Tucson Faves: the fitness and shopping

Hi guys! We’re in the middle of getting the house packed up, so I knew today would be a perfect morning for this post. This is one of my Tucson Faves posts, which I’ve been working on pretty much since we’ve moved here πŸ˜‰ As a Tucson native, I pride myself on knowing the city pretttyyyy well, and I’m always learning about new spots. Here are some of my tried and true fitness and shopping loves here in T-town. Just a head’s up: I’m not affiliated with any of the companies listed below, and this isn’t sponsored. Of course, over time, many of the business owners have become great friends <3

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Dance cardio: Breakout Studios

If you’re in Tucson, Todd’s DJ dance cardio class will set your soul free. He has a live DJ with incredible music, and Todd is probably one of the most creative and talented dancers/instructors I’ve ever known. He is amazing, and it’s just one of those things where I could blab on and on about how great it is and blahblah, but really, you just have to see and experience it to know. 

Yoga: Session Yoga 

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These are my two favorite yoga instructors, Chelsea and Kristin. If you travel to Tucson or live here, be sure to take either of their classes or (even better!) the ones they team-teach. 

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The studio has a calm and serene vibe, and I love the fact that it isn’t pretentious at all; Session Yoga is the antithesis to snobby yoga. Kristin and Chelsea created an inviting atmosphere with fantastic instructors, and I especially love the fact that they’ll come over to adjust you in the poses. (They also will sometimes surprise with a mini-massage during child’s pose or pigeon. Heaven.) 

I also love taking Emily’s class at Yoga Oasis. She SINGS during savasana (and her voice is like a yoga angel) and will always throw in at least one challenging or new-to-me pose. I also loooove Darren’s class at Yoga Oasis, but since he teaches at the central location farther from the house, I didn’t make it as often as I would have liked. He leads online classes and workshops, too, if you’d like to check out one of his classes.

Flamenco and Pilates: Animas 

Animas is a unique studio located right next to Whole Foods on River (which makes for a convenient post-workout smoothie stop). They have barre and Pilates classes, and also offer some dance cardio, strength and kiddo stuff. 

Spin: O2 Modern Fitness or LA Fitness

Spin rave

The vibe at O2 is great, and even better, after class you can hit up one of the amazing lunch spots or grab a smoothie on Congress. (<— edited to say that O2 is now closed! Let me know if there are any spin studios you love! I can check tout next time we visit.) LA Fitness isn’t anything special as far as gyms go, but some of their group ex classes are truly fantastic. My two favorite spin instructors: Anthony and Marilyn. Marilyn was my first spin instructor ever back in college πŸ™‚ She’s still teaching, and still packing the classes. Word to the wise: if you want to take a spin class, you have to get there at least 30 minutes early to reserve a bike. 

Crossfit: CrossFit Purgatory

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This was my first taste of the CrossFit world, and I really like taking classes at this box. The coaches are all extremely knowledgable, and encourage participants to modify if needed to safely complete the WODs. 


La Encantada

La encantada

This was kind of our shopping spot in Tucson, since it was the closest to the house and it’s outdoors. It’s so nice to walk around outside and enjoy the fresh air πŸ™‚ They have a lot of unique local shops, great restaurants and standard shops. Definitely my #1 choice.

Foothills Mall and Park Place

Foothills is probably my second fave mall, with Park Place  and Tucson mall next. Foothills is an outlet mall, so they have Off 5th, Gymboree Outlet and some fun stores, like Buy Buy Baby.

4th Ave

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This is where to find all of the unique vintage stuff and antique Mexican decor. Walking around 4th Ave is a lot of fun, and there are also bars and restaurants. 4th Ave is a great insight into the diversity you’ll see here in T-town.

University Blvd


University is right by campus, with lots of U of A shops, local boutiques and stores like Urban and American Apparel. I love walking around University and then grabbing lunch to picnic on the mall.

Have you been to Tucson? What’s on your vacay list right now?

Tucson friends: any fitness or shopping faves you want to shout out??



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  1. Erin @ Girl Gone Veggie on March 31, 2014 at 11:05 am

    All your posts have made me really want to visit Tuscan sometime. It sounds like a wonderful city.

    Next on my vacay list is Hawaii! Josh and I are going next month and I can’t wait!!

  2. Christine @ BookishlyB on March 31, 2014 at 11:26 am

    The closest I’ve been was the Biosphere, which was pretty dang awesome!

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      ahhh! i haven’t been in years, but loved it!

  3. Brynn on March 31, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I have never been, but after reading your blog I’m so interested in visiting!!

  4. Emily @ The Swallow Flies on March 31, 2014 at 11:30 am

    I have not been to Tucson, but it’s definitely on my list! First up, though, is Key West (for the third time — I’m obsessed), Atlanta for a work trip, and possibly Long Beach this summer.

    I wish I could travel so much more. I love new places, new people, new things. πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      same. i’d much rather save for travel than for “things”

  5. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance on March 31, 2014 at 11:31 am

    Never been to Tuscon but I definitely want to go at some point!

    Next up on my vacay list is California and then hopefully Greece in the fall!

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      have you been to greece?! i would LOVE to visit

  6. Charlsie N on March 31, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I was born and raised in Tucson before moving to Ohio 6 months ago and haven’t heard of any of these exercise places. Might have to try the yoga studio when I come back for a long vacation. My next vacation is actually to Tucson next week for my cousins wedding. 6 months away from Tucson is too long!!

  7. Ali on March 31, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve never lived in Tucson, but have visited and hiking in Saguaro NP and Santa Catalina are my favorite! πŸ˜€

  8. Joanna on March 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Oh I love this post, I am moving to Tucson this summer and I am trying to find great places for shopping, eating and hiking. I have visited the city several times and I loved it the moment I drove into town. It has such a small down feel to it. Good luck with all the packing.

  9. Courtney @ Harness Your Energy on March 31, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    I spent a year in Tucson & at U of A & loved the around campus vibe! There’s so much to do right around the campus, but I never found much outside of it- except for La Encantada & Ra Sushi.. MY FAVES!!!

  10. LisaG on March 31, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Aaw I’m happy and sad for you to be leaving your hometown. I would be a basket case of emotions.

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      hot mess is a better description of what’s happening haha

  11. Jackie on March 31, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve never been to Tucson but I want to come check this stuff out!

  12. Ashley on March 31, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Marilyn and Anthony are my favorite too! Even when I was at my spin teaching “prime”, Anthony would still kick my ass (especially with his boom booms). I haven’t been to his class since having the kiddo but this might kick my butt into gear. πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      they’re both sooooo good πŸ™‚

  13. Christina on March 31, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I love Todd and his dance cardio class! I used to go all the time when I went to U of A!! I miss Tucson so much

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      SO GOOD!
      and bear down πŸ™‚ xo

  14. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on March 31, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Hi Gina!

    I was just thinking about vacations and actually wrote a post today about my travel bucket list. Since I live in San Francisco, I really need a beach vacation as of late. I’m thinking Cabo … I’ve never been there before. I haven’t been to Tuscon either, but your favorites there look great.

    Good luck with your move!


  15. Amanda L on March 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    I live in Tucson and would love to try some of the fitness locations you talked about! I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum-I really don’t like shopping at La Encantada because most of the stores are high-end and too pricey. My daughter does love the Mildred and Dildred toy store though. If I have to shop at a mall I usually go to the Tucson Mall because it’s the least crowded and they’ve recently added some great stores. Excited to read more of your Tucson posts!

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:29 pm

      tucson mall has made a huge jump up in the world. i love it, and they have a lot of awesome stores, but we rarely go. liv LOVES the disney store though πŸ™‚

  16. Alex @ Kenzie Life on March 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I know this is awful, but I always get my cities in Arizona mixed up, though I’m sure at some point I either drove through or stayed around Tuscon. (I’m sorry don’t hate me!) I was in Phoenix though in July once–and that was…hot… Session Yoga sounds awesome though and I would definitely stop by the next time I’m in Arizona and near Tuscon! I just got back from San Diego but next on my vacay list is Vegas and hopefully this summer Seattle, but I’m also trying to make it to Europe because my best friend lives in London and her parents just moved to France–so visiting is a must πŸ™‚

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      you will LOVE session. it’s seriously amazing πŸ™‚
      hope you get to europe!! xo

      • Alex @ Kenzie Life on March 31, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        Hope you’re able to find a new yoga studio in SD! It’s always tough to leave a studio you love.

        • Fitnessista on April 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm

          i know πŸ™ i’ve been scouring the options! the good news is that there are so many studios, i hope i’ll be able to find a new yoga home

      • Alex @ Kenzie Life on March 31, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        Oh and thank you πŸ™‚ me too!

  17. Katie on March 31, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Im going to have to save this for my next visit! We just got back from a week in Tucson and my husband (who grew up there) is a little out of the loop!

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:28 pm

      it’s funny because if you’re away for just a little while, it seems like everything changes! so many new and different spots each time we come to visit

  18. Amber Schumann on March 31, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    Hubby and I have quite the list of vacations coming up, and I’m so excited (he travels for work all the time, so his idea of a “vacation” is staying home. Well, time for momma to get OUT… thanks hubby!)

    First stop: SCOTTSDALE! We’re going to a wedding there in a few weeks and added an extra couple days to make it a vacation. The only place I’ve ever been to in AZ is Tuscon, and I wouldn’t even consider it an experience, because I was confined to Sun City where my grandma lived at the time. So I’m excited for some more AZ experience!

    Next stop: North Carolina in June! And my little’s first plane ride (eek!!). My grandmother lives in a small coastal town near Atlantic Beach. There is NOTHING to do there but go to the beach…. Beach Day EVERYDAY??? What more could I ask for??? =D

    Final Stop: Wherever the wind takes me for my big 3-0 in October! I told the hubby I don’t care about ANY birthday celebrations except my 30th…. Ready to do it BIG. We are deciding between a cruise with friends, or Vegas with friends.

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      ohhh, you’ll have a blast! scottsdale has EVERYTHING πŸ™‚
      you’ll turn 30 one month before me! you’ll have to let me know how it is haha

  19. JG on March 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I LOVED Tucson when I was there. Everything about it made me happy. I am definitely a desert person πŸ™‚

    My next trip will be back to Coronado to visit friends (and warm weather πŸ˜‰ ). Not EXACTLY a vacation since it’s still sorta home to me, but a nice little jaunt out of town for my 30th!

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      that’s awesome! maybe you’ll see us out and about πŸ™‚ i’m so excited to explore coronado and san diego!

      • coffeeandjetplanes on March 31, 2014 at 8:06 pm

        Have you been to Wine a Bit Coronado? You must go! It’s the wine bar on Orange. Everyone I’ve ever encountered there is super friendly and the wine is oh so good!

        • Fitnessista on April 1, 2014 at 6:50 pm

          i saw it last time we were there! we ate next door. i can’t wait to go back!!!

          • JG on April 1, 2014 at 7:33 pm

            Haha maybe I will see you there! Oh there’s Wine Steals in Point Loma, too, if you venture up that way. Hope you don’t mind me telling you my SD/Coronado faves… I’ve been awfully homesick lately and it’s fun to be able to give suggestions πŸ™‚

          • Fitnessista on April 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

            are you kidding?! keep ’em coming!! i love them! πŸ™‚

  20. Sara @ LovingOnTheRun on March 31, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    I have never been there but would love to one day! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  21. Sarah on March 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Pretty sure O2 closed in December.

    • Fitnessista on March 31, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      i just read that. such a bummer!! will make an edit

      • Sarah on March 31, 2014 at 9:29 pm

        I know. Loved their spin classes too.

  22. Livi on March 31, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    Now I need to visit Tucson!!

  23. Meg @ A Dash of Meg on March 31, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    ahhhhhhh i have never been but i got chills reading! i love visiting new places xoxo hope the move is going well my love

  24. Dede on March 31, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    We visited in 2004. It rained almost the whole time we were there but we did get to go to the Desert Museum and took a cold hike in Sabino Canyon. We got a kick out of Foothills Mall because we have a mall with the same name!

  25. Megan @ The Skinny-Life on March 31, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    Agree with all the above! I can attest these are all great places in Tucson to visit as I lived there the last 10 years.

  26. kayla on April 1, 2014 at 7:07 am

    I visited tuscon with my parents summer before my senior year of high school because I applied to U of A. We LOVED the town, seemed like such a great area to be a college student.

  27. Peggy on April 1, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    My husband and I are bringing our 2 boys (2.5 and 15 months) to Tucson in a few weeks – I can’t wait to check out some of your suggestions!

    • Fitnessista on April 1, 2014 at 6:41 pm

      have so much fun!! they would love the children’s museum!

  28. Jenny on April 2, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I kept reading this as TUSCAN instead of Tucson! πŸ™‚ Is it Friday yet?!

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