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Dining outdoors at Tohono Chul Tea Room

Updated 01.15.2013


Tohno Chul Tea Room in Tucson, Arizona

Are you a fan of eating breakfast outdoors—especially on a trip? There’s something decadent about lazing over a cup of coffee after a delicious meal while nature provides the entertainment. Here’s an insider’s tip:  if you’re boomertravel plans include Tucson, Arizona, save a morning for breakfast at Tohono Chul Tea Room (January 16, 2013: the name has recently been changed to the Tohono Chul Garden Bistro).

Alan and I have enjoyed many breakfasts at the hacienda-style residence that is part of Tohono Chul Park, named one of the Great Botanical Gardens of the World by Travel + Leisure.

I’m always curious to see which desert plants are blooming as I walk along the sidewalk toward the entrance to Tohono Chul Tea Room. Entering through the arched doorway into the courtyard to the sound of a fountain’s splashing water is like taking a deep, relaxing breath. We could choose to sit at one of the tables placed around the fountain, but let’s keep going up the stairs, through the inside dining room to the back patio. Welcome to my favorite location in Tucson for an outdoor breakfast.


Tohono Chul Tea Room

When Alan and I visit, he favors the eggs benedict while I go for huevos rancheros. After ordering our favorites, we relax with a cup of coffe and take in the desert garden that surrounds the back patio. Paraloxia (sort of like a cardinal for you Easterners) perch on the limbs of a mesquite tree while hummingbirds hover over red salvia blooms. It’s a teaser for what you will find on a visit to the main gardens at Tohono Chul ($8 for adults and $6 for boomer visitors 62 and older).

Reluctant to leave this desert oasis, we sip more coffee after our meal is done. Beware! The cactus wrens will sneak over to snatch any leftover pieces of toast.

If you’re not a breakfast enthusiast, Tohono Chul Tea Room also serves lunch and afternoon tea.

Order the prickly pear lemonade for a delicious, but purple, take on an old standby.

Save time to browse through the gift shop where you’ll find all sorts of Arizona products, including prickly pear syrup to make your own purple lemonade.

Do you have a favorite outdoor venue for breakfast from your boomer travels? Come join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook. Or send us an email with your thoughts.


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