Located in Southern Arizona, Tucson lies closer to Nogales, Mexico than to Phoenix, at least in distance. As for temperament, Tucson shares plenty with its Sonoran desert sisters, Phoenix and Scottsdale, including a fine arts community, trendy restaurants, breathtaking desert landscapes and ample sunshine.
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Experience the best of the Southwest at this 80-acre world-class resort featuring sparkling swimming pools, acclaimed Southwestern cuisine, golf and more.
In 1775, Don Hugo O'Connor created the Presidio of Tucson, which became part of the United States in in 1853. Today, this cultural melting pot holds nearly one million European, Native American, Mexican, and Asian residents within its metropolitan area.
One of the most scenic drives in southeast Arizona, the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway takes travelers to the upper reaches of Mount Lemmon and the Santa Catalina Range. The nearly 60-mile round-trip byway boasts stunning desert and forest landscapes. Besides the region’s grand scenery, there are other great sites to see.
The Tucson Rodeo Parade, for instance, is the largest non-motorized parade in the world. There are also more species of birds here than anywhere else on earth, outside of the Amazon. Plus, Tucson sits right in the middle of the planet’s largest concentration of Saguaro cacti.
What To Do
Explore some of the 91,327-acre Saguaro National Park. Hike in the cooler morning air, or drive The Cactus Forest Scenic Loop Drive, with its myriad scenic turnouts and trailheads. Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (a living desert), 15 miles west of downtown Tucson, with 230 intriguing native animals, such as coyotes, mountain lions and prairie dogs, plus 1,200 local plant species.
Drive the spectacular Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway near Tucson. Travel from Tanque Verde Road to the Catalina Highway, which becomes Hitchcock Highway at the Forest Service boundary, to the top of Mount Lemmon. Take your kids to central Tucson’s popular Reid Park Zoo, home to elephants, lions, flamingos and other colorful species.
View the impressive 18th-century Roman Catholic Mission San Xavier del Bac, known as the White Dove of the Desert, with its eclectic Moorish, Byzantine, Renaissance and Mexican styles of architecture. Keep your eyes on the skies at the Pima Air and Space Museum, one of the world’s largest air and space museums, housing more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft. It is located near the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in southeastern Tucson.