Tucson is a unique community that combines Indian, Spanish, Mexican, and pioneer influences with the cultural offers of a modern cosmopolitan center and breathtaking scenic beauty.
Located in a desert valley surrounded by mountain ranges, Tucson is part of the Sonoran Desert. Days here are warm; nights are mild year-round. With an average of 314 days of sunshine each year, Tucson is an ideal setting for bicycling, tennis, golf, swimming, and running. For those who prefer winter sports, the southern-most ski area in the United States lies just an hour’s drive away in the majestic Catalina Mountains, which rise 9,300 feet. The mountains around Tucson attract climbers, hikers, cyclists, equestrians, picnickers, skiers, and both amateur and professional plant and animal observers. Many visitors are surprised at the lushness of the Sonoran Desert, which is home to hundreds of varieties of endemic cacti, trees, and animals. In spring, the desert may be carpeted with wildflowers, and the summer rainy season brings dramatic lightning displays.
The metropolitan area, with a population of over 800,000, boasts symphony, opera and light opera companies, ballet, theater, zoo, museums of art, natural history and Arizona history, the world-famous Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and other attractions. In the Tucson area are San Xavier del Bac Mission, Kartchner Caverns, and Tubac, the oldest European settlement in Arizona. In addition, there are the year-round musical, theatrical, educational, and scientific presentations of The University of Arizona.
Nearby are two major astronomical exploration centers: Kitt Peak, which houses one of the world’s largest solar telescopes, and Mt. Hopkins, where the Smithsonian Institution has established the first of a new generation of multiple-mirror stellar telescopes. State and national parks, forests, wilderness areas, Sabino Canyon, and Saguaro National Park are within easy reach of Tucson.
Tucson has excellent educational facilities. In addition to The University of Arizona, Pima Community College serves 25,000 students. Seven public school districts serve the Tucson area, as well as many private and parochial schools.