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Best Places to Live the Simple Life

Tucson, Arizona

Tucson's Mexican, Native American and frontier roots have mingled to create a mosaic all its own.

2009 Best Places to Life the Simple Life

— Donovan Reese/Getty Images

It's hard to pin down residents on what exactly is so mesmerizing about this desert town, just an hour north of the Mexican border. Maybe it's the beautiful wilderness that rings the city, including about 1.8 million acres of the Coronado National Forest, with its 12 different mountain ranges. Or maybe it's the sweet smell of pan dulce that drifts from the Mexican bakeries. Or maybe it's the unique way the city's Mexican, Native American, and frontier roots have mingled to create a mosaic all its own. "This atmosphere just doesn't exist anywhere else—the people, the natural beauty, the cultural mix," says Elizabeth Rodriguez Miller, 55, who retired last year from her job as assistant city manager. "I feel lucky to live in a place where people can move so graciously from one culture to another." She and her husband, Marc, 57, also like the buzz of downtown—with its plentiful restaurants (a favorite is Casa Vicente), funky Fourth Avenue arts district, and world-renowned annual Mariachi Conference. And for simple pleasures, there's incomparable hiking and camping. … Back to Article

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