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With miles of nature and state parks in the surrounding area, Tucson is a desert oasis ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, a favorite among locals and visitors, is 85% outdoors and showcases various desert habitats along a two-mile interpretive trail. Tucson Mountain, Mount Lemmon, and the Catalina State Park are also great destinations for hiking or camping. History buffs can explore Tucson's rich Mexican and Spanish history. Many notable structures that predate Arizona's designation as a U.S. territory have been preserved and offer excellent tours, such as the centuries-old Mission San Xavier del Bac. Families with young children may prefer a trip to the Old Tucson Studios, a movie studio and theme park originally built for the 1940 American Western film Arizona.
Tucson Restaurants and Nightlife
Unsurprisingly, Tucson's specialty when it comes to food is Mexican cuisine. From food trucks to fast casual to sit-down restaurants, you'll never run out of options when looking for authentic Mexican food in Tucson, but that's not all the city has to offer. The quality and quantity of Tucson's restaurants belie its small size -- thanks to the city's agricultural heritage and distinctive culinary scene, it is the only UNESCO Creative City recognized for gastronomy. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona, whose student population influences much of the nightlife in the city. Near the campus, known as Main Gate, a young crowd hangs out at trendy clubs after classes let out. You'll find late-night options all across the city though, especially in the downtown area, where older Tucsonans like to unwind, and there are two popular casinos on either side of the city. Whether you're looking for a sleek, modern club or a more relaxed neighborhood bar, you're sure to find it in Tucson.
Tucson is influenced by Mexican culture as much today as it was when the city was founded. You'll see it in the architecture, cuisine, music and art throughout town. Walk into a bar on any given night and you might find a live mariachi band, and if you don't, you can attend the annual Tucson International Mariachi Conference, where thousands of performers gather every April. The city proudly hosts many other annual events and parades, like the All Souls Procession Weekend, Tucson Folk Festival, and Fourth Avenue Street Fair.