Getting to Tucson
Tucson International Airport (TIA, 520/573-8000, www.tucsonairport.org) hosts 10 major airlines (including American, Delta, Frontier, Continental, Southwest and Northwest, and Alaska Airlines) making approximately 60 departures every day. It’s a small but efficient airport, with free wireless Internet access and daily nonstop flights to Seattle, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Salt Lake, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, Albuquerque, L.A., Vegas, San Diego, and San Francisco. If you’re coming in from or headed to a city not on this list, it’s likely you’ll stop first at the state’s major airport, Sky Harbor International Airport, in Phoenix, and then desert-hop, as it were, about 45 minutes south (probably after waiting more than an hour or so at the terminal).
If you find yourself at Sky Harbor and don’t feel like boarding an absurdly short flight, you can rent a car there and make the easy hour-and-a-half drive down I-10 across the desert—though the scenery along I-10 is certainly not representative of what you’re in for once you get to Tucson. Or, you can call Arizona Shuttle Service (520/795-6771, 520/795-6775, www.arizonashuttle.com), which offers 18 trips daily between Phoenix and Tucson.
If you’re arriving or departing from TIA, remember that Arizona Stagecoach (520/881-4111, 520/889-1000, www.stagecoach.com) runs a 24-hour door-to-door shuttle to and from TIA. Life at TIA is not nearly as bad as it is at some of the nation’s larger airports. Generally arrivals and departures at TIA are quick and easy, with relatively short lines; friendly, helpful people; and cheap, safe long-term parking. You can park at the airport’s long-term lot for a mere $4 per day, and a free shuttle runs from the terminal to the parking area, or you can walk it if you’re so inclined.
There are always cabs waiting just outside the main entrance; expect to pay about $20 for a ride to midtown. To get to TIA from midtown take Campbell; this turns into the Kino Parkway south of Broadway. Follow road signs to Benson Highway, which leads to Tucson Boulevard and the airport entrance.
Road-trippers, whether from the east or the west, will arrive in Tucson via I-10. If you’re coming from Sonora, Mexico, you’ll come in on I-19, which merges with I-10 near downtown Tucson. A major road construction project is expected to keep most of the I-10 exits around Tucson closed on a revolving basis until 2010. If you’re coming into town from the north or the east, keep an eye out for instructions on which exits are open, usually only one at a time. The best thing you can do is get off the interstate at the open exit, and then take the frontage road.
For bus service from Tucson to all points on the map there’s the Greyhound Bus Station (471 W. Congress, east side of I-10, 520/792-3475, www.greyhound.com).
The Amtrak Station is downtown at 400 N. Toole Ave. (520/623-4442, www.amtrak.com).
© Tim Hull from Moon Tucson, 1st Edition