Tucson Arts & Entertainment
Tucson has been described as “an oasis of culture in the desert.” The Wall Street Journal has referred to it as a “mini-Mecca for the arts.” Here are a few reasons why. Tucson is one of a few cities boasting its own theatre, dance, symphony and opera companies performing on a regular basis, as well as special performances and events dotting the calendar year-round. The arts contribute significantly to Tucson's prosperity and represent an economic impact by eight major organizations: Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson Symphony Orchestra, UA Presents, the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography, the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts and the University of Arizona Museum of Fine Art.
Visit one of at least 17 specialty museums or discover the abundant art galleries—there are more than 35 in the downtown district alone. Some standouts are the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, the University of Arizona Museum of Art and the Arizona State Museum. Public art consists of a huge collection of sculptures, structures and murals in hundreds of locations in Tucson. A few must-sees are Gila Monsters, Murals at El Rio Neighborhood Center, Pioneer Memorial, Sonora and Diamondback Bridge. Festivals include Arts in the Park, the Oro Valley Arts in the Park, the Annual Pima County Fair, the Annual Tucson International Jewish Film Festival, the Annual Tucson Folk Festival and many more.
Tucson Sports & Recreation
The city is home to the Tucson Toros professional baseball team, nationally televised PAC-10 intercollegiate sports, men's and women's golf tournaments, bowling tournaments, bicycling races, and the world-famous Tucson rodeo. The University of Arizona Wildcats sports teams, most notably the men's basketball and women's softball teams are often the subject of national attention as well as strong local interest.
The city is also home to more than 120 parks, including Reid Park Zoo. There are five public golf courses located throughout the area. Several scenic parks and points of interest are also located nearby, including the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tohono Chul Park, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon, and Biosphere 2. Outdoor recreation adds to the local economy with the more popular activities being hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, hang gliding, mountain biking, paragliding and tennis.
Tourism represents a significant part of Tucson's economic base, contributing more than $2.5 billion through direct travel spending annually to the metropolitan area. Ten top destination resorts - Westin La Paloma, Sheraton El Conquistador, Loew's Ventana Canyon, Omni Tucson National Golf Resort and Spa, Westward Look, Miraval, Canyon Ranch, Dove Mountain, Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, La Tierra Linda, and Starr Pass Marriott - attract conventions and visitors from all over the world with first class services and facilities. Regional malls include Park Place, Foothills, Tucson and La Encantada - and more than 180 shopping centers serve the greater Tucson area. Top tourist attractions visited include Reid Park Zoo, Old Tucson Studios, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and Colossal Cave.