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Tucson - Attractions

The Arts
Downtown is the center of Tucson's arts community. Browse through dozens of galleries, explore the museum, catch a show or indie film and see the public art scattered throughout the area. For example, the Tucson Museum of Art & Historic Block has a notable permanent collection including pre-Columbian, Hispanic, Western, Asian and contemporary art, as well as 10-12 changing exhibitions annually. The neighboring Historic Block features five restored homes of Historic El Presidio District.

Good news travels fast! Several of the city's longtime annual events draw international audiences. La Fiesta de los Vaqueros is recognized as the largest outdoor mid-winter rodeo in America, and the Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase of Tucson is eagerly anticipated by thousands of rock hounds, jewelers and others who buy, sell and exhibit at the largest event of its kind in the world. Another local favorite, the Tucson International Mariachi Conference, attracts devoted students and fans of this lively musical genre.

Congress Street
Congress Street is the hub of Downtown's nightlife, with clubs, galleries, eclectic shops, and historic theatres. Congress has been the retail and entertainment center since the late 1800’s. So named because Arizona's early territorial legislature, or "congress" — located in Tucson from 1864-1877 — did its real business in the saloons on the street, which was then known as "Calle de la Alegria", or "Street of Mirth".

El Presidio
The El Presidio neighborhood encompasses the area around the original walled presidio. Downtown Tucson was founded in 1775, when Hugo O'Conor, an Irish mercenary working for the Spanish army, declared that the area including Tucson's present City Hall was suitable for establishing a permanent military presence. Within the next few years an adobe fortress was constructed, 600 feet long on each side, and for the next several years Tucson was truly a walled city, with citizens living inside the walls, under the protection of the army of New Spain.

Finding a memento of your trip to Tucson can be just as much fun as being here. Serious shoppers will delight in the broad inventory of practical and whimsical gift items to be found at many homegrown specialty shops and major national retailers. Numerous smaller shopping opportunities are scattered in and around town—offering an inventory of things Southwestern, from museum-quality Native American textiles and jewelry to Mexican folk crafts and cowboy memorabilia. On a larger scale, explore four enclosed major malls , featuring hundreds of well-known stores and restaurants at convenient in-town locations.


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