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When to Go to Tucson

Summer lodging rates (late May-September) are hugely discounted, even at many of the resorts, but there's a good reason: summer in Tucson is hot! Swimming and indoor activities like visiting museums (and spa treatments) are doable; but only the hardiest hikers and golfers stay out past noon in summer.

Tucson averages only 12 inches of rain a year. Winter temperatures hover around 65°F during the day and 38°F at night. Summers are unquestionably hot—July averages 104°F during the day and 75°F at night—but, as Tucsonans are fond of saying, "it's a dry heat."

The International Gem and Mineral Show descends on Tucson the first two weeks in February; book your hotel in advance or you'll be hard-pressed to find a room.

February

Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. This huge two-week trade show in February, with multiple venues in and around downtown, is the largest of its kind in the world. Most vendors sell to the public as well as wholesale. The Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau website (http://www.visittucson.org/events/gem-show/) has a lot of information about the event. 520/322–5773. www.tgms.org.

La Fiesta de los Vaqueros. America's largest outdoor midwinter rodeo is at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds the third weekend in February. 520/294–8896. www.tucsonrodeo.com.

April

Fiesta de Saguaro. Hispanic culture and heritage are celebrated at Saguaro National Park in early April. 520/733-5153. www.nps.gov/sagu.

July

Saguaro Harvest. The majestic saguaro's fruit is harvested at Colossal Cave Mountain Park around late June. 520/647–7121. www.colossalcave.com..