Known as a cyclist's dream where you can push those pedals over 300 miles of bicycle loops and 800 miles of roll-around bike paths, Tucson is not just for well-toned legs, as it is one of the top 10 digital cities in America. With around 350 sunny days annually, it is the sunniest city in the United States where you will find more bird species than any other region in the world, maybe this is due to having such clean air. Literally awash in saguaro cacti, Tucson is a stargazer's heaven with its low-emission lamps (and a creepy yellow glow) lighting up Mountain Boulevard so the stars can shine as brightly as they can in the dark sky. It is home to one of America's 21 Most Legendary Restaurants, El Charro Cafe, where it is claimed the "chimichanga" (think a savory stuffed tortilla deep-fried) was created.
Tucson, in the state of Arizona, is the second-largest populated area with an economy based in design and manufacture of optics and optoelectronic systems, giving it the nickname of "Optics Valley". The name "Tucson" is Spanish in origin and means "at the base of the black hill" because Tucson sits at the bottom of a basalt covered hill known as Sentinel Peak. Once home to Rock and Roll star, Linda Ronstadt, Tucson is also the northernmost point in the world where you can still find a jaguar hiding out in the Santa Rita Mountains.
For the history buffs, the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona Campus has the world's largest collection of Southwest Indian pottery and for the historian that likes a bit of dust thrown in, Tumamoc Hill is an active archaeological dig site. It is possible to take a walk through the San Xavier del Bac mission station built by Spanish Jesuits in 1770, known as the "White Dove of the Desert", that is an example of Baroque architecture of the colonial period. Saguaro National Park, which is part of the Sonoran Desert, is for the cactus and bird-spying lover where you can hike trails that may or may not share its locals with you such as rattlesnakes, desert tortoises and lizards. Tucson Mountain Park covers about 20,000 acres of Sonoran Desert where mountain lions and bobcats still frequent the remote areas of the park.
For the plane lover there is the Prima Air and Space Museum showing more than 300 planes from retired bombers to the smallest biplane in the world. You should check out the Old Tucson Studios and meander around the El Presidio Historic District for its brilliant and diverse urbanscape, fantastic restaurants, funky cafes and art galleries.
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