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Tucson, Arizona: Spanish Style in the Sonoran Desert
Nestled between five rugged mountain ranges, Tucson is a popular destination for everything from family breaks to romantic getaways. Whether you want to check out the city’s delicious dining scene, visit the area’s heritage locations, or prefer to explore the great outdoors, you’ll find that there is plenty to make your trip to Arizona a memorable one. Hotels and other accommodation options come in at a range of price points. Find one to suit your budget then head out to explore the desert city affectionately known as Old Pueblo.
With 350 days of sunshine every year, Tucson is not the sort of place to stay indoors. The city’s almost 500 square miles of varied landscape provides ample opportunity to enjoy outdoor adventures. Enjoy visits to the Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson and the Tucson Botanical Gardens, check out the iconic crested saguaro cacti at Saguaro National Park, or take things up a notch by hiking and rock climbing at Windy Point. Be sure to leave time to check out to check out the stunning city views from Sentinel Peak Park, an iconic lookout point known as “A” Mountain. Head out after dark to take part in the nightly stargazing event at the Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Heritage, Culture, and Art
A trip to Tucson affords many chances to explore the city’s 19th-century beginnings. Highlights include the adobe row homes found in the Barrio Historico neighbourhood, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style Cathedral of Saint Augustine, and the lavish mansions in the El Presidio Historic District. Further examples of vintage architecture can be found along Fourth Avenue. The city also features many galleries; among the most popular are the De Grazia Gallery in the Sun Historic District, the Center for Creative Photography, the Tucson Museum of Art, and the University of Arizona Museum of Art. You can also visit the Arizona State Museum and the Southwestern Anthropology Museum.
Food, Glorious Food
Foodies tend to fall in love with Tucson and, with so many dining options, it’s easy to see why. The pièce de résistance of the city’s dining scene is undeniably the ‘Best 23 Miles of Mexican Food’ - a lengthy strip of street vendors serving up authentic cuisine such as soft tacos and world-famous Sonoran hot dogs. More cheap eats can be found at Main Gate Square near the university. Al fresco patio dining is also popular and is perhaps best enjoyed at Broadway Village or along Restaurant Row (between Ft. Lowell and Grant Roads). Take time to enjoy a meal in one of the downtown eateries where there’s a good mix of international cuisine and all-American faves as well as Hotel Congress, a Tucson hotel and dining spot made famous in the 1930s for the capture of John Dillinger.
Tucson is a wonderful place to visit with kids. Younger visitors will love to run free in the likes of Colossal Cave Mountain Park and Kartchner Caverns State Park or check out the inhabitants at Reid Park Zoo and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Curious kids will be enamoured with visits to the Children’s Museum Tucson and the Flandreau Science Center & Planetarium while a highlight for the whole family is Old Tucson. This former Old West movie set features mock shoot-outs as well as the chance to pan for gold. If your family includes a four-legged friend, dog-friendly destinations include the Catalina State Park and the Heirloom Farmers Markets. Plus, there are many restaurants and hotels that will welcome both you and your pooch.
The seemingly endless sunny days combined with an action-packed calendar of events make Tucson a great time to visit any time of the year. January gets off to a great start for music lovers with events such as the Tucson Desert Song Festival and the Tucson Jazz Festival taking place although February plays host to the Tucson Rodeo & Parade, a local favourite since 1925. Fans of the odd tipple might want to time their visit to coincide with events such as Harvest Fest at Sonoita Vineyards in July and the World Margarita Championship in October. The annual calendar draws to a close with events such as the Holiday Artisan Markets, the Hot Air Balloon Glow Festival, and La Fiesta De Guadalupe.