Tucson has been continuously settled for over 12,000 years. It celebrates a diversity of cultures, architecture, and peoples. Yet, it is one of the "Mega-Trend" cities of the 21st Century: the Optics Valley, premier health services center for the Southwest, the astronomy center of the world, home of a premier research institution - University of Arizona, and a tourism destination.
Tucson, too SAHN or TOO sahn, is one of the oldest towns in the United States. Tucson was originally an Indian village called Stook-zone, meaning water at the foot of black mountain. Hugo O'Conor established the Tucson Presidio in 1775. August 20th, 1775 is considered Tucson's birthday. Spanish settlers arrived in the area in 1776. Tucson officially became part of the United States with the Gadsden Purchase of 1854. Tucson served as capital of the Arizona Territory from 1867 to 1877.
Tucson boasts the best of both worlds...the progress and innovation of a metropolitan community and the friendly, caring atmosphere of a small town.
Tucson's rich cultural heritage centers around a unique blend of Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo-American influences. These can be seen in the Hispanic barrios, historical and contemporary American architecture and the prehistoric Native American remnants.
Tucson was referred to as a "mini-mecca for the arts” by The Wall Street Journal and in 2009 was ranked #20 of the Top 25 Arts Destinations (big-cities category) by American Style Magazine. Tucson is one of a select few cities of its size that boasts its own ballet company, professional theater, symphony, and opera company. Home to 215 art groups, and more than 35 art galleries in the downtown area alone, Tucson ranks as one of the best places in the state to view works by the masters and up-and-coming artists. Tucson’s natural history and cultural heritage are also on display in the 30+ regional museums, 12 of which are located on the route of the upcoming Modern Streetcar.
Tucson is situated in the Sonoran Desert and is surrounded by five mountain ranges. A trip from the 2,389-foot valley floor to the 9,157-foot Mt. Lemmon summit (home to the southernmost ski area in the continental United States) traverses seven of the world's nine life zones. It's like driving from Mexico to Canada. Blessed with the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert and an unsurpassed climate of 360 sunny days a year, Tucsonans embrace a rare lifestyle and are committed to preserving that quality of life.
Tucson is the perfect place for the outdoor enthusiast. With more than 800 miles of bike paths, Tucson has been ranked by Bicycling magazine as one of the top cycling cities in the U.S. for several years running and is home to internationally known bicycling events such as El Tour de Tucson. Golf is another popular activity with dozens of regional golf courses, including five municipally-owned courses.
The City is home to the University of Arizona and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The City's industries include electronics and missile production. Tucson is the seat of Pima County and has a Council-Manager form of government.The Tucson metropolitan area supports over 750,000 residents. As metropolitan Tucson continues to grow by nearly 2,000 new residents each month, the challenge of meeting citizen expectations also increases.
The City of Tucson is committed to providing quality municipal services which promote a healthy community, offer opportunities for participation and leisure and enable citizens to prosper at work and at home.
Want to know more about what Tucson has to offer?
For comprehensive visitor information visit the Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau.