The "Old Pueblo," as Tucson is affectionately known, is built upon a deep Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Old West foundation, and you can find elements of these influences in the city's architecture, restaurants, and friendly, relaxed vibe. Arizona's second-largest city is both a bustling center of business and development and a laid-back university and resort town, with abundant hiking trails and nature preserves. Tucson is particularly popular among golfers and spa-goers. Saguaro National Park, along with the four mountain ranges surrounding the city, provides a variety of outdoor activities.
Metropolitan Tucson has more than 850,000 residents, including thousands of snowbirds, who flee colder climes to enjoy the sun that shines on the city more than 340 days out of 365. The city's tricultural population (Hispanic, Anglo, Native American) offers visitors the chance to see how these cultures interact and to sample their flavorful cuisine.
The city also has a youthful energy, largely due to the population of students attending the University of Arizona. Although high-tech industries have moved into the area, the economy still relies heavily on the university and tourism. Come summer, though, you'd never guess; when the snowbirds and students depart, Tucson can be a sleepy place.