Tucson, Arizona’s second largest city, is the perfect blend of small town charm and big city convenience. Located amidst the lush Sonoran Desert scenery, rugged mountains and rolling hills of the border region, Tucson enjoys over 350 days of sunshine per year. Nicknamed “the Old Pueblo,” which refers to the volcanic mountains nearby, Tucson’s progressive culture and relaxed, live-and-let-live attitude have made the city one of the country’s most gay-friendly places to live or visit.

History, culture and hot guys.
Tucson’s natural beauty is truly breathtaking. You won’t need an Instagram filter when snapping photos of this desert city’s cactus covered landscape, ring of green mountains and Mexican-inspired architecture. Enjoy some of the city’s restored historic buildings, like the St. Augustine Cathedral (1896), the Rialto Theatre (1920) and the Art Deco Fox Theater (1929). Downtown Tucson is the historic and cultural heart of the Old Pueblo with ten nearby historic districts, the Arts District, several museums, professional theater companies, as well as the opera, ballet and symphony. Downtown is also home to the Tucson Botanical Gardens and the University of Arizona (which, according to Cosmopolitan magazine, ranks #6 for having the hottest college guys in America).

Go native.
For the true Tucson lodging experience, stay at the historic Hotel Congress downtown. This 1919 landmark has been renovated to include 40 guestrooms, the Cup Café restaurant and at the Opti Club, a popular nightclub with live music events. Try some authentic Mexican inspired food at Boca Mexican Restaurant, located next to the University of Arizona. Be sure to order the fish tacos and a jumbo margarita!

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Pride in the desert.
Tucson hosts its annual Pride Parade on Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 and a special 40th Anniversary Pride in the Park celebration at Reid Park the next day. When going out, don’t miss Brodie’s Sports Tavern & Back Pocket Patio—a three-bar complex featuring live shows, karaoke, drag shows, pool tables and special events.

Gay police chief.
The Old Pueblo’s openly gay police chief, Chris Magnus, has enacted a program called Safe Place in which businesses place rainbow stickers in their windows, indicating that they are a shelter from harassment and bullying. Chief Magnus has even had his officers train business owners to be able to handle all kinds of issues, especially situations that may threaten trans people.

Take a day trip 55 miles south of Tucson to the hidden gem of the desert: the Sonoita/Elgin region. This area, part of Arizona’s rapidly growing “wine country,” is home to 14 small wineries that produce world-class, award-winning wines.

Visit Reid Park, Tucson’s largest park that includes the Reid Park Zoo and the Hi Corbett Field baseball stadium.

Fun Fact
Tucson houses the U.S. Veterans Administration’s primary wing for trans soldiers.