An energetic and invigorating corner of Arizona with an unsurprisingly hefty hint of Mexico spilling over the border to it, Tucson is cupped amongst craggy desert mountains and has a slight wild-west feel. Home to the University of Arizona, the city also has a great student atmosphere, and is home to the kind of character-drenched, laid-back downtown that hosts plenty of cheap bars and tasty Hispanic-themed restaurants.
Downtown Tucson - lively though it is - is relatively lacking in major attractions. There are a few worth checking out, though, like the Tucson Presidio, an 18th century fort that’s been renovated and reconstructed over the past few years; the ramshackle remains include repaired fort walls and a 20ft tower. The historic Train Depot once changed this city for good, and still stands tall in its heart, while old Tucson studios are the place to go to see the spot where ‘The Lone Ranger and the Lost City of Gold’ (and many other western films) was shot, and get involved in your own – hopefully toned down – selection of gun-slinging stunts and saloons.
The best parts of Tucson, though, are outside of the city itself. Surrounded by an alluring selection of mountains, this is a hikers dream, with The Rincons, Santa Ritas and Saguaro National Park all within easy reach, and plentiful exciting trails to follow. Those not so keen on the outdoor stuff can still enjoy the views; head to Arizona–Sonara Museum (which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the desert, and actually has more in common with a well stocked zoo than a museum, covering everything from rattlesnakes to limestone caves), or head for the high-end resorts of the Catalina Foothills, where you can get pampered in your own up-market wilderness, or eat dinner staring out over the valley.
Any fan of the Wild West – in either the movie or messing around in the desert sense – will love this small city in the heart of the wilderness, while hikers are spoiled for choice when it comes to scenic adventures.
If you love the Wild West, visit Old Tucson (nearby to SW) where they made many cowboy-indian movies.
Believe it or not, you can even ski in Tucson! That's right, Mt. Lemmon, home of the US's most southern ski resort, provides the opportunity for you to golf in the morning, then a short 1 hour drive later, be hitting the slopes. The chair lift runs year round for great views of Tucson. Be sure to call ahead to make sure the skiing is open!
Near Tucson, Arizona, this National Park is divided into two sections, approximately 20 miles east and 15 miles west of the center of town. Both have visitor centers and are easily reached b…
Green Valley is a large town on I 19 about halfway from Tucson to Mexico, with many services. It is well landscaped and looks like a good place to live.