The writer is director of ALVEO
Head to the Southern part of Arizona and you will discover a harmonious blend of the old and new American wild west in the desert city of Tucson
Desert Campus Life
The University of Arizona was established in 1885. Today, it has 35,000 students, including overseas students from many corners of the world, enrolled in various major studies. Apart from its highly ranked reputation, the university offers fun on- and off-campus life.
Sitting on a 392-acre land, this huge campus boasts modern facilities for the convenience of its students. In addition to core facilities, such as libraries, R&D centers and various laboratories, the university houses three museums: Arizona State Museum (ASM), the oldest and largest anthropological research museum in Southwest of the country; the Arizona Mining, Mineral and Natural Resources Education (AMMNRE); and The University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem & Mineral Museum.
Looking at the size of the campus, you will see a lot of students cycling from one class to another or getting around the campus that also offers various hangouts and entertainment facilities.
Take a short drive or you can even walk southwest to reach the historic fourth avenue. This street features an array of shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs, especially for those seeking nightlife fun off-campus but still feeling the nuance of the university.
Among the historic hangouts are the Shanty, and O’Malley’s Bar & Grill. If you happen to be in Tucson, make sure to visit these places. They were very popular when I pursued my degree at the University of Arizona in the mid- 90s. Today, they are still parts of the hip and happening of the fourth avenue.
Tucson boasts magnificent canyons, mountains and deserts. To explore more nature, hike up Seven Falls Trail in Sabino Canyon and your eyes will be feasted on a natural pool that is surrounded by breathtaking views.
Don’t leave Tucson before visiting Saguaro National Park. Not only is this desert park home to the country’s largest cactuses, but it also features a giant saguaro as the universal symbol of the American west.
Mountain lovers will also find Tucson an exciting destination. Take Highway 82 and exit in John Ford Western. Upon the exit, you can go west to reach the Santa Rita peaks, go northeast to see the Whetstone Mountains or head southeast to explore the Huachuca Mountains. The canyons here shelter lost mines, ghost towns, and terrain that root back to the glory of the Indian Apache tribe.
Remember the 1993 movie “Tombstone”, starring Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday and Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp?
Holliday and Earp have inked their names in the history of Tucson as famous gunfighters. Both were close friends who made a living by gambling and saloon-keeping. Earp later made his way to becoming a lawmaker.
While you are in Tucson, get on Highway 90 south, then 82 east and 80 south to take you to Tombstone. There’s Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park where you can learn the whole history of Tombstone, arguably the most famous of western towns.
On the streets of Tombstone, you will find reenactors depicting cowboys, saloon floozies and other historic stuff related to the cowboy world. Not to be missed out is a visit to the Boot Hill Cemetery to see the graves of those cowboys who died in the historic 1881 gunfight. Last but not least is an 1880s theater called the Bird Cage. This site now functions as a private museum that exhibits the days of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp.
Old Tucson Studio
Hundreds of movies and television series, including “Bonanza”, “Young Guns” and of course “Tombstone”, were filmed in Old Tucson Studio. The studio commenced its construction in 1939 to replicate the scene of Tucson in the 1960s, taking you into Hollywood’s version of the Wild West.
Originally published on 3S Magazine