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Terrific Tucson: Spanish Colonial Charm and Cacti, Too
Tucson Featured Hotels

Terrific Tucson: Spanish Colonial Charm and Cacti, Too

The lovely city of Tucson, Arizona, is not only rich with ancient history, it is also an ideal destination for travelers looking for an idyllic spot to hike, ride bikes, climb mountains, go spelunking, or just relax on the edge of a canyon and dream.

Life in the Tucson Valley began about 10,000 B.C. when the Paleoindian and Archaic hunters and gatherers migrated to the area. Although historians don’t know whether the area was inhabited continually after that, they have found evidence of agricultural settlements along the Santa Cruz River dating back as far as 1,000 B.C. The Hohokam culture thrived in the Tucson Valley for a dozen centuries, from 200 A.D. to 1450 A.D., before the civilization declined. Today’s Pima and Tohono O’odham cultures are the descendants of that advanced civilization, and they have inhabited the region since the mid-16th century.

Cacti with Clouds in Background, Saguaro National Park, USA
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Around 1540, the Coronado Expedition crossed what is now Arizona, searching for the "Seven Cities of Gold." Father Francisco Kino established the Mission San Xavier del Bac in 1699, but it took nearly 100 years for the mission to be completed. In the meantime, the Mission San Agustin, a "visita" of San Xavier, was established on the west bank of the Santa Cruz River. In 1775, Hugo O’Conor established the Tucson Presido—and that year was when the City of Tucson was officially born.

When Mexico fought for its independence in 1821, Tucson became part of Mexico. In 1854, after the Gadsden Purchase, Tucson was thereafter under the jurisdiction of the United States. Arizona became an official U.S. territory in 1864, and in 1912 it became the 48th state in the Union. By 1950, Tucson’s population had reached 120,000, and just 10 years later the population had doubled. In 1990, Tucson became the 33rd largest city in the United States, with a population of nearly a half million people.

With its colorful cultural history, Tucson offers visitors a wealth of diverse exploration pursuits as well as mild weather all year long. When most people think of Tucson, they get a mental picture of lush, sweeping desert spotted with tall saguaro cacti. But the second-largest city in Arizona is nestled in the heart of an area surrounded by mountains and canyons, state and national forests, rivers, and waterfalls.

The Santa Cruz River Valley, south of Tucson, is being considered for becoming a National Heritage Area because of its historic and cultural significance to the area. The valley is known worldwide to bird lovers, being home to elegant trogons and blue-throated hummingbirds in the Santa Rita and Santa Catalina Mountains. The tall riparian forests near Tumacacori are home to summer tanagers. The area is also the site of many Native American archaeological ruins as well as being a center of Spanish colonial exploration.

In fact, the evidence of Spanish colonial influence is everywhere you look in Tucson, especially in the city’s numerous adobe houses. Visitors can learn about the Spanish colonization of the Southwest by taking a trip down the Juan Bautista de Anza Trail, the explorer who established an emigration and supply route in 1776 from Tubac, south of Tucson, all the way to California.

Saguaro Forest, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA
Saguaro Forest, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the Sonoran Desert, Arizona, USA
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Sabino Canyon, located in the Santa Catalina Mountains in the Coronado National Forest, boasts thrilling desert landscapes. Everywhere you look you can see cholla and prickly pear cactus, ocotillo groves, and palo verde trees. Hikers can make their way down the 2.5-mile Sabino Creek trail, lined with cottonwood trees, and stop at Seven Falls to relax by clear-running pools of water. The narrated Bear Canyon Trail tram provides a more leisurely route to the top of the canyon. Hikers and explorers should keep an eye out for white-tailed deer, lizards, collared peccaries, tarantulas, lizards, and snakes that live in the canyon.

Be sure not to leave Tucson without visiting the Saguaro National park, to get a glimpse of the iconic cactus most people think of when they think of Arizona. Majestic saguaros, in all shapes and sizes, tower over the landscape, some as tall as 50 feet high. Drive on a scenic loop to learn more about the spectacular Sonoran Desert. The area offers more than 150 miles of hiking trails ranging from easy, casual strolls to challenging steep, rugged hikes into the Rincon Mountains.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, a wildlife adventurer, a canyon explorer, or a combination of all of these, Tucson is the perfect destination for you!

Tucson Featured Hotels


By Buzzle Staff and Agencies

Search for more Tucson AZ Hotels (and surrounding areas)
Doubletree Tucson At Reid Park
The Doubletree Tucson at Reid Park is located two miles from the University of Arizona. Nearby points of interest include Tucson Botanical Gardens, Sabino Canyon, Mission San Xavier, Saguaro National Park, Tucson Mountain Park, and Colossal Cave Mountain Park. The Doubletree Tucson at Reid Park has 16 fully equipped meeting rooms to ensure the success of every event. For guests dining needs, the Doubletree Tucson at Reid Park has three restaurants onsite. After a long day of sightseeing or meetings, guests can relax by taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool or treat themselves to a pampering massage.
Econo Lodge Tucson
The Econo Lodge in Tucson provides a great, convenient, central location off of I-10, at 6th Ave. This Econo Lodge is only two miles from downtown and the Convention Center. Area attractions like the Gem Show and Tucson Electric Park are also convenient from this location. The hotel offers its guests a complimentary breakfast. Fridges and microwaves are available on request (fees apply). The Econo Lodge Tucson's amenities include an outdoor pool and guest laundry facilities. Guests are offered free local phone calls, as well. The Econo Lodge Tucson is a good choice for convenience and amenities.
Flamingo Suites Hotel Tucson
The Flamingo Suites is a unique hotel, which offers full suites with kitchens in a beautiful desert garden setting. This hotel is located in a quiet residential neighborhood in the Tucson foothills. The Flamingo Suites offers a generous array of amenities, including free local phone calls, complimentary parking, free satellite TV, and a heated swimming pool, in an oasis-like setting. Other conveniences include a coin operated laundry onsite, and a 24-hour restaurant next door. Seven other restaurants can be found within a three-block radius. 
Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort
Etched into the base of the rugged Santa Catalina Mountains, the smoke-free Resort basks in a Sonoran desert setting, 13 miles from downtown Tucson, Ariz. Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area may be viewed from the resort's property, and Catalina State Park is less than 3 miles away. The resort stands within 500 acres of natural desert flora, and an expansive Southwestern-style lobby opens onto a central courtyard. Recreational opportunities include three golf courses and a putting green, 31 lighted tennis courts, and an on-site equestrian center with horseback riding and lessons. The Desert Springs Oasis offers a 143-foot waterslide, fish-shaped children's pool, hot and cold spa tubs, and artificial streams and waterfalls. A total of four pools are available, including a six-lane lap pool and a splash pool. Dining options include Sundance, which features American favorites with a southwestern flair, and the Last Territory, which offers steak and Old West ambience.
Hilton Tucson East
The Hilton Tucson East hotel is located in the fashionable East Side district of Tucson, Ariz. The hotel is within seven miles from the University of Arizona, and eight miles from downtown and the Tucson Convention Center.  The Southwestern design of the hotel features a seven-story atrium. Vistas Restaurant offers views of the Catalina Mountains. Hotel ammenities include a heated outdoor pool, a spa tub and a fitness center. Complimentary wireless Internet access is available throughout the hotel and wired high-speed Internet access is available for a fee in the business center. There are many golf courses nearby and the hotel can make the necessary arrangements for a tee time. 
Hyatt Place Tucson Airport
Located a half-mile south of the Tucson International Airport and only minutes from the Desert Diamond Casino, the Hyatt Place Tucson Airport hotel is centrally located to many Tucson-area museums, including the Pima Air and Space Museum, the Sonoran Desert Museum and the Arizona State Museum.  The Tucson hotel is also close to the University of Arizona and the University of Arizona Museum of Art.  For business travelers, the hotel is located only 15 minutes from the Tucson Convention Center.
La Quinta Inn And Suites Tucson Airport
The La Quinta Inn is located 1 block from Tucson Airport and 10 miles from downtown Tucson. The hotel offers guests a clean, comfortable room at a price that will allow you to enjoy the rest of your trip. The hotel offers consistent quality and value at every location. Guests will appreciate the fresh, contemporary décor and comfortable standard and king rooms with thoughtful amenities. It is the ideal choice for both business and leisure travelers. All of the rooms feature the modern amenities that guests have come to expect of a hotel of this quality. 
La Quinta Inn Tucson Downtown
The La Quinta Inn Tucson Downtown / Starr Pass is close to everything in the area, including the University of Arizona, Tucson Convention Center, Starr Pass Golf Resort, and the Sonora Desert Museum. Visit San Xavier Mission from here, and Old Tucson Studios. Try your luck at Desert Diamond Casino and Casino Del Sol, or spend a day watching Major League Baseball at the Tucson Electric Park Spring Training Center, home of the Chicago White Sox, AZ Diamondbacks, and Colorado Rockies. It is only a short drive to Casa Grande Outlet Shopping. Enjoy the sparkling outdoor swimming pool in this desert oasis, and a relaxing indoor spa.
La Quinta Inn Tucson East
The La Quinta Inn Tucson East is located 13 miles from Tucson International Airport. The hotel offers guests a clean, comfortable room at a price that will allow you to enjoy the rest of your trip. The hotel offers consistent quality and value at every location. Guests will appreciate the fresh, contemporary décor and comfortable standard and king rooms with thoughtful amenities. All of the rooms feature the modern amenities that guests have come to expect of a hotel of this quality. The rooms are well suited to the needs of both the business traveler and the leisure quest. 
Lodge On The Desert Tucson
The Lodge on the Desert is located two miles from the University of Arizona, three miles from Tuscon Convention Center and 12 miles from Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. Nearby points of interest include Sabino Canyon, Fourth Avenue Historic Shops and Tuscon Museum of Arts just to mention a few. The Lodge on the Desert offers guests dry cleaning services, 24-hour front desk services, complimentary parking, and safe deposit boxes. The Lodge on the Desert has a restaurant and bar onsite for guests dining needs. After a long day of sightseeing or meetings, guests can relax by taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool.
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort Tucson
The Loews Ventana Canyon Resort is located in Tucson, Arizona. Imagine a place where ancient cultures, untamed landscapes, and tranquil surroundings harmoniously coexist. And mirages pale in comparison to reality. There is such a place. And its very existence is designed to enrich yours. Located on a plateau above the city of Tucson and nestled into the Catalina Mountain foothills, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort embraces the spirit of this unique and beautiful land. It's a hushed world where long-time residents such as the Saguaro cacti, the coyote, and the great horned owl live in undisturbed harmony throughout its 93 acres. It's truly an oasis. Enjoy the amazement of an 80-foot waterfall from your room where sunset-inspired color schemes provide the warmest of welcomes.
Omni Tucson National Resort
Recognized by "Conde Naste Traveler" as one of the top 100 resorts in the US and named one of the top Sixty Golf Resorts by Golf Digest, the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa is an upscale property that is dedicated to guests' needs. The hotel is conveniently located near Tohono Chul Park, Casas Adobes, the Fort Lowell Historic District, University of Arizona, Tucson Botanical Gardens and Tucson Mountain County Park. As part of the Omni family, this resort has been awarded the JD Powers award for best customer service in an Upscale Hotel. The resort offers 36 championship holes of golf, and has hosted PGA events on its Catalina course since 1965. The Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa also boasts a 13,000 square-foot European Style Spa with a full variety of services to meet everyone's needs. 
Palo Verde Inn and Suites Tucson
The Palo Verde Inn and Suites is located south of Interstate 10 in Tucson, Ariz., less than six miles from the University of Arizona. With 24-hour advanced notice, complimentary shuttle service is provided to and from Tucson International Airport, located three miles from the hotel. Tucked within a residential area, the Palo Verde Inn and Suites offers a fitness center, outdoor pool and spa tub. Complimentary hot breakfasts are served daily. This pet-friendly, two-story hotel offers 173 brightly decorated guestrooms featuring complimentary wireless Internet access, upgraded linens, coffeemakers, in-room safes, granite counters, cable television, and complimentary toiletries.
Radisson Suites Tucson 
The Radisson Suites Tucson is located a mile away from Tucson's popular "restaurant row" dining and shopping district, eight miles from downtown Tucson and 11 miles from Tucson International Airport. The all-suite hotel is nestled in the city's upscale eastside. The lobby opens onto a pool framed by palm trees and surrounded by blooming garden flowers. Guest can dine indoors or on the patio. The hotel has a garden courtyard with a large swimming pool, sundeck, and spa tub. In addition to the hotel's fitness center, complimentary passes are provided to Gold's gym a half-mile away. Internet access is available throughout the hotel and in the Breeze Internet Café, an alcove in the bar and grill. The Breeze Patio Bar and Grill serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner indoors or on the patio, with a view of the pool. 
Ramada Foothills Inn & Suites Tucson 
Ramada Inn & Suites Foothills Resort is located six miles from Tucson's airport, on Tucson's Northeast side, adjacent to Udall Park. The hotel has taken on a completely new look, with a major renovation of its guestrooms and public areas. The renovation has modernized and improved the 16-year old hotel so that it can better serve its guests. The Ramada Inn & Suites Foothills Resort is situated along Restaurant Row within walking distance of many unique shops. The newly refurbished rooms have been significantly upgraded, with high quality in mind. The guestrooms are spacious and decorated in a contemporary, Southwestern style. Rooms feature complimentary high-speed Internet access. The hotel offers its guests a heated outdoor pool and spa. 
Ramada Limited Tucson West 
The Ramada Limited Tucson West is a comfortable oasis in a beautiful desert city. There are so many wonderful services and amenities that this hotel offers for the convenience of the guest. You will want to start the day off right with a deluxe complimentary light breakfast with waffles. The hotel is close to major attractions including the AZ Sonora Desert Museum, El Fronterizo, El Presidio Park, Garces Footbridge, Old Tucson and the Sabino Canyon. Each of the 134 tastefully appointed pet-free guestrooms are spacious and feature a fresh décor, rich wood furniture, large desks, bright bathrooms, cable TV, coffee makers and alarm clock radios.
The Lodge At Ventana Canyon Tucson 
Just outside Tucson, The Lodge at Ventana Canyon is a golf and nature lover's paradise with Arizona's beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains as a backdrop to the resort and its spectacular championship courses. It truly is one of America's top golf resorts.  Enjoy panoramic canyon views from your room and patio or step outside to enjoy a host of outdoor pleasures, including a match on the illuminated tennis courts, a workout in the 24-hour fitness center, a swim in our gorgeous Junior Olympic pool or exploration of the mystical desert canyons on horseback. If you would like to play some golf, play one of two championship golf courses designed by Tom Fazio and managed by Troon Golf.
Westward Look Resort Tucson 
The Westward Look Resort is a beautiful resort located 15 miles from Tucson International Airport. Set high in the foothills overlooking Tucson and warmed by an abundance of desert sunshine, a rejuvenating resort environment inspired by the beauty of its pristine natural surroundings. Home to an amazing variety of birds, plants and wildlife, this lush 80-acre oasis is an ideal choice for nature lovers, romantics, families or those simply seeking a serene escape from daily pressures. The newly renovated Westward Look Resort combines world-class facilities, gourmet dining and luxurious spa treatments in a naturally beautiful setting to create a relaxing and unpretentious atmosphere. Outdoor enthusiasts enjoy on-site horseback riding, hiking, biking, bird watching and swimming, plus golf nearby.
View the full list of Tucson AZ Hotels (and surrounding areas)


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