Linking historic downtown and the university, lively 4th Ave is a rare breed: a hip yet alt-flavored strip with a neighborhood feel and not a single chain store or restaurant (oops, except for Dairy Queen). The stretch between 9th St and University Blvd is lined with buzzy restaurants, coffee houses, bars, book stores, galleries, indie boutiques and vintage shops.
Under the overpass that crosses 4th Ave and Broadway is the Tucson Portrait Project, one of our favorite public art projects anywhere. This wall-to-wall mosaic of about 7000 Tucsonian faces is a simple yet powerful testament to the diversity of the city's population.
Metered parking is free on weekends. The best time to visit 4th Ave is during the two annual street fairs held for three days in mid-December and late March or early April. See the 4th Ave website for details.