City of Tucson

IT’S A LITTLE STRANGE for a city of Tucson’s size to be the subject of full-page features in the USA Today and the New York Times over the course than less than a week, but a few months ago, it happened. Then, this January, TripAdvisor and National Geographic both called Tucson an up-and-coming city for travel in 2017.

Plus, Tucson is the first and only UNESCO City of Gastronomy in the United States.

It might seem a little odd that Tucson got that honor ahead of New Orleans, San Francisco, New York, Chicago or elsewhere, but the international organization picked our city for its 4,000 years of agriculture history and our area’s quest to preserve what’s unique about the food here.

All this recognition, you might be thinking…Tucson?

There’s definitely something happening here in Tucson – from a downtown that’s growing seemingly every day, but still retaining its vibrant, artistic and historic character to new direct flights to New York’s JFK and to Hermosillo, Mexico.

In the 1940’s, ads for Tucson sold visitors on “more sunshine than any other resort city,” and while there’s still plenty of blue skies to be seen here, there’s so much more than that. Great attractions like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (one of the world’s best zoos and an opportunity to learn about the beauty and diversity of the Sonoran Desert) and world class museums (several located at the University of Arizona including the gallery at the Ansel Adams founded Center for Creative Photography).

And who doesn’t like to eat? Yes, we think we have the best Mexican food north of the border, from high-end mesquite grilled steaks and rich moles to street-side taco carts, but there’s also a wide variety of flavors from around the world to explore. If you’re in the mood for Sri Lankan, Bosnian, Korean, Ethopian or more global cuisines, you can find them in Tucson. And, of course, if you’d just like a great burger, we’ve got those too. Add into the mix a thriving craft beer scene, an innovative cocktail culture and more and Tucson is quickly becoming a poorly-kept secret among foodies.

Then there’s luxurious worldfamous destination spas Canyon Ranch and Miraval, hotels and resorts for any taste (including an AC Marriott coming to the heart of downtown in summer of 2017) and endless opportunities to explore your sense of adventure outdoors whether bikes or hikes are your thing – we could go on and on and on.

Tucson is having a moment. Here’s your chance to explore what’s happening here in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and have the chance to tell your friends you discovered Tucson first.

Tucson Top 10

1. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - If you like this, you might also enjoy Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tohono Chul, Yume Japanese Gardens, and International Wildlife Museum.

2. Sabino Canyon Recreation Area - If you like this, you might also enjoy Catalina State Park, Oracle State Park, Patagonia Lake State Park, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park.

3. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun - If you like this, you might also enjoy Arizona State Museum, Etherton Gallery and Amerind Museum.

4. Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium - If you like this, you might also enjoy Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter, Kitt Peak National Observatory, Whipple Observatory, and Mt. Graham International Observatory.

5. Mission San Xavier del Bac - If you like this, you might also enjoy Saint Augustine Cathedral, Tubac Presidio State Historic Park, and Tumacacori National Historic Park.

6. Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley - If you like this, you might enjoy Village of Summerhaven, Gardner Canyon, and Madera Canyon.

7. Old Tucson - If you like this, you might also enjoy Trail Dust Town and Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park.

8. Pima Air & Space Museum - If you like this, you might also enjoy Biosphere 2, Titan Missile Museum, and Childrens Museum Tucson.

9. Saguaro National Park (West and East) - If you like this, you might also enjoy Picacho Peak State Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

10. Tucson Museum of Art & Historic Block - If you enjoy this, you might also like Presidio San Agustin, Arizona History Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Center for Creative Photography, and Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures.

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23 Mar 2017

By Elaine Earle