An Arizona gem where every corner tells a story. You can also step into the warmth of Tucson for this reason. Because in this desert haven, you’ll find a blend of nature, history, and culture waiting to be explored. Tucson has all kinds of attractions whether you’re a nature lover, a history geek or just seeking a good time.
10 Things To Do In Tucson
Tucson is more than a city because it is a collection of moments waiting for you to make them yours. Our Best Things To Do In Tucson list ensures you catch the best of Tucson, from delicious Southwestern bites to Old West charm. So, join us in unravelling the simple yet unique and best things in Tucson.
Top 10 best things in Tucson
When you’re ready to dive into the heart of Tucson, don’t miss these best things about tucson az: Saguaro National Park,
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- Mission San Xavier del Bac
- Pima Air & Space Museum
- Sabino Canyon
- Tucson Botanical Gardens
- Saguaro National Park
- Old Tucson
- Tucson Museum of Art
- Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway
- University of Arizona
Each spot offers a distinct slice of Tucson’s charm to ensure an unforgettable experience in the heart of the Southwest.
10 Best Places to Visit in Tucson – Best Guide to Follow
Furthermore, you can discover Tucson must see with our easy 10 Best Places to Visit guide. From nature havens to historical wonders, we’ve simplified your journey to ensure that you enjoy the essence of Tucson. Let’s explore the Best Things To Do In Tucson that make this Arizona city a delightful destination, one simple step at a time.
Here is The List of The Best Things To Do in Tucson:
Place 1: Desert Botanical Garden Tucson – Best desert botanical gardens to visit in December
If you’re planning a visit to Tucson Botanical Gardens then this guide will help you to do. Firstly, you’ll find this green oasis in the heart of Tucson, Arizona on the historic Porter property. It is like a mini paradise with 20 different gardens and each of them presents its unique charm.
Moreover, these desert gardens are famous because they snagged the number 4 spot in the USA. From the Cactus & Succulent Garden to the Barrio Garden and even a special spot for the kiddos, there’s a bunch to explore. Besides, don’t miss the Cox Butterfly & Orchid Pavilion from October through May Because it is like a tropical butterfly party.
It is recommended that you should at least plan for at least 2 to 3 hours for a full and amazing experience. There are five trails to wander, and cool artwork to check out. One more amazing thing is that you can mark your calendar for Community Day because it is the second Tuesday of every month the entry is free here.
Place 2: Saguaro National Park – Best hiking place to visit
Saguaro National Park is a beautiful spot in southeastern Arizona, USA. This 92,000-acre park has two parts one is the Tucson Mountain District which is around 10 miles west of Tucson. On the other hand, the Rincon Mountain District is about 10 miles east of the city.
Both areas keep the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert with its unique plants and animals such as the giant saguaro cactus. Overall, it is like having two awesome deserts in one park. So, if you’re into exploring desert landscapes, this is the place to be.
For a convenient stay, Marana is best your gateway. Marana is your go-to town which is conveniently located as the closest spot to Saguaro National Park West just an hour from the east side.
If you’re up for a day hike, either side is a winner. For a first-time adventure, we will recommend the west side with Wasson Peak to offer a gem of a trail accessible from two different sides. So, grab your hat, slather on that sunscreen, and let’s begin your incredible journey through the beauty of Saguaro National Park.
Place 3: Pima Air & Space Museum – Best flight simulators place to visit
The Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona is a massive aerospace wonderland. You imagine these 400 aircraft scattered across 80 acres on a huge 127-acre campus. It’s like a playground for plane lovers. Plus, it’s not just about the planes because since 1991 it has also been hosting the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame.
When I visited the best place in Tucson I was blown away by the sheer number of aircraft. Moreover, the guided tour to the nearby Aircraft Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base was a highlight.
Seeing thousands of retired military aircraft was a surreal experience, and the stories behind each one were fascinating. Due to all these reasons, it is a paradise for aviation buffs like me because it has all types of aircraft from historic planes to iconic military jets.
So, if you’re into cool aircraft and the history of aviation, this place is a must-see. Moreover, you have to immerse yourself in this fascinating collection of over 350 aircraft that includes historic planes and iconic military jets. Don’t miss the legendary B-29 Superfortress or the sleek SR-71 Blackbird.
You should take a guided tour to the nearby Aircraft Boneyard at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. These aircraft are witnessed by thousands of retired military aircraft and learn their intriguing stories. Moreover, this museum offers flight simulators that let you pilot various aircraft to provide an exciting hands-on adventure.
One more amazing thing is that you can also explore the wonders of space in the Space Gallery which features artifacts, models and exhibits that showcase mankind’s journey beyond Earth. Besides, you can also watch aviation history come to life in the museum’s 4D theater. Feel the excitement as historic flights and space missions unfold with immersive effects.
Moreover, you can capture memorable moments against the backdrop of impressive aircraft. Because the museum’s expansive grounds provide excellent photo opportunities for aviation enthusiasts and families alike.
Besides, visit the museum’s gift shop to take home aviation-themed souvenirs, model planes and unique memorabilia. Overall, it’s the Best Things To Do In Tucson is a visit to the Pima Air & Space Museum.
Place 4: Sabino Canyon – Best picnic paradise to visit
If you’re gearing up for a Tucson adventure then Sabino Canyon is a must on your list. Because it is nestled in the desert beauty of southern Arizona and this place is packed with natural wonders.
Firstly, you can jump aboard the Sabino Canyon Tram and let it whisk you through the breathtaking landscapes. It’s like a front-row seat to the beauty of the canyon without breaking a sweat.
Next, strap on those hiking boots because Sabino Canyon boasts some fantastic trails. Whether you’re up for a stroll or a more challenging hike, the trails here cater to all adventure levels. Furthermore, the Seven Falls Oasis is a series of cascading waterfalls surrounded by lush greenery. That looks like a slice of paradise in the desert.
Sabino Canyon is a also haven for birdwatching. You keep your eyes peeled for the vibrant feathers of hummingbirds, hawks, and a variety of desert birdlife. Furthermore, you can also visit nature center exploration by taking a pit stop at the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center.
So, you can dive into the interactive exhibits and learn about the canyon’s unique ecosystem and wildlife.
It is recommended that you bring that camera along because Sabino Canyon is a photographer’s dream. On the other hand, you cannot dare to dip your toes in Sabino Creek in the right season. Because a refreshing splash in the creek is the perfect way to cool off after a hike under the desert sun.
Place 5: Tucson Museum of Art – Best museums in Tucson
The Tucson Museum of Art is a place where you can immerse yourself in a diverse collection of art spanning different periods and styles. This museum showcases a rich tapestry of creativity from classic to contemporary. Moreover, there are many historic houses that you can explore in the museum each offering a glimpse into Tucson’s past. These charming spaces provide a unique backdrop for art and history lovers.
Therefore, you can also check out the rotating special exhibitions in this museum. Because this museum often hosts thought-provoking displays that add a dynamic touch to its permanent collections. On the other hand, you can visit the museum store for art-inspired gifts, books and unique mementoes to take a piece of the museum home with you.
Furthermore, this is a place where you can also keep an eye on the museum’s calendar for cultural events and happenings. From gallery talks to live performances, there’s always something enriching taking place.
You can take a break at the museum’s café due to the many relaxation cafes in Tucson Museum Art. Finally, it is a great spot to recharge and reflect on the art you’ve experienced.
Place 6: Old Tucson Studios – Best Train ride place to visit
If you’re planning a visit to Old Tucson Studios then get ready for a wild ride through the Old West. Here you can test your sharpshooting skills at the shooting gallery or hop on a stagecoach for a bumpy ride. The Western-themed games and rides add a fun and interactive dimension to your Old Tucson experience.
Moreover, here is an opportunity to explore the movie and Wild West stunt shows set that have been the backdrop for countless Western films and TV shows. It’s like stepping into a time machine to the days of cowboys and saloons. On the other hand, here don’t miss out on live entertainment featuring talented performers.
Furthermore, you can take a leisurely train ride through the scenic landscapes of Old Tucson. Because it is a relaxing way to soak in the ambience and appreciate the Western scenery. So, strap on your boots and hat, and get ready for a Western escapade at Old Tucson Studios.
Place 7: Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway – Best 360-degree view site in the USA
The drive in Mount Lemmon’s scenic byway itself is a gem. This scenic byway takes you on a winding road through breathtaking landscapes while offering panoramic views that are an absolute feast for the eyes.
One best things to do in this place is to stop at Windy Point Vista to soak in the views and the sounds of nature. The wind rustling through the trees creates a soothing symphony that adds a magical touch to the journey.
On the other hand, lace up those hiking boots for hiking trails galore. Because there are fantastic trails along the way. Moreover, A short hike to the Lemmon Rock Lookout rewards you with breathtaking 360-degree views. In addition, it is also perfect for a picnic with a view. I also opted for the Meadow Trail which is surrounded by wildflowers and stunning scenery.
During the warmer months, this place head to the nearby Butterfly Magic at the Living Rainbow Gift Shop. It’s like stepping into a butterfly wonderland. While, in winter the mountain transforms into a snowy paradise.
In the Mount Lemmon scenic byway, the SkyCenter Observatory offers stargazing programs. So, imagine witnessing the night sky from such a high vantage point. Mount Lemmon, with its diverse offerings, left me with memories etched in every twist and turn.
So, if you’re in Tucson, this scenic byway is a must-see. Trust me it’s an adventure of a lifetime.
Place 8: Reid Park Zoo – The best zoo to visit USA
If you’re gearing up for a wild adventure because you are an animal lover then Reid Park Zoo is the place to be. So, there you should start your journey with a safari-like experience.
Explore the various habitats, from the African savannah to the rainforests and get up close with incredible wildlife. Don’t miss the chance to feed the gentle giant giraffes. Overall, it will become the best hands-on experience that brings you eye-to-eye with these majestic creatures.
Next, take a spin on the Conservation Carousel. It’s not just a fun ride but each carousel animal represents a species that the zoo helps protect in the wild. Moreover, you can also stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens within the zoo.
Even more, here you can cool off at the Polar Bear Plunge. Watching these magnificent Arctic animals swim and play in their icy environment will provide you with a refreshing break on a warm day. There is also an opportunity to join the scheduled animal encounters. Whether it’s a close-up with a reptile or a chat about conservation, these encounters offer a more personal connection with the animals.
On the other hand, if you have little ones then the playground is a must-stop. Because it is a great spot for kids to release some energy while they take in the surrounding animal exhibits. During the holiday season, don’t miss the magical Zoo Lights. The zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with dazzling light displays and festive cheer.
Place 9: Mission San Xavier del Bac – Best cultural attractions in the world
If you’re gearing up to visit Mission San Xavier del Bac, get ready for a historical and cultural adventure. At this place, stand in awe of the mission’s stunning architecture. So, the intricate details and historical significance make it a sight to behold. Furthermore, step inside and explore the interior. The vibrant artwork, beautiful altar and architectural details offer a glimpse into the mission’s rich history.
On the other hand, if your timing aligns then attend a Mass or cultural event. Because this will help you to experience the mission in action adds a special touch to your visit. Moreover, you can check out the museum to dive deeper into the history of the mission. It’s filled with artifacts and stories that bring the past to life.
Next, consider taking a guided tour. Because the knowledgeable guides share fascinating stories and insights to provide a deeper understanding of the mission. Furthermore, enjoy a stroll through the mission’s courtyard. The peaceful atmosphere and surrounding gardens make it a serene retreat.
You should attend a cultural festival if there is a cultural festival happening. These events showcase traditional music, dance and crafts while offering a lively and immersive experience.
Here you can capture the beauty of Mission San Xavier with a photography session. The play of light and shadow on the architecture creates some incredible shots. As a simple yet meaningful gesture, light a candle inside the mission. It’s a tradition that adds a personal touch to your visit.
Finally, take a moment to sit, reflect, and soak in the atmosphere. Whether you’re spiritual or not, there’s a sense of tranquillity and history that permeates the mission to make it a memorable experience.
Place 10: Tucson Food Scene – Best Christmas destination for foodies
Tucson’s Mexican food scene is unbeatable. From street-style tacos to savory tamales, dive into the authentic flavors of Mexico at the city’s many Mexican eateries. Let’s kick things off with a taco tour. Tucson is famous for its incredible tacos and exploring the various taco joints around the city is a mouthwatering experience.
Furthermore, when in Tucson, a good margarita is a must. So, explore the city’s vibrant bar scene and savor some of the best margaritas, crafted with a perfect blend of flavors. Here you can start your day right with a Tucson breakfast staple which is called the breakfast burrito. This kind of breakfast is packed with goodness. Moreover, these burritos are a hearty and flavorful way to kickstart your morning.
Tucson’s food trucks are a hidden gem. Explore the city’s streets and indulge in a food truck fiesta, sampling diverse and delicious dishes on the go. End your culinary journey on a sweet note. Tucson’s dessert scene is full of delights, from traditional Mexican sweets to artisanal ice creams that can satisfy your sweet tooth in style.
Tucson’s food scene is all about fusion. Experience the magic of Southwest-inspired dishes with a modern twist to showcase the creativity of local chefs. Tucson’s food scene is a delightful maze of flavors and each bite tells a story of the city’s rich culinary heritage.
When I visited that place, I couldn’t resist a good hot dog especially when it’s a Sonoran hot dog. Hunt down the best spots serving up this local speciality, complete with all the delicious toppings.
Experience the freshest produce and local treats at Tucson’s farmers’ markets. It’s not just about food but also it’s a community experience that adds a special touch to your meals. So, grab your appetite and join me in savoring the best of Tucson’s food offerings.
Is Tucson a Good Place to Visit? 10 Pros and Cons
Tucson is a great place to visit. Because Tucson has a blending natural beauty with rich cultural experiences. Tucson offers a diverse and memorable getaway from the stunning landscapes of Saguaro National Park to the vibrant arts scene and delicious Southwestern cuisine. Now, here let’s break down the pros and cons for you in simple terms:
Pros to Visit Good Places in Tucson:
- Beautiful Weather: Tucson is known for its sunny days and mild winters, making it perfect for outdoor activities.
- Scenic Views: The city is surrounded by stunning desert landscapes and mountains, offering picturesque views.
- Rich Culture: Tucson has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and historic sites to explore.
- Diverse Food Scene: Enjoy a variety of delicious cuisines, from authentic Mexican to trendy Southwest fusion dishes.
- Outdoor Adventures: With hiking trails, bike paths, and parks, there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun.
- Stargazing: Tucson is a designated Dark Sky City, making it ideal for stargazing and astronomy enthusiasts.
- Affordable Living: Compared to some other cities, Tucson has a relatively lower cost of living.
- Wildlife Encounters: Explore the unique flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert, home to diverse wildlife.
- University Atmosphere: The University of Arizona adds youthful energy, bringing cultural events and sports.
- Festivals and Events: Tucson hosts various festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating its rich heritage.
Cons to Visit Good Places in Tucson:
- Summer Heat: Summers can get very hot, reaching high temperatures, which may not be suitable for everyone.
- Limited Public Transportation: The city is somewhat car-dependent, and public transportation options are limited.
- Monsoon Season: While the monsoon season brings rain, it can also result in flash floods.
- Education Challenges: Some areas face challenges in the education system, and schools may vary in quality.
- Traffic Congestion: Certain areas can experience traffic congestion during peak times.
- Limited Job Market: Job opportunities may not be as abundant compared to larger cities.
- High Crime Rates in Some Areas: Like any city, certain neighborhoods may have higher crime rates.
- Lack of Professional Sports Teams: For sports enthusiasts, Tucson doesn’t have major professional sports teams.
- Water Scarcity: Being in the desert, water scarcity is a concern, and conservation efforts are essential.
- Limited Diversity in Some Areas: In certain neighborhoods, there may be less cultural and ethnic diversity.
Is Tucson an expensive city?
The cost of living in Tucson, Arizona is 2% less than the average for the state and 4% more than the national average. So, it’s a bit cheaper than the rest of Arizona but a tad higher than the national average. Keep this in mind when planning your budget and figuring out how much moolah you need for everyday stuff.
What is the best month to visit Tucson?
For the best visit to Tucson, you should aim for April to May or September to October when the weather is great and prices are reasonable. Moreover, winter is also cool to draw folks escaping the cold, with sunny days and comfy temps. Pick these times for a top-notch Tucson experience!
Is downtown Tucson worth visiting?
Downtown Tucson is like a special treasure in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s not just a place but it is a mix of cool things to do, yummy places to eat, and memories waiting to be made.
However, Imagine lively streets, lots of different types of food to try and a mix of old and new stuff that needed to be checked out. Downtown Tucson is a unique and exciting spot that’s worth your time even if you’re visiting or living here.
What are the best things about Tucson az?
Tucson, AZ is famous for its big deserts with cool cacti like the Saguaro. People love it for the awesome Mexican-American vibes and yummy food. Moreover, it is the second-biggest city in Arizona and has a chill desert feel. Overall, You should come for the landscapes to stay for the culture and tasty eats.
Is downtown Tucson walkable?
In Tucson, you can easily find parking and strolling along the compact streets is not only easy but also a fun way to uncover the cool history, art and culture hiding around every corner. If you want to be extra eco-friendly then you can hop on the Sun Link Streetcar which is just one of the many cool ways to explore downtown. So, Downtown Tucson is made for a relaxed and enjoyable walk whether you’re into history or just want to soak in the vibes.
In conclusion, our guide to the Tucson stuff to do in this desert city is like a treasure map to the coolest experiences. Tucson’s got it all whether you’re into towering cacti, history stories or tasty treats. So, you can follow it by reading this amazing exploring article.