Cuk Son, “spring at the base of the Black hill,” was the name originally given to the Tucson, Arizona area by the Tohono O’odham Native American tribe. The name Cuk Son is in reference to a volcanic mountain that is in the area. The Spanish borrowed the name and pronounced it tuk’son. The English came along and the final version – Tucson – came into being. This oasis in the Sonoran Desert is the oldest community within the United States. Native Americans began to farm the area over 3,000 years ago. Tucson is the 2nd largest city in Arizona with a population of about 1,034,700 people according to 2010 estimates by the Census Bureau. It is also the 32nd largest city and the 52nd largest metropolitan area within the United States. There are 4 mountain ranges encircling the city. In the North are the Santa Catalina Mountains. In the East are the Rincon Mountains. To the South are the Ranta Rita Mountains. To the West are the Tucson Mountains. Mount Wrightson, located within the Santa Rita Mountains, is the highest mountain within the area at 9,453 feet. The climate is dry and arid with very little rain per year. In fact, there is an average of 350 sunny days per year. The average temperatures for the region reach a high of 64 degrees in January and an average of 99 degrees in July. The average low temperatures for the region are 39 degrees in January and 74 degrees in July. Tucson, Arizona gained the nickname “The Old Pueblo” sometime in the 1800’s. The nickname reflects and celebrates the early years of Tucson as a fledgling border town in the Wild West.
Archaeologically, the site of Tucson, Arizona has been a very active site for about 12,000 years, starting when, it is believed, the Paleo Indians first visited the site. They also found the first evidence of habitation that dated to about 4,000 years ago. Some of the earlier farmers around the Santa Cruz River farmed during about 1200 BC until about 150 AD. These early people had constructed irrigation canals and grew primarily beans and corn. The Hohokam, another Native American tribe, lived in the area from about 600 AD to about 1450 AD. They were known for their red on brown pottery.
A Jesuit missionary, Eusebio Francisco Kino, came and visited the valley of the Santa Cruz River in 1692 and built the Mission San Xavierde Bac about 7 miles away from the Tucson settlement in 1700. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain and Tucson came under Mexican rule. Later on, after the Mexican American War, Tucson was officially made a part of the United States with the Gadsden Purchase of 1853. Tucson and Arizona were part of the New Mexico Territory until 1863 when Arizona split off from New Mexico. Tucson, Arizona was a city steeped in Wild West history. Wyatt Earp, in 1882, shot and killed Frank Stilwell near the old train station and, in 1934, gangster John Dillinger was apprehended by the FBI at the Tucson Hotel. Arizona became the 48th State in 1912. Today, a blend of high-tech advances, with astronomy as its base, meshes beautifully with Native American rites.
Living in Tucson is best described as hot and sunny. The city’s winter sun and the dry air of the desert make the place a popular spot for tourists and residents. In the Wild West days, the city was a great place to house those suffering from tuberculosis.
The city features the best of both worlds in that it combines the programs and innovations seen in any Metropolitan community, but it has a small-town feel. The city hinges on a blend of Native American, Anglo-American, Spanish and Mexican cultures. The area is home to the University of Arizona and the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. The cost of living also makes Tucson an attractive spot for those wishing to move there. As of the first quarter of 2010, the cost of living in Tucson is about 3% below national average. The average single family home costs, as of August 2010, about $185,000 in the nicer neighborhoods. The average price for a 1 bedroom apartment is $520 per month and about $700 per month for a 2 bedroom apartment. Gas prices, as of August 18, 2010, are below the National average of $2.70 per gallon. Tucson, Arizona’s gas prices are hovering, with very little change lately, at about $2.487 per gallon.
Unfortunately, like the rest of the United States, Tucson has also been hit by the current recession. The unemployment rate within Tucson is 8.7% as of July 2010. While it’s below the national average (9.5% as of July 2010) times are still rough for those who are unemployed. According to the Department of Number’s statistics, the amount of people who are unemployed, who are receiving unemployment benefits, in July 2010, sits at about 45,388 people. Tucson also lost, in that same month, an additional 1,200 jobs.
There is hope, though. According to some statistics, the median household income rose from about $36,401 a decade ago to about $50,039. The most substantial employment is within the private sector averaging about 278,700 persons employed. Manufacturing employs about 24,600 persons while Natural Resources and Mining only employs about 1,800 people. The construction industry, though, is on the rise and, currently, there are about 14,200 people employed. The Service Industry currently employs about 305,800 persons. There are about 67,700 government employees separated into Federal, State and Local agencies. The Davis-Monthan AFB and the University of Arizona are both major contributors to the workforce in Tucson. The University of Arizona attracts new companies to the region every year because they are among the top research universities in the Nation. Major industries include missile production and electronics.
The best restaurants are not necessarily the national chains within Tucson, Arizona. Restaurants and cafés off the beaten path remind everyone there of the down-home feel of small-town life. Teresa’s Mosaic Café on North Silverbell Road specializes in Latin and Mexican foods. Main courses usually run about $8 per person. Specialties include the Huevos en Salsa and the Huevos Divorceados, which has eggs and two different types of sauces. They also specialize in Sonoran and other Mexican dishes.
Ghini’s French Caffe on East Prince Road is a European and French restaurant that features Chef Coralie Satta-Williams, who is from Marseilles. She creates an array of tempting breakfasts and lunches that include creative salad combinations as well as fancy sandwiches and pastas. They also have a nice selection of wines. Ha Long Bay on East Broadway Blvd. is an Asian/Vietnamese restaurant that offers a cozy atmosphere with flavorful, spicy meals including soups with beef, shrimp, chicken or pork. Their average main course costs about $12. Jonathan’s Cork on East Tangue Verde Road is a Southwestern steakhouse with a homey feel. Their rustic retro décor and non-standard steakhouse menu complements the atmosphere of the Old West. In addition to the traditional meats like steak and fish, they also offer an uncommon selection of meats such as buffalo, ostrich, and venison.
There is an array of venues available every day within the city of Tucson, Arizona. There is the Invisible Theater of Tucson, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2010. The theater has showcased about 1,500 artists and 400 shows, which includes 120 world premieres. They want to represent the cultural heritage of the area while reflecting the truth without consideration of barriers based upon religion, age, ability, gender, or race. A project that the theater is very involved with is Project Pastimes – Me Inside of Me. The program has traveled all across the country and it focuses on ability rather than disability.
They want to enliven people with the power of art to enrich the lives of people through seminars, workshops, theater matinees and educational tours. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2012. The museum was founded in 1952 by William Carr and Arthur Peck and it is a combination zoo, museum, and botanical garden. They exhibit many live animals in their natural settings and the museum has a reputation within the scientific community as an institution committed to protecting the land, animals and plants of the region. The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve on Salero Canyon Road is outside of Tucson but the drive is worth it. The area was purchased and the Preserve was founded in 1966. It is one of the few places in the state where older forest growth persists. This growth thrives with the help of the local cienegas, or desert wetlands. Some 300 species of birds have been catalogued at the preserve as well as coatimundis, desert tortoises, mountain lions, bobcats, javelinas, coyotes, and rattlesnakes.
There is so much to do in Tucson, Arizona. If nothing else, the Sonoran Desert is a beautiful place to watch the wildlife and the beautiful sunsets. The Reid Park Zoo is another wonderful place to see various wild animals in environments as close to natural as is possible. The Zoo is on South Randolph Way and it is a 17-acre zoo that features more than 500 rare animals, including an aviary exhibit and rare South American animals. The zoo is active in helping endangered species such as Siberian tigers and ruffed lemurs. Admission into the park is $6 for adults over 15, $4 for seniors over 62, and $2 for children ages 2 to 14.
The Kitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center is the premier astronomical observatory in all of Arizona. It can boast that it is a research facility for 2 divisions of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories. The Observatory sits on an 80-acre mountaintop, not too far from the University of Arizona, that has been leased from the Tohono O’odham Native American tribe for 200 years. Tours are $3.50 for adults and $2 for children from ages 6 to 12. They also have a Night Observation Program available. Admission for adults is $46 and $41 for seniors and students. Old Tucson Studios on South Kinney Road is the setting for some favorite western movies such as Tombstone, Gunfight at the OK Corral and countless John Wayne movies. The Studio conducts tours and shows, and they offer a nostalgic glimpse of the Old West.
There are bars that serve great food, dance clubs that feature modern and classic country music, and 24-hour clubs, as well as many others, available as night-time activities in Tucson. The Bison Witches Bar on North 4th Avenue doesn’t have a cover and is a neighborhood college hangout that serves sandwiches, soups, salads and, of course, beer. The soups and salads are served in big bread bowls. They feature 8 domestic and imported beers on tap, more than 30 microbrews and over 20 bottled imports. The funny name came from running the phrase “buy sandwiches” together. The Maverick, King of Clubs on East Tangue Verde Road, is a dance club that features well-known Tucson DJ’s as well as live music. The place sports a laid back vibe with a down-home country-style interior. The Grill on East Congress Street is a premier 24-hour establishment that features live music on Friday and Saturday nights. It is a regular haunt of people from all walks of life, from college students to Senators. Part of its appeal is the food. A person can order Cap’n Crunch cereal all the way up to smoked salmon pasta with shallot-dill sauce. It also has an impressive beer selection.
DV8 on East Speedway Road is a premier dance club that features DJ’s. The cover charge is usually $5. It is only open on Friday and Saturday nights, but the music varies every night; there isn’t a set venue, so the crowed varies as well. One night, salsa dance lovers come to samba, merengue and rumba, and the next night may draw the college crowd for hip-hop and R&B sounds. With their huge dance floor, pool tables and several TV’s, there’s always something to do at this nightclub.
There are a lot of places to shop in Tucson, Arizona. Tucson has a lot of national chain stores but they also have unique boutiques available. Got All Your Marbles? on East Congress Street is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 am until 2:30 pm. It is a fun place to go and it features innovative jewelry accented with colored marbles. They also have unique pendants, earrings, and rings. They also specialize in custom pieces.
The Medicine Man Gallery on East Tanque Verde Road is a Native American art gallery that specializes in United States Western Art, especially works by painter Maynard Dixon. Mark Sublette, the gallery owner, also represents a number of Native American artists so an array of hand-made pottery, baskets, textiles, beadwork, kachinas, and jewelry are featured. Dark Star Leather on North Swan Road is a clothing, shoe, and accessory store that has fine men’s and women’s fashions that are complemented by subdued lighting and the unmistakable aroma of leather. Dark Star Leather has new washable suede and smooth leathers available. Custom-made garments are available as well as accessories including belts, briefcases, bags, shoes, wallets, and more. Clues Unlimited on Fort Lowell Road is a locally owned, independent bookstore that specializes in the mystery genre. The place has more than 10,500 titles ranging from new releases to hard-to-find classics to collectors’ editions. The mascot of Clues Unlimited, Sophie, a potbellied pig, is an amiable pig that is so well-loved that the owners give a part of the sales of any pig-related items to Tucson’s potbellied pig rescue and sanctuary facility, Pigs-A-Lot.
Many day spas in Tucson are featured highly in national magazines as being among the “Best of the Best.” One such place is Elements in Balance Salon and Day Spa. They strive to combine outer beauty with inner harmony. Spa packages pair rejuvenating facials and body wraps with relaxing massages. They have a full complement of spa services available.
A favorite package is the Ultimate Hydration Spa Day for $325 and it lasts for about 4 ½ hours. It includes an elemental nature massage, a green science facial with a perfecting plant peel, and a spa pedicure. Another favorite package is the Elemental Makeover which costs about $180 and it lasts for about 3 to 3 ½ hours. It includes a Pure Focus Facial, a haircut and tint or partial highlights and a make-up lesson. There are single treatments as well, including a Signature Natural Remedy Herbal Body Wrap for $80 and it lasts for 60 minutes. It features pure essential oils with carefully blended herbs. The treatment begins with an exfoliating full-body skin brush and then the body is wrapped in detoxifying herbs while the neck, face and scalp are massaged. The Hashani Spa on West Star Pass Blvd. offers body scrubs and facials, relaxing massages and body wraps that incorporate desert botanicals for the ultimate relaxation experience. The name Hashani is the indigenous word for a Saguaro Cactus.
Vacationers in Tucson, Arizona won’t be disappointed with the city’s attractions and recreational activities they can enjoy. Businessmen are welcome in the city’s business hotels with exceptional amenities—all for a reasonable rate. There are properties that are well-situated in great locations with shopping malls and night spots nearby. Families coming here for a budget vacation can be comfortably accommodated at the affordable Tucson hotels that offer excellent services such as housekeeping, airport shuttle services, interesting recreational amenities, and others.
One of the best hotels to stay in is Americas Best Value Inn located in South Arizona. The property has 95 well-decorated guestrooms with sofa, cable TV, Internet access, workstation desk, and others. The outdoor swimming pool has a lovely courtyard that provides a relaxing atmosphere for those who enjoy sunbathing. Another beautiful hotel offering a great value is the Best Western Catalina Inn, a non-smoking property that has great amenities and friendly staff. Catalina State Park, Sabino Canyon Recreation, and Tucson Botanical Gardens are just some of the city’s well-known attractions.
A blend of recreation, business, and leisure activities is offered in Best Western Las Brisas Hotel – Tucson Airport. In a beautifully landscaped setting, business and leisure travelers will experience comfortable accommodations in this Tucson hotel where rooms are spacious and fully equipped and have high-speed Internet access, cable TV, and workspaces. Another commendable hotel is the beautiful Doubletree® Hotel Tucson at Reid Park situated near Hi Corbett Field, as well as Reid Park Zoo and Arizona Stadium. This is a spa hotel with 295 fully equipped guestrooms, an outdoor pool, fitness facility, spa tub, and tennis courts to make the guests enjoy their stay in Tucson, Arizona.
There are seven school districts in Tucson, Arizona. There are a total of one hundred and sixty-six schools in the seven districts combined. The district that serves the most Tucson residents is the Tucson Unified School District. There are fifty-three elementary schools, twenty-three middle schools, and twenty-two high schools in the Tucson Unified District.
The desert land of Arizona has a surprising number of college campuses available for upcoming freshmen. The Art Center Design School is a small art school that has less than four hundred students. Another interesting college is the University of Arizona. Built in the middle of the desert, it still pulls in over thirty thousand students a year. The University is a public research college. It was built in 1885. Another college in the area is James Rogers College of Law. Built in 1915, the law school is one of the top fifty in the country. Aspiring lawyers come from across the country to learn at this institution. The Community College in the area does quite well also, as last year they awarded over two thousand associate's degrees to graduates. The Community College credits will also transfer to the University of Arizona if the students decide they would like to go there and finish up their bachelor's degree.
Adding to the diversity of the college campuses in Tucson are the beauty schools and the School of Massage. One of these, Empire Beauty School, is part of the largest group of beauty institutions in the country. The school has been in Tucson for seventy years and offers classes in Hair, Skin Care, Make-up, and Retail. The Arizona College of Beauty has been in Tucson for over fifty years and focuses on hands on experience to teach their programs. One of the massage schools, Cortiva Institute, is an innovative option because they take a more holistic approach to massage therapy. There are lots of options for colleges in Tucson, Arizona. There are over thirty-five colleges in all to choose from in the area.
The Arizona Department of Transportation is the overseer of all transportation in Arizona. It is funded by the people of the state, so their taxes go directly to improving their transportation systems. There are a few different options for traveling around Tucson, Arizona. There are two separate shuttle systems. There is one called the TICET Shuttle System that is free to ride and runs on the weekdays. There are three routes that run with the TICET Shuttle System in the downtown area. There are stops all through town for an economical mode of transportation.
There is also the Sun Tran bus system. This bus does charge a couple of dollars for a fare, but these buses run on into the weekend and are available to the public and tourists. There are an additional ten bus routes in the area as well. You are bound to find a ride, with the stations conveniently located in town. These include Greyhound Buses, Amtrak, a Bee Line bus line, and Los Rapidos Buses. The last two are express route buses that are good for commuters.
A historic travel option is the Old Pueblo Trolley system. This trolley goes through the city, near the University, and onto Park Avenue. It is open through the week as well, and is a great option for visitors to the area. A convenient transportation source for students attending the local University is the Cat Tran, which shuttles students around campus during Monday through Friday. The Suntran Bus System is a public service with stops all over the city. It has about twenty million passengers per year. The Suntran is ideal for residents and visitors alike. The same company also has the Sun Van, which is geared specifically to passengers with special needs. With so many choices in Tucson, you would be crazy not to get out and see the sights.
Do you need your water supply re-connected? Need to ask for repairs to your street or trees planted to shade your property? The people of Tucson have a superb range of services provided by the mayor’s office, city council and local government. To find all of the information available regarding these services, you should visit the official government website at www.tucsonaz.gov. The local government provides excellent emergency services to make sure you are as safe and secure as possible. The website has a map showing all of the wards of Tucson and their crime statistics, so you can see how the police are doing their job.
All of the government departments have online services and if you need to access one, the website home page has a special tab called E-services. Whether you need to pay for your garbage collection or pay for that undeserved parking ticket, they are all accessible through the Tucson E-services portal. The Business department has their own section on the website where you can arrange for new licenses or pay business tax. The Mayor’s office and city council are always busy keeping all of the media channels updated, whether it is the radio news, the local papers or their own public service TV, Channel 12. The website has a live feed which keeps you informed of traffic accidents in the city. You can also now be a part of Tucson’s plan for a healthy future. You can contact the City council and get details of the Tucson Challenge, the official fitness & weight loss program provided by the city.
Many of the Tucson council offices, including the Mayor’s office, are located at City Hall, 255 W. Alameda, Tucson, Arizona 85701. You can even send the Mayor an e-mail if you like, the contact address is email@example.com. You can contact City Hall if you need information on the availability of tee-times at the municipal golf course, the status at airport, the condition of transport routes, garbage pick-ups, and even tips on how to use water more efficiently.