Tucson: Wikis


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—  City  —
Tucson with Catalina Mountains in background
Nickname(s): The Old Pueblo, Optics Valley,[1] The Sunshine Factory,[2] The 520, City of The White Dove, City in Kilometers
Location in Pima County and the state of Arizona
Tucson is located in the USA
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 32°13′18″N 110°55′35″W / 32.22167°N 110.92639°W / 32.22167; -110.92639Coordinates: 32°13′18″N 110°55′35″W / 32.22167°N 110.92639°W / 32.22167; -110.92639
Country United States
County Pima
 - Type Mayor-council government
 - Mayor Bob Walkup (R)
 - City 195.1 sq mi (505.3 km2)
 - Land 194.7 sq mi (504.2 km2)
 - Water 0.4 sq mi (1.1 km2)
Elevation 2,389 ft (728 m)
Population (2008)[3][4]
 - City 541,811
 Density 2,647.8/sq mi (1,022.5/km2)
 Urban 720,425
 Metro 1,023,320
 - Demonym Tucsonan
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
Area code(s) 520
FIPS code 04-77000
Website www.tucsonaz.gov
1 Urban = 2000 Census

Tucson (pronounced /ˈtuːsɒn/) is a city in and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States,[5] located 118 miles (188 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles (98 km) north of the U.S.-Mexico border. The 2008 Census Bureau estimate puts the city's population at 541,811,[6] with a metropolitan area population at 1,023,320 as of July 1, 2008. In 2005, Tucson ranked as the 32nd largest city and 52nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. It is the largest city in southern Arizona and the second largest in the state. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona.

Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, Sahuarita south of the city, and South Tucson in an enclave south of downtown. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson (some within or overlapping the city limits) include Casas Adobes, Catalina, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Green Valley, Tanque Verde, New Pascua, Vail and Benson.

Tucson has four main mountain ranges, one to the north known as the Santa Catalina Mountains, to the east are the Rincon Mountains, south the Santa Rita Mountains will be found, and west are the Tucson Mountains. The highest point in the area is Mount Wrightson found in the Santa Rita Mountains at 9,453 feet above sea level, surpassing Mount Lemmon by about 300 feet.

The English name Tucson derives from the Spanish name of the city, Tucsón [tukˈson], which was borrowed from the O'odham name Cuk Ṣon [tʃʊk ʂɔːn], meaning "(at the) base of the black [hill]", a reference to an adjacent volcanic mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo".



Tucson's Stone Avenue in 1880

Tucson was probably first visited by Paleo-Indians, known to have been in southern Arizona by about 12,000 years ago. Recent archaeological excavations near the Santa Cruz River have located a village site dating from 4,000 years ago. The floodplain of the Santa Cruz River was extensively farmed during the Early Agricultural period, circa 1200 BC to AD 150. These people constructed irrigation canals and grew corn, beans, and other crops while gathering wild plants and hunting animals. The Early Ceramic period occupation of Tucson saw the first extensive use of pottery vessels for cooking and storage. The groups designated by archaeologists as the Hohokam lived in the area from AD 600 to 1450 and are known for their red-on-brown pottery.

Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the Santa Cruz River valley in 1692, and founded the Mission San Xavier del Bac about 7 miles (12 km) upstream from the site of the settlement of Tucson in 1700. The Spanish established a walled fortress, Presidio San Agustín del Tucson, on August 20, 1775. (near the present downtown Pima County Courthouse) Tucson was attacked repeatedly by Apaches during the Spanish period of the presidio. Eventually the town came to be called "Tucson" and became a part of Mexico after Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Tucson was captured by the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican-American War. Following the Gadsden purchase in 1853, Tucson became a part of the United States of America, although the American military did not formally take over control of the community until March 1856. From August 1861, until mid-1862, Tucson was the western capital of the Confederate Arizona Territory, the eastern capital being Mesilla. Until 1863, Tucson and all of Arizona was part of New Mexico Territory. From 1867 to 1877, Tucson was the capital of Arizona Territory. In 1882, Frank Stilwell was shot and killed by Wyatt Earp near Tucson's train station. This event helped trigger the Arizona War that lasted a few weeks. The University of Arizona, located in Tucson, was founded in 1885.

By 1900, 7,531 people lived in the city. At about this time, the US Veterans Administration had begun construction on the present Veterans Hospital. Many veterans who had been gassed in World War I and were in need of respiratory therapy began coming to Tucson after the war, due to the clean dry air. The population increased gradually to 13,913 in 1910, 20,292 in 1920, and 36,818 in 1940. In 2006 the population of Pima County, in which Tucson is located, passed one million while the City of Tucson's population was 535,000.

During the territorial and early statehood periods, Tucson was Arizona's largest city and commercial center, while Phoenix was the seat of state government (beginning in 1889) and agriculture. The establishment of Tucson Municipal Airport increased its prominence. Between the 1910 and 1920, Phoenix surpassed Tucson in population, and has continued to outpace Tucson in growth. However, both Tucson and Phoenix have experienced among the highest growth rates in the U.S.

Tucson, Arizona in 1909


Tucson, as seen from space. The four major malls are indicated by blue arrows.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Tucson has a total area of 195.1 square miles (505.3 km²), of which 194.7 square miles (504.2 km²) is land and 0.4 square miles (1.1 km²) (0.22%) is water.

The city's elevation is 2,389 ft (728 m) above sea level. Tucson is situated on an alluvial plain in the Sonoran desert, surrounded by five minor ranges of mountains: the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains to the north, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Rincon Mountains to the east, and the Tucson Mountains to the west. The high point of the Santa Catalina Mountains is 9,157-foot (2,791 m) Mount Lemmon, the southernmost ski destination in the continental U.S., while the Tucson Mountains include 4,687-foot (1,429 m) Wasson Peak. The highest point in the area is Mount Wrightson, found in the Santa Rita Mountains at 9,453 feet above sea level.

A view of Tucson from Windy Point, at elevation 6,580 feet (2,010 m) on Mt. Lemmon
Tucson is noted for its abundant saguaros that, on rare occasions, are covered with light snow

The city is located on the Santa Cruz River, formerly a perennial river but now a dry river bed for much of the year (called a "wash" locally) that floods during significant seasonal rains. The Santa Cruz becomes a subterranean stream for part of the year.

Tucson is located along Interstate 10, which runs through Phoenix toward Santa Monica, California in the northwest, and through El Paso, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana, toward Jacksonville, Florida in the east. I-19 runs south from Tucson toward Nogales and the U.S.-Mexico border. I-19 is the only Interstate highway that uses "kilometer posts" instead of "mileposts", although the speed limits are marked in miles per hour instead of kilometers per hour.


Similar to many other cities in the Western U.S., Tucson was developed on a grid plan starting in the late 1800s, with the city center at Stone Avenue and Broadway Boulevard. While this intersection was initially near the geographic center of Tucson, that center has shifted as the city has expanded far to the east, development to the west being effectively blocked by the Tucson Mountains. An expansive city covering substantial area, Tucson has many distinct neighborhoods.

A 19th century adobe house in the Armory Park neighborhood


Early neighborhoods

Tucson's earliest neighborhoods, some of which are now covered by the Tucson Convention Center, or TCC, include:

  • El Presidio,[7] Tucson's oldest neighborhood
  • Barrio Histórico,[8] also known as Barrio Libre
  • Armory Park, directly south of downtown
  • Barrio Anita,[9] named for an early settler and located between Granada Avenue and Interstate 10
  • Barrio Tiburón, now known as the Fourth Avenue arts district – designated in territorial times as a red-light district
  • Barrio El Jardín, named for an early recreational site, Levin's Gardens
  • Barrio El Hoyo, named for a lake that was part of the gardens. Before the TCC was built, El Hoyo (Spanish for pit or hole) referred to this part of the city, which was inhabited mainly by Mexican-American citizens and Mexican immigrants.

Other historical neighborhoods near downtown include:

  • Menlo Park, situated west of downtown, adjacent to Sentinel Peak
  • Iron Horse, east of Fourth Avenue and north of the railroad tracks, named for its proximity
  • West University, located between the University of Arizona and downtown
  • Pie Allen, located west and south of the university near Tucson High School and named for a local entrepreneur and early mayor of Tucson
  • Sam Hughes, located east of the University of Arizona and named after an instigator/hero of the Camp Grant Massacre
  • Winterhaven, known for its elaborate annual Christmas decorations and Festival of Lights community fundraiser.


View of downtown Tucson from "A" Mountain in 2008. Santa Catalina Mountains to left in the background, Rincon Mountains to far right.

As of the late 2000s, downtown Tucson is undergoing a revitalization effort by city planners and the business community. The primary project is Rio Nuevo, a large retail and community center that has been stalled in planning for more than ten years. Downtown is generally classified as north of 22nd Street, east of I-10, and southwest of Toole Avenue and the Union Pacific (formerly Southern Pacific) railroad tracks, site of the historic train depot[10] and "Locomotive #1673", built in 1900. Downtown is divided into the Presidio District, Convention District, and the Congress Street Arts and Entertainment District.[citation needed]

The recently restored Fox Theater is in downtown Tucson.

Tucson's tallest building, the 23-story UniSource Energy Tower is situated downtown and was completed in 1986. The planned Sheraton Convention Center Hotel would surpass the Bank Building at 25-28 stories. The downtown Sheraton will sit next to the Tucson Convention Center on the east edge of Granada Avenue. The hotel will be built in conjunction with an expansion of the TCC.[11] Other high-rise buildings downtown include Bank of America Plaza, and the Pioneer (completed in 1914).[citation needed]

Pima County Courthouse with more modern government buildings in the background

Attractions downtown include the Hotel Congress designed in 1919, the Art Deco Fox Theater designed in 1929, the Rialto Theatre opened in 1920, and St. Augustine Cathedral completed in 1896.[12] Included on the National Register of Historic Places is the old Pima County Courthouse, designed by Roy W. Place in 1928.[13] The El Charro Café, Tucson's oldest restaurant, also operates its main location downtown.[14]

Central or Midtown

As one of the oldest parts of town, Central Tucson is anchored by the Broadway Village shopping center designed by local architect Josias Joesler at the intersection of Broadway Boulevard and Country Club Road. The 4th Avenue Shopping District between downtown and the University and the Lost Barrio just East of downtown also have many unique and popular stores. Local retail business in Central Tucson is densely concentrated along Fourth Avenue and the Main Gate Square on University Boulevard near the UA campus. The El Con Mall is also located in the eastern part of midtown.

The University of Arizona, chartered in 1885, is located in midtown and includes Arizona Stadium and McKale Center. Historic Tucson High School (designed in 1924) featured in the 1987 film Can't Buy Me Love, the Arizona Inn (built in 1930), and the Tucson Botanic Gardens are also located in Central Tucson.

4th Avenue street scene

Tucson's largest park, Reid Park is located in midtown and includes Reid Park Zoo and Hi Corbett Field. Speedway Boulevard, a major east-west arterial road in central Tucson, was named the "ugliest street in America" by Life magazine in the early 1970s, quoting Tucson Mayor James Corbett. Despite this, Speedway Boulevard was awarded "Street of the Year" by Arizona Highways in the late 1990s.

Central Tucson is bicycle-friendly. To the east of the University of Arizona, E. Third Street is bike-only except for local traffic and passes by the historic homes of the Sam Hughes neighborhood. To the west, E. University Boulevard leads to the Fourth Avenue Shopping District. To the North, N. Mountain Avenue has a full bike-only lane for half of the 3.5 miles (5.6 km) to the Rillito River Park bike and walk multi-use path. To the south, N. Highland Avenue leads to the Barraza-Aviation Parkway bicycle path.

South side and South Tucson

Tucson International Airport when it was under renovation

The South side contains the city of South Tucson, with an area of approximately 1¼ square miles (3¼ square kilometers), which is completely surrounded by the city of Tucson. The South side is generally considered to be the area of approximately 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) north of Los Reales Road, south of 22nd Street, east of I-19, west of Davis Monthan Air Force Base and southwest of Aviation Parkway. Much of Tucson's Mexican-American population live on the south side and South 6th Avenue amd South 12th Avenue are considered as the cultural locus of the working class Mexican-American population. The Tucson International Airport and Tucson Electric Park are also located here.

South Tucson has been struggling heavily with high crime rates. According to adjusted Morgan Quitno statistics, South Tucson (as a standalone city) has more than four times the United States average in larceny, theft and assault.

West Tucson

West Tucson is a combination of urban and suburban development. Generally defined as the area west of I-10, West Tucson encompasses the banks of the Santa Cruz River and the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Attractions in West Tucson include Saguaro National Park West, Sentinel Peak, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, and the Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa.

Mountain lion at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Panorama of western suburbs

On Sentinel Peak (also known as "'A' Mountain"), just west of downtown, there is a giant "A" in honor of the University of Arizona. Starting in about 1910, a yearly tradition developed for freshmen to whitewash the "A", which was visible for miles. However, at the beginning of the Iraq War, anti-war activists painted it black. This was followed by a paint scuffle where the "A" was painted various colors until the city council intervened. It is now red, white and blue except when it is white or another color decided by a biennial election. Because of the three-color paint scheme often used, the shape of the A can be vague and indistinguishable from the rest of the peak. The top of Sentinel Peak, which is accessible by road, offers an outstanding scenic view of the city looking eastward. A parking lot located near the summit of Sentinel Peak was formerly a popular place to watch sunsets or view the city lights at night. This is no longer possible as a recent ordinance has forced the closing of Sentinel Peak at 8 p.m. Every evening, Tucson police set up a barricade blocking the entrance while they enforce the evacuation of all visitors off the mountain.[citation needed]

North Tucson

North Tucson includes the urban neighborhoods of Amphitheater and Flowing Wells. Usually considered the area north of Fort Lowell Road, north Tucson includes some of Tucson's primary commercial zones (Tucson Mall and the Oracle Road Corridor). Many of the city's most upscale boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries are also located on the north side including St. Philip's Plaza. The Plaza is directly adjacent to the historic St. Philip's in the Hills Episcopal Church (built in 1936).

Also on the north side is the suburban community of Catalina Foothills (formerly known as "The Friendly Village of The Catalina's"), located in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains just north of the city limits. This community includes among the area's most expensive homes, sometimes multi-million dollar estates. The Foothills area is generally defined as north of River Road, east of Oracle Road, and west of Sabino Creek. Some of the Tucson area's major resorts are located in the Catalina Foothills, including the Hacienda Del Sol, Westin La Paloma Resort, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort and Canyon Ranch Resort. La Encantada, an upscale outdoor shopping mall, is also in the Foothills.

The foothills area is home to Tohono Chul Park (a botanical garden) near the intersection of Oracle Road and Ina. Also the DeGrazia Gallery of the Sun near the intersection of Swan Road and Skyline Drive. Built by artist Ted DeGrazia starting in 1951, the 10-acre (40,000 m2) property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features an eclectic chapel, an art gallery and a free museum.

East Tucson

East Tucson is relatively new compared to other parts of the city, developed between the 1950s and the 1970s, such as Desert Palms Park. It is generally classified as the area of the city east of Swan Road, with above-average real estate values relative to the rest of the city. The area includes urban and suburban development near the Rincon Mountains. East Tucson includes Saguaro National Park East. Tucson's "Restaurant Row" is also located on the east side, along with a significant corporate and financial presence. Tucson's largest office building is 5151 East Broadway in east Tucson, completed in 1975. Park Place, a recently renovated shopping center, is also located there.

Near the intersection of Craycroft and Ft. Lowell Road are the remnants of the Historic Fort Lowell. This area has become one of Tucson's iconic neighborhoods. The Fort abandoned at the end of the 1800s was rediscovered by a trio of artists in the 1930s. The Bolsius family Pete, Nan and Charles Bolsius purchased and renovated surviving adobe buildings of the Fort - transforming them into spectacular artistic southwestern architectural examples. Their woodwork, plaster treatment and sense of proportion drew on their Dutch heritage and New Mexican experience. Other artists and academics throughout the middle of the 20th century, including: Win Ellis, Jack Maul, Madame Cheruy, Giorgio Belloli, Charels Bode, Veronica Hughart, Edward and Rosamond Spicer, and Ruth Brown, renovated adobes, built homes and lived in the area. This rural pocket in the middle of the city is listed on the National register of Historic Places. Each year in February the neighborhood celebrates its history in the City Landmark it owns and restored the San Pedro Chapel.

Situated between the Santa Catalina Mountains and the Rincon Mountains near Redington Pass northeast of the city limits is the community of Tanque Verde. The Arizona National Golf Club, Forty-Niners Country Club, and the historic Tanque Verde Guest Ranch are also in northeast Tucson.

Retired B-52s are stored in the boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Southeast Tucson

Southeast Tucson continues to experience rapid residential development. The area includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The area is considered to be south of Golf Links Road. The suburban community of Rita Ranch houses many of the military families from Davis-Monthan. It is the home of Santa Rita High School, Charles Ford Park (Lakeside Park), Lakeside Lake, Lincoln Park (upper and lower), The Lakecrest Neighborhoods, and Pima Community College East Campus. The Atterbury Wash with its access to excellent bird watching is also located in the Southeast Tucson area.

Northwest Tucson

The expansive area northwest of the city limits is diverse, ranging from the rural communities of Catalina and parts of the town of Marana, to the affluent town of Oro Valley in the western foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, and residential areas in the northeastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains. The community of Casas Adobes is also on the Northwest Side, with the distinction of being Tucson's first suburb, established in the late 1940s. Casas Adobes is centered on the historic Casas Adobes Plaza (built in 1948). The Foothills Mall is also located on the northwest side. Continental Ranch (Marana), Dove Mountain (Marana), and Rancho Vistoso (Oro Valley) are all masterplanned communities located in the Northwest, where thousands of residents live.

Many of the Tucson area's golf courses and resorts are located in this area, including the Hilton El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort in Oro Valley, the Omni Tucson National Resort & Spa, and Westward Look Resort. The Ritz Carlton at Dove Mountain, the second Ritz Carlton Resort in Arizona, which also includes a golf course, opened in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains in northeast Marana in 2009. Catalina State Park and Tortolita Mountain Park are also located in the Northwest area.

Climate and environmental issues

Tucson has hot summers and temperate winters. However, Tucson is almost always cooler and wetter than Phoenix because of its higher elevation.

Tucson has a desert climate (Köppen Bwh), with two major seasons, summer and winter; plus three minor seasons: fall, spring, and the monsoon. Though desert climates are defined as regions that receive less than 9.8 inches (248.9 mm) of precipitation per year, Tucson still qualifies due to its high evapotranspiration in spite of receiving 11.8 inches (299.7 mm) of precipitation per year; in other words, it experiences a high net loss of water.[15] A similar scenario is seen in Alice Springs, Australia which averages 11 inches (279.4 mm) a year, but has a desert climate.

Climate data for Tucson, AZ
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 64
Average low °F (°C) 38
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.99
Source: [16] 2009-11-25
Snow on Wasson Peak
Monsoon clouds blanket the Catalina Mountains in August 2005
Climate chart (explanation)
average max. and min. temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: Weather.com / NWS

The most obvious difference of climate from most other inhabited regions is the extremely hot and sunny climate. This difference is a major contributing factor to a rate of skin cancer that is at least 3 times higher than in more northerly regions.[17]

Summer is characterized by low humidity, clear skies, and daytime high temperatures that exceed 100 °F (37 °C). The average overnight temperature ranges between 66 °F (19 °C) and 85 °F (29 °C).

The monsoon can begin any time from mid-June to late July, with an average start date around July 3. It typically continues through August and sometimes into September.[18] During the monsoon, the humidity is much higher than the rest of the year. It begins with clouds building up from the south in the early afternoon followed by intense thunderstorms and rainfall, which can cause flash floods. The evening sky at this time of year is often pierced with dramatic lightning strikes. Large areas of the city do not have storm sewers, so monsoon rains flood the main thoroughfares, usually for no longer than a few hours. A few underpasses in Tucson have "feet of water" scales painted on their supports to discourage fording by automobiles during a rainstorm.[19] Arizona traffic code Title 28-910, the so-called "Stupid Motorist Law", was instituted in 1995 to discourage people from entering flooded roadways. If the road is flooded and a barricade is in place, motorists who drive around the barricade can be charged up to $2000 for costs involved in rescuing them.[20]

The weather in the fall is much like that during spring: dry, with cool nights and warm to hot days. Temperatures above 100 degrees occur into early October. Average daytime highs of 84 °F (28 °C), with overnight lows of 55 °F (13 °C), are typical in the fall, with mean daily temperatures falling more rapidly from October to December.

Winters in Tucson are mild relative to other parts of the United States. Daytime highs in the winter range between 64 °F (18 °C) and 75 °F (24 °C), with overnight lows between 30 °F (−1 °C) and 44 °F (7 °C). Although rare, snow has been known to fall in Tucson, usually a light dusting that melts within a day.

Early spring is characterized by gradually rising temperatures and several weeks of vivid wildflower blooms beginning in late February and into March. Daytime average highs range from 72 °F (23 °C) in March to 88 °F (31 °C) in May with average overnight lows in March of 45 °F (7 °C) and in May of 59 °F (15 °C).

At the University of Arizona, where records have been kept since 1894, the record maximum temperature was 115 °F (46 °C) on June 19, 1960, and July 28, 1995, and the record minimum temperature was 6 °F (−14 °C) on January 7, 1913. There are an average of 150.1 days annually with highs of 90°F (32°C) or higher and an average of 26.4 days with lows of 32°F (0°C) or lower. Average annual precipitation is 11.15 in (283 mm) . There is an average of 49 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1905 with 24.17 in (614 mm) and the driest year was 1924 with 5.07 in (129 mm). The most precipitation in one month was 7.56 in (192 mm) in July 1984. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 4.16 in (106 mm) on October 1, 1983. Annual snowfall averages 0.7 in (1.8 cm). The most snow in one year was 7.2 in (18 cm) in 1987. The most snow in one month was 6.00 in (15.2 cm) in January 1898 and March 1922.[21]

At the airport, where records have been kept since 1930, the record maximum temperature was 117°F on June 26, 1990, and the record minimum temperature was 16°F on January 4, 1949. There is an average of 145.0 days annually with highs of 90°F (32°C) or higher and an average of 16.9 days with lows of 32°F (0°C) or lower. Average annual precipitation is 11.59 inches. Measurable precipitation falls on an average of 53 days. The wettest year was 1983 with 21.86 inches of precipitation, and the driest year was 1953 with 5.34 inches. The most rainfall in one month was 7.93 inches in August 1955. The most rainfall in 24 hours was 3.93 inches on July 29, 1958. Snow at the airport averages only 1.1 inch annually. The most snow received in one year was 8.3 inches and the most snow in one month was 6.8 inches in December 1971.[22]

Environmental sustainability

Tucson is considered to be in a natural location for the development of a solar energy community, but the city has not yet adopted solar power in any significant way. Perhaps the biggest sustainability problem is potable water supply. Household water use is the principal drain on the water supply, with agriculture a close second. In 1997, the 35 golf courses in the area consumed about 10 percent of the municipal water supply, and since then, 16 of the remaining 25 or so courses use reclaimed water.

As a result, residences consume the vast majority of municipal water. Like golf courses, agricultural lands are turning toward reclaimed water. Mining and other industrial water uses combined accounted for about a 15 percent of water use in 1997.[23] Although Tucsonans find lawns less acceptable than their neighbors in Phoenix,[citation needed] massive drawing down of groundwater resources over the last 100 years has occurred, visible as ground subsidence in some residential areas.

Tucson's reliance on the Central Arizona Project Aqueduct, which passes more than 300 miles (480 km) across the desert from the Colorado River, casts doubt over "sustainability" claims even at current population levels. This points to the need for further efforts at re-use, recycling, and storage and use of rainfall, prompted by Pima County and the city in numerous outreach campaigns.


More than 100 years ago, the Santa Cruz River flowed nearly year-round through Tucson. This supply of water has slowly disappeared, causing Tucson to seek alternative sources.

From 1803 until 1887, Tucson residents purchased water for a penny a gallon from vendors who transported it in bags draped over burros' backs. After that, water was sold by the bucket or barrel and delivered door-to-door in wagons.[citation needed]

In 1881, water was pumped from a well on the banks of the Santa Cruz River and flowed by gravity through pipes into the distribution system.

Tucson currently draws water from two main sources: Central Arizona Project (CAP) water and groundwater. In 1992, Tucson Water delivered CAP water to some customers that was referred to as being unacceptable due to discoloration, bad odor and flavor, as well as problems it caused some customers' plumbing and appliances. Tucson's city water currently consists of CAP water mixed with groundwater.

In an effort to conserve water, Tucson is recharging groundwater supplies by running part of its share of CAP water into various open portions of local rivers to seep into their aquifer.[24] Additional study is scheduled to determine the amount of water that is lost through evaporation from the open areas, especially during the summer.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1850 400
1860 915 128.8%
1870 3,215 251.4%
1880 7,007 117.9%
1890 5,150 −26.5%
1900 7,531 46.2%
1910 13,193 75.2%
1920 20,292 53.8%
1930 32,506 60.2%
1940 35,752 10.0%
1950 45,454 27.1%
1960 212,892 368.4%
1970 262,933 23.5%
1980 330,537 25.7%
1990 405,371 22.6%
2000 486,699 20.1%
Est. 2007 525,529 8.0%

2005–2007 American Community Survey Estimates, the city's population was 67.3% White (50.0% non-Hispanic White alone), 5.0% Black or African American, 4.1% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.2% Asian, 0.3% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 23.5% from some other race and 3.3% from two or more races. 39.5% of the total population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[27]

As of the census[28] of 2000, there were 486,699 people, 192,891 households, and 112,455 families residing in the city. The population density was 965.3/km² (2,500.1/sq mi). There were 209,609 housing units at an average density of 415.7/km² (1,076.7/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 70.15% White, 4.33% Black or African-American, 2.27% Native American, 2.46% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 16.85% from other races, and 3.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 35.72% of the population.

There were 192,891 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.7% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the inner-city, the population has 24.6% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 19.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,981, and the median income for a family was $37,344. Males had a median income of $28,548 versus $23,086 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,322. About 13.7% of families and 18.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 23.6% of those under age 18 and 11.0% of those age 65 or over.

Politics and government

Pima County supported John Kerry 53% to 47% in the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election,[29] and Barack Obama 54% to 46% in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.[30] In the latter year, Pima was the only county to vote against Arizona's gay marriage ban.[31]

As a trend, Tucson and Pima County vote Democratic, as opposed to the GOP support in the state's largest metropolitan area, Phoenix. This led to the alleged gerrymandering of Tucson into two Federal Congressional districts, one that (at the time) contained a vast majority of Democratic voters and the other a bare majority of Republicans. Tucson is divided between the 7th and 8th congressional districts of Arizona. The city center is in the 7th District, represented by Raul Grijalva, a Democrat, since 2003, while the more affluent residential areas to the north and east are in the 8th District, represented by Gabrielle Giffords, also a Democrat, since 2007.

The United States Postal Service operates post offices in Tucson. The Tucson Main Post Office is located at 1501 South Cherrybell Stravenue.[32]

City Government

Tucson follows the "weak mayor" model of the council-manager form of local government. The 6-member city council holds exclusive legislative authority, and shares executive authority with the mayor, who is elected by the voters independently of the council. An appointed city manager, meanwhile, is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the city.

Both the council members and the mayor serve 4-year terms, and none face term limits. Council members are nominated by their wards via a ward-level primary held in September. The top vote-earners from each party then compete at-large for their ward's seat on the November ballot. In other words, come election day, the whole city votes on all the council races up for that year. Council elections are severed: Wards 1, 2, and 4 (as well as the mayor) are up for election in the same year (most recently 2007), while Wards 3, 5, and 6 share another year (most recently 2005).

Tucson is known for being a trailblazer in voluntary partial publicly-financed campaigns. Since 1985, both mayoral and council candidates have been eligible to receive matching public funds from the city. To become eligible, council candidates must receive 200 donations of $10 or more (300 for a mayoral candidate). Candidates must then agree to spending limits equal to 33¢ for every registered Tucson voter, or $79,222 in 2005 (the corresponding figures for mayor are 64¢ per registered voter, or $142,271 in 2003). In return, candidates receive matching funds from the city at a 1:1 ratio of public money to private donations. The only other limitation is that candidates may not exceed 75% of the limit by the date of the primary. Many cities, such as San Francisco and New York City, have copied this system, albeit with more complex spending and matching formulas.

Robert E. Walkup (R) was elected mayor on November 2, 1999, re-elected for a second term on November 4, 2003 and again for a third term on November 6, 2007.[33] He was preceded by George Miller (D), 1991–1999; Tom Volgy (D), 1987–1991; Lew(is) Murphy (R), 1971–1987; and Jim Corbett (D), ?-1971.


Much of Tucson's economic development has been centered on the development of the University of Arizona, which is currently the second largest employer in the city. Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, located on the southeastern edge of the city, also provides many jobs for Tucson residents. Its presence, as well as the presence of the US Army Intelligence Center (Fort Huachuca, the largest employer in the region in nearby Sierra Vista), has led to the development of a significant number of high-tech industries, including government contractors, in the area. Today, there are more than 1,200 businesses employing over 50,000 people in the high-tech industries of Southern Arizona.[citation needed]

The City of Tucson, Pima County, the State of Arizona and the private sector have all made commitments to create a growing, healthy economy with advanced technology industry sectors as its foundation. Raytheon Missile Systems, Texas Instruments, IBM, Intuit Inc., Universal Avionics, Sunquest Information Systems, Sanofi-Aventis, Ventana Medical Systems, Inc., and Bombardier Aerospace all have a significant presence in Tucson. Roughly 150 Tucson companies are involved in the design and manufacture of optics and optoelectronics systems, earning Tucson the nickname "Optics Valley".[34]

Tourism is another major industry in Tucson, bringing in $2 billion-a-year and over 3.5 million visitors annually due to Tucson's numerous resorts, hotels, and attractions.[35] A significant economic force is middle-class and upper-class Sonorans, who travel from Mexico to Tucson to purchase goods that are not readily available in their country. In addition to vacationers, a significant number of winter residents, or "snowbirds", are attracted by Tucson's mild winters and contribute to the local economy. Snowbirds often purchase second homes in Tucson and nearby areas, contributing significantly to the property tax base. Other snowbirds and "perpetual travelers" can be seen in large numbers arriving in autumn in large RVs towing small cars.[citation needed]

Arts and culture

Annual cultural events and fairs

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show

The Tucson Gem & Mineral Show is held every year in February for two weeks. It is one of the largest gem and mineral shows in the world, and features many of the finest mineral specimens. There is no single location for display of minerals, but rather dozens of locations spread across town. The show has an estimated attendance of more than 50,000 people from over twenty countries. Attendees frequently include the general public, experts, beginning collectors, museum employees, dealers, retailers, and researchers. Many museums and universities, including the Smithsonian Institution and the Sorbonne, have displayed materials at the show.

Tucson Folk Festival

For the past 21 years the Tucson Folk Festival has taken place the first Saturday and Sunday of May in downtown Tucson's El Presidio Park. In addition to nationally known headline acts each evening, the Festival highlights over 100 local and regional musicians on five stages in one of the largest free festivals in the country. All stages are within easy walking distance. Organized by the Tucson Kitchen Musicians Association,[36] volunteers make this festival possible. Arizona's only community radio station KXCI 91.3-FM, is a major partner, broadcasting from the Plaza Stage throughout the weekend. In addition, there are numerous workshops, events for children, sing-alongs, and a popular singer/songwriter contest. Musicians typically play 30-minute sets, supported by professional audio staff volunteers. A variety of food and crafts are available at the festival, as well as local micro-brews. All proceeds from sales go to fund future festivals.

Fourth Avenue Street Fair

There are two Fourth Avenue Street Fairs, in December and March, staged between 9th Street and University Boulevard, that feature arts and crafts booths, food vendors and street performers. The fairs began in 1970 when Fourth Avenue, which at the time had half a dozen thrift shops, several New Age bookshops and the Food Conspiracy Co-Op, was a gathering place for hippies, and a few merchants put tables in front of their stores to attract customers before the holidays.

These days the street fair has grown into a large corporate event, with most tables owned by outside merchants. It hosts mostly traveling craftsmen selling various arts such as pottery, paintings, wood working, metal decorations, candles, and many others.

The Tucson Rodeo (Fiesta de los Vaqueros)

Team roping competition at Tucson's Fiesta de los Vaqueros

Another popular event held in February, which is early spring in Tucson, is the Fiesta de los Vaqueros, or rodeo week. While at its heart the Fiesta is a sporting event, it includes what is billed as "the world's largest non-mechanized parade".[37] The Rodeo Parade is a popular event as most schools give two rodeo days off instead of Presidents Day. The exception to this is Presidio High, which doesn't get either. Western wear is seen throughout the city as corporate dress codes are cast aside during the Fiesta. The Fiesta de los Vaqueros marks the beginning of the rodeo season in the United States. Fiesta de los Vaqueros, the premier event of the rodeo year, is held at the beginning of the rodeo season.

Tucson Meet Yourself

Every October for the past 30 years, Tucson Meet Yourself[38] has presented the faces of Tucson's many ethnic groups. For one weekend, dancing, singing, artwork, and food from more than 30 different ethnicities are featured in the downtown area. All performers are from Tucson and the surrounding area, in keeping with the idea of "meeting yourself."

All Souls Procession Weekend

Day of the Dead float, Pima County Public Library, 2009 procession

All Souls Procession is one of the largest festivals in Tucson. Celebrated since 1990, it is held on the first Sunday in November. Modeled on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), it combines elements of African, Anglo, Celtic, and Latin American culture. At sundown, thousands of people garbed in myriad costumes, mostly of the deceased, gather near the corner of Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard: Epic Cafe. In 2005, the Tucson Police Department estimated that 7,500 people participated in this event. The non-profit festal culture organization Many Mouths One Stomach organizes this event to acknowledge, mourn and celebrate deceased loved ones, and the "grand mystery" of death. Starting in 2006, the All Souls Procession became a 4-day long series of events. On Thursday evening the Fine Art Photography Exhibition opens, as well as the Evolving Community Altar. Friday evening is the MMOS Fundraiser Dance of the Dead. Saturday afternoon and evening is the Procession of Little Angels, and the Personal Altars Vigil. Sunday evening is the All Souls Procession, which snakes through the historic Fourth Avenue and downtown areas, and leads to the culmination of the entire festival: The Grand Finale.

Museums, art collections, and other attractions

The Arizona Historical Society, founded as the Pioneer Historical Society by early settlers, has a collection of artifacts reflecting the city's history—many focusing on the era before statehood was attained in 1912—as well as a fine collection of original documents in its library, including many interviews with early residents.

The Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase is held annually in Tucson, and is the largest gem and mineral show in the United States.[39]

The Fremont House is an original adobe house in the Tucson Community Center that was saved while one of Tucson's earliest barrios was razed as urban renewal. Originally named the Fremont House after Gov. John C. Fremont, who rented it for his daughter, it is now known as the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House to more accurately reflect its Latin heritage.

Fort Lowell Museum is located on the grounds of a military fort, established in 1873 during the "Indian Wars" period and abandoned in 1891.

The Tucson Museum of Art was established as part of an art school. It contains nearly 6,000 objects concentrating on the art of the Americas and its influences. The museum also operates several historic buildings in the neighborhood, including La Casa Cordova, the J. Knox Corbett House, the Edward Nye Fish House and the Stevens/Duffield House.

The University of Arizona Art Museum includes works by Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko as part of the Edward J. Gallagher Memorial Collection, a tribute to a young man who was killed in a boating accident. The museum also includes the Samuel H. Kress Collection of European works from the 14th to 19th centuries and the C. Leonard Pfeiffer Collection of American paintings.

The UA campus also features the Center for Creative Photography, a leading museum with many works by major artists such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston.

The Mission San Xavier del Bac (usually pronounced by residents /sænəˈvɪər/) is a historic Spanish mission, located 10 miles (16 km) south of the city. It was founded by Father Kino in the 1660s as one mission in a chain of missions, many of which are located south of the border. The present building dates from the late 1700s. The mission, which still actively functions, is located in the Tohono O'odham nation reservation southwest of Tucson off of I-19.

The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is an iconic Tucson landmark in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Built by the famous artist Ettore DeGrazia the property, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, features an expansive adobe Museum of DeGrazia's work, an adobe chapel called the Mission in the Sun that featuring stunning murals, gardens, and the artist home and grave site.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert taken looking back towards the museum entrance

Old Tucson Studios, built as a set for the movie Arizona, is a movie studio and theme park for classic Westerns. It was partly destroyed in 1995, allegedly by arson, but has since been rebuilt.

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a combined zoo, museum, and botanical garden, devoted to indigenous animals and plants of the Sonoran Desert. It pioneered the use of naturalistic environments instead of simple cages for zoo animals. It is located west of the Tucson Mountains.

Titan Missile Museum is located about 25 miles (40 km) south of the city on I-19. This is a Cold War era Titan nuclear missile silo (billed as the only remaining intact post-Cold War Titan missile silo) turned tourist stop.

Tucson Rodeo Parade Museum has an inventory of 150 vehicles, ranging from small buggies to wagons, surries, and coaches. Historic artifacts from pioneer days and a re-created Western Main Street represent what early Wild West Tucson looked like, and what it offered in terms of businesses and services.

The Museum of the Horse Soldier includes artifacts and ephemera detailing Western cavalry and dragoon military units.

The Jewish Heritage Center Tucson, housed in an historic synagogue, hosts a variety of exhibitions and events.

Shops in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon offer such items as jewelry and other gifts, pizza, and delicious fresh-fruit pies. The legacy of the Aspen Fire can be seen in charred trees, rebuilt homes, and melted beads incorporated into a sidewalk.

Fourth Avenue, located near the University of Arizona, is home to many shops, restaurants, and bars, and hosts the annual 4th Avenue Street Fair every December and March. University Boulevard, leading directly to the UA Main Gate, is also the center of numerous bars, retail shops, and restaurants most commonly frequented by the large student population of the UA.

El Tiradito is a religious shrine in the downtown area. The Shrine dates back to the early days of Tucson. It's based on a love story of revenge and murder. People stop by the Shrine to light a candle for someone in need, a place for people to go give hope.

Trail Dust Town is an outdoor shopping mall and restaurant complex that was built from the remains of a 1950 western movie set. Trail Dust Town contains a number of historical artifacts, including a restored 1920s merry-go-round and a museum dedicated to Western cavalry and dragoon military units.

Literary arts

The number of accomplished and awarded writers (poets, novelists, dramatists, nonfiction writers) in Tucson is too numerous to mention. Some are associated with the University of Arizona, but many are independent writers who have chosen to make Tucson their home. The city is also rich in literary organizations,[citation needed] particularly active in publishing and presenting contemporary innovative poetry in various ways. Among them are Chax Press, publisher of poetry books in trade and book arts editions. The University of Arizona Poetry Center is one of the leading academic sites for poetry in the nation,[citation needed] and, in addition to its sizable poetry library, it presents readings, conferences, and workshops.

Performing arts

Theater groups include the Arizona Theatre Company, which performs in the Temple of Music and Art, a mirror image of the Pasadena Playhouse; the Invisible Theatre; Live Theatre Workshop; the Red Barn Theater; Beowulf Alley; the Gaslight Theatre, which performs melodramas; and Arizona Onstage Productions, a not-for-profit theater company devoted to musical theater. In 2004, the NY based Nederlander Organization also opened a local operation. Broadway in Tucson presents the touring reproductions of many Broadway style events at the Tucson Music Hall. Additionally, many bands perform at the numerous local clubs.

Dance companies include Tucson Regional Ballet, Ballet Tucson, New Articulations, Zuzi Move It!, O-T-O Dance, Thom Lewis Dance Company, and Funhouse Movement Theater. UApresents is the largest performing arts presenter in Southern Arizona. The organization features a wide mix of genres including Classical, Dance, World, Jazz and Center Stage. Most performances are held at historic Centennial Hall, located on the University of Arizona campus.


Musical groups include the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1929; Arizona Opera, founded as the Tucson Opera Company in 1971; the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus, founded in 1939; the Tucson Girls Chorus; the Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra;[40] the Civic Orchestra of Tucson; the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA); the Tucson Chapter Choir, which was founded by gospel legend Rev. James Cleveland; and the Tucson Junior Strings. The Tucson Pops Orchestra[41] plays outdoor concerts in the spring and fall.

Mariachi music is popular and influential in Tucson, and the city is home to a large number of Mariachi musicians and singers. Mariachi is celebrated annually at the Tucson International Mariachi Conference. There is also a yearly Norteño Festival in the enclave city of South Tucson.

Tucson is also home to a small but committed independent music scene, nearly all of which is concentrated in the city's downtown area. Neko Case, The Bled, Calexico, Doo Rag, Giant Sand, Hipster Daddy-O and the Handgrenades, The Hounds, North, Carmine's Spider and Flagrante Delicto are among the prominent musical artists based in Tucson. Local performers also receive some airplay (and occasionally play live) on the community radio station KXCI. The Tucson Area Music Awards, or TAMMIES, are an annual event.[42]


The University of Arizona Wildcats sports teams, most notably the men's basketball and women's softball teams, are often the subject of national attention as well as strong local interest. The men's basketball team, formerly coached by Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olson and currently coached by Sean Miller, has made 25 straight NCAA Tournaments and won the 1997 National Championship. Arizona's Softball team has reached the NCAA National Championship game 12 times and has won 8 times, most recently in 2007.

Tucson is home to the Tucson Electric Park, the spring training location of the Arizona Diamondbacks (NL)). The Colorado Rockies (NL) practice at nearby Hi Corbett Field. These teams, along with the twelve that practice in nearby Phoenix, make up the Cactus League.

The Tucson Sidewinders, a triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, won the Pacific Coast League championship and unofficial AAA championship in 2006. The Sidewinders played in Tucson Electric Park and were in the Pacific Conference South of the PCL. The Sidewinders were sold in 2007 and moved to Reno, Nevada after the 2008 season.

The United States Handball Association Hall of Fame is located in Tucson.

The Tucson Toros are a professional baseball team that played in the PCL from 1969 to 1997 and won the PCL championship on two occasions, in 1991 and 1993. They are owned by Jay Zucker of Tucson Baseball, LLC. They were once a triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros and are now members of the independent Golden Baseball League, as of September 1, 2008 They will play their home games at Hi Corbett Field.

The League of American Bicyclists gave Tucson a gold rating for bicycle friendliness in late April, 2007. Tucson hosts the largest perimeter cycling event in the United States. The ride called "El Tour de Tucson" happens in November on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. El Tour de Tucson produced and promoted by Perimeter Bicycling has as many as 10,000 participants from all over the world, annually.

Tucson Raceway Park hosts NASCAR-sanctioned auto racing events and is one of only two asphalt short tracks in Arizona.

The first organized quarter horse races were run in Tucson in the 1930s at the Rillito Downs, where they are still run today.

The city is home to more than 120 parks, including Reid Park Zoo. There are five public golf courses located throughout the area. Several scenic parks and points of interest are also located nearby, including the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, and Biosphere 2 (just north of the city, in the town of Oracle).

A shop in Summerhaven

Mt. Lemmon, 25 miles (40 km) north (by road) and over 6,700 feet (2,000 m) above Tucson, is located in the Coronado National Forest. Outdoor activities in the summer include hiking, birding, rock climbing, picnicking, camping, sky rides at Ski Valley, fishing and touring. In the winter, skiing and/or sledding is sometimes available at the southernmost ski resort in the continental United States. Summerhaven, a community near the top of Mt. Lemmon, is also a popular destination.

Tucson is a popular winter haven for cyclists, and is one of only nine cities in the U.S. to receive a gold rating or higher for cycling friendliness from the League of American Bicyclists. Both road and mountain biking are popular in and around Tucson with popular trail areas including Starr Pass and Fantasy Island.

The University of Arizona Wildcat's swim teams, both men and women, recently won the NCAA national championships. The University of Arizona has an internationally recognized swim team, with swimmers coming from as far as Japan and Africa.


There is one major daily newspaper in Tucson, the morning Arizona Daily Star. There are also several weekly newspapers, including the Tucson Weekly (an "alternative" publication), Inside Tucson Business, and the Explorer. The Downtown Tucsonan, Tucson Lifestyle Magazine, "Lovin' Life News", and the DesertLeaf are monthly publications covering arts, architecture, decor, fashion, entertainment, business, history, and other events. The Arizona Daily Wildcat is the University of Arizona's student newspaper, and the Aztec News is the Pima Community College student newspaper.

The Tucson metro area is served by many local television stations and is the 68th largest designated market area (DMA) in the U.S. with 433,310 homes (0.39% of the total U.S.).[43] The major television networks serving Tucson are: KVOA 4 (NBC), KGUN 9 (ABC), KOLD-TV 13 (CBS), KMSB-TV 11 (Fox), KTTU 18 (My Network TV), and KWBA 58 (The CW). KUAT-TV 6 is a PBS affiliate run by the University of Arizona (as is sister station KUAS 27).

See also: List of Radio Stations in Arizona (Tucson)


Post-secondary education

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Primarily, students of the Tucson area attend public schools in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). TUSD has the second highest enrollment of any school district in Arizona, behind Mesa Unified School District in the Phoenix metropolitan area. There are many publicly funded charter schools with a specialized curriculum.[45]

Public Schools
District Area(s) served
Altar Valley School District Located southwest of the city, primarily serving Three Points.
Amphitheater Public Schools Serves segments of the North Side, Casas Adobes, Catalina Foothills, and the communities of Oro Valley, eastern Tortolita and Catalina northwest of the city.
Catalina Foothills Unified School District Serves segments of the upper Catalina Foothills north of the city.
Continental School District Serves the rural area south of Sahuarita.
Flowing Wells Unified School District Serves segments of the North Side and the Northwest Side along I-10.
Marana Unified School District Serves the town of Marana, Picture Rocks, Avra Valley and western Tortolita northwest of the city.
Sahuarita Unified School District Located south of the city and serves Sahuarita and Arivaca.
Sunnyside Unified School District Serves the far South Side and segments of the Southwest Side.
Tanque Verde Unified School District Serves the far Northeast Side, including the community of Tanque Verde.
Tucson Unified School District Encompasses the central Tucson valley, including the lower Catalina Foothills and segments of the Tanque Verde Valley. As the largest school district in Tucson in terms of enrollment, TUSD has 115 schools serving grades K–12.
Vail School District Serves the far Southeast Side, including the community of Vail.
Charter schools

Private schools

Tucson several private schools:[45]


Public transit

Local public transit in Tucson is provided by Sun Tran, which operates a network of bus routes. It was awarded Best Transit System in 1988 and 2005 and serves the major part of the Tucson metropolitan area. Construction of a 3.9-mile (6.3 km) modern streetcar line is planned, as part of a Regional Transportation Authority plan approved by area voters in May 2006.[46]

Old Pueblo Trolley operates weekend heritage streetcar service between the Fourth Avenue Business District and the University of Arizona. The service extended south, into the downtown district, as part of the Fourth Avenue underpass reconstruction project.


Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUSICAO: KTUS) is Tucson's public airport and is located six miles (10 km) south of Tucson's central business district. TIA is the second largest commercial airport in Arizona, providing nonstop flights to 17 destinations throughout the United States. Due to the active presence of the Arizona Air National Guard at the site, the airport is much busier than most other airports that have the same level of civilian traffic.

Interstates 10 and 19 are currently the only two freeways in the metropolitan area. Tucson does not have a large freeway system as cities with similar population do.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Tucson six times weekly in both directions, operating its Sunset Limited between Orlando, Florida and Los Angeles, California and Texas Eagle between Chicago and Los Angeles.

Cyclists are common in Tucson due to compatible climate, extensive commuter bike routes, off-road mountain biking trails, and bike facilities throughout the city. The Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee (TPCBAC) was established to serve in an advisory capacity to local governments on issues relating to bicycle recreation, transportation, and safety. Tucson was given a gold rating for bicycle friendliness by the League of American Bicyclists[47] in late April 2006.

Sister cities

Tucson has eleven sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also


  1. ^ Optics Valley: Can Tucson stay king of the hill?
  2. ^ My opinion Debbie Kornmiller : TV listings' headaches fixed today
  3. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Arizona". United States Census Bureau. 2008-07-10. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/tables/SUB-EST2007-04-04.csv. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  4. ^ "Tucson, Arizona: Population Finder". United States Census Bureau. March 2, 2007. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFPopulation?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=16000US0477000&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=tucson&_cityTown=tucson&_state=04000US04&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=population_0&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=. Retrieved July 31, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Template.cfm?Section=Find_a_County&Template=/cffiles/counties/usamap.cfm. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Tucson city, Arizona". U.S. Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFPopulation?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=16000US0477000&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=Tucson&_cityTown=Tucson&_state=04000US04&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=population_0&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry=. Retrieved 2008-11-08. 
  7. ^ http://www.tucsonpresidiotrust.org/PDF/Presidio_map.pdf
  8. ^ Barrio historico Tucson. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  9. ^ Barrio Anita Historic District. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  10. ^ Arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Tucson. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  11. ^ Rio Nuevo hotel to be tallest in Tucson. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  12. ^ Tucson, U.S.A. | Emporis.com. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  13. ^ Arizona Heritage Traveler - Public Buildings - Pima County Courthouse.
  14. ^ El Charro Café. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  15. ^ McKnight & Hess, pp. 212-1, "Climate Zones and Types: Dry Climates (Zone B)".
  16. ^ "Monthly Averages for Tucson, AZ". http://www.rssweather.com/climate/Arizona/Tucson/. Retrieved 2009-12-17. 
  17. ^ Trends in the incidence of nonmelanoma skin cancers in southeastern Arizona, 1985-1996. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  18. ^ NWS Tucson Office Monsoon tracker. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  19. ^ Two underpasses leading towards downtown Tucson from the north, at Sixth Avenue and Stone Avenue, have such "feet of water" scales.
  20. ^ Arizona State Legislature, ARS 28-910, Liability for emergency responses in flood areas; definitions. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  21. ^ TUCSON UNIV OF ARIZONA, ARIZONA - Climate Summary. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  22. ^ TUCSON WSO AP, ARIZONA - Climate Summary. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  23. ^ University of Arizona water sustainability report. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  24. ^ "Tucson's Water Heritage", City of Tucson. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  25. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850–1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 16.
  26. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Arizona 2000–2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. http://www.census.gov/popest/cities/files/SUB-EST2007-4.csv. Retrieved 2009-04-25. 
  27. ^ ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates: 2005–2007. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  28. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  29. ^ CNN.com Election 2004. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  30. ^ Local and National Election Results. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  31. ^ 2008 General Election. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  32. ^ "Post Office Location - TUCSON." United States Postal Service. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  33. ^ Mayor Profile. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  34. ^ Fischer, Alan D. "Optics Valley: Can Tucson stay king of the hill?" Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  35. ^ Long, Levy J. (October 10, 2006). "Luxury labels: Tiffany, Louis Vuitton could inspire more high-end retailers to try Tucson." Arizona Daily Star. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  36. ^ The Tucson Folk Festival homepage. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  37. ^ "The Tucson Rodeo Parade". http://www.tucsonrodeoparade.com/Pages001/Parade.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  38. ^ Tucson Meet Yourself, Tucson Festival, Tucson Folk Arts, Tucson Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  39. ^ Tucson Gem and Mineral Society. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  40. ^ Southern Arizona Symphony Orchestra. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  41. ^ Tucson Pops Orchestra. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  42. ^ "Critics' Choice Awards: Best Band or Artist: Calexico". Tucson Weekly. June 29, 2006. http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/critics-choice-awards/Content?oid=1084553. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  43. ^ Holmes, Gary. "Nielsen Reports 1.1% increase in U.S. Television Households for the 2006–2007 Season." Nielsen Media Research. August 23, 2006. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  44. ^ Arizona School of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine. Retrieved 2010-03-12.
  45. ^ a b The Arizona Daily Star annual survey of private and charter schools.
  46. ^ Tucson Department of Transportation (October 1, 2009). "Federal Transit Administration Gives Approval to the Tucson Modern Streetcar Project". Press release. http://dot.tucsonaz.gov/news/details.cfm?id=604. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  47. ^ "League Names New Bicycle Friendly Communities". 2006-04-24. http://www.bikeleague.org/media/press/042406_press.php. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 

Further reading

  1. Bancroft, Hubert Howe, 1888, History of Arizona and New Mexico, 1530–1888. The History Company, San Francisco.
  2. Cooper, Evelyn S., 1995, Tucson in Focus: The Buehman Studio. Arizona Historical Society, Tucson. (ISBN 0-910037-35-3).
  3. Dobyns, Henry F., 1976, Spanish Colonial Tucson. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (ISBN 0-8165-0546-2).
  4. Drachman, Roy P., 1999, From Cowtown to Desert Metropolis: Ninety Years of Arizona Memories. Whitewing Press, San Francisco. (ISBN 1-888965-02-9.
  5. Fontana, Bernard L., 1996, Biography of a Desert Church: The Story of Mission San Xavier del Bac. Smoke Signal, Tucson Corral of the Westerners.
  6. Hand, George, 1995, Whiskey, Six-Guns and Red-Light Ladies. High Lonesome Books, Silver City, New Mexico. (ISBN 0-944383-30-0).
  7. Hand, George, 1996, The Civil War in Apacheland. High Lonesome Books, Silver City, New Mexico. (ISBN 0-944383-36-X).
  8. Harte, John Bret, 2001, Tucson: Portrait of a Desert Pueblo. American Historical Press, Sun Valley, California. (ISBN 1-892724-25-1).
  9. Henry, Bonnie, 1992, Another Tucson. Arizona Daily Star, Tucson. (ISBN 0-9607758-2-X).
  10. Kalt III, William D., 2007, Tucson Was a Railroad Town., VTD Rail Publishing, Tucson. (ISBN 978-0-9719915-4-5).
  11. Logan, Michael F. Desert Cities: The Environmental History of Phoenix and Tucson. (2006). 240 pp.
  12. McIntyre, Allan J. and the Arizona Historical Society, 2008, The Tohono O'odham and Pimeria Alta., Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. (ISBN 978-0-7385-5633-8).
  13. Moisés, Rosalio, 2001, The Tall Candle: The Personal Chronicle of a Yaqui Indian. University of Nebraska Press. (ISBN 0-8032-0747-6).
  14. Painter, Muriel Thayer, 1971, A Yaqui Easter. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (ISBN 0-8165-0168-8). Read online.
  15. Ronstadt, Edward E. (editor), 1993, Borderman: The Memoirs of Federico Jose Maria Ronstadt. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. (ISBN 0-8263-1462-7) Read online.
  16. Schellie, Don, 1968, Vast Domain of Blood: The Story of the Camp Grant Massacre. Westernlore Press, Tucson.
  17. Sheaffer, Jack and Steve Emerine, 1985, Jack Sheaffer's Tucson, 1945–1965. Arizona Daily Star, Tucson. (ISBN 0-9607758-1-1).
  18. Sheridan, Thomas E., 1983, Del Rancho al Barrio: The Mexican legacy of Tucson. Arizona Historical Society, Tucson.
  19. Sheridan, Thomas E., 1992, Los Tucsonenses: The Mexican Community in Tucson, 1854–1941. University of Arizona Press, Tucson. (ISBN 0-8165-1298-1).
  20. Sonnichsen, C. L., 1987, Tucson: The Life and Times of an American City. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. (ISBN 0-8061-2042-8).
  21. Woodward, Richard B. (January 3, 2010). "36 Hours in Tucson, Ariz.". The New York Times. http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/travel/03hours.html. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  22. Woosley, Anne I. and the Arizona Historical Society: 2008, Early Tucson. Arcadia Publishing, Charleston, South Carolina. (ISBN 0-7385-5646-7).

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Tucson skyline
Tucson skyline

Tucson [1] (pronounced TOO-sawn) is the second-largest city in the state of Arizona, one of the United States of America.

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 [2]), 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.

Get in

By plane

Tucson International Airport (IATA: TUS), 7250 S. Tucson Blvd., Tel. (520) 573-8000, [3]. Served by a number of airlines. Some people fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor and then take a shuttle to Tucson.

By train

The local Amtrak +1 520 623-4442, [4] station is at 400 N. Toole Avenue, and is served by the Los Angeles - New Orleans Sunset Limited [5] line.

By car

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)

By bus

Greyhound Lines, Station: 471 W. Congress St., Tel. (520) 792-3475, [6].

  • By bus: Extensive metropolitan bus system, Sun Tran [7].
  • 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 [8] (but something you don't want to do in the summer unless you are experienced riding in very hot, dry weather).
Sabino Canyon near Tucson, Arizona.
Sabino Canyon near Tucson, Arizona.
  • Sabino Canyon, [9]. 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, [10]. 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, [11]. 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, [12]. "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, bookstore, 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, [13]. 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, [14]. 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 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, [15] is 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.
Two telescopes on Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.
Two telescopes on Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.
  • Kitt Peak National Observatory, [16] 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, [17] 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, [18]. Features over 250 historic aircraft.
  • Titan Missile Museum, 1580 W. Duval Mine Rd., Sahuarita, Tel. (520) 625-7736, [19]. 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, [20]. 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, [21]. 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 Year's Day. The event is very popular, and traffic to the event is always very congested [22].
  • Gem Show, Tucson, Arizona, [23]. 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.  edit
  • Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 622-8848, [24]. If you feel like dancing, this 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, [25]. 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)
  • The HangArt, 25 E 6th St. (Main venue is located on Echols in between 5th and 6th steets), [26]. varies. Tucson's edgiest live music venue, the HangArt hosts a wide range of performers and musicians almost every night of the week. Anything from punk, folk, indie rock, alternative, hip hop, or electronica and combinations thereof may be available. The HangArt is also a gallery with frequent shows by local visual artists. The main venue is unique, a giant hanger-like storage facility holds the performers and a standing room combined with an outdoor open air seating area further away from the stage. The interior has a large white screen for video art projections which accompany the live music. Truly the most unique and amazing music venue in Tucson. varies, but cheap.  edit
  • University of Arizona, [27]. 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, [28]--who knew there was a mature flowering baobab tree in Tucson?
  • Pima Community College, [29]. 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, [30]. 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 competitive 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. "Stardust" and "Cake" label jewelry available in limited supply. Lots of one of a kind items!
  • The RumRunner, 3131 E. First Street (just off SE corner of Speedway & Country Club), (520) 326-0121, [31]. 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  edit


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 its diversity, has a vibrant culinary culture.

  • Bison Witches, [32], 326 N 4th Ave. Bison Witches...say it fast and it sounds like 'buy sandwiches' 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.
  • East Coast Super Subs, 187 N Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719 (520) 882-4005. For the best subs on the west coast, go to East Coast. An absolute must-eat for the cheesesteak connoisseur. Just as famous as the dozens of legendary subs is the memorabilia collection rivaled by none. Open from 11-8 everyday. Winner Best Wings in Tucson 2009.
  • 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, homemade 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, [33]. 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, [34]. 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, [35].‎ 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, [36]. 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, [37]. 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.
  • The B-Line, 621 N. 4th Avenue, Tel. (520) 882-7575. A small but very popular cafe nearby the University of Arizona. You can't go wrong with nearly anything served here. Excellent pies and cakes that average $6 a slice - which are an absolute must if you come by. Several import and domestic microbrewery beers and wines are offered, and they also sell Mexican Coca-Cola too. Entrees average about $10 a plate for a main dish for either lunch or breakfast. [38]
  • Hacienda del Sol, 5601 N. Hacienda del Sol Rd., Tel. (520) 529-3500, [39]. 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 [40] 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, [41]. 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 illegal to drink one by yourself, so be sure to arrange for a designated driver. Weekends can be very busy. $4.50-7.50.  edit
  • 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, an 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, [42]. Popular microbrewery that serves quality food, with a monkey as its mascot.
  • Tucson and Arizona Bed and Breakfasts, [43]. This is a list of Arizona and Tucson Bed and Breakfasts. Other locations include Herefors, Bisbee, Tubac and Sonoita.  edit
  • Congress Hotel, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 622-8848, [44]. This historic hotel was the site of John Dillinger's arrest [45]. 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, [46]. 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, [47]. Beds are $20 per night. Private rooms are $38 per night.
  • Rodeway Inn, 1248 North Stone Ave., Tel. (520) 622-6446, [48]. 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, [49], called Miracle Mile [50]. 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.

  • Hyatt Place Tucson/Airport, 6885 S. Tucson Blvd., Tel. (520) 295-0405, [51]. 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 [52]. Newly renovated and centrally located.
  • Courtyard Tucson Airport, 2505 East Executive Drive, 5205730000, [53]. $109-$189.  edit
  • Courtyard Tucson Williams Centre, 201 South Williams Blvd, 5207456000, [54]. $109-$149.  edit
  • Desert Dove Bed and Breakfast, 11707 E. Old Spanish Trail, Tel (877) 722-6879, [55].
  • Lodge on the Desert, 306 N. Alvernon Way, Tel. (800) 456-5634, [56]. 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 (, fax: (520) 889-1982), [57]. 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).  edit
  • The Riverpark Inn, 350 South Freeway, Tucson, AZ 85745-2707, 520-239-2300, [58]. 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.  edit
  • Starr Pass Golf Suites, 3645 West Starr Pass Blvd +1520-670-0500, [59]. 80 spacious casitas and suites with spectacular desert views, many with fireplaces and balconies.
  • Westward Look Resort, 245 E Ina Rd., Tel. (800) 722-2500, [60]. A full service resort and spa located on an 80-acre oasis. There is on-site horseback riding, hiking, birding, swimming, and gourmet dining.
  • The Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St., Tel. (520) 325-1541, [61]. 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, [62]. This hotel is located at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. There are a total of 398 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 nearby the hotel. There is free access to Sabino Canyon via a van; however, complimentary WiFi to their guests is not offered. Expect average daily rates for their standard rooms to cost $250 per night during the summer and convention seasons.
  • Tanque Verde Ranch, 14301 E Speedway, Tel: (520)296-6275, [63]. 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, [64]. 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. [65] These both are undiscovered gems, [66], 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. [67] [68]
  • Santa Catalina Mountains and Mt. Lemmon , there are a number of campgrounds [69] on the mountain. Molina Basin [70] is the first and only year round one. Prison camp [71] is unusual as it displays the remnants, mostly rock walls from a Japanese-American interment camp from WW2 [72]. 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.
  • Midtown (specifically the section along Alvernon Road between Grant and Ft. Lowell) and the South section of the city (in the general area between I-10, I-19, and Valencia) 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 heavily populated by the "young and restless", so it may seem a spooky to more conservative travelers due to the dirt and noise the youngsters create.
  • Unfortunately, Tucson has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft in the USA, 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, such as the Wal-Mart on 1650 West Valencia Road and the Park Place Mall).
  • 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 (a fungal disease - 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, and strongly recommended if you have a lung disease or temporarily suffering from pneumonia. [73] There is currently no cure for this disease, only long term treatment. For acute symptoms patients may be prescribed an antifungal drug such as fluconazole.
  • Take precautions for sunburn and heat stroke. This cannot be emphasized enough if you plan to make a trek in the desert mountains. It's easy to sunburn and windburn out in the desert, and the UV rays are very strong.
  • 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.
  • Care should be taken when you decide to ride a motorcycle or ATV in the desert, so you don't get injured by running into or bushing against the "jumping cholla" cacti. Wearing thick protective clothing, helmets, and gloves while riding are an absolute must. These are very prickly cacti with stems that detach with little or no effort, also the cacti spines are very painful to remove from your skin once contact is made.


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. When calling 911 for assistance be as calm as possible, and do not panic or use profanity over the phone, as the operator on the phone might consider the call as a prank.

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 [74].

There are surprisingly many locations within the city of Tucson that are free Wi-Fi hotspots, so free Internet access shouldn't be viewed as a problem. Most of the hotspots are located at coffee shops (such as the Bruegger's Bagel locations[75]), the local book store (Bookman's[76]), and the local library's[77] throughout the city.


The following foreign consulates are located in Tucson:

Canadian Consulate, 1840 East River Road Suite 200, phone (520) 622-3641

Costa Rican Honorary Consul, 3567 East Sunrise Drive Suite 235, phone (520) 529-7068

Mexican Consulate, 553 South Stone Ave, phone (520) 882-5596

Get out

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.
Routes through Tucson
PhoenixPicacho  W noframe E  WillcoxLas Cruces
Tucson  N noframe S  Green ValleyNogales
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TUCSON (possibly from Piman styuk-son, " dark or brown spring," pronounced Tooson), a city and the county-seat of Pima county, Arizona, U.S.A., on the Santa Cruz ', river, in the S.E. part of the state, about, 130 m. S.E. of Phoenix. Pop. (1880), 7007; (1890), 5150; (190o), 7531 (2352 foreign-born, chiefly from Mexico); (1910), 13,193.13,193. It is served by the Southern Pacific and the Twin Buttes railways, the latter connecting with the mines of the Twin Buttes district, about 27 m. south by east, and with the Randolph lines in Mexico. The city lies about 2360 ft. above the sea in a broad valley sheltered by mountains5000-9000ft. high. Its climate, characteristic of southern Arizona, attracts many invalids and winter visitors. Tucson is the seat of the university of Arizona (1891; non-sectarian, coeducational), which is organized under the Morrill Acts; in 1909 it had 40 instructors and 201 students. At Tucson also are a desert botanical laboratory (owning a tract of some 1000 acres about i m. west of the city) established by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, St Joseph's Academy (Roman Catholic); a Roman Catholic cathedral; the Tucson Mission (Presbyterian), a boarding school for Indians, the San Xavier Mission for Indians (Roman Catholic) and a Carnegie library. In 1900 Tucson became the see of a Roman Catholic bishop. The surrounding country is arid and unproductive except where irrigated; but the soil is very rich, and Tucson is the centre of one of the oldest farming and ranching districts of the state. The Southern Pacific railway has division headquarters and repair shops here.

Tucson is first heard of in history in 1699, conjecturally, as an Indian rancheria or settlement; and in 1763 certainly as a visita, in that year temporarily abandoned, of the Jesuit mission of San Xavier del Bac, founded between 1720 and 1732, 9 m. south of what is now Tucson; in 1776 it was made a presidio (San Augustin del Tugison), or military outpost, and although a few Spaniards may possibly have lived there before, the foundation of Tucson as a Spanish town dates from this time. It was never after abandoned during the Indian wars. In 1848 it had 760 inhabitants. The abandonment by the Mexicans in 1848 of the mission towns of Tamacacori (a visita of Guevavi, a mission founded in the first third of the 18th century) and the presidio at Tubac (established before 1752) increased its importance. Tucson lay within the territory acquired by the United States by the Gadsden Purchase in 1853; it was occupied by the United States in 1856. Fort Lowell, 7 m. north-east of the city, was built as a protection against the Apache Indians in 1873; it was abandoned in 1891. In the earlier days of Territorial history Tucson was the political centre of Arizona. Here were held in August 1856 a convention that demanded a Territorial government from Congress, another in April 1860 that organized a provisional government independently of Congressional permission, and others in 1861 that attempted to cast in the lot of Arizona with the Confederate states. Tucson was occupied by the Confederates in February 1862 and by the Union forces in May. It was the Territorial capital from 1867 to 1877. Its prosperity fluctuated with the fortunes of the surrounding mining country. Tucson was incorporated as a town in 1877, and chartered as a city in 1883.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




The name Tucson comes from the O'odham name for the city, Chuk Shon, meaning "Spring at the base of the black mountain". The "black mountain" refers to the summit now known as Sentinel Peak, or "A Mountain", just to the west of Tucson's downtown area.

Proper noun




  1. A city located in the state of Arizona in the southwestern United States.


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