters again. Green Valley Recreation! Birder’s paradise! We are so done with snow. It’s just such an easy place to live. The lifelong learning opportunities are fantastic! Open vistas! I love to bicycle and play bridge, he loves lapidary work—Green Valley is perfect. We visited friends for a month last year and had so much fun. Small-town connection!
None of those folks would be wrong. It is easy to live here and there are bike lanes forever, birds galore, lapidary (and clay and ceramics and woodworking) studios, bridge clubs, golf courses, endless ways to enjoy friends, and no snow. But for many people, Green Valley’s number-one asset is its proximity to the boundless exploration and entertainment opportunities of Southern Arizona and Northern Sonora, Mexico.
Tucson, just 20-40 minutes north, depending on which end of town you’re headed to, is a trove of possibilities. Tucson is known as a festival town. Hardly a weekend passes when there isn’t a big party happening somewhere.
The Tucson International Airport features non-stop flights to 18 destinations in the US and one in Mexico and one-stop flights to hundreds of destinations around the world — yet it is small and delightfully simple. Sports fans enjoy the University of Arizona Wildcats, the Conquistadores Classic PGA Tour, and even the Tucson Roadrunners—an ice hockey team in the cactus! Art museums, a huge annual book festival and a thriving music and theatre community satisfy a different appetite. The first UNESCO-designated City of Gastronomy in the US, Tucson offers a distinctive cuisine scene rooted in heritage and reveling in the unique Sonoran terrior.
Terroir? Isn’t that wine lingo? You bet it is, and one of the many unexpected delights of the region are the outstanding wineries in two different American Viticulture Areas within 90 minutes of Green Valley.
Tubac, about 20 minutes south, is a very popular destination for Green Valley folks. The town is a warren of art galleries and import shops that provide an immersive experience of Southern Arizona. The wild colors of Mexican pottery, tile, and metal sculpture spill across the very strollable streets and accent the historic architecture. Plan an early December visit around Tubac’s Luminaria Nights for a very memorable Christmas shopping experience.
If Arizona’s wild west history thrills you, Tombstone is just 90 minutes east and there you can walk the planked sidewalks or stand in the dust of main street alongside gunslingers, cowboys, card sharks and ladies of the night and watch the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday battle it out with the infamous Cowboys. All Green Valley grandparents know that a day in Tombstone is one that the grandkids will always remember.
A complete list of destinations within a three or four hour radius is almost impossible to compile. Just a few might be:
- Visit the ruins at Casa Grande
- Discover Tucson Miniature Museum
- Explore Karchner Caverns
- Hike or take the tram up Sabino Canyon
- Hike or ski on Mt. Lemmon
- Go snorkeling at Puerto Penasco/Rocky Point
- Discover Bisbee, one of America’s best historic small towns
- Spend an afternoon riding horses between vineyards and tasting rooms in Sonoita
- Check birds off your life list at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia
- Enjoy an authentic Mexican dining experience at La Roca in Nogales, Sonora
- Thrill teenaged grandkids with Astronomy Camp at Kitt Peak National Observatory
- Take a steamboat cruise on Canyon Lake
- Meander the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix or Tucson
Between adventures, home base at Green Valley offers quiet streets and nights filled with stars, cricket song and owl calls.