At an elevation of 2,400 feet, it 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 greater metro area (Pima County ), Tucson was the 32nd fastest growing of 280 metropolitan areas from 1990-2000.
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'Connor. 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.
Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUS), 7250 S. Tucson Blvd., Tel. (520) 573-8000, . Served by a number of airlines. Some people fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor and then take a shuttle to Tucson. In recent years the cost savings and the cost of shuttle service going up because of gas prices has made this less and less of an attractive option unless you don't care about time and really want to save money.
I-10 from the north and southeast, and I-19 from the south.
I-10 from West Prince Road on the north side of Tucson to the I-10/I-19 interchange has been reduced to two lanes of traffic each direction and drivers aren't allowed to enter or exit the freeway between these points due to construction that is expected to be completed sometime in 2010. You need to exit the freeway and take the frontage road if you want to take any streets into downtown. You need to be aware that closures underneath the freeway happen at night, usually 9pm-6am, often all weekend, making getting to one side of the freeway to the other a surprising problem. The west side of the freeway is south bound traffic and the east side is north bound. This appears to have not created any major traffic problems in these areas, as locals appear to be avoiding the area altogether during commute times. (expected construction all of 2008-2009, as of Christmas 2008 it is 1/2 done)
Greyhound Lines, Station: 471 W. Congress St., Tel. (520) 792-3475, .
- 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. Tucson has far fewer miles of freeway than other U.S. cities of its size. All east-west travel and all travel on the east side is done via surface streets.
- By Bike. Tucson is a bike-friendly community, and has an extensive system of bike routes and paths  (but something you don't want to do in the summer unless you are experienced riding in very hot dry weather).
- Sabino Canyon, . Spectacular desert canyon cut into the south side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, now on Tucson's northern urban fringe. A tram (for a fee) will take visitors up to stop 4 (stops 5 through 9 are now closed to the tram because of extensive damage to the canyon caused by landslides in 2006). To park you will need a National Park Pass ($5 day, $20 annual) which is also good to use on Mt. Lemmon.
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Rd., Tel. (520) 883-2702, . More like Biosphere II than a walled institution, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is part zoo, part natural history museum and part botanical garden all in one Tucson attraction. From tarantulas to black bears, coyotes to scorpions, the museum-zoo is an entrancing and full-contact tribute to the Sonoran desert's wildlife (the wire fences are nearly invisible and the hummingbirds in the buzzing, walk-in aviary seem to think you are the attraction). Give yourself time to soak in the Southwest splendor and if time is all you have, the Museum is also on the fringes of Saguaro National Park, home to the world's largest forests of Saguaro cacti.
- Saguaro National Park, 3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tel. (520) 733-5153, . The most dense forest of the iconic cactus of the American West. The park has two unconnected units to the east and west of Tucson.
- Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tel. (520) 742-6455, . "Tohono chul" means "desert corner" in the Tohono O'Odham's (desert people's) language, and this haven in the midst of Tucson's burgeoning north side offers a tea room, gift shop, book store, and art gallery in the middle of trails and gardens. There are extensive botanical exhibits explaining the native plants, and a wonderful plant-sale area in which to buy them for your own garden. Many kinds of desert birds are frequent visitors.
- Mission San Xavier del Bac, 1950 W. San Xavier Rd., Tel. (520) 294-2624, . The "White Dove of the Desert" is a Tucson mission. Pure white and pristine against a hot desert backdrop, and still heady inside its elaborately colored and muraled interior from centuries of supplication, the Mission San Xavier del Bac was finished in 1797 when Arizona was still New Spain. It has recently been cleaned and restored by professional art conservators who worked with and trained members of the community.
- Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Rd., Tel. (520) 883-0100, . Ever notice that Hollywood's Old West, the backdrop for the gun-slinging and cryptic comments of Hollywood's Western icons -- Wayne, Eastwood, Douglas and Newman -- has much in common with the Wild West of today's Tombstone and Geronimo? They've all been filmed at the Old Tucson Studios, originally built in 1939 for the making of the William Holden vehicle "Arizona." Still an active film, TV and commercial set, it's also a nostalgia-themed park, with main drag shootouts, corseted can-can dancers, educational shows, pre-Prohibition saloons, restaurants and gift shops.
- El Tiradito (The Castaway), South Granada Avenue at West Cushing Street. El Tiradito is the only shrine to a sinner in North America. In the 1880s, a young man had an affair with his mother-in-law. When caught in the act, his father-in-law shot him and he stumbled from bed and ran out of the house. He dropped dead on this spot, and because he had not confessed his sins, he could not be buried in the church yard. His family and friends interred him where he fell, but remembered him with candles and flowers. People still burn candles and leave offerings today. The shrine is located in what remains of Tucson's barrio (much of which was destroyed when the Tucson Convention Center was built). Best visited at dusk or after dark.
- Center for Creative Photography,  is located on the University of Arizona campus, and routinely features works of famous (and not-so-famous) photographers. When they have their Ansel Adams collection up it is a must see.
- Kitt Peak National Observatory,  is one hour southwest of Tucson. A "don't miss" for the astronomy buff, there are several astronomical telescopes plus a large solar telescope. There are tours available.
- Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory,  is one hour due south of Tucson off I-19 near the town of Amado. Call ahead for tour information.
- Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Rd., Tel. (520) 574-0462, . Features over 250 historic aircraft.
- Titan Missile Museum, 1580 W. Duval Mine Rd., Sahuarita, Tel. (520) 625-7736, . Site south of Tucson preserves a Cold-War-era underground silo housing an unarmed Titan-II ICBM. Part of a larger field of such silos, this was one of the places from which nuclear war on the Soviet Union would have been waged.
- Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 North Alvernon Way, Tel. (520) 326-9686, . This beautiful oasis in the heart of Tucson was originally the home of Bernice and Rutger Porter. Dating to the 1920s, the earliest buildings on the property were constructed of adobe bricks made right on site. True to the vision of Mrs. Porter, Tucson Botanical Gardens is a place of beauty, inspiration and education about the natural world.
- Kartchner Caverns State Park, Nine miles south of I-10, off State Hwy 90, exit 302, Benson, Tel. (520) 586-CAVE, . Kartchner Caverns State Park, opened in 1999, is one of Arizona's newest wonders. Kartchner Caverns is a stunning limestone cave system considered one of the top ten in the world. Discovered in 1974 by explorers Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, and not revealed until 1988, the opportunity existed to preserve the caverns in near pristine condition.
- Winterhaven Festival of Lights, An annual event in the Winterhaven subdivision north of Fort Lowell Road displaying a huge Christmas light festival involving several dozen homes in the subdivision. Typically, the festival starts in the middle of December, ending a few days before New Years Day. The event is very popular, and traffic to the event is always very crowded.
- Gem Show, Tucson, Arizona, . For two weeks every winter, the world meets in Tucson as it becomes a bustling, international marketplace of buyers and sellers at the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. The "Gem Show" is much more than a single event at one location. Rather, there are thousands of participants and attendees at nearly 50 sites around town. Dozens of shows take place at the same time - in giant white tents, at hotels and resorts and at exhibit halls. There's something for everyone at the many open-to-the-public shows - from gold and diamonds to granite bookends and glass beads, and from fine specimens of dinosaur fossils to opals dug from the Australian Outback.
- Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 622-8848, . If you feel like dancing, 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.
- 4th Avenue One of two locations with a large concentration of bars and nightclubs, most notably Maloney's (a Pub chain), O'Malley's (Sports bar/dance/live music), The Shanty (Pub), Bison Witches (Sandwich shop/bar), North on 4th (bar/pool hall), and The Surly Wench (bar/live music).
- Congress Street Home of Club Congress and other venues, including the District (a dive) and Asylum (darkwave/industrial music)
- 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, pharmacy, business, fine arts, and basketball. One unusual thing is the tree walk, a self guided tour to almost a hundred rare trees on campus,  who knew there was a mature flowering baobab tree in Tucson?
- Pima Community College, . Multicampus two-year college system.
- The Summit Hut. 5045 E. Speedway at Rosemont, Tel. (520) 325-1554 and 605 E. Wetmore at 1st Avenue, Tel. (520) 888-1000, . Offers great gear and resources for getting outdoors around Tucson. A very local shop with more than 30 years of experience. Go in and ask questions, these guys will take the time to help you out.
- "Silver Sea" 330 N. 4th Ave. In the popular 4th Ave shopping district (520)624-9954 Offers sterling silver jewelry at competetive prices, Interesting little figurines (fantasy, gothic, egyptian, skulls) and a variety of giftie-type things. Silver Sea has been in business since 1993 and moved downtown in 2003.Recently transported to 4th Ave, Silver Sea is owner operated-Lizzie will help you find the perfect goodie to bring back with you. "Lizzie Stardust" label jewelry available in limited supply lots of OOAK items!
- The RumRunner(The Rum Runner), 3131 E. First Street(just off SE corner of Speedway & Country Club), ☎ (520) 326-0121, . 11 AM - 10 PM. Tucson's Destination Wine & Spirits Shop. Top Names, Rare Finds and Everyday Best Buys. International selection of fine wines. Vast selection of whiskeys - Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Canadian; and vodka, gin, tequila, cognac, brandy, and surprisingly, Rum. Excellent Beer selection. Full-service cheese counter / paté / olives / cornichons / smoked salmon / caviar / proscuito / salametti / baguettes / picnic foods. Chocolates and candies. Wine Tastings / Wine Bar / In-house bistro / # www.RumRunnerTucson.com
As you can guess, Tucson is a veritable hub of Southwestern and Mexican cuisine. But Tucson is an adventurous town (easily the most liberal metropolitan area in Arizona) and as a result of it's diversity, has a vibrant culinary culture.
- Bison Witches , 326 N 4th Ave. Bison Witches...say it fast and it sounds like 'buy sandwitches' which I often do! Bison Witches features tons of different sammies that are *huge* and will fill you up. Bread bowl soups are another popular choice at this deli/bar and is a college student's dream of a chill place to hang out and get in on some great drink specials! Thursdays is a great night for hanging out here. 7.50 for a HUGE sammie.
- El Molinito. 3675 W Ina Rd, Tucson, AZ 85741 (520) 744-1188 A Local Favorite! Great mexican food at a great price. Has been in Tucson for at least 20 years and has great service! Known for their amazing frozen margaritas. Try their beans and carne asada tacos on a soft flour tortilla!
- Epic Cafe. 4th Avenue at University. An eclectic coffee house with outdoor tables, free WiFi, good organic food, intricately tattooed wait staff, and an independent vibe. Bulletin boards to see what is going on in town. Coffee $1-$3; soups, pastries, and sandwiches $3-$8.
- Pat's Chili Dogs. Mission Road between St. Mary's Road and Speedway. An old time "drive in" (carhop service however does not exist - you must walk up to the order window). Lunchtime is packed with Tucsonans ordering the most famous Chili and Cheese Dogs in the State (I drive from Phoenix occasionally just to eat them!). French fries made from fresh potatoes on site. Lots of hot sauce. Arriba!!
- Birreria Guadalajara. Southeast corner of 22nd. Street and 4th. Avenue. A hole in the wall Mexican diner frequented by the Hispanic workers and Gringos in the know. All the standard Mexican fare, but an unusual emphasis on caldos or soup. Birria is shredded beef in it's own broth. This place makes the best!
- Yoshimatsu Healthy Japanese Food. 2745 N Campbell Avenue, Tel. (520) 320-1574 Local, home-made Japanese food. Recently opened a sushi bar within the same building. Great romantic location and a separate vegetarian menu.
- Beyond Bread. 3026 N. Campbell Ave., Tel. (520) 322-9965, . Amazing sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, made from ingredients that are as fresh as possible. (In addition to baking bread daily, the restaurant also roasts its turkey and beef on site.) They also have an espresso bar and pastries. A nice place for lunch, but watch out -- it's very popular, and you may have to wait in line. Average sandwich (hot & cold) costs around $6-6.50, chips included.
- Buddy's Grill, 4821 East Grant Road, Tel. (520) 795-2226. Buddy's Grill dishes up American meals dominated by seafood and steaks. Expect the average entrée to cost roughly $8 to $12.
- Home Town Buffet, 5101 North Oracle Road, Tel. (520) 888-1060. You'll find that Home Town Buffet focuses on American food. Expect the average entrée to cost in the range of $8 to $12.
- eegee's, . A favorite sub shop of the locals, noted for its flavored ices. There are several locations, but the chain is exclusive to the Tucson area.
- Char Thai. 5039 E 5th St, Tel. (520) 795-1715. It's not always easy to find good Asian restaurants in the desert, but this hole in the wall has to be near the top of anyone's list of favorites. Owned and operated by former residents of Bangkok, the restaurant has a huge selection of tasty curries and noodle dishes. The lunch specials are a great value.
- Viva Burrito Co. A local fast food chain known for its large, tasty breakfast burritos at a cheap price ($2.10). Open 24hrs.
- El Güero Canelo. 5201 S. 12th Ave. 12th Ave. south of Irvington. Tasty food, their hot dogs wrapped in bacon, but especially their carne asada. They have some of the best carne asada in the Southwest!
- Vero Amore.3305 N Swan Rd # 105, Tucson, AZ 85712, Tel. (520) 325-4122, . This is a certified pizzeria that hand-makes their mozzarella, and has the finest ingredients from Italy. Their pizza crust is crispy and chewy and oh-so-delicious! Try their Prosciutto Caprese Salad ($9.50) and Margarita Pizza ($9.25). Another favorite is the Capricciosa Pizza ($11).
- Cafe Poca Cosa, 88 E. Broadway Blvd., Tel. (520) 622-6400. Fantastic Southwestern cuisine in a fun atmosphere. Downtown, Cafe Poca Cosa serves Mexican cuisine as you've never tasted it before. Order the Plato Poca Cosa ($20), and chef-owner Suzana Davila will choose three entrees for you to sample. Trust her judgment. (dinner for two, about $46).
- Cup Cafe, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 798-1618, . Unusual, eclectic mix of Indian, Thai, Japanese, American and Mediterranean food, easily the most interesting restaurant in Tucson. You'll find plenty of vegetarian and some vegan options. On a nice day you can sit outside.
- El Charro Café, 311 N. Court Av., Tel. (520) 622-1922, . Opened in 1922, El Charro is the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned Mexican restaurant in the United States. The food is classic Southwestern, with more Sonoran influences than many Tucson restaurants.
- El Minuto Cafe, 354 S. Main Av., Tel. (520) 882-4145. Authentic Sonoran cuisine in an adobe house in the barrio, open since 1936. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but do order the mole if they have it on the day you are there. The carne seca is superb and the chiles rellenos are magnificent. Make sure to sample the fresh, made-on-the-premises tortillas. Combine this with a visit to El Tiradito, which is nearby.
- Rosa's Mexican Food, Ft. Lowell Rd. at Campbell Avenue. Excellent Sonoran-style Mexican food in this family-owned and operated storefront restaurant. Rosa's salsa is consistently voted one of the top three in Tucson by the readers of the Tucson Weekly. The food is heavy on the meat and cheese, with buttery tortillas and delicious refried beans. Entrées $7-$10.
- Black Angus Restaurant, 5075 North Oracle Road, Tel. (520) 293-7131. If you try out Black Angus, you'll find a steakhouse that serves patrons American dishes where people frequently get steaks. Entrées $12 to $20. Dress casual.
- Roma Caffe, 4140 West Ina Road, Tel. (520) 744-2929. This place focuses on an Italian cuisine. Entrées $12 to $2. Dress casual.
- Takamatsu, 5532 East Speedway Boulevard, Tel. (520) 512-0800. Takamatsu concentrates on Japanese and Korean dishes where it's common to order sushi. Entrées $12-$20. Also, you'll notice that there is habachi-style cooking.
- Vivace Restaurant, 4811 East Grant Road, Tel. (520) 795-7221. Vivace is an upscale restaurant that focuses on and serves Italian dishes. Entrées $12 to $20, casual dress. The atmosphere is enhanced by flowers at the tables. The establishment is spacious. Table talk requires you to speak up a bit here. Also, you'll notice that there is an open kitchen.
- Yamato, 857 E. Grant Rd. Sushi and Japanese.
- North, 2995 E. Skyline Dr. Located in the La Encantada mall. Italian in heritage, but extremely experimental. Dishes range from pizzas to pasta to steak, and are normally in the range of $19-$25 (others depend on market prices).
- Sushi Ten, 4500 E. Speedway Blvd. Japanese, sushi.
- El Mezon del Cobre, 2960 N 1st Ave. A lesser known but not unknown, great Mexican restaurant. Great place to go to dispel fears that Mexican food equals heat. The seafood, particularly the fish, is great for those with delicate palates. Dinner time includes roaming Mariachi singers.
- Hacienda del Sol. 5601 N. Hacienda del Sol Rd., Tel. (520) 529-3500, . Mobil four-star American-style grill featuring (Fall 2004) swordfish, Angus beef, buffalo sirloin, lamb, Scottish salmon, and other entrées . Reservations recommended.
- Angelo's, 4405 West Speedway Boulevard, Tel. (520) 624-8946. Focusing on Italian, Greek and European cuisines, this is an upscale restaurant. Expect the average entrée to cost between $20 and $30. The restaurant has a contemporary European style decor. The restaurant has a romantic atmosphere -- a favorite among couples.
- Arizona Inn, 2200 East Elm Street, Tel. (520) 325-1541. Serving an American fare, this is a fine dining facility. Expect the average entrée to cost in the range of $20 to $30. Architecturally, the restaurant is in an historic structure. The restaurant has a southwestern U.S. style decor. The interior is enhanced by prints and flowers at the tables, and the lighting is set quite dim. This is a white tablecloth restaurant, and the fireplace adds to the atmosphere and mood here. The establishment has several dining rooms. It has a romantic atmosphere.
- The Dish Bistro 3131 E. First Street. "Just off SE corner of Speedway & Country Club" Tel. (520) 326-1714  5 - 10 PM. $20 to $30 for an entree. A "speakeasy" bistro hidden inside a wine shop. Intimate midtown bistro offers an eclectic selection of 'Little Dishes', 'Green Dishes' and 'Big Dishes' from a Seasonal Menu. 'Dish of the Day' features fresh seafood. Exquisite daily soup with Chef's 'amuse'. Near-endless wine selection, as any bottle in The RumRunner - the adjoining wine shop - can be enjoyed in The Dish for $12 over retail. "Best of Tucson 2008" (Tucson Weekly). Make sure to book ahead.
Tucson has an active "wine community" - with many retailers, restaurants and wine bars regularly offering scheduled wine tasting events. Cochise County, southeast of Tucson has many wineries, some of which welcome visitors.
- Kon Tiki, 4625 E Broadway Blvd, ☎ (520) 323-7193, . A Polynesian themed bar with fruity, Cruzan-laden concoctions that's been in Tucson since 1963. Don't mind the snake behind the bar, the servers are nice and there is no cover. A reasonable place to drink, as $10 can get you feeling quite good. The Scorpion here is a must - but it is illegally to drink one by yourself so be sure to arrange for a designated driver. Weekends can be very busy.$4.50-7.50.
- Barrio Food & Drink, 135 S. 6th Ave., Tel. (520) 629-0191. Popular microbrewery near the train tracks that meander through downtown Tucson. One of the best bars in Tucson, with fully-stocked offerings, good food, and knowledgeable, friendly staff. The decor is quintessentially Southwestern, and is both casual and elegant.
- Bison Witches, 326 N. 4th Ave., Tel. (520) 740-1541. Located at the heart of Tucson's 4th Avenue historic district, Bison Witches is a funky little bar and restaurant that serves amazing sandwiches, has a large selection of beer and has great margaritas. Bison Witches is always full but the wait for a table is never more then 15 minutes. At night it can get crowded now that the back patio has been remodeled into an outdoor bar.
- The Surley Wench, 424 N 4th Ave. While a popular hangout for the local punk and lgbt crowd everyone is welcome. When bands are playing a $5 dollar cover is often charged. The Wench has two pool tables, a air hockey table and a lot of fun decor to peruse. They also often play B movies on a big screen over the entrance.
- Maloney's, 213 N 4th Ave. Large bar with pool tables, dance floor and multiple rooms. 2 for 1 drinks on Thursday nights, but beware, it can get packed on Thursday and Saturday nights with locals and college kids.
- Nimbus 3850 E. 44th Street Suite 138, (520) 745-9175, . Popular microbrewery with a monkey as it's mascot that serves quality food.
- Congress Hotel, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 622-8848, . This historic hotel was the site of John Dillinger's arrest . The rooms are small, but have a funky, historic feel. In addition to regular rooms, you'll find a youth hostel -- but beware, the hostel rooms are over the dance floor.
- Econo Lodge, 1136 N. Stone Ave., Tel. (520) 622-6714, . Pet-friendly hotel located near the University of Arizona.
- Roadrunner Hostel & Inn, 346 East 12th Street, +1 520 628-4709, cell +1 520 940-7280, . Beds are $20 per night. Private rooms are $38 per night.
- Rodeway Inn, 1248 North Stone Ave., Tel. (520) 622-6446, . 39 comfortable rooms to help you get off of the road and get some rest.
Some motels located on West Miracle Mile Rd and south of 3000th block of North Oracle Rd tend to be cheaper run down motels that involve the shady types. Although good deals can be found you probably wouldn't want to take your family to any one of these. This area is a legacy of the pre-freeway auto courts, 1937 to 1965, [], called Miracle Mile []. A number of the old hotels remain, mostly run by Indian owners, compete on price and upkeep. With the city fighting crime, mostly prostitution, aggressively in the area, widening and landscaping Oracle Rd, even removing one of the few traffic circles in Tucson, now only a unsavory reputation remains as the area tries to pull itself out of decline. If you need a room for $25 this is the place to start looking.
- AmeriSuites Tucson/Airport, 6885 S. Tucson Blvd., Tel. (520) 295-0405, . Located 0.5 miles south of the Tucson International Airport and minutes from the Desert Diamond Casino.
- Comfort Suites Sabino Canyon, 7007 E. Tanque Verde, 520-298-2300 . Newly renovated and centrally located.
- Comfort Suites at Tucson Mall, 515 West Automall Dr, 520-888-6676 . Located one block from the Tucson Mall and minutes away from the University of Arizona.
- Desert Dove Bed and Breakfast, 11707 E. Old Spanish Trail, Tel (877) 722-6879, .
- Lodge on the Desert, 306 N. Alvernon Way, Tel. (800) 456-5634, . Founded in 1936 as a dude ranch on the edge of town, Lodge on the Desert is now in the heart of the city. However, it still exudes desert style and beauty. The 35 rooms are beautifully appointed with unique Southwestern flair.
- Palo Verde Inn & Suites(Newly renovated eco-friendly, independent airport hotel in Tucson, Arizona.), 5251 S. Julian Dr., Tucson, AZ 85706, ☎ (520) 294-5250(email@example.com, fax: (520) 889-1982), . checkin: 3pm; checkout: 12pm. Newly renovated eco-friendly, independent hotel. 5 minutes from airport. Guestrooms, corporate suites, and extended-stay available. Rates: $49+ (summer), $79+ (winter).
- The Riverpark Inn, 350 South Freeway, Tucson, AZ 85745-2707, ☎ 520-239-2300, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 12:00 PM. Near downtown, the Convention Center and close to the University of Arizona. Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern on-site.
- Starr Pass Golf Suites, 3645 West Starr Pass Blvd +1520-670-0500, . 80 spacious casitas and suites with spectacular desert views, many with fireplaces and balconies.
- Tucson Marriott University Park, 880 E Second Street, 520-792-4100, . Just steps from the front door is Tucson's most vibrant social and cultural neighborhood.
- Westward Look Resort, 245 E Ina Rd., Tel. (800) 722-2500, . A full service resort and spa located on an 80-acre oasis. There is onsite horseback riding, hiking, birding, swimming, and gourmet dining.
- The Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St., Tel. (520) 325-1541, . This charming and classic 1930 resort was built by Isabella Greenway, Arizona's first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress (1933-1937). Colorful stucco casitas and suites ramble through meticulously groomed grounds. The Arizona Inn has won top awards from Zagat and Condé Nast, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 North Resort Drive, Tele (520)-299-2020, . This hotel is located at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. There are a total of 398 guest rooms on three floors. There are two pools, five restaurants, a spa, running path, hiking trails, and there are many species of birds right outside your room on the side that looks out to the mountains. There are also two 18 hole golf courses around the hotel. There is free access to Sabino Canyon via a van. But, there no free wifi here and in fact it is $250 per day in the convention area.
- Tanque Verde Ranch, 14301 E Speedway, Tel: (520)296-6275, . Guests staying at the Tanque Verde Ranch have a choice of being pampered by daily massages or hitting the trail by horse or foot. Located on 640 beautiful acres in the foothills of the Rincon mountains east of Tucson Arizona, the Tanque Verde Ranch offers Arizona horseback riding, tennis, guided hiking, mountain biking, nature walks and much more, all included in your nightly rate. This Arizona dude ranch, founded in 1868 in the verdant Sonoran desert, offers an excellent Southwestern resort along with a historic Arizona dude ranch experience in a secluded natural setting.
- Tucson Mountain Park, Gilbert Ray Campground, 8451 W Mccain Loop, . Secluded, quiet, county-run RV Park. 30 amp electric only, water and dump station available on the grounds. No reservations taken, honor system payments. No Showers. NOTE: Rattlesnakes are not uncommon in the park. $20/ night for Rv's, $10 for tents.
- Catalina State Park is about 10 miles north of downtown, just at the edge of the city buildup.  These both are undiscovered gems, [], used mostly by out of state snowbirds during the winter, worth looking at to put up adventuresome guests on a budget or those travelers with a desire to see the night sky only a few miles out of Tucson. If you are visiting in April, check out the Festival of the Sun: Tucson Solar Potluck and Renewable Energy Exhibition, 2008 was the 26th one.  
- Mt Lemon Highway , there are a number of campgrounds  on the mountain. Molina Basin  is the first and only year round one. Prison camp  is unusual as it displays the remnants, mostly rock walls from a Japanese-American interment camp from WW2 . Be sure to get a permit at the foot of the mountain, just before Molina Basin, about mile post 4, camping fees are in addition to travel permit, self pay at entrance, camp guides at both these places, in first site. There is a pleasant hike between these two campgrounds, park all the way at the end of prison camp and walk downhill to Molina, the destruction from the Aspen fire is evident here as is all the new green growth.
- 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.
- Crime is an issue in the city (as it is in all urban settings). Midtown (specifically the section along Alvernon Road between Grant and Ft. Lowell) and the South section of the city are not the safest places to be - but there are no real attractions in these areas anyway. Downtown is heavily occupied until 2AM when the bars close. If you are downtown after 2AM, be cautious. While murder rates are fairly low, they are violent and sometimes random. There is gang activity but for the most part it is directed against rival gangs. There are many homeless people downtown. The center city is populated heavily by the "young and restless", so it may seem a spooky to more conservative travelers due to the dirt and noise the youngsters create.
- Occasionally, you might encounter a homeless person or a beggar who appears to be walking aimlessly in a parking lot (no area of the city is immune from this type of activity), and then suddenly confront you as you enter or exit your car to beg you for money. A simple, but firm, reply of "no" to the beggar is usually more than sufficient to send the beggar away to their next opportunity.
- Getting your car stolen is certainly a hassle you can do without in your life. Unfortunately, Tucson has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft in the USA (ranked # 10 in the nation), and there are a few locations in the city you're more likely to have your car / truck stolen at than at any other place in the town. The following are usually the top three places in Tucson to get your car stolen (December 2008's most popular theft locations): 1451 W Ajo Way - Mission Creek Apts (number 1), Wal-Mart on 1650 West Valencia Road and Las Villas De Kino Apts. 5515 S. Forgeus Av. (tied for second), and the Park Place Mall (number 3). Use all precautions to secure your vehicle (i.e. a visible steering wheel locking tool, do not leave keys in the car, fully roll-up windows, lock all doors, activate the car alarm) to minimize the opportunity of a thief stealing your car or truck. It won't stop a car thief from stealing your car, but it may make it a little less appealing to steal...time is a thief's worst enemy. As of December 2008, the Tucson Police Department reported these cars as being the top five most stolen (no particular year model reported by the TPD): the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F150, and the Dodge Ram 1500.
- During the monsoon season (usually in the months of July - September), Tucson does experience flash flooding. Under no circumstances should you attempt to drive across a flooded road that is barricaded. If your vehicle becomes stranded in your attempt to cross the barricaded road: you will be issued a traffic citation by the police under the 1995 "stupid motorist law" (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-910), fined in the amount of $2000, and ordered to pay for all rescue costs (usually $1500 or more - and that doesn't include the towing expense either). Also, if you knowingly drive a vehicle into a flooded road that is barricaded with a child under the age of 16, you may also be charged with a class-1 misdemeanor charge of child endangerment (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3619 - per each child in the car) in addition to the previously mentioned penalties if your car becomes stranded.
- Newcomers to the southwest often hear about a lung infection called Valley Fever (the proper medical name is called, coccidioidomycosis). Although it's rare to contract this disease, it should be taken seriously as it is difficult for most doctors to accurately identify it (a blood test called a coccidioidal must be done to accurately diagnose this illness), and it takes weeks for the symptoms to fully develop for an experienced doctor to recognize them. Exposure to very dusty conditions (ATV riding in the desert, construction, getting caught in a sudden dust storm) increases the opportunity to become infected. It is recommended to wear a face mask if you intend to be exposed to dusty conditions. There is currently no cure for this disease, only long term treatment.
- Drink plenty of water or sport drinks (i.e. Gatorade) during the summer months (especially when temperatures reach above 100 degrees Fahrenheit or over 38 degrees Celsius), and avoid drinking alcohol if you are going to be in the direct heat and sun. This cannot be emphasized enough if you plan to make a trek in the desert mountains.
- Mosquitoes can be bad after a monsoon (usually in the months of July - September), so consider wearing mosquito repellent with a high concentration of DEET to reduce the risk of acquiring diseases typically transmitted by these annoying insects.
- Be sure to wear a good waterproofed high SPF rated sunscreen (at least SPF 35 that blocks both UVA and UVB light rays, and be sure to reapply every two hours if exposure to the sun continues), polarized sun glasses, and a hat during the hot summer months. It's easy to sunburn and windburn out in the desert, and the UV rays are very intense.
The following foreign consulates are located in Tucson:
- Canada - 1840 East River Road Suite 200, phone (520) 622-3641
- Costa Rica - 3567 East Sunrise Drive Suite 235, phone (520) 529-7068
- Mexico - 553 South Stone Ave, phone (520) 882-5596
For all emergencies you may dial 911 from any cell (active or inactive cell phone) or land line phone free of charge. If using a cell phone be sure to inform the operator of your exact location, as it takes extra time for the operator to attempt to triangulate your location - time is of the essence in emergency situations.
For non-emergencies dial the police department at 520-791-4444 between 0800-2200 hrs (after 2200 hrs, you may dial 911 for all issues).
For visitor information about events and activities taking place in Tucson, check out the city of Tucson's on-line directory .
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 makes for a pleasant day trip. The Copper Queen has great food and historic accommodation.
- Tombstone. Visit the famous old west boom town to see "haunted" theaters, graves of famous outlaws, and reenactments of the famous O.K. Corral shootout. For more serious Old West history, be sure to visit the Cochise County Courthouse museum. A must for any trip to southern Arizona.
This page was last edited at 22:00, on 17 March 2009 by Colin Jensen. Based on work by Peter Fitzgerald and firstname.lastname@example.org, Wikitravel user(s) PerryPlanet, Rmwilliamsjr, Edmontonenthusiast and Az hiker, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.