|Tucson is the second-largest city in the state of Arizona, one of the United States of America. At an elevation of 2,400 feet, is has slightly cooler temperatures than its desert cousin, Phoenix. It is situated in the biologically diverse Sonoran Desert. With a population of 486,699 (2000 Census) in Tucson and 843,746 in the metro area, Tucson was the 32nd fastest growing of 280 metropolitan areas from 1990-2000. |
• Speedway Boulevard was once named the "ugliest street in America" by Life magazine.
• Quote from the cinematic sci-fi flop 13th Floor:
"I did what the letter said," said the bartender, "and went some place that no one would ever go...Tucson! When I got there I found no movement...no life...what I saw scared me to the bottom of my soul!"
Tucson has always been a crossroads. Until recently, water was relatively plentiful in Tucson, in spite of its location in the middle of a desert. This made it an important travel route, an agricultural center, and a communications nexus. Tucson's history is ancient, with evidence of human occupation stretching back 10,000 years. Between A.D. 200 and 1450, the Hohokam culture dominated the area -- the Pima and Tohono O'Odham peoples that still occupy the area are descendants of the Hohokam. In 1699, Father Eusebio Kino, S.J., established the Mission San Xavier del Bac, southwest of present-day Tucson. Over the next 100 years, other missions were established in the area, but European presence was minimal.
It wasn't until 1775 that the Presidio of Tucson was created by Don Hugo O'Conor. At that time, it was the northernmost Spanish outpost in the New World. In 1821, Tucson became part of the new country of Mexico, and in 1853 it became part of the United States as a result of the Gadsden Purchase. In 1863, Arizona became a US territory, and by 1880, its population was around 8,000. In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state to enter the union. Today, Tucson is still a crossroads, with European, Native American, Mexican, and Asian cultures bumping into one another, in sometimes conflicting and sometimes compatible -- but always interesting -- ways.
• By plane - Tucson International Airport 7250 S. Tucson Blvd., Tucson, AZ; Tel. (520) 573-8000.
• By train - Amtrak Station: 400 N. Toole Ave., Tucson, AZ; Tel. (520) 623-4442.
• By car - I-10 from the north and southeast, and I-19 from the south.
• By bus - Greyhound Lines Station: 2 S. 4th Ave., Tucson, AZ; Tel. (520) 792-3475.
• Barrio Food & Drink. 135 S. 6th Ave., Tucson, AZ; Tel. (520) 629-0191. One of the best bars in Tucson, with fully-stocked offerings, and knowledgeable, friendly staff. The decor is quintessentially Southwestern, and is both casual and elegant.
• Bison Witches. 326 N. 4th Ave., Tucson, AZ; Tel. (520) 740-1541. Located at the heart of Tucson's 4th Avenue historic district, Bison Witches is a funky little bar that serves amazing sandwiches and the best margaritas in town.
• University of Arizona. Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona is the state's original land-grant university. Today, it hosts nearly 40,000 students, with nationally pre-eminent programs in astronomy, optical sciences, fine arts, and basketball.
• Pima Community College. Multicampus two-year college system.
• City of Tucson's Visitor Page
• Azstarnet -- Web presence of The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson's major daily newspaper.
• Tucson Citizen -- Web presence of The Tucson Citizen, Tucson's second daily newspaper. Besides news, provides detailed community information, including an events calendar and dining guide.
• Greater Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau
• Tucson-Pima Public Library
• Tucson Underground
• Tucson Weekly
If you go walking in the desert parks, or on your own, learn desert safety tips. Take water, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to get back, and if you have a cell phone, take it with you and have it on. It's disturbingly easy to get lost in the desert. Also, watch for snakes and bugs, as a few are dangerous to your health. When hiking, for example, rattlesnakes are easy to come across. When putting your slippers on in the morning, scorpions can be an unpleasant surprise.
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• By Bus. Extensive metropolitan bus system, Sun Tran
• By Car. I-10 and I-19 are the only freeways in Tucson. East-west travel on surface streets above I-10 can be slow during the work day.
• By Bike. Tucson is a bike-friendly community, and has an extensive system of bike routes and paths .
If you're a traveler, and you're leaving Tucson, you might want to go to Phoenix, or Nogales, Mexico. For cool weather, head up to I-17 to Flagstaff. Also take the Catalina Highway to nearby Mount Lemmon.
• Bisbee. For a pleasant day trip try Bisbee . The Copper Queen has great food and historic accommodation.
• Club Congress. 311 E. Congress St., Tucson, AZ; Tel. (520) 622-8848. If you feel like dancing, Club Congress is the place to go. Located in the historic Congress Hotel, you'll find three bars and one dance floor, featuring techno dance beats and live bands. Call ahead to see who's playing. Cover charge.
• Plush Live music - talented local, regional, and national touring acts 5-7 nights a week.