tucson saguaro

Celebrate Tucson’s Birthday on August 20

By the time Arizona claimed statehood on Feb. 14, 1912, the city of Tucson had already served as a territorial capitol for a decade and was getting ready to celebrate its 35th birthday. The region’s blend of cultures, some of which inhabited the area going back 12,000 years, form the basis of the unique, diverse community that continues to attract new residents and visitors today.

“Time spent exploring Tucson is time spent immersing yourself among vibrant people, cultures and cuisine not found anywhere else,” says Debbie Johnson, director of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “Whether you’re an Arizonan or traveler, visiting Tucson is always a special experience.”   

This month, Tucson will celebrate its 247th birthday! To help honor one of Arizona’s most culturally significant cities – brimming with art, music and, of course, delicious food – here are a few fun ideas to get you started exploring this amazing place.

MSA Annex

Shop the Mercado San Agustín (MSA) Annex

This addition to the ever-popular Mercado features small boutiques and eateries tucked inside shipping containers. Find handmade and locally sourced small furniture and home goods made by Midtown Artisans and choice collaborators from Tucson’s artisan community at Mesa. Or celebrate Tucson’s birthday in the Why I Love Where I Live shop, where you’ll find Arizona Heart totes, pocket notebooks and “Bloom Where You’re Planted” greeting cards. Then savor a sumptuous roasted eggplant and pesto veggie masterpiece at Beaut Burger.

Stroll Through Time

The Santa Cruz River, now a subterranean river with a dry bed at ground level, sustained farming in this region for millennia. Get a sense of that history with a gentle hike along the Santa Cruz River Park Trail. The trail totals more than 40 miles of pathway along both sides of the river. The mesquite-lined path, meandering alongside Tucson’s downtown, offers surprising refuge from the urban bustle.

Catch a Ride

The Sun Link Tucson Streetcar opened for business in 2014, and now provides fun, streamlined transportation between the University of Arizona and downtown. Get on board to celebrate Tucson’s birthday at the Mercado San Agustín and travel across the Santa Cruz riverbed into the heart of the town’s bustling brewery district.

Crooked Tooth Brewing Company

Raise a Pint and Say “Happy Birthday!

Hop off the streetcar and duck into any one of the local breweries to toast Tucson with a great local brew. The charming Crooked Tooth Brewing Company, a relative newcomer, boasts a homey vibe. Current specialties include the Strawberry Milk Jug fruited summer stout with chocolate malt notes and Thunder Moon 2022 gose, brewed with orange, turmeric and pink Himalayan salt.  

For more than a decade, Barrio Brewing Company has drawn an eclectic mix of college kids, area workers and neighborhood folks to a vintage warehouse on the outskirts of downtown. Patrons relish sipping brews on the outdoor terrace as the train rumbles past.

Borderlands Brewing Company sprawls inside a historic brick warehouse, which was once a train produce depot. Today, Borderlands is known for its regionally themed beers and great live music.

Regardless of how you choose to celebrate Old Pueblo’s birthday, Tucson is sure to deliver a trip full of great memories and new discoveries that will keep you coming back.

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