Profile: Tucson, Arizona

What makes Tucson tick? Here, a basic guide.

Population: 500,000

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Major Airport: Tucson International Airport

Major Employers: Raytheon Missile Systems, University of Arizona, U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca, Davis Monthan Air Force Base, IBM, Texas Instruments, Intuit.

With 350 days of sunshine and an easygoing lifestyle, Arizona’s second-largest city attracts tens of thousands of new residents each year. It’s long been popular with retirees looking for warmer weather and plentiful golf courses, but the newcomers also include younger families and college students who come to study at the University of Arizona and never leave.

With a long history as part of Spain, Mexico and the Wild West, modern-day Tucson has a diverse mix of residents. It tends to be more liberal politically than its larger neighbor Phoenix. While much of the city today is moving to newer Southwestern-style stucco homes in the Northwest foothills, you’ll still find vibrant central neighborhoods with a wide variety of housing styles from the past: adobe row houses and territorial-style homes built in the 1800s, Queen Anne and Victorian houses from the turn-of-the-century, California-style bungalows and Mediterranean-influenced houses built in the 1930s.

On weekends, Tucsonans tend to head to their favorite hiking spots in the mountains and canyons surrounding the city. When they want to get away, they’re not far from skiing, day trips across the border in Nogales or weekend trips down to Mexican beaches.

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