Nogales, Arizona & Nogales, Mexico
About 60 miles south of Tucson lies the two sister cities that share the same name of Nogales. One is in Arizona, the other in Old Mexico. Once upon a time, groves of walnut trees covered the mountain pass that bridged the two, leading to the name Nogales, derived from the Spanish word for walnut.
The cultures in each of these belie the fact that the name is the same. One city is a bustling, modern area, while the other is a sleepy, laid back, down to earth place. Step across the border from one town to the other, and it is like you are teleported into another time and dimension.
Nogales, Mexico, is a place of rolling hills that seem to loom up everywhere. It is an excellent location to enter Mexico if you are in search of the popular beach locations of San Carlos and Rocky Point.
Restaurants – Mexican Side
Restaurants in Nogales, Sonora Mexico offer plenty of local cuisine that is sure to awaken the taste buds, as well as the desire to try more. Small, individualized shops offering multicolored pottery, intricate baskets, handwoven rugs, furniture, beautiful glassware, attractive leather goods, and colorful jewelry are clustered everywhere. Reasonable prices for unique items draw tourists and visitors from across the border all year long. Tourists often visit Nogales, Sonora for the simple Mexican cuisine, margaritas, excellent shopping opportunities, and the opportunity to bargain with the shop owners.
Restaurants – Arizona Side
Nogales, Arizona, located in Santa Cruz County, is Arizona’s largest and most popular border town. Visitors can experience some Old World charm and Mexican culture as you shop in the Nogales historic district. Ideal weather conditions presenting low humidity and lots of suns and excellent bird watching opportunities draw frequent visitors.
El Camino Real
Visitors to both cities can join the footsteps that have traveled through these towns along the ancient foot trail known as El Camino Real or the King’s Highway. Take note of the historic buildings remaining in this area including the missions built by Spanish colonials, the Old City Hall of 1914, and an 1853 homestead, Pete Kitchens Outpost, now a restaurant.
Patagonia Lake State Park
Fifteen miles northeast of Nogales, Arizona is Patagonia Lake State Park where residents and tourists can enjoy water skiing, fishing, camping, picnicking, and hiking. In fact, numerous spots offer the chance for outdoor activities in the midst of gorgeous scenery, including hiking in Sycamore Canyon, fishing and boating at Pena Blanca Lake, and hiking and camping in the Santa Rita and Huachuca Mountains.
Tumacacori National Historic Park
Nearby attractions on the Arizona side include Tumacacori National Historic Park. If you prefer something a bit more modern, tour the wine country, shop at Tubac’s world-class galleries and shops, or dine at one of the fine restaurants offering Mexican fare as well as other cuisine options.
Both cities of Nogales offer interesting sights to see, food to savor, music for dancing, and souvenirs to buy. No one should visit one without visiting the other. Visit Nogales on both sides of the border for a taste of the rich cultural history responsible for its existence.