When you think of Tucson, think mountains. The oldest continuously inhabited city in the country, Tucson is surrounded by the Santa Catalinas to the north, the Rincons to the east, the Santa Rita Mountains to the south, the Tucson Mountains to the west, and the Tortolita Mountains to the northwest. With an elevation of 2,410 feet above sea level (about 1,000 feet higher than Phoenix), the “Old Pueblo,” as Tucson is called, has a drier and slightly cooler climate than its big sister 100 miles to the north.
Tucson wears its Hispanic heritage like an elegant mantilla. Mexico lies just 60 miles to the south, but the Mexican influence is only one force that helped shape this city. Four cultures coexist here: Spanish, Mexican, Native American, and, of course, contemporary American. This cultural blend adds an intellectual vitality to Tucson. Where Phoenix shines with glass and chrome, Tucson glows with pink adobe and wrought iron. Where Phoenix can be wide-open western, Tucson can slip back in time and roll its “Rs.” Whether you stroll through the Barrio, the old, mostly Mexican-American neighborhood, or walk along the “movie-set” campus of the University of Arizona (U of A), you’ll be acutely aware of how this half-old, half-new city pursues its blended destiny.
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