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Driving Tour of Downtown Tucson
This 30-minute driving tour is a great overview of the different historic neighborhoods and architecture of Tucson. Leave yourself extra time if you plan to stop in any of the museums. Drive up to "A" Mountain (Sentinel Peak) for a great perspective of Downtown Tucson (if you're squeamish about heights, be aware that the narrow, winding road has no guardrails). Come down from on high and head east along Congress Street, stopping at Santa Cruz River Park to view the religious sculptures and mosaics by local artists before crossing the usually dry Santa Cruz River. Turn right (heading south) on Granada, passing the Federal Court Building. Continuing south on Granada, turn left onto Cushing Street, then right onto Main, to see the shrine of El Tiradito (The Castaway), next to El Minuto Restaurant's parking lot.
To see the brightly colored adobe houses in the Barrio Historico, turn right onto Simpson, left onto Samaniego, left onto 17th Street, and left onto Convent, which becomes Church. One-way streets require you to drive north on Church, east on Broadway Boulevard, and then south on Stone Avenue to see St. Augustine Cathedral. Head east on McCormick to 6th Avenue, in the Armory Park District, where the kids may want to check out the hands-on activities at the Tucson Children's Museum. Take 6th Avenue north to Congress Street, where you'll see the historic Hotel Congress on the right. This stretch of Congress was once Tucson's bustling center, before suburban growth supplanted it. Now check out the revitalization efforts in both directions.
Drive west on Congress to Church Avenue and head north, passing the Pima County Courthouse, Downtown's architectural centerpiece. Go west on Alameda to Main, where you'll enter the Presidio neighborhood and find convenient public parking for the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. The museum and historic complex include La Casa Cordova, the J. Knox Corbett House, and the Stevens Home.
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