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Tucson Area Information

Tucson is known as the “Old Pueblo”

For the walled Spanish presidio that preceded today’s modern city, offers visitors a striking blend of contrasts shaped by a distinctive heritage and accessible natural wonders. Regional architecture, cuisine, music, and art reflect a colorful and varied past. Proud of our city’s origins, Tucson has incorporated influences of its Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Western pioneer ancestors into lifestyles of today.


Colorful heritage shapes this modern city

All around town you’ll find interesting combinations of the old and the new. Residents actively support the local arts – the city’s own fine symphony, ballet, opera, theater, and avant-garde art scene have made Tucson a thriving cultural center. Economic development is transforming the city as it continues to attract national and international businesses, many drawn here by the University of Arizona’s well-respected research facilities.

While Tucson enters the 21st Century as a progressive city, ranking among the fastest-growing urban areas in the nation, residents strive to preserve the area’s history and protect the natural environment. Revitalization of the downtown area and a project to redevelop the area surrounding Sentinel Peak, or “A” mountain, are just a few of the ongoing efforts celebrating the unique land, history, and cultures of Tucson.


Spanish explorers founded El Presidio

Present-day Tucson was founded August 20, 1775, by Irishman Hugh O’Connor, who served in the Spanish army. He established the legendary walled Presidio de San Agustìn. Although the structure no longer stands, it is commemorated in the historic, downtown El Presidio neighborhood.

Spain’s claim to Tucson ended when Mexico gained independence in 1821. Tucson became a part of the United States with the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 and remained so except for a brief period when Confederate soldiers seized the city during the Civil War.


Tucson receives an average 350 days of sunshine every year. Mild spring, fall, and winter temperatures are legendary. While summer does heat up, Tucson’s combination of low humidity and medium altitude makes higher temperatures feel more comfortable. Two rainy seasons replenish the desert – summer’s afternoon thunderstorms are called the monsoons.


Tucson is located in the heart of Southern Arizona – an area known as the Sonoran Desert – about 100 miles south of the state capital, Phoenix, and about 60 miles north of the Mexico border.


Tucsonans take a relaxed approach to dress, and casual clothing is acceptable for most occasions. Summer wear includes a wide-brim hats, sunglasses, and lightweight fabrics. In warmer months, indoor air conditioning can get chilly for some, so be prepared with a lightweight jacket or sweater. Sunscreen to protect skin is recommended year-round. In the winter, a lightweight coat or jacket will usually suffice, unless you’re planning to visit higher mountain areas where colder temperatures and snow are probable.



Tucson is 2,389 feet above sea level, and the metropolitan area covers nearly 500 square miles. For a commanding view of the city, drive up to Tucson’s Sentinel Peak, designated “A” mountain in 1915 by University of Arizona students. From the top, you can see the five mountain ranges surrounding the valley:

  • Santa Catalina Mountains – prominent rugged range on the north and northeast
  • Rincon Mountains – rolling mountains to the east
  • Santa Rita Mountains – flanking the distant south and southeast
  • Tucson Mountains – shorter, more jagged mountains to the west
  • Tortolita Mountains – closing the ring on the northwest side

Tucson has three major dry river washes: the Santa Cruz River, the Rillito River, and the Pantano Wash.




Tucson is Arizona’s second largest city, and the seat of Pima County. The population of 900,000 is steadily increasing, making Tucson one of the fastest growing communities in the nation. Everything that makes Tucson a great place to visit makes it an even better place to live.



State sales tax is 5.6 %, except for real-estate, prescriptions, and groceries for home consumption. Additional 2 % imposed in Tucson, Oro Valley, and Marana on goods taxed by the state.


  • Tucson Convention Center (TCC) Box Office: 791-4266
  • Ticket Master: 321-1000
  • U of A: Athletics: 621-2287
  • Fine Arts: 621-1162
  • Centennial Hall: 621-3341



The State of Arizona is located in the Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST). Arizona is one of only two states that does not make an adjustment for Daylight Savings Time, and during the months of April through October, Arizona time mirrors Pacific Daylight Time.


This profile appears courtesy of MCTVB