Mission San Xavier del Bac
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The Old Pueblo, as Tucson is affectionately known, is built upon a deep Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Old West foundation. Arizona's second-largest city is both a bustling center of business and development, with its fair share of ubiquitous strip malls and tract-homes, as well as a relaxed university and resort town.Metropolitan Tucson has more than 850,000 residents, including thousands of snowbirds, who flee colder climes to enjoy the sun that shines on the city more than 340 days out of 365.The city has a tri-cultural (Hispanic, Anglo, Native American) population, and offers visitors the chance to see how these cultures interact and to sample their flavorful cuisine.In terms of outdoor activities, the city is particularly popular among golfers, and there are several hiking trails surrounding the city in the Santa Catalina Mountains and Saguaro National Park. If the weather is too hot to stay outdoors comfortably, consider a cooler alternative at a museum, such as the Arizona State Museum or the Center for Creative Photography.The city has a relaxed vibe, largely due to the population of students attending Arizona State University. While high-tech industries have moved into the area, the economy still relies heavily on the university and tourism—although, come summer, you'd never guess; when the snowbirds and students depart, Tucson can be a sleepy place.
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Things You Can't Miss
Called the finest example of mission architecture in the nation, 18th-century San Xavier del Bac church features an ornately decorated interior.
Robert Harding Picture Library Ltd/Alamy
Part zoo, part botanical garden, part aquarium, the award-winning Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum houses hummingbirds, wolves, otters, bears and more.
Visions of America/Alamy
The Pima Air and Space Museum displays more than 300 aircraft from around the world, including an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane and historic WWII bombers.
Take a guided tram tour into this stunning canyon to reach hiking trails, see wildlife, or cool off in a lovely pool or cascade in a foothills creek.
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