Before the United States acquired the Arizona territory, Tucson existed as a Spanish military fort. In fact, Tucson has the US beat in age as Tucson was founded in 1775, with the Declaration of Independence signed one year later. It then watched as Mexico gained independence from Spain. Eventually, Tucson was included in the Gadsden Purchase in 1853. The United States acquired a 29,670 square miles region of present-day southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico from Mexico. Tucson was also the location for the Wyatt Earp saga’s continuation and many other wild west activities like frequent stagecoach robberies and gunfights. Flash forward to present-day Tucson, and you’ll find an eclectic mix of history, modern accommodations, and the unique distinction of being the US’ first Capital of Gastronomy. Tucson is the second-largest city in Arizona but still manages to keep the rich stories of its past intertwined with its modern ways.
The University of Arizona (Specifically the Stone Wall Surrounding the Original Campus)
The University of Arizona may be the entity that first tried to bring metropolitan sophistication to the Old Pueblo, but it still holds wild West tales. The UA was founded in 1885 (25 years before Arizona became an official state), and at the time, open-range cattle were still present in the area. A wall made of volcanic stone was built around the campus perimeter to keep cattle out, and that wall still stands today. The UA campus is one of academic beauty and worth a visit. Check out the wall, find the turtle pond that was originally part of the president’s house, and then grab a quick bite on University Boulevard located next to campus.
Tanque Verde Guest Ranch
Recently called the #1 Top Resort in the Southwest in Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, the Tanque Verde Guest Ranch allows you to step back in time without losing the amenities of the present day. This ranch, settled in 1868, snuggles against the iconic Rincon Mountains and offers relaxing accommodations and many activities to keep you and the family busy. Don’t miss out on the trail ride opportunities to travel through the picturesque Sonoran desert just like cowboys of the past.
If you come to Tucson and don’t make a trip to this iconic Mexican food restaurant, did you really even come to Tucson? The answer to that is no, so make sure you add this stop to your itinerary. Mi Nidito has been offering authentic Sonoran cuisine since 1952. While the food is enough of a draw, it can also brag about the numerous celebrities and political figures who choose to make a stop there. President Bill Clinton is a frequent diner and even has a plate on the menu dedicated to his visit called the “President’s Plate.”
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Sonoran Desert, which covers large parts of the Southwestern United States and parts of northern Mexico, is a truly unique landscape and holds many wonders of nature worth learning about. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the perfect place to expand your knowledge about the region while being immersed in the desert landscape with the town’s amenities. Popular exhibits include a cave featuring life underground, the hummingbird aviary where you can get up close and personal with these tiny beauties, and the riparian corridor showing off the desert oases any desert dweller is happy to find.
San Xavier del Bac
This beautiful white dove of the desert (translated name) is the oldest intact European structure in Arizona and is a place where one can find peace and reverence. The San Xavier del Bac was founded as a Catholic mission by Father Eusebio Kino in 1692 and is still standing as a place for worship and architectural marvel. The main attraction is the church, but visitors should also plan to take the short quarter-mile walk to Grotto Hill, which gives an overview of the grounds and a 180-degree view of the nearby Tucson Mountains.
Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine
This article was created for the Summer Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early July. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.
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