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Overview

Tucson, affectionately known as the "Old Pueblo," began as a Spanish fortified town in 1775 and still retains its Spanish heritage. Although the adobe wall that once surrounded the settlement has faded away, you can visit restored 19th-century houses in the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. Fine museums downtown and on the University of Arizona campus illustrate history, art, Native American culture, geology, and astronomy. Both areas are compact enough to get around on foot.

Mission San Xavier del Bac south of town stands as one of the finest pieces of Spanish colonial architecture in the Southwest. Aviation enthusiasts ...

Tucson, affectionately known as the "Old Pueblo," began as a Spanish fortified town in 1775 and still retains its Spanish heritage. Although the adobe wall that once surrounded the settlement has faded away, you can visit restored 19th-century houses in the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. Fine museums downtown and on the University of Arizona campus illustrate history, art, Native American culture, geology, and astronomy. Both areas are compact enough to get around on foot.

Mission San Xavier del Bac south of town stands as one of the finest pieces of Spanish colonial architecture in the Southwest. Aviation enthusiasts will enjoy the vast Pima Air & Space Museum. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson's top sight, displays native wildlife and flora in natural surroundings.

You can stretch your legs on trails in Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon. Enjoy cool breezes in summer and skiing in winter atop the Santa Catalina Mountains, reached by the scenic Catalina Highway. With the large university in town, you can expect lively performing arts and nightlife. Festivals, many with a Southwest flavor, fill the calendar during the cooler months.

Bill Weir
About the Expert

Bill Weir is the author of Moon Handbooks on Arizona, Utah and the Grand Canyon.

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    October to April; summer is long and hot, but you can beat the heat with an early morning start, then visit indoor sights.