Since Ruth & I have been traveling, Tucson and Phoenix have grown into major tourist cities. Tucson has especially blossomed into a fine destination. Once the 2nd city to visit in a hot state, Tucson has grown into a first class attraction that is booming with construction and new activities. I began to wonder why and came up with far more than 10 reasons for this explosion in my interest.
The main 8 follow. Despite the fact that all indoor attractions are currently closed and will remains so until at least September, 2021, unless there is a big reduction in new cases of COVID or a change in the border situation, Ruth & I had no trouble filling in almost 3 days there recently by exploring previously unvisited outdoor attractions.
Tucson has developed an aggressive in a good way staff of city supporters. Visittucson.org regularly sends me its publication that is filled with reasons to visit. I really enjoy and benefit from looking at their Visit Tucson Official Travel Guide that appears regularly in our mailbox.
Over time this city of more than half a million people has developed many fine attractions. Among the best are Tohono Chul, only one of its botanic gardens, a 2 part National Park called Saguaro, a new neon museum, many really fine downtown murals, the Mini Time Machine Museum, and much more. This is far from a complete list of them.
Tucson is an easy city to get around in. This time we stayed near the airport and learned about it. Tucson International has the potential to develop into a major hub. Still a regional operation, it now provides nonstop service to 20 destination airports. However, we flew into Phoenix’s Sky Harbor and drove down to Tucson, which is only 113 miles away. Tucson has Amtrak, streetcar, and bus service, and Ruth and I discovered many attractions between these 2 cities.
The University of Arizona has a fine campus with many activities for visitors and 18 Varsity teams for the sports minded. Tucson has a professional ice-hockey team, and there are an abundance of professional sports teams in Arizona now including some baseball spring training.
Feeding yourself is no problem in Tucson. Our favorite restaurant Feast is out of business but there are many other old and new and ethnic, especially Native American, cuisines to try.
Tucson has become a town of almost monthly street fairs and festivals. The latter celebrate books and local writers, Native Americans, science, and films. There was a Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase advertised in one of the Visit Tucson guides that was sent to me.
There is a broad range of accommodations available in and around Tucson. We learned about B & B’s, resorts of every type, all manner of hotels and motels, guest ranches, and RV parks. There are golf courses, casinos, hiking trails everywhere, and many locals seem to thrive on bicycling.
Tucson has a vivid downtown and many lively neighborhood districts like The Presidio to explore.
Of course, every destination has its downsides. Tucson is very hot in the summer and the extent to which its closeness to the disputed US border with Mexico and how this will impact the city is yet to be determined. Ruth and I have seen the way that social unrest has undone the once great city of Portland, OR. It would be a shame to see Tucson turn into another Portland. We were told that many attractions in this city are using their downtime to improve their offerings so that Tucson will emerge as a better travel destination before 2021 ends.
I hope that this city which has a past that has not been destroyed and is now being celebrated will grow even stronger in the return-to-travel world after social unrest and more than a year of COVID disruption have ended.