Tucson, Arizona (and the surrounding towns of Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley and Sauharita) is an area of over a million people and even more cacti. It is an oasis in the desert where saguaros grow on golf courses and margaritas are served with lunch.
Although the winter nights can be quite chilly the days are relatively warm and almost always sunny. The same can be said for the spring and fall.
During the summer it tends to get a tad bit warmer (think hell-like), however, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable night than a summer evening in Tucson- especially if a monsoon has been by (they usually clear out fairly early).
There are plenty of things to do in and around the city. Some may require a drive of an hour or two, but all are worth it. Here are some favorites:
Sabino Canyon- You can’t beat the beauty of this hiking area, but you can see it without the walk- tram service is available. Bring a swimsuit (and a camera)!
Old Tucson Studios – It’s twelve miles and 100 years from town. It’s an interactive and working studio specializing in your favorite westerns, Shoot out to Old Tucson!
Tombstone, AZ – If the real thing is more your style take a day trip to the home of the OK Corral. From Boot Hill to Big Nose Kate’s you can’t go wrong. While you’re in the area visit nearby Bisbee and tour the mine and/or check out the local art scene.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – It’s a zoo. It’s a museum. It’s a botanical garden. It’s world-famous. It’s also very close to Old Tucson Studios.
Mount Lemon – You can drive it, hike it or ski it. Or all of the above.
Kitt Peak Observatory – Kitt Peak is to astronomers what Graceland is to Elvis fans. The views are fantastic.
San Xavier Mission – “The White Dove of the Desert” is a must-see for Catholics and non-Catholics alike. In a nutshell, it’s beautiful.
Nogales, Sonora (Mexico) – About two hours south of Tucson is this gateway to Mexico. It’s a great day trip for shopping, dining and culture. It can get a little rough in the evening as it fills up with drunken teens from the United States (drinking age is only 18 and rarely enforced), so you may want to get an early start on the drive back to Tucson. Depending on when you read this post a passport may be required to cross the border.
The University of Arizona – Home of the Wildcats, the University of Arizona is part of the Pac-10 confrence and a leader in all kinds of stuff. The campus is filled with museums, activities, and bikini-clad coeds (if you’re into that sort of thing, which I am). Notable alumni and staff include: Bob Dole, Barry Goldwater, Joan Ganz Cooney (creator of Sesame Street), Jerry Bruckheimer, Ted DeGrazia, Barbara Kingsolver, Greg Kinnear, Linda McCartney, Linda Ronstadt, Ruchard Russo, David Foster Wallace, Kristen Wiig, Gilbert Arenas, Lance Briggs, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Bibby, Terry Francona, Amanda Beard, Kurt Busch, Jennie Finch, Trevor Hoffman, Steve Kerr, Kenny Lofton, Annika Sorenstam, Jason Terry, Luke Walton, Mike Candrea, Lute Olson, Andrew Weil, and me.
However, the best thing to do in Tucson might be the easiest (and cheapest). Just find a place to sit and look at this: