Tucson is the county seat of Pima County, Arizon and home to the University of Arizona. The Spanish name of the city, Tucsón (tuk'son), derived from the O'odham Cuk Son, meaning "(at the) base of the black (hill)", a reference to a basalt-covered hill now known as "A" Mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo". Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the Santa Cruz River valley in 1692, and founded the Mission San Xavier del Bac in 1700 about 7 miles upstream from the site of the settlement of Tucson. A separated Convento settlement was founded downstream along the Santa Cruz River, near the base of what is now "A" mountain. Hugo O'Conor, the founding father of the city of Tucson authorized the construction of a military fort in that location, Presidio San Agustin del Tucsón, on August 20, 1775 (near the present downtown Pima County Courthouse). During the Spanish period of the presidio, attacks such as the Second Battle of Tucson were repeatedly mounted by Apaches. Eventually the town came to be called "Tucson" and became a part of Mexico after it gained independence from Spain in 1821. Tucson was captured by the Mormon Battalion during the Mexican-American War, but later returned to Mexican control. Tucson was not included in the Mexican Cession -- it was following the Gadsden Purchase in 1853 that Tucson became a part of the U.S. 
   From August 1861 to mid 1862m Tucson was the western capital of the Confederate Arizona Territory, the eastern capital being Mesilla. In 1862 the California Column drove the Confederate forces out of Arizona. Tucson and all of what is now Arizona were part of New Mexico Territory until 1863, when they came part of the Arizona Territory. From 1867 to 1877, Tucson was the capital of the Arizona Territory. Southern Arizona was legally bought from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase on June 8, 1954. Tucson was incorporated in 1877, making it the oldest incorporated city in Arizona.
   About 1910 the U.S. Veterans Administration began construction on the present Veterans Hospital, many veterans who had been gassed in World War I and were in need of respiratory therapy began coming to Tucson after the war, due to the clean dry air.
   In 1912, when Arizona statehood became reality, the total number of different flags that flown over Tucson now numbered five: American, Spanish, Mexican, Confederate, and the State of Arizona.
Some Sites and Attractions around Tucson
Photo of Sosa-Carillo-Fremont House Museum     This house at 145-153 S Main St, Tucson, AZ, if officially listed in the Nationa Register of Historic Places as the Sosa-Carillo-Fremont House, and is known locally for its association with John Charles Frémont, former Territorial Governor of Arizona. It is owned and operatoed as amuseum by the Arizona Historical Society.
Museum hours Monday - Thursday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm; Friday 9:00 am - 8:00 pm; Saturday * Sunday 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Admission: $8 Adults; $6 Seniors - 65+
 Mission San Xavier del Bac is a historic Spanish Catholic mission located about 10 miles south of downtown Tuscon on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. Founded in 1692 by Padre Eusebio Kino  and named for a pinoeering Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order), Francis Xavier. In 1770 the original church was razed by Apaches and today's Mission was buit between 1783-1797, it is widley considered be the finest example of Spanish Colonial architecture in the U.S.
Open daily from 7:00 am - 5:00 pm
Docent Tours Schedule:  group tours are every Monday through Saturday (9:30, 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30)
http://www.patronatosanxavier.org/visit/    http://www.sanxaviermission.org/
   Tucson Botanical Gardens:

   An urban oasis of 5.5 acres with 17 residentially-scaled specialty gardens. The Gardens has a seasonal, live tropical Butterfly Exhibit, Butterfly Magic. Eclectic Gift Shop, Monthly Rotating Art Exhibits, Birdhouse Cafe, Tours and Classes available. Open Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 6:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission: May through October pricing: $9 adults, $8 senior/student/military, $5 for children 4-12 and free for children under 4 and members.
   Located on the site of the historic Porter property, Reader’s Digest named Tucson Botanical Gardens as the BEST Secret Garden in America. Among mature trees and expertly cultivated foliage, specialty gardens such as the Cactus & Succulent Garden, Barrio Garden and Herb Garden highlight the diversity of native plants while offering a lush oasis in the heart of Tucson. Tropical butterflies from around the world are featured in the Cox Butterfly & Orchid Pavilion Oct.–May. Experience year-round tours, community events, classes, and art exhibits, as well as the creative, seasonal menu of Café Botanica. Now celebrating 40 years of living beauty, The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a unique gem not to be missed. https://www.tucsonbotanical.org/

Kitt Peak National Observatory:
EXPLORE YOUR UNIVERSE! The world’s largest collection of optical telescopes is located high above the Sonoran Desert. Kitt Peak, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, is home to 24 optical and two radio telescopes representing dozens of astronomical research institutions. The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), funded by the National Science Foundation, oversees site operations on Kitt Peak. Explore the Visitor Center exhibits and gift shop to learn about astronomy. Take a tour and discover how astronomers use telescopes to unlock the mysteries of the Universe. Visit the National Solar Observatory exhibit gallery and watch scientists operate the world’s largest solar telescope. Docent-lead tours run daily 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. Self-guided also available. Open daily. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Dec. 25th and Jan. 1st. NIGHTLY STARGAZING: Join us for a special experience and use the Visitor Center Public Telescopes telescope to observe spectacular objects in the night sky. This program is limited to 46 participants and requires reservations made well in advance. Group numbers can go to 100. This unique program runs nightly. Ck our website for current and unique star gazing programs. The Kitt Peak Experience ..Like no other! DIRECTIONS: Kitt Peak is 56 miles southwest of Tucson via State Route 86 on the Tohono O'odham Reservation. Allow 90 minutes of drive time from Tucson. Take I-10 to I-19 South. Less than 1 mile is Ajo Way/Hwy 86 (Exit 99). Take this exit West (right). Proceed past Ryan Airfield and Three Points. Continue until Junction 386 (Kitt Peak turnoff). Turn left onto 386. The Kitt Peak Visitor Center is located at the summit (12 miles). Paved and maintained road. http://www.noao.edu/kpvc/

Pima Air & Space Museum: Touch 100 years of aviation history! Be amazed at one of the largest aviation and space museums in the world! Featuring over 300 historical aircrafts, from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner. Sitting on 80 acres the museum encompasses six indoor exhibit hangars (three dedicated to WWII). FREE docent-led walking tours. Exclusive bus tours of the 2,600-acre “Aircraft Boneyard”/U.S. military and government aircraft storage facility Monday-Friday, non-federal holidays only. Museum Tram tours offered every day. Additional fees for riding tours. On-site Flight Grill restaurant. http://www.pimaair.org/

Sun Link Tuscon Streetcar: Tucson’s streetcar began service on July 25, 2014. The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar connects five major activity centers–the University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, Main Gate Square, Downtown Tucson, and the Mercado District–in central Tucson. The four-mile route has 18 stops adorned with public art and located within walking distance of more than 11,000 parking spaces. This project is part of Tucson’s regional plan for a multi-modal transportation system that offers bike lanes and paths, new sidewalks and greenways, and added transit service. More than 100,000 people live and work within a block of the Tucson Streetcar line. http://www.sunlinkstreetcar.com/

390th Memorial Museum: Visitors are awed by this museum’s history and emotional impact! The 390th Memorial Museum tells the deeply humbling story of a WWII B-17 bomb group. The museum showcases one of the few fully restored B17 “Flying Fortresses” on display in the US; a comprehensive Nose Art exhibit; in-depth crew stories & personal narratives; comprehensive statistics of the 390th Bomb Group’s 301 missions; and much more. The 390th Memorial Museum is co-located on the grounds of the Pima Air & Space Museum. Though it is independently operated, admittance to the “390th” is free with Pima Air & Space Museum admission.  https://www.390th.org/

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: The 98 acre Desert Museum is a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium. Founded in 1952, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is widely recognized throughout the world as a model institution for innovative presentation and interpretation of native plants and animals featured together in ecological exhibits21 interpreted acres with two miles of walking paths through various desert habitats
230 animal species
1,200 types of plants — 56,000 individual specimens
One of the world's most comprehensive regional mineral collections

Foothills Mall: 219-0650, 7401 N. La Cholla Blvd., northwest Tucson. Billed as a “fun place to save money” thanks to a collection of designer outlets as well as a mix of over 80 retail stores, seven restaurants, and a cineplex with 15 screens.


Biosphere 2: Come tour one of the world's most unique facilities dedicated to the research and understanding of global scientific issues. The Biosphere 2 facility serves as a laboratory for controlled scientific studies, an arena for scientific discovery and discussion, and a far-reaching provider of public education. Its mission is to serve as a center for research, outreach, teaching and life-long learning about Earth, its living systems, and its place in the universe; to catalyze interdisciplinary thinking and understanding about Earth and its future; to be an adaptive tool for Earth education and outreach to industry, government, and the public; and to distil issues related to Earth systems planning and management for use by policymakers, students and the public. Tours daily. http://biosphere2.org/

Carnival of Illusion: Laugh, Have Fun and Celebrate a magical night out in Tucson with top-rated, national award-winning entertainers Roland Sarlot and Susan Eyed. Enjoy a fun, up-close, Vaudeville-inspired illusion show in the style of classic entertainers such as Buster Keaton, Mae West, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Harry Houdini. Carnival of Illusion is Magic, Mystery, and OOOH La La! Join them for an evening of Old-World Magic. A Must-See for Tourists and great for Date-Nights, Anniversaries, Celebrations or a Special Night Out. Bonus: On show nights only, the Lodge on the Desert restaurant offers an upgraded menu for Carnival of Illusion guests. Due to the intimate nature of the boutique theater, shows always sell out. Purchase tickets ahead of time. Join the beguiling romp around the world with an evening of Old-World Magic! For tickets and availability www.carnivalofillusion.com or call (520) 615-5299.

Historical Museums: Just northeast of the Main Gate of the U of A campus, the Arizona State Museum exhibits pottery, artifacts, and contemporary objects while presenting important facts about the ways of life—including trading and commerce—of prehistoric and modern Native Americans. Don't miss the museum's permanent exhibit Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest. Phone 520-621-6302. The nearby Arizona History Museum, established when Arizona was a territory, features period rooms, the Mining Hall mine-shaft replica, photo exhibits, self-guided tours, and hands-on exhibits for all ages. At 949 E. 2nd St. Phone 520-628-5774. Free for kids 11 and younger. The Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum—a Smithsonian affiliate—presents Digging In, a permanent interactive exhibit on the underground and open-pit copper mining that began in the early 1880s. Open year-round; at 5 Copper Queen Plaza. Phone 520-432-7071.

Old Town Artisans: El Presidio Historic District is home to the city block of Old Town Artisans. The 150-year-old adobe building has six distinctive shops and galleries featuring fine art, imports and crafts from hundreds of local and regional artists from the Americas and the world. The Spanish-style courtyard offers a relaxing place to enjoy lunch or beverages amidst regional plants and trees. http://www.oldtownartisans.com/

Old Tucson: Old Tucson, Where the Spirit of the Old West Comes Alive, is southern Arizona’s premier venue for Western family fun! This venerated film location features historic tours, live stunt shows, saloon musicals, living history presentations, trail rides and more. Great food, shopping, games and rides for the kids. Allow 3-5 hours. Special events like a Holiday Festival, Steampunk Festival, Wild West Days, Cowboy Music & Arts Festival and more throughout the season. Note: Old Tucson operates on a seasonal calendar. Please check www.OldTucson.com/visit-ots and scroll down to the calendar for operating days/hours. Nightfall, Old Tucson’s annual month-long Halloween event is open October 1 thru October 31 from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. on Thurs. and Sun. and from 6 p.m.-12 a.m on Fri. and Sat.

Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio: Bring the whole family to watch the Philabaum team blowing glass! We have chairs set up in the studio, so you can relax as you see the steam rise and feel the heat, while appreciating the choreography that happens around the hot glass. The adjacent Gallery with handmade gifts, jewelry, and impressive sculpture completes the initiation at this longtime Tucson jewel. http://www.philabaumglass.com

Yume Japanese Gardens of Tucson: Yume Japanese Gardens is the living expression of an ancient Japanese heritage. Covering three quarters of an acre in Tucson, Arizona, it comprises five traditional visions of landscape. In each, nature is balanced by the human hand to render the spare elegance and subtle spirit of an authentic Japanese garden. Yume means “dream” in Japanese, and as in a dream, the gardens conduct visitors through metaphors that summon the creative force of centuries of Japanese culture. Revealing pathways and layered plantings offer intimate courtyard views of classical Japanese imagery. A Zen contemplative garden, a stone and gravel garden representing sea and islands, a dry river garden, and a tranquil strolling pond garden provide further examples of Japanese garden styles. Each garden is a place to be at one with nature and with one’s self. One of the first things to catch the eye at Yume Japanese Gardens is its newness. Trees and plants are young, rarely more than several years old. Stones, lanterns, and water basins have yet to acquire the patina of age. Yet the Gardens are maturing. More than that, they are constantly changing. Plantings are slowly adapting to the hot and dry environment of the desert Southwest. Meticulously pruned trees and shrubs are growing into their natural forms in a way to create space, harmony, and movement. The clay walls and wooden shingles of viewing shelters hand-built to time-honored Japanese designs are slowly weathering. Sand and gravel assume new patterns each time they are raked. Visitors find themselves walking through a gently evolving environment each time they come to the Gardens. Open 9:30-4:30 daily, Oct. 1-May 31, as weather permits. http://www.yumegardens.org/

Home The Presidio San Agustin is Tucson's re-constructed Spanish fort originally built in 1775 which stood through the late 1800's. Today a portion of it stands on the same ground where it was originally built and remains of the original foundation are still present. Visit any time to see Museum exhibits about early Tucson and the many cultures that first came together during the Colonial Period. Docents are also available to provide brief tours of the Territorial era house and courtyard as well as the re-built Presidio. The Presidio also comes to life during Living History days with interpreters in period dress performing daily activities including bread making in the adobe oven, blacksmithing, soldiering and much more. Check the website for Living History days (second Saturday of the month during winter hours) and for other special events and activities. Winter Hours: October thru April, Wed. thru Sun. 10-4. Summer Hours: May thru Sept., Thurs. thru Sun. 10-3.