About the Catalina Foothills
Here’s a little background on the Catalina Foothills, and a few of the things I think make it so special. I hope you find it helpful.
The Catalina Foothills were first developed in the early 1930’s by John Murphey and his architect partner Josias Joesler. Murphey and Joesler set out to change Tucson’s reputation from a place where people went to recuperate from what ailed them, arthritis, bronchitis, etc, to a resort community on a par with other popular destinations at the time.
Their concept was to create an environment and lifestyle that would be attractive to wealthy eastern and Midwestern families seeking a winter residence in the desert.
To do this they established the first subdivision in the Catalina Foothills, Catalina Foothills Estates, with deed restrictions and covenants that were designed to preserve and protect the natural beauty of the desert, by creating large residential lots of 5, 10 or more acres, and by strictly limiting the amount of desert vegetation that could be disturbed or removed during or after construction. Then they designed and built large, luxurious southwestern and Mexican style homes that were sited to take advantage of the desert, mountain and city views. As planned, the Foothills soon became a popular winter destination for a select group snowbirds.
Today, with a population of about 50,000, the Catalina Foothills continues to attract those who are drawn to it’s natural beauty, great climate and easy southwestern lifestyle. The Foothills is an established, peaceful area, an area of character and charm, where the lush beauty of the Sonoran desert and the majesty of the Catalina Mountains frame your daily existence. And together with the native Southwestern people and culture, and the influence of the University of Arizona, Foothills residents, who come from all over the U.S. and many other countries, contribute to make this small city in the desert a very lively and cosmopolitan place.
Foothills homes, more than in any other area of Tucson, come in a great variety of styles, sizes, settings and price. Whether your taste runs to charming adobe haciendas from the 40’s and 50’s, the very latest in sleek modern design, or you’re looking for something unique and indescribable, you can probably find it in the Foothills. See Josias Joesler Tucsons most recognized architect for a peek at the early development of the Foothills and Wikipedia for a more current view. And here’s a feature article on the Catalina Foothills from The New York Times Havens| Tucson Foothills
And just as important are the things you won’t find in the Foothills:
NO high rises, NO mega malls, NO billboards, NO industry, NO freeways and NO traffic to speak of. That was absolutely true about the traffic when I wrote it in 2007 or 08. And it’s still more or less true, but maybe a little less than more.
Prior to moving to Tucson in 2000, I’d grown up in New York City and lived in LA and Chicago. And during the last few years in Chicago I found myself imagining life in a place that was smaller, less congested and more beautiful. And through an odd fluke a short while later some personal business brought me to Tucson for the first time and I immediately realized that this is the place I’d been imagining. We moved here soon after.
I hope you enjoy it,
Things to Do
**broken restaurant links repaired on 7/7/20 – thank you for your patience.
Dine on your favorite cuisine at one of Tucson’s classic restaurants or choose from one of the many new restaurants and bistros in and around the Foothills. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Hiking, biking and great desert walks are right at your doorstep throughout the Catalina Foothills. From Sabino Canyon, to the Ventana Canyon, Finger Rock and Pima Canyon trails, plus an abundance of washes and expanses of open desert, the Foothills offer lots of opportunity for easy access to outdoor recreation. See Tucson in the news for cycling and the Tucson Hiking Trail Guide.
Shop at a handful of conveniently located retail plazas which provide for the services and daily shopping needs of Catalina Foothills residents including an ample selection of restaurants, galleries and interesting shops. St Phillips Plaza, Casas Adobes Plaza are long-time favorites. Our newest and largest shopping plaza is La Encantada, with an array of fine shops and restaurants, right in the heart of the Foothills at Campbell and Skyline Dr.
If golf’s your thing there are three golf course communities in the Foothills –Skyline Country Club, Ventana Country Club and La Paloma Country Club.Each of themoffer homes with golf course, fitness and club facilities, restaurants and more, just a putt-putt ride from your front door.
Resorts and Spas
Get pampered in style at one ofthe famous resorts & spas in the Tucson Foothills – Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, the Westin La Paloma , plus Canyon Ranch are world class resorts with all the amenities and services of the best in class. For the true ambiance of Old Tucson in a casually elegant atmosphere try Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch & Resort – and have dinner at The Grill for award winning cuisine in a historic Tucson setting. If you live in the Catalina Foothills, all of this and more is either right at your doorstep, or just minutes away.
Take classes at the U of A, Pima Community College or the University of Phoenix, get connected at your favorite Starbucks, see the most beautiful sunsets imaginable, enjoy an al fresco lunch in January, and visit one of the worlds largest photography collections at the Center for Creative Photography at the U of A. And if you’re still raring to go, cap it off with an evening at the Tucson symphony. I hope you enjoy it!