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What to Do in Tucson
Sprawled out next to Sentinel Peak, Tucson gets its name from a Native American word meaning "at the base of the black hill." This city with close to 1 million inhabitants is just 60 miles from the Mexican border and has been a settlement in some form or another since 2100 BC. The influence of native and Spanish culture is evident nearly anywhere you look. Since 1885, the University of Arizona has called Tucson home.
The Community of Tucson
The downtown and central areas of Tucson contain several well-established neighborhoods, including El Presidio, the oldest part of the city. Visitors will find most of what they seek in the downtown, which is divided into the Presidio District, the Barrio Viejo and the Congress Street Arts and Entertainment District. The University is also located in midtown.
Southern Tucson holds much of the city's Mexican heritage and culture as well as its airport. In western Tucson, you'll find plenty of residential areas, but some landmark destinations sit inside this quadrant of the city. Northern Tucson is home to most of the shopping, resorts and golf courses that the city is known for. In the east, more residential areas dominate, in addition to what's left of Historic Fort Lowell and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
What to Do in Tucson
You'll want to get a taste for what makes the environment around Tucson so special via a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Not only can you observe animals like coyotes, mountain lions and bears in their natural habitat, but you'll see exhibits and plant life native to the desert environs. The museum is open weekends and admission is $21.95 per person.
Walk through one of the largest collections of World War II aircraft at the Pima Air & Space Museum. Along with the historic planes, take a gander at unique and commercial air and space machines. Plan to take the tram tour that goes through the old boneyard; you won't be disappointed.
One of Tucson's oldest structures, the Mission San Xavier del Bac, showcases Spanish architecture and the history of the missions in the Southwest. Lovingly restored over years, the colorful frescoes alone are worth seeing. Attend a service if you like.
One Place You Shouldn't Miss in Tucson
Walk into another world with a visit to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Featuring 17 specialty themed gardens and tropical butterflies every fall through spring, the Botanical Gardens are conveniently located in the heart of Tucson. Take a guided tour in the morning and stay for lunch at Cafe Botanica, an eatery focused on fresh ingredients and local flavors.
Dining in Tucson
The Flying V Bar & Grill features delectable Southwestern dishes and a fantastic view from the patio. High-quality steaks and melt-in-your-mouth scallops highlight the menu offerings. Indulge in a cocktail made from one of the restaurant's more than 70 specialty tequilas.
It doesn't look fancy, but Bobo's Restaurant serves a mean breakfast. Great homestyle cooking and big portions make Bobo's a rewarding discovery for those hungry mornings in Tucson.