Friday, April 3, 2015

Cheryl's top 10 list of Tucson attractions

Tucson has so many interesting things to see and do, it's difficult to cram them ll into a few days' visit. We stayed in Tucson for seven months, which gave us plenty of time to see its attractions, but we still didn't see everything the city has to offer.

Over the months, we visited dozens of attractions in and around the city. Picking out my favorites was a tough job, with strong competition coming from places such as Saguaro National Park, Rillito Farmers Market, Tohono Chul  and Arizona History Museum. Here’s a list of my top 10 favorite places to visit:

10. Pancho Villa statue: This impressive statue, located in a park in downtown Tucson, was controversial when it was given to the people of Arizona by the president of Mexico. Why? Because in the early 20th century, Pancho Villa was the only person to invade the United States and kill its citizens since the War of 1812.

9. Mt. Lemmon scenicdrive: When temperatures in Tucson get too hot, pack a picnic lunch and head up to Mt. Lemmon for stunning views of Tucson and miles beyond. The journey takes motorists through four ecosystems, from the deserts of Mexico to the pines of Canada. In the winter, it's southern Arizona's only ski area.

8. DeGrazia Gallery inthe Sun: Ted De Grazia was a multi-talented artist who worked with paints, clay, and even aluminum cans, He also was temperamental, once burning $250,000 worth of his paintings in a protest against inheritance tax laws.

7.Jewish History Museum: This small museum, located in Tucson's first synagogue, is considered one of the best Jewish history museums in the United States. One section is devoted to Tucson residents who survived the Holocaust.

6. Tucson PresidioMuseum: The museum stands on a portion of the original presidio where Tucson was founded in 1775. It's the place to be on the second Saturday of winter months for those who want to see "Spanish" soldiers fire muskets and sample fresh made tortillas cooked the old fashioned way.

5. Frost: Locations throughout Tucson serve up sinfully delicious gelatos that have fewer calories and fat than regular ice cream. This is where Tucson residents get their ice cream fix. We especially liked their store at Encantada Shopping mall, which is possibly one of the prettiest malls you’ll ever visit.

4. Mission San Xavierdel Bac: This centuries' old graceful white church is one of Tucson's icons, calling out to travelers along Interstate 19.

3. Pima Air & SpaceMuseum:  The largest private aircraft museum in the United States. It contains mostly military planes, with the space gallery containing a moon rock.

2. Old Tucson: Old Tucson is both a theme park and a movie studio, since more than 300 Western movies and TV shows were filmed here, ranging from McClintok! to Little House on the Prairie. We liked it so much, we went twice!

1. Arizona Sonora DesertMuseum: Perhaps Tucson's top-rated tourist attraction, and one of the world's top outdoor museums. With more than 40 acres of trails leading through the Sonora Desert, the museum is both a botanical garden and zoo.


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