Tucson is known for...
These stately giants are an icon of the American West, and a symbol of Tucson, which is home to Saguaro National Park. Although certainly not warm and fuzzy, the Saguaro cactus has become so closely associated with the Southwest that it is impossible to walk into a Tucson souvenir shop without finding this sub-tropical plant etched on shot glasses, t-shirts, and postcards. Drive around the outskirts of Tucson and witness the grandeur of Saguaro forests nestled at the base of the city's hillsides and mountains. For a magnificent view, take the drive west onto Gates Pass Road.
2. Mexican Food:
Tucson claims to be the Mexican food capital of the United States. Who's to argue with them? Drive down 12th Avenue and witness the number of taco stands, carts, and sit-down eateries. It's easy to lose count. From casual Sonoran-style grub to authentic Mexico City-style street fare, you can find almost every variation here. Tucson is also home to the country's oldest family-run Mexican food restaurant, El Charro Cafe, located on Court Avenue in downtown Tucson.
You probably won't hear the jangling spurs of cowboys walking down the streets of Tucson--this is a modern city, after all, not the turn-of-the-century West. But the city does preserve its Western and Southwestern heritage with celebrations like La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, a week-long celebration of the Western lifestyle that kicks off each year in February with a Rodeo Parade. The parade has been a Southern Arizona tradition since 1925, demonstrating Tucson's perennial cowboy spirit.
Oprah Winfey's favorite spa, Miraval, is located in the scenic outskirts of Tucson. Miraval is just one of Tucson's highly regarded resort spas. Others include The Westward Look Resort (a haven for winter visitors for more than 100 years), Loews Ventana Canyon Resort, The Westin La Paloma Resort, and Canyon Ranch Resort & Spa, among others. With mild winter weather, outstanding desert scenery, and big city amenities, Tucson has established itself as a destination for weary travelers everywhere seeking refuge in some of the Southwest's best world-class resort.
5. The University of Arizona:
Arizona's first public university, The University of Arizona, is one of the major employers in the Tucson area. More importantly, however, the university gives the city a vibrant college town atmosphere and contributes greatly to the diversity and breadth of its cultural scene. With a population of over 20,000 university students, it's no wonder that Tucson is replete with bars, pizzerias, bookstores, and other college hang-outs.