During my past two visits to Tucson at the end of November and December, I checked out several of downtown Tucson’s historic barrios (neighborhoods). I have been visiting Tucson for over 20 years and it was my first time to venture into Tucson’s historic past. Currently there are 34 National Register Historic Districts in Tucson and 6 more that are pending.  I soon discovered that each barrio was unique and had its own flavor. The architecture also was quite diverse with some homes dating back to the 1860s when Tucson began as the city it is today.

Screen Shot of Downtown Tucson's Barrios from The Downtown Tucson Partnership.

Screen Shot of Downtown Tucson’s Barrios from The Downtown Tucson Partnership.

After checking out El Presidio barrio, the oldest neighborhood in Tucson, we walked southwest to Barrio Hollywood, an equally fascinating place. The barrio was settled around 1920 by mostly Mexican families and today the neighborhood is filled with vibrant, colorful buildings and family-owned restaurants.

Here are some of my favorite homes and buildings I saw. I loved the brightly hued colors of the doors, windows and stucco. It reminded me so much of homes I’d seen while traveling in Guatemala and Honduras. While some were renovated and fully repaired, other homes were in disarray and needed some repair. Again, I enjoyed the crumbling colors of paint on some of the buildings. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine what it looked like when it was built.

IMG_2612-1 IMG_2613-1 IMG_2614-1 IMG_2615-1 IMG_2616-1 IMG_2618-1 IMG_2620-2 IMG_2621-3 IMG_2627-9 IMG_2626-8 IMG_2622-4 IMG_2624-6 IMG_2625-7I enjoyed checking out the barrios so much that I went back again in late December. This time it was a brilliantly sunny day like it usually is in Tucson. I took a few more pictures and you can see how the gorgeous colors of the building nearly jump off the page. It made me smile!

Barrio Hollywood

Barrio Hollywood

Barrio HollywoodBarrio HollywoodBarrio Hollywood


  1. you’re right! one might think they’d fallen into a travel warp and landed in a well=kept colonial barrio in central america! all that’s missing is the bouganvilla, though it might be present in some of the photos? with the slow internet, about half of the photos did not load.. i’ll enjoy these posts of yours later whenever a better internet option comes my way!

  2. This is great! I’m planning to visit my parents in May and I never think to get out and explore Tucson beyond Sabino Canyon where they are. And my days on 4th are LONG behind me 🙂 Enjoyed the series!

  3. As a native Tucsonan, these are such everyday sights for me that I never thought of them as colorful. Being surrounded by cactus and southwestern architecture my whole life, I never think to take pictures like this. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    1. Great perspective! I guess since most of the time I visit Tucson, I spent it up in the foothills hiking and around that area so for me, this is an entirely new area! Glad you enjoyed! If you know any other areas to check out please let me know as I’m heading back again in a few weeks. I’ve heard the Sam Hughes neighborhood is interesting.

  4. I loved this post Nicole! When I was much younger and lived in Phoenix there seemed to be a rivalry between Phoenix and Tucson. If you lived in Phoenix you did not want to voice your love of Tucson and vice versa. As I have grown my passion for Tucson and its rich history far exceed that of Phoenix. Your photos are wonderful. 🙂

  5. My sister lives in Barrio Hollywood (I live on Miracle Mile)and I’ve seen some of the buildings in your photos. I definitely want to try some of the restaurants in that area.

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