Things to do in Tucson

Things to do in  Tucson

Sunshine in the mountains

Edged by a mountainous panorama of rugged peaks and cacti-studded valleys, Tucson basks in Mother Nature’s glow. As one of the sunniest spots in the US, Arizona’s second city has plenty to tempt you outdoors—mountain biking in the five surrounding ranges, hiking beneath giant cacti at Saguaro National Park, or riding horses through Coronado National Forest. There are also plenty of fun things to do in Tucson itself, whether diving into the city’s cultural melting pot on a downtown tour or experiencing the Wild West at Old Tucson.

Top 7 attractions in Tucson

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Set in the arid landscape just outside Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum showcases the desert’s flora, fauna, and history through live-animal and multimedia exhibits. The museum spreads across 98 acres (39.7 hectares) of natural desert landscape and contains more than 230 species of animals and 1,200 kinds of plants.More

Pima Air and Space Museum

The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest non-government aerospace museums in the world. Spread across 80 acres (32 hectares) and five indoor hangars, the grounds display some 125,000 artifacts and 300 aircraft, including the world’s smallest biplane, presidential planes, MiGs, a German buzz bomb, and an SR-71A Blackbird.More

Mission San Xavier del Bac

With its snow-white adobe bell towers and ornate facade rising out of the cacti-studded Sonoran Desert, Mission San Xavier del Bac embodies its nickname—the “White Dove of the Desert.” Founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1626, it’s among the oldest Catholic sites in the US, renowned for its unique architecture and rich iconography.More
Old Tucson

Old Tucson

You’ve seen these dusty streets before—Old Tucson has been the backdrop for some 300+ movies and TV shows. Part movie studio, part theme park, this 1860s Tucson lookalike fully recreates the Wild West—think gritty saloons and gunslinging stunts, along with historian-led talks on icons like the American cowboy. Tours, shows, rides, and special events bring the crowds into this storied world of the past.More
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Sabino Canyon is a popular South Arizona recreation area outside of Tucson at the feet of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The area is known as a picnicking spot. It's also a hiker’s paradise with first-rate trails, such as the Seven Falls trail through Bear Canyon. The Sabino Canyon Crawler, an electric tram rolling through the canyon, is popular, too.More
Old Town Artisans

Old Town Artisans

Visit Tucson’s Old Town Artisans to shop for Southwest handcrafts, like Indigenous American and Mexican pottery, jewelry, and textiles. This collection of shops and galleries from local artisans occupies a historic complex of authentic adobe buildings from the 1850s, which were built on the former site of El Presidio San Agustín del Tucson, a fort used to defend against Apache attacks.More
Grand Parlour at the Scottish Rite Cathedral

Grand Parlour at the Scottish Rite Cathedral

Though typically the home of Tucson's Scottish Rite—a Masonic organization—the Scottish Rite Grand Parlour is also a sizable venue, hosting everything from private events and weddings to illusionist shows, which are ticketed events. It features a stage, piano, and capacity topping 500 guests.More
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All about Tucson

When to visit

Southern Arizona has blistering heat in summer, but its shoulder seasons, September to October and April to May, provide an opportune time to enjoy Tucson's iconic saguaros, cultural attractions, and lively food scene in cooler temps. Tourist season gears up in winter, when Northerners head to the city to thaw. In February, thousands gather in town for the esteemed Tucson Gem shows.

Getting around

Like many Southwestern cities, Tucson was built for driving. Although Tucson has a public transportation system, getting around to some of its biggest attractions, including Saguaro National Park and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, can be tough without a car. However, for exploring individual areas, the Sun Link Tucson Streetcar connects the University of Arizona, Fourth Avenue, downtown Tucson, Tucson Convention Center, and Mercado District.

Traveler tips

If you can't make it to the world’s largest gem and mineral show, held every February in Tucson, you can explore the minerals, meteorites, fossils, and gemstones the area is known for at the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum. Part of the University of Arizona, the facility is housed in the historic Pima County Courthouse in downtown and features interactive exhibits as well as outstanding specimens of gold, crystals, gemstones, and other rare minerals.

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People Also Ask

Is Tucson worth visiting?

Yes, Tucson is worth visiting. It’s best for nature lovers, as there are many spots to hike, bike, and explore. The city is very sunny, so it’s better for those who don’t mind the heat. And don’t forget to sample delicious Mexican and Sonoran food when in Tucson.

Is there anything fun to do in Tucson?

Yes, there are many fun things to do in Tucson, especially if you like being outdoors, don’t mind the sun, and enjoy the desert. There are many areas to enjoy the vast desert space Tucson offers, including

What’s Tucson, Arizona famous for?

Tucson in Arizona is famous for Mexican food, golf courses, saguaro cactus, and the University of Arizona. Those who enjoy the great outdoors have a bounty of options, including a number of hiking trails, bike paths, and parks to explore. It’s a popular winter destination due to its year-round sun.

How many days do you need in Tucson?

In order to enjoy Tucson, plan for a minimum of three days. There are many historic sites and outdoor spaces to enjoy, as well as restaurants, bars, museums, and golf courses. You can’t leave Tucson without eating Mexican food or seeing its most famous plant, the saguaro cactus.

How do I spend a day in Tucson?

Start your day by viewing giant saguaro cacti on a hike through Saguaro National Park.Then, stop at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. Drive up to see Mount Lemmon in the afternoon, and enjoy an evening bar-hopping along Tucson’s historic Fourth Avenue after stopping to see the University of Arizona.

Does Tucson have an old town?

The closest thing Tucson has to an old town is the historic Presidio District, dating back to 1775. Nowadays, Presidio District is home to the Tucson Museum of Art, shops, restaurants, cafes, and historic homes. Other districts in the area include Main Gate, Fourth Avenue, Congress Street, Convention, and Sentinel.

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