Surrounded by saguaro forests and rugged foothills that lead to soaring mountain peaks, easy-going Tucson celebrates nature’s bounty.

The oldest continually inhabited city in the United States, Tucson has a rich history as the home of the ancient Hohokam people, Native Americans, Spanish conquistadors, Mexican settlers and Anglo frontiersmen. According to Allison Cooper, director of marketing for the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau, "The merging of these diverse cultures has had a lasting influence on the city, giving the destination an authenticity you won’t find elsewhere in Arizona."

How can a place so close be so different from San Diego? It’s so visually stunning you hardly believe it’s real, in a wonderful almost-on-a-Hollywood-set-of-the-Southwest kind of way. The area’s scenic beauty makes it a natural setting for outdoor recreation, and the temperate climate allows you to commune with nature almost anywhere.

Everyone’s an Athlete in Tucson

Cowboy culture and athleticism combine with the offerings of this charmed city, whether you choose hiking Sabino Canyon, mountain biking, horseback riding or meditating under clear blue skies. Triathlete Magazine named Tucson the best U.S. city for year-round training due to its dry climate, varied terrain and Olympic-size swimming pools. The city draws athletes from all over the world who come to bike the steep Mount Lemmon highway or push their limits on fast trails. Not a pro? Not a problem! The following events allow you to participate or watch pros strut their athletic stuff.

Ride It Out: El Tour De Tucson
November 20, 2010

Held annually the Saturday before Thanksgiving, the University Medical Center El Tour de Tucson, presented by Diamond Ventures, is the country’s largest perimeter cycling event, attracting more than 9,000 cyclists throughout the United States and the world. It’s not just the race that draws crowds, though. A family fun run, bike and fitness expo and downtown fiesta round out the festivities.

Play Where the Pros Do: The Accenture Match Play Championship
February 23-27, 2011

Watch the world’s top 64 golfers battle it out for the Walter Hagen Cup during a week of nail-biting competition at the World Golf Championships – Accenture Match Play Championship. Staged northwest of Tucson at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, the event is a must for golf fans.

Channel the pros for your own round of golf and tee off on the same Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course as the world’s top golfers. Or check out Loews Ventana Canyon, where you can play on either of the two Tom Fazio – designed golf courses. Condé Nast Traveler has ranked Loews Ventana Canyon Resort as no. 52 in the Top 100 Golf Resorts, so even a bad day at the golf course here is a good one!

Culture and Events, Oh, My!

The multitude of events and attractions in Tucson guarantees you’ll never get bored, no matter where your interests lie. Mountains and mariachis, cactus and cowboys, sunshine and stargazing — Tucson is a mix of culture, creativity and color. Love sparkling gems? Want a taste of the old West? Tucson showcases Western heritage like no other. Or bet on a great time at Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment and Casino del Sol. Located adjacent to Tucson, the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui Nations offer gaming fun, fine dining and top-flight entertainment; you can catch national acts on stage or choose to dance the night away. For more ideas, check out these events you’ll find only in Tucson.

A Soulful Time: All Souls Procession & Weekend
November 5-7, 2010

Inspired by Mexico’s Día de los Muertos, the All Souls Procession celebrates the lives of loved ones who have passed. The multicultural parade features giant puppets and 20,000 costumed participants. The event culminates in a dazzling performance by Flam Chen that merges daredevil acrobatics and pyrotechnics for the symbolic burning of the urn.

Shoot ’Em Up: Dillinger Days
January 22, 2011

Long before Johnny Depp stepped into the lead role in Public Enemies in 2009, Tucson has been celebrating the historic capture of John Dillinger’s notorious gang, every year at the Hotel Congress. In January 1934, the Tucson Police and Fire Departments were able to do what countless law enforcement agencies around the country had been unable to do: capture the notorious public enemy no. 1 and his gang — without firing one shot. Dillinger Days provide a fun way to relive this unique bit of Tucson history, celebrate a nostalgic era and honor the brave men and women who protect Tucson on a daily basis.

The World’s Largest Treasure Hunt :  Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase
January 29 – February 13, 2011

For two weeks every winter, Tucson becomes a bustling, international marketplace of buyers and sellers at the Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase. The showcase takes over 40 sites around town, with thousands of participants and attendees. There’s something for every treasure seeker, from priceless jewels to dinosaur fossils and glass beads.

Ropin’ and Ridin’: La Fiesta de los Vaqueros: Tucson Rodeo & Parade
February 19-27, 2011

Tucson celebrates its oldest event, the Tucson Rodeo and Parade, one of the top 25 professional rodeos in North America, every February. Appropriately named La Fiesta de los Vaqueros ("Celebration of the Cowboys") features championship roping, bull riding and steer wrestling, plus a horse-drawn parade and Western entertainment.

Ticket to Bliss

Home to two internationally renowned destination spas, Canyon Ranch and Miraval Arizona, as well as a number of luxury resorts that blend naturally among saguaros and draw on the beauty of their mountainous locations. Tucson sets the bar high when it comes to offering travelers a holistic, luxurious and rejuvenating experience. Guests can tailor their visits to in- and outdoor physical activities, indulge in a variety of signature spa treatments that feature all-natural Sonoran Desert ingredients, or simply relax and renew.

Whether you want to take advantage of a full day’s activities, channel your inner cowboy or lounge in your robe all day, Tucson makes it easy. For more information, check out the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau at visitTucson.org.

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