At the base of the 9,500-foot Huachuca Mountains, Sierra Vista, Arizona enjoys bright sunny days and star-studded nights. Sierra Vista’s 4,600-foot elevation means the average daytime temperature is about 74 degree, offering a cool respite from summer’s heat and a delightful escape from winter’s chill.

Long before Arizona was a state, Sierra Vista was a hunting ground for early nomads. Fossilized artifacts date Sierra Vista’s first tourists to around 13,000 BC. As the eras melted into history, Arizona’s jungle environment gave way to today’s warm, dry climate. Today, Sierra Vista’s sky islands, high canyons, and riparian areas are reminiscent of the ancient tropics and are welcome habitat for the 250 species of migrating and nesting birds.

A hike into the Huachucas—passing through as many as five climate zones, discovering petroglyphs and pictographs, and hearing a symphony of bird calls—makes for an almost other-worldly trek.

Since 1877, the U.S. Army’s adjacent Fort Huachuca has brought soldiers from all walks of life to Sierra Vista, and with them came a penchant for world cuisine. Have a hankering for spicy kimchee, authentic Italian, or ocean-fresh sushi? You’ll find it in Sierra Vista. German fare—called the best in the state—tempts your taste buds, along with hand-crafted breads and pastries baked in Old World traditions.

At day’s end, the skies come alive with light, first blasting jaw-dropping colors across the horizon then giving way to a starry, velvet blanket. Plan your visit during the monthly “star party” at University of Arizona Sierra Vista when the Huachuca Astronomy Club opens the observatory to the public, giving visitors a peek through the 20” Patterson telescope.

Sierra Vista is just an hour south of Tucson, right in the middle of Southeast Arizona’s wine country. Start planning your adventure today at Visit.SierraVistaAZ.gov or call 800-288-3861.