The Mexican side hosts a big parade and entertainment for Cinco de Mayo (during the week or so leading up to May 5th), Independence Day (Sept. 16th), and Revolution Day (Nov. 20th).
Baseball players drop into the Arizona side of town for Spring Training in March. Patagonia Lake State Park hosts a Mariachi Festival, also in March. Fireworks celebrate the American Independence Day on July 4th. Santa Cruz County Fair puts on a rodeo, fiddlers' competition, rooster-crowing contest, and agricultural exhibits in Sonoita on the last weekend in September. Arizonans have a Christmas Parade on the first Saturday in December.
You'll find a public swimming pool and tennis courts near the War Memorial Park on Madison Street. Another pool is in Fleisher Park farther north on Hohokam Drive.
Golfers can play at three 18-hole courses, each with a restaurant, in the area: Palo Duro Creek Golf Club (in the northwest part of town at 2690 N. Country Club Dr., 520/761-4394), Rio Rico Golf Course (12 miles north of downtown at 1410 Rio Rico Dr., near I-19 Exit 17, 520/281-8567 or 800/288-4746), and Kino Springs Country Club (six miles northeast on AZ 82, then right on Kino Springs Dr., 520/287-8701).
The winter rates listed here tend to go down in summer.
Under $50: El Dorado Motel (884 N. Grand Ave., 520/287-4611, $40 d) has just the basics. Motel 6 (141 W. Mariposa Rd. at Grand Ave., 520/281-2951 or 800/466-8356, $37 s, $43 d) has a pool.
$50-100: Super 8 Motel (547 W. Mariposa Rd., west of I-19 Exit 4, 520/281-2242 or 800/800-8000, $45 s, $55 d) offers a pool and hot tub. Holiday Inn Express (850 W. Shell and Mariposa Rds., 520/281-0123 or 877/232-3630, $85 s, $90 d) also includes a pool and hot tub. Americana Motor Hotel (639 N. Grand Ave., 520/287-7211 or 800/874-8079, $60 s, $70 d) has a pool. Best Western Siesta Motel (673 N. Grand Ave., 520/287-4671 or 888/215-4783, $55 d) provides a pool and hot tub.
Over $100: Esplendor Resort at Rio Rico (12 miles north of town near I-19 Exit 17, 520/281-1901 or 800/288-4746, www.hhandr.com/esplendor, $139 d room, $175 d suite Jan.-April) features an 18-hole golf course, tennis, pool, hot tub, and horseback riding.
About a 18 hotels lie on the Mexican side of the border; check with tourist offices for a map and suggestions.
Mi Casa RV Park (2901 N. Grand Ave., 520/281-1150, $15.40 RV w/hookups) is 4.5 miles north of the border and has showers.
Many restaurants line Grand Avenue on the Arizona side. China Star Restaurant (272 W. Mariposa Rd. in Mariposa Shopping Mall, 520/281-0633) serves popular Chinese dishes. Zulas Papachoris' (982 N. Grand Ave., 520/287-2892) features steak, seafood, Mexican, and Greek food. Las Vigas Steak Ranch (180 Loma St. at Fiesta Market off Arroyo Blvd., 520/287-6641, closed Mon.) has great Mexican food as well as steaks. Bella Mia Ristorante (204 W. Mariposa Rd. #6, 520/761-3535) serves up Italian antipasto, pasta, seafood, and meat dishes.
San Cayetano Dining Room (Rio Rico Resort, 12 miles north of downtown off I-19 Exit 17, 520/281-1901 or 800/288-4746) offers Southwestern fine dining daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Many restaurants in Mexico have English menus and all accept U.S. dollars. La Roca, partially carved out of the rock cliff, attracts visitors for the good food, gaily decorated dining rooms, and strolling musicians. Chefs offer steak, shrimp, fish, chicken, chimichangas, enchiladas, and other Mexican fare in the $9-20 range. It lacks a non-smoking area, however. Look for the sign to the left a couple of blocks north of the border.
Information and Services
The Nogales-Santa Cruz Chamber of Commerce (123 Kino Park, Nogales, AZ 85621, 520/287-3685, www.nogaleschamber.com, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) is very helpful with information on both the local area and travel into Mexico. A video program presents a visual tour of Santa Cruz County sights, plus information on crossing the border and visiting Mexico. When entering Nogales from the north on Grand Avenue (US 89), turn right on the street just past the Patagonia Road interchange (AZ 82). The Mexicans have a tourist office just south of the Grand Avenue border crossing.
The Nogales Ranger District office (five miles north of downtown at 303 Old Tucson Rd., Nogales, AZ 85621, 520/281-2296, www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.) has recreation information for the Santa Ritas and Peņa Blanca areas; take I-19 Ruby Road Exit 12, turn south 0.4 mile on the east frontage road, then left 0.1 mile on Old Tucson Road.
Nogales, Arizona, has a public library (518 N. Grand Ave., 520/287-3343, closed Sun.). The post office lies just east of the border station. Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital (1171 W. Target Range Rd., 520/287-2771) is on the west side of town.
Getting There and Around
Autobuses Crucero (35 N. Terrace Ave., two blocks from the border, 520/287-5628) goes north to Tucson and south to Hermosillo and other cities in Mexico. On the Mexican side, buses offer extensive routes at low cost, but you'll have to take a taxi to the station.
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