Downtown -- This is Tucson's main business district, and though it incorporates parts of two historic districts, it has little to offer visitors who aren't in town for an event at the Tucson Convention Center, which dominates much of downtown. There are a few art galleries and a couple of good restaurants in the area, but for the most part, downtown is a 9-to-5 business district. The main reason most visitors find themselves in downtown is to stop in at the Metropolitan Tucson Convention & Visitors Bureau visitor center or to visit the Tucson Museum of Art in the adjacent Presidio Historic District.
El Presidio Historic District -- Named for the Spanish military garrison that once stood here, this neighborhood is bounded by Alameda Street on the south, Main Avenue on the west, Franklin Street on the north, and Church Avenue on the east. El Presidio was the city's most affluent neighborhood in the 1880s, and most of the large homes from that period have been restored. The Tucson Museum of Art anchors the neighborhood.
Barrio Histórico District -- Another 19th-century neighborhood, the Barrio Histórico is bounded on the north by Cushing Street, on the west by railroad tracks, on the south by 18th Street, and on the east by Stone Avenue. The Barrio Histórico is characterized by Sonoran-style adobe row houses that directly abut the street with no yards, a style typical in Mexican towns. A few restaurants dot the neighborhood, but most restored buildings serve as offices and private residences. This remains a borderline neighborhood where restoration is a slow, ongoing process, so try to avoid it late at night.
Fourth Avenue -- Running from University Boulevard in the north to Ninth Street in the south, Fourth Avenue is the favored shopping district of cash-strapped college students. Shops specialize primarily in ethnic and used/vintage clothing, as well as handcrafted items from around the world. Twice a year, in March or April and December, the street is closed to traffic for a street fair. Plenty of restaurants, bars, and clubs also make this the city's favorite college nightlife district.
University District/Midtown -- Northeast of downtown Tucson, this part of the city is actually a collection of different neighborhoods surrounding the University of Arizona. Just to the west of the university campus, you'll find the sort of shops and restaurants you'd expect adjacent to a university. On the east side, you'll find neighborhoods that are home to the historic Arizona Inn and a few other hotels. Stretching north from the university is Campbell Avenue, which has city's the greatest concentrations of interesting budget restaurants.
East Tucson -- This part of the city includes pretty much everything east of the University District all the way to the eastern unit of Saguaro National Park. Within east Tucson you'll find lots of hotels, including several all-suites properties, plenty of good restaurants, and both the national park and Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time in your car as you drive this sprawling section of the city.
West Tucson -- This sprawling area of town is where you'll find some of the city's top attractions, including the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios, and the west unit of Saguaro National Park. However, there aren't very many places to stay in this area, nor are there very many recommendable restaurants.
Oro Valley & Marana -- These two cities northwest of Tucson are vast suburbs that are where all the city's recent development has taken place. It is in this area that you'll find the posh Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain resort and several good restaurants. The views of the west slopes of the Santa Catalina Mountains from this area are stupendous, and there's access to the mountains at Catalina State Park.
The Foothills -- This huge area in northern Tucson houses the city's most affluent neighborhoods. Elegant shopping plazas, modern malls, world-class resorts, golf courses, and expensive residential neighborhoods are surrounded by hilly desert at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.