Monday, August 4, 2014

Playing Tourists in Tucson

We go lots of places and see so many exciting things. This past weekend, we decided it was time to stay home and gain a new appreciation for our own hometown - and we were not left disappointed!

I don't think that many people planning a vacation think, "hey, let's go see Tucson, Arizona!" If you're planning to go to Arizona, you're probably either going to the Grand Canyon, or to Phoenix to enjoy a warm winter. To that we say, you're missing out! While Tucson is a big city - much bigger than the one we grew up in - it still isn't over the 1 million in population mark. However, it's big enough to have just about all the restaurants and shopping options that Phoenix has, and they're all closer together. Wherever you are in the city, you can always see at least one of the 4 mountain ranges that surround us - one in every direction! Hiking varies from trails that are in desert settings (cacti and saguaros all around) to lush, forest areas - you can find waterfalls, pine trees, and green all around! We have a wide variety of fascinating museums, including one of the top 10 in the country - the Desert Animal Museum, which is a lot more like a zoo. We haven't been bored once in the year (almost!) that we've lived here.

Oh well, maybe the fact that Tucson is so awesome is meant to be the best kept secret in Arizona. ;) Today, I'm sharing about our adventure going downtown Tucson. Thanks to the great bus system in our city, we were able to walk to a bus stop and take public transportation rather than driving. Curtis has also been able to ride the bus to school every day for the past 2 years. It's a great thing!

Random graffiti… No Mas Burritos!

We started off by doing a quick errand for Curtis, then went to visit our courthouse.

The Tucson/Pima County Courthouse! I had no idea it was so colorful!

Check out that awesome dome!

There wasn't much we could see inside, (and we hope to not have to!) but we loved walking through and checking out the park behind it.

Inside the courthouse courtyard.

There were memorials, statues, and historical facts all around. Here's Curtis in his happy place. :)

It's such a beautiful spot right in the middle of the downtown area!

After this, we stopped at the library for a map, and walked over to the old Presidio. We knew it had gotten torn down, but we were thrilled to find that they had made a smaller scaled replica in the 1970's, and it's just out there, ready for people to walk through, learn and enjoy!

As you can see, it's still right in the middle of downtown, as there are buildings and such in the background. We were the only ones here at the time, and it really was peaceful just walking through and reading about what went on here in the past.

Here is a map of how big the Presidio used to be. As we were walking through the courthouse, we spotted markings in the cement of where the walls used to be. We hoped to find a wall or sign telling us more about it, and we were more than satisfied with what we found.

After the Presidio, we walked through an artsy district searching for some letterboxes. As you can see, it was pretty cloudy, but it was perfect temperature for just walking all around. I love how the colors pop out against the grey skies.

We passed through here, and headed for the Tucson Mission next.

Outside the Mission - I was admiring the flowers on this dome.

Bam! The Mission! It's still in use as a Catholic church here.

The inside - we're sitting in the middle of the sanctuary, there's even more behind us. I only took one picture to be respectful since my camera makes too much noise. ;)

Walking along the side of the building

Here's a better picture of the front. It's so grand, and the palm trees make it even better!

This is Toby. He helped us find a letterbox!

"A Mountain", or Sentinel Peak in the background while we boxed.

After this, we tried out the new Sun Tran tram system that was just finished in the downtown and university area. We were doubtful about it when it was under construction, but today we thoroughly enjoyed riding it! 

Photo found on the internet, sorry it isn't the greatest quality, I just wanted to show off this cute thing!

We took it to the University where we got off and ate lunch at The Fix, our favorite place around campus. It serves gourmet mac & cheese, among other comfort foods, and we totally recommend it if you're in town!

After this, we walked across campus and took a bus home. A shorter adventure, but totally worth it. As I mentioned before, the 17th of this month marks 1 year of living in Tucson. What a wonderful year it's been! I hope that no matter where we live in the future, we will always have time to learn and enjoy the city as much as we have here. Adventure is out there! :)

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