At an elevation of 2,400 feet, it has slightly cooler temperatures than its desert cousin, Phoenix. It is situated in the biologically diverse Sonoran Desert. With a population of 486,699 (2000 Census) in Tucson and 843,746 in the greater metro area, which also includes Marana, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Sahuarita, Drexel Heights, Vail, South Tucson, etc (most of eastern Pima County ), Tucson was the 32nd fastest growing of 280 metropolitan areas from 1990-2000. As of 2011, the population within city limits was 843,168
and 989,569 in the Greater Tucson Metropolitan Area, making the 52nd biggest city/metro area in the country and the 2nd in the state and the Southwestern US
Tucson has always been a crossroads. Until recently, water was relatively plentiful in Tucson, in spite of its location in the middle of a desert. This made it an important travel route, an agricultural center, and a communications nexus.
Tucson's history is ancient, with evidence of human occupation stretching back 10,000 years. Between A.D. 200 and 1450, the Hohokam culture dominated the area -- the Pima and Tohono O'Odham peoples that still occupy the area are descendants of the Hohokam. In 1699, Father Eusebio Kino, S.J., established the Mission San Xavier del Bac, southwest of present-day Tucson. Over the next 100 years, other missions were established in the area, but European presence was minimal.
It wasn't until 1775 that the Presidio of Tucson was created by Don Hugo O'Connor. At that time, it was the northernmost Spanish outpost in the New World. In 1821, Tucson became part of the new country of Mexico, and in 1853 it became part of the United States as a result of the Gadsden Purchase. In 1863, Arizona became a US territory, and by 1880, its population was around 8,000. In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state to enter the union.
Today, Tucson is still a crossroads, with European, Native American, Mexican, and Asian cultures bumping into one another, in sometimes conflicting and sometimes compatible -- but always interesting -- ways.
Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, , Phone: 1-888-2-Tucson. The Tucson Visitor Center is located at 100 S. Church Ave. in Downtown Tucson and is open M-F 9AM to 5PM, Sat & Su 9AM to 4PM Pick up a free Official Destination Guide, Golf Guide or Dining Guide.
By bus: Extensive metropolitan bus system, Sun Tran .
By car:I-10 and I-19 are the only freeways in Tucson. East-west travel on surface streets above I-10 can be slow during the work day. Tucson has far fewer miles of freeway than other U.S. cities of its size. All east-west travel and all travel on the east side is done via surface streets.
By bike: Tucson is a bike-friendly community, and has an extensive system of bike routes and paths  (but something you don't want to do in the summer unless you are experienced riding in very hot, dry weather).
Sabino Canyon, . Spectacular desert canyon cut into the south side of the Santa Catalina Mountains, now on Tucson's northern urban fringe. A tram (for a fee) will take visitors 9 stops into Sabino Canyon; a separate tram will take you into Bear Canyon and to the trailhead of the popular Seven Falls Trail. To park, you will need a National Park Pass ($5 day, $20 annual) which is also good to use on Mt. Lemmon.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, 2021 N. Kinney Rd., Tel. (520) 883-2702, . More like Biosphere II than a walled institution, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is part zoo, part natural history museum and part botanical garden all in one Tucson attraction. From tarantulas to black bears, coyotes to scorpions, the museum-zoo is an entrancing and full-contact tribute to the Sonoran desert's wildlife (the wire fences are nearly invisible and the hummingbirds in the buzzing, walk-in aviary seem to think you are the attraction). Give yourself time to soak in the Southwest splendor and if time is all you have, the Museum is also on the fringes of Saguaro National Park, home to the world's largest forests of Saguaro cacti.
Saguaro National Park, 3693 South Old Spanish Trail, Tel. (520) 733-5153, . The most dense forest of the iconic cactus of the American West. The park has two unconnected units to the east and west of Tucson.
Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo del Norte, Tel. (520) 742-6455, . "Tohono chul" means "desert corner" in the Tohono O'Odham's (desert people's) language, and this haven in the midst of Tucson's burgeoning north side offers a tea room, gift shop, bookstore, and art gallery in the middle of trails and gardens. There are extensive botanical exhibits explaining the native plants, and a wonderful plant-sale area in which to buy them for your own garden. Many kinds of desert birds are frequent visitors.
Mission San Xavier del Bac, 1950 W. San Xavier Rd., Tel. (520) 294-2624, . The "White Dove of the Desert" is a Tucson mission. Pure white and pristine against a hot desert backdrop, and still heady inside its elaborately colored and muraled interior from centuries of supplication, the Mission San Xavier del Bac was finished in 1797 when Arizona was still New Spain. It has recently been cleaned and restored by professional art conservators who worked with, and trained members of the community.
Old Tucson Studios, 201 S. Kinney Rd., Tel. (520) 883-0100, . Ever notice that Hollywood's Old West, the backdrop for the gun-slinging and cryptic comments of Hollywood's Western icons -- Wayne, Eastwood, Douglas and Newman -- has much in common with the Wild West of today's Tombstone and Geronimo? They've all been filmed at the Old Tucson Studios, originally built in 1939 for the making of the William Holden vehicle "Arizona." Still an active film, TV and commercial set, it's also a nostalgia-themed park, with main drag shootouts, corseted can-can dancers, educational shows, pre-Prohibition saloons, restaurants, and gift shops.
El Tiradito (The Castaway), South Granada Avenue at West Cushing Street. El Tiradito is the only shrine to a sinner in North America. In the 1880s, a young man had an affair with his mother-in-law. When caught in the act, his father-in-law shot him and he stumbled from bed and ran out of the house. He dropped dead on this spot, and because he had not confessed his sins, he could not be buried in the church yard. His family and friends interred him where he fell, but remembered him with candles and flowers. People still burn candles and leave offerings today. The shrine is in what remains of Tucson's barrio (much of which was destroyed when the Tucson Convention Center was built). Best visited at dusk or after dark.
Two telescopes on Kitt Peak National Observatory near Tucson, Arizona.
Kitt Peak National Observatory,  is one hour southwest of Tucson. A "don't miss" for the astronomy buff, there are several astronomical telescopes plus a large solar telescope. There are tours available.
Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory,  is one hour due south of Tucson off I-19 near the town of Amado. Call ahead for tour information.
Pima Air & Space Museum, 6000 E. Valencia Rd., Tel. (520) 574-0462, . Features over 250 historic aircraft. A separate tour, also booked at the museum, can be booked to see the Aerospace Maintenance and Regentation Center (AMARC, aka the "Boneyard") tour to see 4200+ stored aircraft.
Titan Missile Museum, 1580 W. Duval Mine Rd., Sahuarita, Tel. (520) 625-7736, . Site south of Tucson preserves a Cold-War-era underground silo housing an unarmed Titan-II ICBM. Part of a larger field of such silos, this was one of the places from which nuclear war on the Soviet Union would have been waged.
Tucson Botanical Gardens, 2150 North Alvernon Way, Tel. (520) 326-9686, . This beautiful oasis in the heart of Tucson was originally the home of Bernice and Rutger Porter. Dating to the 1920s, the earliest buildings on the property were constructed of adobe bricks made right on site. True to the vision of Mrs. Porter, Tucson Botanical Gardens is a place of beauty, inspiration and education about the natural world.
Kartchner Caverns State Park, Nine miles south of I-10, off State Hwy 90, exit 302, Benson, Tel. (520) 586-CAVE, . Kartchner Caverns State Park, opened in 1999, is one of Arizona's newest wonders. Kartchner Caverns is a stunning limestone cave system considered one of the top ten in the world. Discovered in 1974 by explorers Randy Tufts and Gary Tenen, and not revealed until 1988, the opportunity existed to preserve the caverns in near-pristine condition.
Winterhaven Festival of Lights, An annual event in the Winterhaven subdivision north of Fort Lowell Road displaying a huge Christmas light festival involving several dozen homes in the subdivision. Typically, the festival starts in the middle of December, ending a few days before New Year's Day. The event is very popular, and traffic to the event is always very congested .
Gem Show, Tucson, Arizona, . For two weeks every winter, the world meets in Tucson as it becomes a bustling, international marketplace of buyers and sellers at the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. The "Gem Show" is much more than a single event at one location. Rather, there are thousands of participants and attendees at nearly 50 sites around town. Dozens of shows take place at the same time--in giant white tents, at hotels and resorts and at exhibit halls. There's something for everyone at the many open-to-the-public shows--from gold and diamonds to granite bookends and glass beads--and from fine specimens of dinosaur fossils to opals dug from the Australian Outback. edit
Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio, 711 S. 6th Avenue, ☎ 520-884-7404, . Tom Philabaum built his first glass studio in 1975, and opened the adjacent gallery in 1982. Together they represent one of the most enduring art endeavors of present-day Tucson. Visitors are able to watch the glass blowing process in the studio, and shop the impressive collection of contemporary glass art from artists around the country. Located just south of Downtown. edit
De Grazia Gallery in the Sun Historic District, 6300 N Swan Rd, ☎ 520-299-9191, . 10am-4pm daily. A collection of buildings designed and built by well-known painter Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia (1909-1982). There is also a gallery showcasing some of his work. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Free. edit
Tucson Museum of Art, 140 N Main Ave, ☎ 520-624-2333, . W 10am-5pm, Th 10am-8pm, F-Su 10am-5pm. A museum complex housed in a collection of historic adobe houses, this museum hosts exhibits of regional contemporary art, as well as the Arizona Biennial. Its permanent collection of Latin American and pre-Columbian art is particularly noteworthy.$10. edit
University of Arizona Museum of Art, 1031 Olive Rd (on the U of A campus, by E Speedway), ☎ 520-621-7567, . T-Fr 9am-5pm, Sa-Su 12pm-4pm. Houses an extensive of American and European art from the Renaissance to the 20th century, with excellent rotating exhibits. A highlight of the collection is the 15th-century Spanish altarpiece of Ciudad Rodrigo.$5 (adults). edit
Museum of Contemporary Art, 265 S Church Ave (just across the street from the Tucson Convention Center), ☎ 520-624-5019, . W-Su 12pm-5pm. Hosts exhibits of regional contemporary art.$8 (adults). edit
Center for Creative Photography, 1030 Olive Rd (on the U of A campus, by E Speedway), ☎ 520-621-7968, . M-Fr 9am-5pm, Sa-Su 1pm-4pm. The center was founded by Ansel Adams, and routinely features works of famous (and not-so-famous) photographers. When they have their Ansel Adams collection up it is a must see.Free. edit
Ft Lowell Museum, 2900 N Craycroft Rd, ☎ 520-885-3832, . F-Sa 10am-4pm. Fort Lowell was a US Army post, active in the late 19th century during the Apache Wars. Most of the adobe structures are now in ruins, but the commanding officers' quarters have been reconstructed and now house a small museum. Exhibits focus on military life on the frontier.$3 (adults). edit
Barrio Viejo (Barrio Historico), Bounded by I-10, W Cushing St , S 6th Ave, and W 18th St (by the Tucson Convention Center). One of Tucson's oldest neighborhoods, with colorful adobe buildings housing shops, galleries, and residences. The El Tiradito shrine (see listing above) is here. Best explored on foot.edit
All Souls Procession, Downtown (route begins on N 6th Ave and E 6th St, and ends on W Congress Ave after I-10), . One of the largest festivals in Tucson and based on the Mexican holiday 'Dia de los Muertos' (Day of the Dead), the highlight is a 3-mile parade beginning at dusk. Very colorful, with participants dressing in traditional or creative costumes. Takes place annually on the first Sunday in November.edit
Old Pascua Museum and Yaqui Cultural Center, 856 W. Calle Santa Ana (south of Grant Road and Fairview Avenue). Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Museum that features more than 4000 artifacts on display from the old Pasqua tribe that is displayed in a home built in 1926 and is listed in the National Register of Historic places. Free (donations are welcome). edit
Yume Japanese Gardens, 2130 N. Alvernon Way, ☎ 520-332-2928, . The living expression of an ancient Japanese heritage, Yume covers three quarters of an acre and comprises five traditional visions of landscape. In each, nature is balanced by the human hand to render the serene elegance and subtle spirit of an authentic Japanese garden. Frequent events showcase bonsai cultivation, flower arranging, and Japanese music and dance. Admission ranges from $5 for children to $9 for adults, with discounts for senior citizens and the military.edit
Tucson is a very diverse city. English is the most widely spoken language, and there are Russian and French speaking minorities in the north towards Oro Valley. Many people in the south side are Bilingual in English and Spanish.
Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 622-8848, . If you feel like dancing, this is the place to go. Located in the historic Congress Hotel, you'll find three bars and one dance floor, featuring techno dance beats and live bands. Call ahead to see who's playing. Cover charge.
Plush, . Live music - talented local, regional, and national touring acts 5-7 nights a week.
4th Avenue, One of two locations with a large concentration of bars and nightclubs, most notably Maloney's (a Pub chain), O'Malley's (Sports bar/dance/live music), The Shanty (Pub), Bison Witches (Sandwich shop/bar), Sky Bar (bar/pool hall), and The Surly Wench (bar/live music).
Congress Street, Home of Club Congress and other venues, including the District (a dive) and Asylum (darkwave/industrial music)
The HangArt, 25 E 6th St. (Main venue is on Echols in between 5th and 6th steets). varies. Tucson's edgiest live music venue, the HangArt hosts a wide range of performers and musicians almost every night of the week. Anything from punk, folk, indie rock, alternative, hip hop, or electronica and combinations thereof may be available. The HangArt is also a gallery with frequent shows by local visual artists. The main venue is unique, a giant hanger-like storage facility holds the performers and a standing room combined with an outdoor open air seating area further away from the stage. The interior has a large white screen for video art projections which accompany the live music. Truly the most unique and amazing music venue in Tucson. varies, but cheap. edit
Carnival of Illusion (An Evening of Old-World Magic), Doubletree Hotel Tucson at Reid Park, 445 S. Alvernon Way, Tucson, 85711 (On Alvernon Way between Broadway and 22nd), ☎ (520) 615-5299, . Fridays and Saturdays at 6PM and 8:30PM. National recipients for "Excellence in Magic" Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed present a Vaudeville-inspired magical show. Who knew Tucson had this little gem? The Tucson Citizen calls the show, "The best show in Tucson." Book early. Seating is regularly sold out since it is quite intimate with just 50 guests per show. FYI. A secret... When booking, be sure to ask about the buy one dinner entree, get one free.edit
Feed the Critters at Rooster Cogburn Ranch, Interstate 10, Exit 219, ☎ 15204663658, . For a great time stop and Feed the Critters at Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch. It is located on Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix. Take Exit #219 and then take the frontage road SE into the ranch. There are ostrich, deer, and Rainbow Lorikeets to feed so there is something for everyone! The ostrich will eat right out of your hand if you are brave enough or there are feed chutes for the more conservative feeders. The deer are so sweet and gently eat from your hand and the kids love them! The Rainbow Lorikeet Forest is a new attraction that is awesome! The small parrots land on your head, hands, and everywhere else and eat nectar out of a cup you hold. There is also shopping for ostrich products, etc., even ostrich eating eggs! A lot of fun for all ages and very affordable.edit
University of Arizona, . Founded in 1885, the University of Arizona is the state's original land-grant university. Today, it hosts nearly 40,000 students, with nationally pre-eminent programs in astronomy, planetary science, optical sciences, pharmacy, business, fine arts, and basketball. One unusual thing is the tree walk, a self-guided tour to almost a hundred rare trees on campus, 
Pima Community College, . Multicampus, two-year college system.
The Summit Hut, 5045 E. Speedway at Rosemont, Tel. (520) 325-1554 and 605 E. Wetmore at 1st Avenue, Tel. (520) 888-1000, . Offers great gear and resources for getting outdoors around Tucson. A very local shop with more than 30 years of experience. Go in and ask questions, these guys will take the time to help you out.
Silver Sea, 330 N. 4th Ave. In the popular 4th Ave shopping district (520)624-9954. Offers sterling silver jewelry at competitive prices. Interesting little figurines (fantasy, gothic, Egyptian, skulls) and a variety of giftie-type things. Silver Sea has been in business since 1993 and moved downtown in 2003. Recently transported to 4th Ave, Silver Sea is owner-operated--"Lizzie"--will help you find the perfect goodie to bring back with you. "Stardust" and "Cake" label jewelry available in limited supply. Lots of one of a kind items!
The RumRunner, 3131 E. First Street (just off SE corner of Speedway & Country Club), ☎ (520) 326-0121, . 11AM - 10PM. Wine & Spirits Shop. Fair (counts as good for Tucson) selection of wines, whiskeys (Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Canadian) and vodka, gin, tequila, cognac, brandy, and Rum. Fair beer selection. Cheese counter / paté / olives / cornichons / smoked salmon / caviar / proscuito / salametti / baguettes / picnic foods. Chocolates and candies. Wine Tastings / Wine Bar / In-house bistro / # www.RumRunnerTucson.com edit
Bookman's Entertainment Exchange, 6230 E Speedway Blvd (other branches at 3733 W Ina Rd; 1930 E Grant Rd), ☎ 520-748-9555 (Speedway location), . 9am-10pm daily. Practically a Tucson institution, the original branch opened on Speedway over 30 years ago. Besides used books, they also have used CDs, DVDs, video games, etc.edit
Tanque Verde Swap Meet, 4100 S Palo Verde Rd, ☎ 520-294-4252, . Fr 3pm-11pm, Sa 7am-11pm, Su 7am-3pm. A great place to find all sorts of oddities.edit
As you can guess, Tucson is a veritable hub of Southwestern and Mexican cuisine. But Tucson is an adventurous town (easily the most liberal metropolitan area in Arizona) and as a result of its diversity, has a vibrant culinary culture.
Bison Witches, , 326 N 4th Ave. Bison Witches...say it fast and it sounds like 'buy sandwiches' which I often do! Bison Witches features tons of different sammies that are *huge* and will fill you up. Bread bowl soups are another popular choice at this deli/bar and is a college student's dream of a chill place to hang out and get in on some great drink specials! Thursdays is a great night for hanging out here. 7.50 for a HUGE sammie.
East Coast Super Subs, 187 N Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719 (520) 882-4005. For the best subs on the west coast, go to East Coast. An absolute must-eat for the cheesesteak connoisseur. Just as famous as the dozens of legendary subs is the memorabilia collection rivaled by none. Open from 11-8 everyday. Winner Best Wings in Tucson 2009.
El Molinito, 3675 W Ina Rd, Tucson, AZ 85741 (520) 744-1188. A Local Favorite! Great Mexican food at a great price. Has been in Tucson for at least 20 years and has great service! Known for their amazing frozen margaritas. Try their beans and carne asada tacos on a soft flour tortilla!
Epic Cafe, 4th Avenue at University. An eclectic coffee house with outdoor tables, free WiFi, good organic food, intricately tattooed wait staff, and an independent vibe. Bulletin boards to see what is going on in town. Coffee $1-$3; soups, pastries, and sandwiches $3-$8.
Pat's Chili Dogs, Mission Road between St. Mary's Road and Speedway. An old time "drive in" (carhop service however does not exist--you must walk up to the order window). Lunchtime is packed with Tucsonans ordering the most famous Chili and Cheese Dogs in the State (I drive from Phoenix occasionally just to eat them!). French fries made from fresh potatoes on site. Lots of hot sauce. Arriba!
Birreria Guadalajara, Southeast corner of 22nd. Street and 4th. Avenue. A hole-in-the-wall Mexican diner frequented by the Hispanic workers and Gringos in the know. All the standard Mexican fare, but an unusual emphasis on caldos or soup. Birria is shredded beef in it's own broth--this place makes the best!
Yoshimatsu Healthy Japanese Food, 2745 N Campbell Avenue, Tel. (520) 320-1574. Local, homemade Japanese food. Recently opened a sushi bar within the same building. Great romantic location and a separate vegetarian menu.
Beyond Bread , 3026 N. Campbell Ave., Tel. (520) 322-9965, . Amazing sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, made from ingredients that are as fresh as possible. (In addition to baking bread daily, the restaurant also roasts its turkey and beef on site.) They also have an espresso bar and pastries. A nice place for lunch, but watch out--it's very popular, and you may have to wait in line. Average sandwich (hot & cold) costs around $6-6.50, chips included.
Buddy's Grill, 7385 S Houghton Rd, Tel. (520) 881-2226. Buddy's Grill dishes up American meals dominated by seafood and steaks. Expect the average entrée to cost roughly $8 to $12.
Home Town Buffet, 5101 North Oracle Road, Tel. (520) 888-1060. You'll find that Home Town Buffet focuses on American food. Expect the average entrée to cost in the range of $8 to $12.
Eegee's, . A favorite sub shop of the locals, noted for its flavored ices. There are several locations, but the chain is exclusive to the Tucson area.
Char Thai, 5039 E 5th St, Tel. (520) 795-1715. It's not always easy to find good Asian restaurants in the desert, but this hole in the wall has to be near the top of anyone's list of favorites. Owned and operated by former residents of Bangkok, the restaurant has a huge selection of tasty curries and noodle dishes. The lunch specials are a great value.
Viva Burrito Co, A local fast food chain known for its large, tasty breakfast burritos at a cheap price ($2.10). Open 24hrs.
El Güero Canelo, 5201 S. 12th Ave. 12th Ave. south of Irvington. Tasty food, their Sonoran dogs (hot dogs wrapped in bacon), but especially their carne asada. They have some of the best carne asada in the Southwest!
Rigo's Restaurant, 2527 S 4th Ave (South Tucson), ☎ 520-882-9323, . Mexican food with breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets, as well as menus. Known for their carne asada and margaritas. Mariachi bands on Friday nights.edit
Guillermo's Double L Restaurant, 1830 S 4th Ave (South Tucson), ☎ 520-792-1585. Solid Mexican food, with good atmosphere and prices.edit
La Indita Restaurant Mexicano, 622 N 4th Ave, ☎ 520-792-0523, . Wonderful food and ambiance, a real gem. Also offers Native American dishes and many vegetarian options.edit
Vero Amore, 3305 N Swan Rd # 105, Tucson, AZ 85712, Tel. (520) 325-4122, . This is a certified pizzeria that hand-makes their mozzarella, and has the finest ingredients from Italy. Their pizza crust is crispy and chewy and oh-so-delicious! Try their Prosciutto Caprese Salad ($9.50) and Margarita Pizza ($9.25). Another favorite is the Capricciosa Pizza ($11).
Cafe Poca Cosa, 88 E. Broadway Blvd., Tel. (520) 622-6400. Fantastic Southwestern cuisine in a fun atmosphere. Downtown, Cafe Poca Cosa serves Mexican cuisine as you've never tasted it before. Order the Plato Poca Cosa ($20), and chef-owner Suzana Davila will choose three entrees for you to sample. Trust her judgment. (dinner for two, about $46).
Cup Cafe, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 798-1618, . Unusual, eclectic mix of Indian, Thai, Japanese, American and Mediterranean food, easily the most interesting restaurant in Tucson. You'll find plenty of Vegetarian and some Vegan options. On a nice day you can sit outside.
El Charro Café, 311 N. Court Av., Tel. (520) 622-1922, . Opened in 1922, El Charro is the oldest continuously-operated, family-owned Mexican restaurant in the United States. The food is classic Southwestern, with more Sonoran influences than many Tucson restaurants.
El Minuto Cafe, 354 S. Main Av., Tel. (520) 882-4145. Authentic Sonoran cuisine in an adobe house in the barrio, open since 1936. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but do order the mole if they have it on the day you are there. The carne seca is superb and the chiles rellenos are magnificent. Make sure to sample the fresh, made-on-the-premises tortillas. Combine this with a visit to El Tiradito, which is nearby.
Rosa's Mexican Food, Ft. Lowell Rd. at Campbell Avenue. Excellent Sonoran-style Mexican food in this family-owned and operated storefront restaurant. Rosa's salsa is consistently voted one of the top three in Tucson by the readers of the Tucson Weekly. The food is heavy on the meat and cheese, with buttery tortillas and delicious refried beans. Entrées $7-$10.
Black Angus Restaurant, 5075 North Oracle Road, Tel. (520) 293-7131. If you try out Black Angus, you'll find a steakhouse that serves patrons American dishes where people frequently get steaks. Entrées $12 to $20. Dress casual.
Takamatsu, 5532 East Speedway Boulevard, Tel. (520) 512-0800. Takamatsu concentrates on Japanese and Korean dishes where it's common to order sushi. Entrées $12-$20. Also, you'll notice that there is habachi-style cooking.
Vivace Restaurant, 4811 East Grant Road, Tel. (520) 795-7221. Vivace is an upscale restaurant that focuses on and serves Italian dishes. Entrées $12 to $20, casual dress. The atmosphere is enhanced by flowers at the tables. The establishment is spacious. Table talk requires you to speak up a bit here. Also, you'll notice that there is an open kitchen.
Yamato, 857 E. Grant Rd. Sushi and Japanese.
North, 2995 E. Skyline Dr. Located in the La Encantada mall. Italian in heritage, but extremely experimental. Dishes range from pizzas to pasta to steak, and are normally in the range of $19-$25 (others depend on market prices).
Sushi Ten, 4500 E. Speedway Blvd. Japanese, sushi.
El Mezon del Cobre, 2960 N 1st Ave. A lesser known but not unknown, great Mexican restaurant. Great place to go to dispel fears that Mexican food equals heat. The seafood, particularly the fish, is great for those with delicate palates. Dinner time includes roaming Mariachi singers.
The B-Line, 621 N. 4th Avenue, Tel. (520) 882-7575. A small but very popular cafe nearby the University of Arizona. You can't go wrong with nearly anything served here. Excellent pies and cakes that average $6 a slice - which are an absolute must if you come by. Several import and domestic microbrewery beers and wines are offered, and they also sell Mexican Coca-Cola too. Entrees average about $10 a plate for a main dish for either lunch or breakfast. 
'Guadalajara Grill 1220 E Prince Road, and 750 E Kolb Road Tel (520) 323-1022 A popular, fun and entertaining Mexican restaurant featuring live Mariachis 7 nights per week, fresh salsa made table-side, and homemade tortillas. A great place to go with friends to enjoy the lively and homey atmosphere. The restaurant is running a culinary tour of Mexico, and features dishes from different states of Mexico each month that are fun to try. Dinner time includes roaming Mariachi singers.
Angelo's, 4405 West Speedway Boulevard, Tel. (520) 624-8946. Focusing on Italian, Greek and European cuisines, this is an upscale restaurant. Expect the average entrée to cost between $20 and $30. The restaurant has a contemporary, European-style decor. The restaurant has a romantic atmosphere--a favorite among couples.
Arizona Inn, 2200 East Elm Street, Tel. (520) 325-1541. Serving an American fare, this is a fine dining facility. Expect the average entrée to cost in the range of $20 to $30. Architecturally, the restaurant is in an historic structure. The restaurant has a southwestern U.S. style decor. The interior is enhanced by prints and flowers at the tables, and the lighting is set quite dim. This is a white tablecloth restaurant, and the fireplace adds to the atmosphere and mood here. The establishment has several dining rooms. It has a romantic atmosphere.
The Dish Bistro, 3131 E. First Street. "Just off SE corner of Speedway & Country Club" Tel. (520) 326-1714  5 - 10PM. $20 to $30 for an entree. A "speakeasy" bistro hidden inside a wine shop. Intimate, midtown bistro offers an eclectic selection of 'Little Dishes', 'Green Dishes' and 'Big Dishes' from a Seasonal Menu. 'Dish of the Day' features fresh seafood. Exquisite, daily soup with Chef's 'amuse'. Near-endless wine selection, as any bottle in The RumRunner--the adjoining wine shop--can be enjoyed in The Dish for $12 over retail. "Best of Tucson 2008" (Tucson Weekly). Make sure to book ahead.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 6360 North Campbell Ave, ☎ +1 520 529-5017, . Fleming's is known for its prime steak and elegant, cherry wood atmosphere. Its wine list features over 100 wines available by the glass. This steakhouse also offers bar menu specials until 7:00 PM.edit
Hacienda del Sol, 5601 N. Hacienda del Sol Rd., Tel. (520) 529-3500, . Mobil four-star American-style grill featuring (Fall 2004) swordfish, Angus beef, buffalo sirloin, lamb, Scottish salmon, and other entrées . Reservations recommended.
Mr. An's Teppan Steak and Sushi, 3 Locations. 
Tucson has an active "wine community" - with many retailers, restaurants and wine bars regularly offering scheduled wine tasting events. Cochise County, southeast of Tucson has many wineries, some of which welcome visitors.
Kon Tiki, 4625 E Broadway Blvd, ☎ (520) 323-7193, . A Polynesian-themed bar with fruity, Cruzan-laden concoctions that's been in Tucson since 1963. Don't mind the snake behind the bar, the servers are nice and there is no cover. A reasonable place to drink, as $10 can get you feeling quite good. The Scorpion here is a must--but it is illegal to drink one by yourself, so be sure to arrange for a designated driver. Weekends can be very busy.$4.50-7.50. edit
Barrio Brewing Company, 800 E. 16th St., Tel. (520) 791-2739. Popular microbrewery near the train tracks that meander through downtown Tucson. Built into a former industrial warehouse, the interior features high ceilings and concrete floors while the long patio outside faces the train tracks and provides a view of the Downtown skyline.
Bison Witches, 326 N. 4th Ave., Tel. (520) 740-1541. Located at the heart of Tucson's 4th Avenue historic district, Bison Witches is a funky little bar and restaurant that serves amazing sandwiches, has a large selection of beer and has great margaritas. Bison Witches is always full but the wait for a table is never more then 15 minutes. At night, it can get crowded now that the back patio has been remodeled into an outdoor bar.
The Surley Wench, 424 N 4th Ave. While a popular hangout for the local punk and lgbt crowd everyone is welcome. When bands are playing a $5 dollar cover is often charged. The Wench has two pool tables, an air hockey table and a lot of fun decor to peruse. They also often play B movies on a big screen over the entrance.
Maloney's, 213 N 4th Ave. Large bar with pool tables, dance floor and multiple rooms. 2-for-1-drinks on Thursday nights, but beware, it can get packed on Thursday and Saturday nights with locals and college kids.
Nimbus, 3850 E. 44th Street Suite 138, (520) 745-9175, . Popular microbrewery that serves quality food, with a monkey as its mascot.
Thunder Canyon Brewery, 7401 N La Cholla Blvd, Tucson AZ (Located inside of the Foothills Mall - nearby the intersections of Ina and La Cholla Blvd.), ☎ (520) 797-2652, . Daily from 11:00 AM till. A decent local brewery that has won several national beer awards, inside of a shopping mall. Mostly "bar food" is offered, but their pizzas and nachos are fairly good. Their Russian stout beer (the Warhead Stout) is one of their best beers offered - but be aware it is a seasonal beer and runs out quickly.Pints are typically $4 - $5 each - better prices are offered during happy hour - entrees are typically $10 - $15. edit
Borderlands Brewing Company, 119 E. Toole Ave. Tucson, AZ 85701, . 4 - 7 PM. Fine selection of beers. No food is sold at this establishment - but there are local food trucks that offer meals for sale. Not a big place, but it's a good find for those who like beer.$4 per pint. edit
Desert Dove Bed and Breakfast (Tucson Arizona B & B), 11707 E. Old Spanish Trail, ☎ 877-722-6879, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. A romantic, secluded and scenic bed and breakfast inn, close to Saguaro National Park. Mt. Lemmon lodging.Rooms:$125 - $145. (32.188127,-110.743785)edit
Desert Trails Bed & Breakfast, 12851 E. Speedway, ☎ (520) 885-7295, . checkin: 3-6PM; checkout: 11AM. Come enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Sonoran desert from the comfort of a unique adobe hacienda situated on acreage bordering Saguaro National Park East. Ideal for hiking, birding, and wildlife viewing; horseback riding available; dining and shopping closeby. $ 140. edit
Tucson and Arizona Bed and Breakfasts, . This is a list of Arizona and Tucson Bed and Breakfasts. Other locations include Herefors, Bisbee, Tubac and Sonoita.edit
Roadrunner Hostel & Inn, 346 East 12th Street, +1 520 628-4709, cell +1 520 940-7280, .Downtown superb location. Dorms are $22 per night Co-ed possible. Private rooms are $45 per night. Pay 6th nights at check in & 7th Free, People keep coming back! roadrunner is family Pet/Gay friendly. Free waffle breakfast!
Congress Hotel, 311 E. Congress St., Tel. (520) 622-8848, . This historic hotel was the site of John Dillinger's arrest. The rooms are small, but have a funky, historic feel. In addition to regular rooms, you'll find rooms above the bar and dance floor, earplugs are supplied for free!
Econo Lodge, 1136 N. Stone Ave., Tel. (520) 622-6714, . Pet-friendly hotel located near the University of Arizona.
Rodeway Inn, 1248 North Stone Ave., Tel. (520) 622-6446, . 39 comfortable rooms to help you get off of the road and get some rest.
Some motels located on West Miracle Mile Rd and south of 3000th block of North Oracle Rd tend to be cheaper, run-down motels that involve the shady types. Although good deals can be found you probably wouldn't want to take your family to any one of these. This area is a legacy of the pre-freeway auto courts, 1937 to 1965, , called Miracle Mile . A number of the old hotels remain, mostly run by Indian owners, compete on price and upkeep. With the city fighting crime, mostly prostitution, aggressively in the area, widening and landscaping Oracle Rd, even removing one of the few traffic circles in Tucson, now only a unsavory reputation remains as the area tries to pull itself out of decline. If you need a room for $30 this is the place to start looking.
TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre, 384 South Williams Boulevard , Tel. 1-520-747-0720, . This extended stay hotel is located minutes from the shopping, dining, and entertainment at the Park Place Mall and local businesses such as Texas Instruments, American Board of Radiology and Sunquest.
Residence Inn Tucson Airport, 2660 East Medina Road., Tel. 1-520-294-5522, . This all-suite hotel is near Tucson Airport is minutes from downtown Tucson, the University of Arizona and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Key facilities for Arizona Border Patrol, Flight Safety, and Tucson Electric Power
Hyatt Place Tucson/Airport, 6885 S. Tucson Blvd., Tel. (520) 295-0405, . Located 0.5 miles south of the Tucson International Airport and minutes from the Desert Diamond Casino.
Comfort Suites Sabino Canyon, 7007 E. Tanque Verde, 520-298-2300. Newly renovated and centrally located.
Courtyard Tucson Williams Centre, 201 South Williams Blvd, ☎ 5207456000, . $109-$149. edit
Desert Dove Bed and Breakfast, 11707 E. Old Spanish Trail, Tel (877) 722-6879, .
El Rancho Merlita Ranch House Bed and Breakfast Inn (Merle Norman's Historic Estate), 1924 N. Corte El Rancho Merlita (drive east on Wrightstown Rd past the intersection at Pantano Rd, turn right (south) on Corte Tomasin into the El Rancho Merlita Gated Community), ☎ 520495-0071, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 11AM. Historic 1950's Ranch House and estate built by Merle Norman. Opened in March, 2010, it provides luxurious rooms with brick interior walls, great beds, and delicious breakfast. Lots of places to relax inside and outside: pool, BBQ, breezeways, massage and yoga space, ping pong, horseshoes and more.From $85. (32.244918,-110.810911)edit
Lodge on the Desert, 306 N. Alvernon Way, Tel. (800) 456-5634, . Founded in 1936 as a dude ranch on the edge of town, Lodge on the Desert is now in the heart of the city. However, it still exudes desert style and beauty. The 35 rooms are beautifully appointed with unique Southwestern flair.
Palo Verde Inn & Suites (Newly renovated eco-friendly, independent airport hotel in Tucson, Arizona.), 5251 S. Julian Dr., Tucson, AZ 85706, ☎ (520) 294-5250 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: (520) 889-1982), . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12PM. Newly renovated eco-friendly, independent hotel. 5 minutes from airport. Guest Rooms, corporate suites, and extended-stay available. Rates: $49+ (summer), $79+ (winter).edit
Ramada Foothills Inn and Suites, 1606 E Tanque Verde Rd, Tucson, AZ 85715, ☎ 520-886-9595, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12:00PM. Close to Sabino Canyon, Mt Lemmon, and Saguaro East. Complimentary deluxe hot breakfast, social hour, wi-fi, and local calls. Lush tropical courtyard with heated pool and jacuzzi. edit
The Riverpark Inn, 350 South Freeway, Tucson, AZ 85745-2707, ☎ 520-239-2300, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: 12:00PM. Near downtown, the Convention Center and close to the University of Arizona. Terrace Cafe on-site.edit
Starr Pass Golf Suites, 3645 West Starr Pass Blvd +1520-670-0500, . 80 spacious casitas and suites with spectacular desert views, many with fireplaces and balconies.
Westward Look Resort, 245 E Ina Rd., Tel. (800) 722-2500, . A full service resort and spa located on an 80-acre oasis. There is on-site horseback riding, hiking, birding, swimming, and gourmet dining.
The Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St., Tel. (520) 325-1541, . This charming and classic 1930 resort was built by Isabella Greenway, Arizona's first woman to serve in the U.S. Congress (1933-1937). Colorful stucco casitas and suites ramble through meticulously, groomed grounds. The Arizona Inn has won top awards from Zagat and Condé Nast, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, 7000 North Resort Drive, Tele (520)-299-2020, . This hotel is located at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains. There are a total of 398 rooms on three floors. There are two pools, five restaurants, a spa, running path, hiking trails, and there are many species of birds right outside your room on the side that looks out to the mountains. There are also two 18-hole golf courses nearby the hotel. There is free access to Sabino Canyon via a van; however, complimentary WiFi to their guests is not offered. Expect average daily rates for their standard rooms to cost $250 per night during the summer and convention seasons. Typically most guests are retirees without grandchildren - younger guests with children tend to stick out like a handful of sore thumbs.
Tanque Verde Ranch, 14301 E Speedway, Tel: (520)296-6275, . Guests staying at the Tanque Verde Ranch have a choice of being pampered by daily massages or hitting the trail by horse or foot. Located on 640 beautiful, acres in the foothills of the Rincon mountains east of Tucson Arizona, the Tanque Verde Ranch offers Arizona horseback riding, tennis, guided hiking, mountain biking, nature walks and much more, all included in your nightly rate. This Arizona dude ranch, founded in 1868 in the verdant Sonoran desert, offers an excellent Southwestern resort along with a historic Arizona dude ranch experience in a secluded, natural setting.
Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa, 5000 E. Via Estancia Miraval, Tel. (800)232-3969, . Experience this groundbreaking Tucson Arizona luxury spa resort. Restore balance to your life with a destination spa vacation at this award winning Tucson luxury resort. In 2004, Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, became the majority owner of Miraval. Through his own memorable experience at the resort, he saw the opportunity to grow Miraval into a global lifestyle brand, as well as forge partnerships with leading luxury brands such as Exclusive Resorts, Portico, Clarins, and more.
The Wyndham Canoa Ranch Golf Resort, 5775 S Camino Del Sol, Tel. (520) 382-0450
,  The Wyndham Canoa Ranch Golf Resort in Tucson brings you a chance to play and relax in a truly stunning environment, with exceptional amenities and plush accommodations.
Tucson Mountain Park, Gilbert Ray Campground, 8451 W Mccain Loop, . Secluded, quiet, county-run RV Park. 30 amp electric only, water and dump station available on the grounds. No reservations taken, honor system payments. No Showers. NOTE: Rattlesnakes are not uncommon in the park. $20/ night for Rv's, $10 for tents.
Catalina State Park, is about 10 miles north of downtown, just at the edge of the city buildup.  These both are undiscovered gems, , used mostly by out of state snowbirds during the winter, worth looking at to put up adventuresome guests on a budget or those travelers with a desire to see the night sky only a few miles out of Tucson. If you are visiting in April, check out the Festival of the Sun: Tucson Solar Potluck and Renewable Energy Exhibition, 2008 was the 26th one. 
Santa Catalina Mountains and Mt. Lemmon , there are a number of campgrounds  on the mountain. Molina Basin  is the first and only year round one. Prison camp  is unusual as it displays the remnants, mostly rock walls from a Japanese-American interment camp from WW2 . Be sure to get a permit at the foot of the mountain, just before Molina Basin, about mile post 4, camping fees are in addition to travel permit, self-pay at entrance, camp guides at both these places, in first site. There is a pleasant hike between these two campgrounds, park all the way at the end of prison camp and walk downhill to Molina, the destruction from the Aspen fire is evident here as is all the new green growth.
If you go walking in the desert parks, or on your own, learn desert-safety tips. Take water, always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to get back, and if you have a cell phone, take it with you and have it on. It's disturbingly easy to get lost in the desert. Also, watch for snakes and bugs, as a few are dangerous to your health. When hiking, for example, rattlesnakes are easy to come across. When putting your slippers on in the morning, scorpions can be an unpleasant surprise.
Midtown (specifically the section along Alvernon Road between Grant and Ft. Lowell) and the South section of the city (in the general area between I-10, I-19, and Valencia) are not the safest places to be--but there are no real attractions in these areas anyway. Downtown is heavily occupied until 2AM when the bars close. If you are downtown after 2AM, be cautious. While murder rates are fairly low, they are violent and sometimes random. There is gang activity but for the most part it is directed against rival gangs. There are many homeless people downtown. The center city is heavily populated by the "young and restless", so it may seem a spooky to more conservative travelers due to the dirt and noise the youngsters create.
Unfortunately, Tucson has one of the highest rates of vehicle theft in the USA, and there are a few locations in the city you're more likely to have your car/truck stolen at than at any other place in the town (such as the Wal-Mart on 1650 West Valencia Road and the Park Place Mall).
During the monsoon season (usually in the months of July - September), Tucson does experience flash flooding. Under no circumstances should you attempt to drive across a flooded road that is barricaded. If your vehicle becomes stranded in your attempt to cross the barricaded road: you will be issued a traffic citation by the police under the 1995 "stupid motorist law" (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 28-910), fined in the amount of $2000, and ordered to pay for all rescue costs (usually $1500 or more - and that doesn't include the towing expense either). Also, if you knowingly drive a vehicle into a flooded road that is barricaded with a child under the age of 16, you may also be charged with a class-1 misdemeanor charge of child endangerment (Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3619 - per each child in the car) in addition to the previously mentioned penalties if your car becomes stranded.
Newcomers to the southwest often hear about a lung infection called Valley Fever (a fungal disease - the proper medical name is called, coccidioidomycosis). Although it's rare to contract this disease, it should be taken seriously as it is difficult for most doctors to accurately identify it (a blood test called a coccidioidal must be done to accurately diagnose this illness), and it takes weeks for the symptoms to fully develop for an experienced doctor to recognize them. Exposure to very dusty conditions (ATV riding in the desert, construction, getting caught in a sudden dust storm) increases the opportunity to become infected. It is recommended to wear a face mask if you intend to be exposed to dusty conditions, and strongly recommended if you have a lung disease or temporarily suffering from pneumonia. There is currently no cure for this disease, only long term treatment. For acute symptoms patients may be prescribed an antifungal drug such as fluconazole.
Take precautions for sunburn and heat stroke. This cannot be emphasized enough if you plan to make a trek in the desert mountains. It's easy to sunburn and windburn out in the desert, and the UV rays are very strong. It is recommended to use sunscreen with at least a UV protection rating of 30 or higher. Be mindful of the extreme heat when hiking in the mountains during the summer months to avoid suffering from heat exhaustion or possibly dying from heat stroke.
Mosquitoes can be bad after a monsoon (usually in the months of July - September), so consider wearing mosquito repellent with a high concentration of DEET to reduce the risk of acquiring diseases typically transmitted by these annoying insects.
Care should be taken when you decide to ride a motorcycle or ATV in the desert, so you don't get injured by running into or bushing against the "jumping cholla" cacti. Wearing thick protective clothing, helmets, and gloves while riding are an absolute must. These are very prickly cacti with stems that detach with little or no effort, also the cacti spines are very painful to remove from your skin once contact is made.
For all emergencies you may dial 911 from any cell (active or inactive cell phone) or land line phone free-of-charge. If using a cell phone be sure to inform the operator of your exact location, as it takes extra time for the operator to attempt to triangulate your location--time is of the essence in emergency situations. When calling 911 for assistance be as calm as possible, and do not panic or use profanity over the phone, as the operator on the phone might consider the call as a prank.
For non-emergencies dial the police department at 520-791-4444 between 0800-2200 hrs (after 2200 hrs, you may dial 911 for all issues). If you find yourself in a non-emergency and don't have the number, simply call 911 and they'll transfer you
For visitor information about events and activities taking place in Tucson, check out the city of Tucson's on-line directory .
There are surprisingly many locations within the city of Tucson that are free Wi-Fi hotspots, so free Internet access shouldn't be viewed as a problem. Most of the hotspots are located at coffee shops (such as the Bruegger's Bagel locations), the local book store (Bookman's), and the local libraries throughout the city.
The following foreign consulates are located in Tucson:
Canadian Consulate, 1840 East River Road Suite 200, phone (520) 622-3641
Consulate General of Mexico, 553 South Stone Ave, phone (520) 882-5596
Consulate General of El Salvador, 3127 E. 2nd St, phone (520) 318-0410 ext 1. Email: email@example.com
The following are honorary consulates in Tucson. Be aware, honorary consulates typically represent the business interests of a nation, and do not provide legal or citizen support (such as passport support) to it's citizens.
Costa Rican Honorary Consul, 3567 East Sunrise Drive Suite 235, phone (520) 529-7068
Bisbee makes for a pleasant day trip. The Copper Queen has great food and historic accommodation.
Tombstone. Visit the famous old west boom town to see "haunted" theaters, graves of famous outlaws, and reenactments of the famous O.K. Corral shootout. For more serious Old West history, be sure to visit the Cochise County Courthouse museum. A must for any trip to southern Arizona.