Located in the Southwest United States, in Southern Arizona, Tucson is one of the oldest continually inhabited areas in North America. Hohokam Indians lived and farmed here for 4,000 years before Spanish missionaries and soldiers arrived in the late 1600s. In the 1700s, these "newcomers" established the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson and the Mission San Xavier del Bac -- the two most iconic and historic structures in the region. "The Old Pueblo," as the adobe-walled Tucson Presidio became known, is Tucson's nickname to this day.
Tucson officially was founded on August 20, 1776 -- an event celebrated annually at Tucson's birthday party, La Fiesta de San Agustín. Though once part of Mexico, Tucson officially became part of the United States in 1854. Soon after, cattle ranchers, settlers, miners, and Apache Indians began to clash, thus beginning the Wild West era of 1860-1880. With the Southern Pacific Railroad's arrival in 1880, Tucson's multicultural roots grew as new residents adopted customs of the Tohono O'odham Indians and Mexicans living here. In 1877, the city was incorporated, making Tucson the oldest incorporated city in Arizona.
Tucson is now the second-largest city in Arizona after the state capital Phoenix; it is also the county seat of Pima County, which includes the towns of Marana, Oro Valley, Catalina, South Tucson, Sahuarita, Vail, and Green Valley. Metropolitan Tucson's population is more than 1 million; this includes roughly 50,000 students and employees at the University of Arizona, the first university in Arizona, founded in 1885.
Boasting an average 350 sunny days a year and warm dry air, Tucson's climate is ideal for year-round outdoor recreation. Winter temperatures average highs of 64-75 °F, perfect for major events including Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossils Showcase, WGC-Accenture Match Play Golf Championship, La Fiesta de los Vaqueros-Tucson Rodeo, and the Festival of Books. Other prominent annual events are El Tour de Tucson, Tucson International Mariachi Conference, Southwest Wings Birding Festival, and New Year's Competition Powwow.
Summer days can get quite warm and are great for exploring Tucson's excellent spas, shopping, museums, and art galleries. Summer's cooler early mornings and late evenings invite outdoor dining and activities like hiking, and horseback riding; early and later tee times are available at seasonally reduced prices.
Tucson is set in a Sonoran Desert valley surrounded by five mountain ranges. A trip from the 2,389-foot valley floor to the 9,157-foot Mt. Lemmon summit along the Catalina Highway-Sky Island National Scenic Byway traverses seven of the world's nine life zones -- it's like driving from Mexico to Canada. Tucson is bordered on all sides by natural areas, including Coronado National Forest, Catalina State Park, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and Saguaro National Park (land of the rare, giant saguaro cactus).
Tucson offers one-of-a-kind experiences for visitors interested in outdoor adventure and nature, heritage and culture, arts and attractions, golf, and original Southwest-inspired dining. With lodging at hotels, resorts, spas, guest ranches, and bed and breakfasts available to please all ages and preferences, Tucson is truly the "Real. Natural. Arizona."