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Exploring Tucson

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Welcome to Tucson

Welcome to Tucson, the county seat of Pima County and one of America’s fastest-growing cities. Tucson is situated on a high valley floor at an elevation of about 2,400 feet. The city is surrounded by five mountain ranges. To the north is the Santa Catalinas; to the south are the Santa Ritas and the Sierritas. The Rincon Mountains are east of Tucson, and the Tucson Mountains are to the west.

The greater metropolitan Tucson population is more than 1 million. Tucson city limits cover an area of more than 156 square miles, while metropolitan Tucson extends for nearly 500 square miles. The official city of Tucson website is www.tucsonaz.gov.

Climate

Tucson is one of the sunniest cities in the United States. There are more than 350 days of sunshine each year. Because of the city’s elevation, temperatures are generally mild.

The average high temperature in July is 99 degrees, with an average low of 76 degrees. In January the average high temperature is 65 degrees and the average low is 42 degrees. This sunny climate — along with an average rainfall of only 12 inches — makes Tucson the ideal place to live for tennis, golf or any of the many other recreational activities in the area.

Although Tucson rarely experiences snow, it does have winter. Temperatures can drop into the 30s on winter mornings, so Tucsonans sometimes do need winter coats.

Economy and Employment

• University of Arizona - 10,846 employees

• Raytheon Missile Systems - 10,300 employees

• Davis-Monthan Air Force Base - 9,100 employees

• State of Arizona - 8,807 employees

• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. - 7,450 employees

• Tucson Unified School District - 6,790 employees

• Pima County - 6,500 employees

• Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold - 5,463 employees

• U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca - 5,096 employees

• City of Tucson - 4,585 employees

• Phelps Dodge Mining Company - 4,900 employees

• Tohono O'odham Nation - 4,350

• Carondolet Health Network - 3,668 employees

• TMC HealthCare - 2,977 employees

Source: Arizona Daily Star, Star 200

In early 2013, the city's unemployment rate was 6.8 percent, below Arizona's unemployment rate of 7.9 percent. The largest single private employer in Tucson, with more than 10,000 employees, is Raytheon Missile Systems. The University of Arizona, with about 10,800 workers, is the top public employer in the region. Other major employers include the State of Arizona, Wal-Mart, the Tucson Unified School District and Pima County. The manufacturing industry is coming to play an increasingly larger role in Tucson employment figures. Considered the economy's most important growth industry during recent years, it now employs more than 30,000 people in the greater Tucson area, mainly due to the phenomenal growth in the number of high-tech companies throughout Pima County.

Exporting sunshine — tourism — is one of the community’s major economic factors, and it contributes lavishly to the Tucson economy. Tourists spend more than $1.5 billion annually in Pima County.

Due to its clear air and the absence of large-scale urban night lighting, Tucson also is a major international center for stellar research. By providing top-flight research facilities and attracting top-notch scientists into the area, Tucson’s astronomy research programs are also contributing to the exhilarating expansion of its economic base.

For more information on employment in Tucson, contact the Economic Development Department, Tucson Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, 465 W. St. Mary’s Road, Tucson, AZ 85701, or call 520-792-1212.

Communications

Tucson has two large daily newspapers. The Arizona Daily Star (www.azstarnet.com) comes out every morning, including Sunday. The Daily Territorial is Pima County’s official newspaper and the major medium for public notices in the metropolitan Tucson area. Inside Tucson Business is the city's weekly business newspaper.

There are 10 Tucson television stations and more than 20 radio stations.

Getting to Know Tucson

Adobe walls and nuclear reactors. Ballet companies and mountain-biking. Stone Age archaeology and space-age technology. When getting to know Tucson, you’ll become acquainted with all of this and much more.

The vital Tucson Convention Center is in the city’s renovated downtown area. At the complex, you can enjoy the sophisticated elegance of theater and music hall performances, rough-and-tumble sporting events in the arena or just kick back for a quiet siesta in the shade of one of the center’s luxuriously landscaped patio areas.

You will also want to visit the University of Arizona campus. Established in 1885 on 40 acres of land donated by gamblers and saloon keepers, the university's main campus has grown to 380 acres. This oasis is certainly a fertile place in the desert, providing a brilliant variety of subtropical trees and shrubs.

On campus, you’ll find the Arizona State Museum, at 1013 E. University Blvd.; the University’s Museum of Art, at 1031 Olive Road; a nuclear reactor; a mineral museum; and the Center of Creative Photography, at 1030 N. Olive Road. You will also find a library system with more than 2.6 million volumes, one that’s been rated in the nation’s top 20 for the past several years. All of these and much more contribute to the university’s role as a hub of Tucson’s intellectual and artistic life. For more information, visit www.arizona.edu, www.statemuseum.arizona.edu, www.artmuseum.arizona.edu and www.creativephotography.org.

In Tucson there also is time for leisure. A museum for aircraft, the Pima Air & Space Museum, boasts one of the largest collections in the United States. The museum is also the official provider of bus tours of the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARG), where nearly 4,000 military aircraft are stored. The museum is south of the base at 6000 E. Valencia Road. For more information, visit www.pimaair.org or call 520-574-0462.

Some enjoy spending leisure time in one of Tucson’s many fine parks, the Reid Park Zoo or Fort Lowell Park. At Reid Park Zoo, 3400 Zoo Court, the whole family will enjoy encountering hundreds of animals in naturalistic exhibits over the 24-acre campus. Visit www.reidparkzoo.org for more info. Fort Lowell Park, a former Army fort and now a museum, features educational displays about military life during territorial days as well as athletic fields, a swimming pool, a playground and more. Find out more about Fort Lowell Park, at 2900 N. Craycroft Road, and other recreational outdoor spaces at www.tucsonaz.gov/parksandrec.

Perhaps your interests are music, theater and dance. Tucson can fill that bill. Here is a small sample to get you started:

The Tucson Symphony Orchestra, at 2175 N. Sixth Ave., is the oldest symphony orchestra in the Southwest and the oldest continuously performing professional arts organization in Arizona. Explore their seasons of world-class performances, from classical favorites to programs aimed at young listeners, at www.tucsonsymphony.org or call 520-882-8585.

The University of Arizona's School of Music sponsors a wide variety of solo and ensemble performances. Through its Artist Series, world-renowned cultural activities (music, dance and drama) are brought to the university and Tucson communities. Find out more at www.music.arizona.edu.

The Arizona Opera Company produces five grand operas throughout the state of Arizona each season. Find out more about its performances in both Tucson and Phoenix, featuring internationally known and emerging talent, at www.azopera.org or call 520-293-4336.

If musicals and drama aren’t your cup of tea, how about laughing and eating? If these appeal to you, you’ll love the Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway Blvd.
It presents musical melodrama and homestyle eating with a special western twang. Find out more about this enter-taining gem at www.thegaslight
theatre.com or call 520-886-9428.

Now that you've got some culture, how about some adventure? The Tucson area is a paradise for sports and outdoor activities, from golf to soccer, biking to bird-watching and much more.

Enjoy golf at a great price at one of five municipal courses, including the Dell Urich Golf Course, El Rio-Trini Alvarez Golf Course, Fred Enke Golf Course, Randolph North Golf Course and Silverbell Golf Course. Book tee times online and find out more info at www.tucsoncitygolf.com.

Kick up your soccer cleats with FC Tucson, Arizona's first Premiere Development League team. Visit www.fctucson.com for schedules and more information. Multiple leagues are available for recreational players of all ages.

Whether you ride slick road tires or knobby mountain treads, there's a bicycle route just right for you. Start with the city's car-free urban loop, connecting more than 110 miles of multiuse paths. You can find maps of the The Loop at local bike shops or at www.pima.gov/theloop. Mountain biking enthusiasts can find more than 300 miles of single-track in and around Tucson. Check with local bike shops for trails to meet your skills or visit www.sdmb.org for insider info from the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists group.

More than 500 species of birds call the Tucson area home. Whether you set your feeder out for year-round humming-
birds or focus your binoculars on soaring hawks, you're sure to see vast numbers of feathered creatures. Visit www.tucsonaudubon.org for a complete list of Tucson area birding sites.

Medical Facilities

Tucson boasts 16 hospitals with a combined total of approximately 3,250 beds. Although all maintain exceptionally high standards, three are particularly noteworthy:

The Veterans Administration Hospital, 3601 S. Sixth Ave., is a 325-bed hospital open to veterans only. In addition to providing general medical and surgical services, it also has a kidney dialysis unit, a tuberculosis treatment program, and drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation programs. Visit www.tucson.va.gov or call 520-792-1450 for more information.

The University of Arizona Medical Center, 707 N. Alvernon Way, is a 300-bed hospital equipped with sophisticated medical equipment to provide both inpatient and outpatient care, as well as 24-hour emergency services. It also provides training for physicians, nurses and other health care professionals. Visit www.uahealth.com or call 520-694-8888.

The Tucson Medical Center, 5301 E. Grant Road, provides 650 beds and more than 1,200 physicians on staff. Services available at TMC include outpatient surgery as well as acute surgical and medical care units for infants. Visit www.tmcaz.com or call 520-327-5461.

ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

The Arizona Department of Transportation office handles titles, registrations and car licensing tags. Find the nearest department branch at www.azdot.gov/mvd.

Emissions Law

If you own a vehicle, you must comply with Arizona’s emissions law. If your registration has “EMISS YES” printed above the fee subtotal, your vehicle requires an emissions test. If it doesn’t, no emissions test is required unless the vehicle is used to commute into the testing area for employment or school.

If you are registering a vehicle for the first time in Arizona, an emissions test is required, even on new cars. Take your vehicle and its out-of-state registration or temporary registration form to an official inspection center before applying for registration. If your vehicle passes, you’ll get a certificate of compliance to mail with your registration form to the auto license plate department. Keep the top part of the inspection form until your registration tag is returned in the mail.

If your vehicle fails, it must be repaired and either pass a reinspection or qualify for a waiver after the specified repairs are made. Your inspection report will provide information on repairs and procedures to follow. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division controls notification of “emissions test required.“ For questions or more information, call 520-629-9808.

Auto Insurance

You must have auto insurance to drive in Arizona. When you register your vehicle, you must submit an insurance identification card, issued by your insurance company, along with your registration application renewal. If you change insurance companies, you must submit an insurance identification card to the Motor Vehicle Division from the new company within 30 days. You must carry proof of insurance or proof of another form of financial responsibility in your vehicle at all times. If you fail to maintain insurance on your vehicle and your registration is suspended, you must pay applicable reinstatement fees and file proof of future financial responsibility. The minimum financial responsibility amounts are $15,000/$30,000 for death or bodily injury; $10,000 for property damage. Get more information from the Arizona Department of Transportation at www.azdot.gov or 520-629-9808.

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