Despite being surrounded by desert, Tucson doesn’t feel like a middle of anywhere. As Arizona’s second largest city, it’s an important economic and cultural center. It’s scenically located amongst dry, edgy mountains. The landscapes combined with hot climate and cultural diversity makes Tucson quite an exotic place. There’s a handful of interesting museums, a cozy downtown, some historical monuments and a lot of students. Tucson also has plentiful, excellent restaurants serving a variety of dishes and bars that can keep you busy for many evenings. Besides, the nature around it is truly bewitching. The desert, mountains and incredibly hardy plants are charming in their own, very specific way, hard to find elsewhere.
It’s a lively student city
Tucson is a home to 40 000 students attending the University of Arizona. Like in most places, a particular kind of youthful energy comes in the package with the university. The students spread their happy vibe all around the city. Tucson has a vibrant night-life, and it’s partial because of them. There’s also lots of quirky shops and original restaurants. In addition to partying, hanging around and looking smart, the students do add some creativity and cleverness to the culture of Tucson. The campus itself is worth visiting, for one reason in particular: there are about a hundred of rare trees, and you can make a self-guided tour to see them.
A fascinating mixture of cultures
The population of Tucson is incredibly diverse, with European, Asian, Mexican and Native American influences. As usually in such cases, it sometimes results in conflicts, but at the same time makes the city more fascinating. The variety of cultures affects the city’s architecture, atmosphere, and cuisine. If you’re a foodie, you’ll be glad to know visiting Tucson is a great opportunity to have a taste of many different delights. You can eat something Asian in Yoshimatsu Healthy Japanese Food, Mexican in El Molinito. Steaks, tacos, spicy noodles, vegetarian snacks, seafood, curries and yummy sandwiches – whatever you fancy, Tucson has it. The same applies to art and music. Events held at Yume Japanese Gardens concentrate on Japanese sounds and dances, South American rhythms are being played in some bars; many venues organize concerts during which you can listen to local bands playing rock, punk, hip-hop and anything in between.
The lovely and colorful downtown
The historical part of Tucson is not only a history lover’s gem but also a beautiful place to simply stroll about. At the corner of Court and Washington streets, you can see the Presidio San Austin de Tucson, a walled fortress built by the Spanish, dating back to 17th century. Houses made of adobe (sun-dried bricks) have been standing there for centuries, resisting the harshness of climate and modernization of the city. Many of them are gorgeously painted in bright colors. With its numerous bars and pubs, downtown is also an ideal destination for party animals. From the morning until the night, it’s full of young people, vibrant and slightly chaotic.
Stunning nature is all around
Tucson is a beautiful town, it’s worth-visiting, but its surroundings are even more bewitching. If you’re going to Arizona, try not to limit yourself to visiting the cities and nothing else. You can stay in Tucson (there are many lodgings available, from affordable hostels to luxurious hotels), explore the town and take day-trips to neighboring areas. Saguaro National Park is one of the greatest attractions of the region. It’s located about 15 miles from Tucson and can be easily reached by car, but unfortunately, there’s no public transport that could take you into the park.
Even though it might take some effort to get there, the Saguaro National Park will reward you with incredible landscapes composed of giant cacti, spectacular mountains, and reddish earth. Santa Catalina Mountains are nearby as well. It’s a spectacular mountain range popular among skiers, hikers, bikers, and climbers. To learn more about Arizona’s nature, pay a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Oscillating somewhere between a ZOO, an educational center, and a botanical garden, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is both fun and exciting.
The arid dry air of a desert climate such as Tucson has many health benefits. Desert air helps with migraines and asthma, and with so many sunny days a year, you will get a healthy dose of vitamin D. The average high winter temperature hovers between 60 and 70 degrees, and the summer anywhere from 90 to over 100 degrees. With such warm temperatures, outdoor activities can go year-round, making Tucson a hotspot for winter visitors who wish to escape the snow and cold.
A mild climate makes for outstanding golf courses, and Tucson is littered with them. Try your game at a professional, world-class courses surrounded by the desert beauty. Take your pick of hotel and casinos with golf courses or even purchase a home in a golf community, and view the lush fairway from your backyard. With over 300 sunny days a year, almost every day is a good day to play golf, and Tucson has a plethora of courses for you to play.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the number one attraction in Tucson and ranked as one of the top museums in the U.S. This is not your typical museum, as it is almost 100 acres in size, and most of the museum is outdoors. There are animals, plants that make up the beautiful desert scenery, a botanical garden, and walking paths. The museum also has the more traditional museum items such an art gallery and natural history displays. Experience all the different species of birds in the walk-in aviary, and don’t forget to see the aquarium. The fees to get in the museum are reasonable; less than 20 dollars per person. The Desert Museum is a must-see attraction on your visit to Tucson!
San Xavier Mission
San Xavier Mission is a beautiful, historic church located in Tucson. The architecture of the outside is breathtaking, not to mention the paintings and appeal of the interior. There is no charge to visit this church, and it has a small museum with artifacts to learn about the church and its history. Candles are available for purchase to light and leave the church, and doing so represents your prayer. The San Xavier Mission doesn’t do special events for anyone outside their community, and the church cannot be rented out. See the beautiful, historic church on your visit to Tucson.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park offers the ultimate views of the spectacular desert scenery. Split into two districts, the West region is known as the Tucson Mountain District, and the Eastside is known as the Rincon Mountain District. The city of Tucson separates the two, so it makes it more convenient to access one district or the other from wherever you are staying. See and learn about the mighty Saguaro cactus that the park is named for. Try a guided tour or a scenic hike in one of the nation’s most famous National Parks.
Mount Lemmon is the highest point in the Catalina Mountains in Tucson, and receives many inches of snow amongst the desert landscape, making it truly a standout landmark. Try the scenic drive called the Catalina Highway that takes you to the peak. The curvy roads offer some beautiful vantage points, and the view from the peak is worth every minute. At the height is the Mount Lemmon Station Observatory, with one of the largest public viewing telescopes in the state of Arizona. Take a peek at the night sky as you’ve never seen it before using the telescope on one of the programs offered at the observatory. Explore Mount Lemmon’s beauty and gaze at the universe from the observatory’s telescope atop the peak.
Noted for it being one of the most beautiful places to see in Tucson, Sabino Canyon awaits to offer you incredible views of the Tucson landscape. Located in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Sabino Canyon has a visitor’s center and tram you can take. The tram makes several stops, and you can hike or continue with the tram, whichever way you prefer. Hiking is available, and Sabino Canyon offers easy, moderate, and challenging trails for hikers to choose from. Certain months of the year, night rides can be found on the trams, where you may catch a glimpse of the shy nightlife that may come out to play. Sabino has located minutes away from accommodations such as hotels, shopping, and dining., making it easy and convenient for you to add to your itinerary for Tucson.
Tucson Extends a Warm Welcome
Tucson continues its warm weather, hospitality, experiences and welcomes to you. See the wild west and the magnificent desert scenery consisting of Saguaro and other cactus, trees, and greenery you may be surprised to see in a desert. Play a game of golf or hike Sabino Canyon, and in the evening, gaze through a telescope at the world beyond. Tucson is a good idea all the time.
Have you ever thought to visit Tucson? Do you know some great sights there? Let us know! And remember to share this article with your friends, perhaps you’ll inspire them to visit Arizona.