Getting to Know Tucson
Adobe walls and vintage aircraft. Music and mountain biking. Stone Age archaeology and space-age technology. When getting to know Tucson, you’ll become acquainted with all of this and much more.
The vital Tucson Convention Center is in the city’s renovated downtown area. At the complex, you can enjoy the sophisticated elegance of theater and music hall performances, rough-and-tumble sporting events in the arena or just kick back for a quiet siesta in the shade of one of the center’s luxuriously landscaped patio areas.
You will also want to visit the University of Arizona campus. Established in 1885 on 40 acres of land donated by gamblers and saloon keepers, the university’s main campus has grown to 380 acres. This oasis is certainly a vibrant place in the desert, providing a brilliant variety of subtropical trees and shrubs.
On campus, you’ll find the Arizona State Museum, at 1013 E. University Blvd.; the Museum of Art, at 1031 N. Olive Road;
the Center for Creative Photography, at 1030 N. Olive Road; the Mineral Museum, at 1601 E. University Blvd.; and the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, at 1601 E. University Blvd. You will also find a dozen state-of-the-art library facilities with millions of print and online resources. All of these and much more contribute to the university’s role as a hub of Tucson’s intellectual and artistic life. For more information, visit www.arizona.edu, www.statemuseum.arizona.edu, www.artmuseum.arizona.edu, www.ccp.arizona.edu, www.uamineralmuseum.com and www.flandrau.org.
In Tucson there also is time for leisure. The Pima Air & Space Museum boasts one of the largest collections of its kind in the United States. The museum is also the official provider of bus tours of the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group facility, where more than 4,000 military aircraft are stored. The museum is south of the base at 6000 E. Valencia Road. For more information, visit www.pimaair.org or call 520-574-0462.
Some enjoy spending leisure time in one of Tucson’s many fine parks, such as Reid Park Zoo or Fort Lowell Park. At Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court, the whole family will enjoy encountering hundreds of animals in naturalistic exhibits over the 24-acre campus. Visit www.reidparkzoo.org for more information. Fort Lowell Park, a former Army fort and now a museum, features educational displays about military life during territorial days as well as athletic fields, a swimming pool, a playground and more. Find out more about Fort Lowell Park, at 2900 N. Craycroft Road, and other recreational outdoor spaces at www.tucsonaz.gov/parks.
Perhaps your interests are music, theater and dance. Tucson can fill that bill. Here is a small sample to get you started.
The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, at 2175 N. Sixth Ave., is the oldest symphony orchestra in the Southwest and the oldest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona. Explore their seasons of world-class performances, from classical favorites to programs aimed at young listeners, at www.tucsonsymphony.org or call 520-882-8585.
The University of Arizona’s School of Music sponsors a wide variety of solo and ensemble performances. The university’s Arizona Repertory Theatre and School of Dance also bring world-renowned performing arts to the community. Find out more at www.music.arizona.edu, http://theatre.arizona.edu and www.dance.arizona.edu.
The Arizona Opera produces five grand operas throughout the state of Arizona each season. Find out more about its performances in both Tucson and Phoenix, featuring internationally known and emerging talent, at www.azopera.org or call 602-266-7464.
If musicals and drama aren’t your cup of tea, how about laughing and eating? If these appeal to you, you’ll love the Gaslight Theatre at 7010 E. Broadway Blvd. It presents musical melodrama and homestyle eating with a special Western twang. Find out more about this entertaining gem at www.thegaslighttheatre.com or call 520-886-9428.
Now that you’ve got some culture, how about some adventure? The Tucson area is a paradise for sports and outdoor activities, from golf to soccer, biking to bird-watching and much more.
Enjoy golf at a great price at one of the municipal courses: Randolph North, Randolph Dell Urich, El Rio, Fred Enke and Silverbell. Book tee times online and find out more information at www.tucsoncitygolf.com.
Kick up your soccer cleats with FC Tucson, Arizona’s Premier Development League team. Visit www.fctucson.com for schedules and more information. Multiple leagues are available for recreational players of all ages.
Whether you ride slick road tires or knobby mountain treads, there’s a bicycle route just right for you. Start with the city’s car-free urban loop, connecting more than 120 miles of multiuse paths. You can find maps of The Loop at local bike shops or at www.webcms.pima.gov/government/the_loop. Mountain biking enthusiasts can find hundreds of miles of single-track in and around Tucson. Check with local bike shops for trails to meet your skills or visit www.sdmb.org for insider info from the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists group.
More than 500 species of birds call the Tucson area home. Whether you set your feeder out for year-round hummingbirds or focus your binoculars on soaring hawks, you’re sure to see vast numbers of feathered creatures. Visit www.tucsonaudubon.org for a complete list of Tucson area birding sites.
Tucson boasts more than a dozen hospitals. Although all maintain exceptionally high standards, the following are particularly noteworthy.
The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System’s VA Medical Center, 3601 S. Sixth Ave., is a 295-bed hospital open to veterans only. In addition to providing general medical and surgical services, it also has a kidney dialysis unit, mental health services and substance abuse rehabilitation programs. Visit www.tucson.va.gov or call 520-792-1450 for more information.
Banner Health has three hospital locations, each equipped with sophisticated medical equipment to provide inpatient and outpatient care, as well as 24-hour emergency services. The University Medical Center Tucson, at 1501 N. Campbell Ave., is the primary teaching hospital of the University of Arizona’s medicine, nursing and pharmacy colleges. The Diamond Children’s Medical Center is at 1501 N. Campbell Ave. University Medical Center South is at 2800 E. Ajo Way. For more information, visit www.bannerhealth.com.
The Tucson Medical Center, 5301 E. Grant Road, provides more than 600 beds and a staff of more than 600 physicians. Services available at TMC include emergency, cardiac, maternity, pediatric and surgical services. Visit www.tmcaz.com or call 520-327-5461 for more information.
DRIVING IN ARIZONA
The Arizona Department of Transportation office handles driver’s licenses, titles, registrations and car licensing tags. Find the nearest department branch at www.azdot.gov/motor-vehicles.
If you own a vehicle, you must comply with Arizona’s emissions law. If you are registering a vehicle for the first time in Arizona, an emissions test may be required. If an emissions test is required, take your vehicle and its out-of-state registration or temporary registration form to an official inspection center before applying for registration. For more information on Arizona emissions testing requirements, visit the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality at www.myazcar.com.
For Arizona registration renewals, check your registration notice to see if your vehicle requires an emissions test. If it doesn’t, no emissions test is required unless the vehicle is used to commute into the testing area for employment or school. For questions or more information, call 602-255-0072 or visit www.azdot.gov.
You must have auto insurance to drive in Arizona. When you register your vehicle, you must submit an insurance identification card, issued by your insurance company, along with your registration application renewal. If you change insurance companies, you must submit an insurance identification card to the Motor Vehicle Division from the new company within 30 days. You must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times. If you fail to maintain insurance on your vehicle and your registration is suspended, you must pay applicable reinstatement fees and file proof of future financial responsibility. The minimum financial responsibility amounts are $15,000/$30,000 for death or bodily injury and $10,000 for property damage. Get more information from the Arizona Department of Transportation at www.azdot.gov or 602-255-0072.