Things to do in Tucson

Things to do in  Tucson

Sunshine in the mountains

If you like sunny and warm, you’ll love Tucson, Arizona. With more than 350 days of sunshine a year, Tucson can brag about being one of the sunniest cities in the United States. All that warm weather makes for plenty of opportunities to get outdoors. The bike scene moves at a fast speed offering roughly 500 miles of dedicated bike lanes for residents and visitors to roll along. Tucson is also surrounded by five mountain ranges; the Rincon Mountains, the Tucson Mountains, the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Santa Rita Mountains and the Tortolita Mountains. The combination creates a spectacular skyline while providing practically endless options for hiking, mountain biking, and other outdoorsy things to do.

Top 7 attractions in Tucson

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

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

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

Step back into the gunslingin’ Old West at Old Tucson, a movie studio and theme park located near the Tucson Mountains and Saguaro National Park in Arizona. Visitors to Old Tucson might think, ‘Hey! This place looks familiar!’ And that’s because this ‘town’ has been made famous as the location for more than 300 movies and television shows. From living history presentations to historic tours to shows and special events, Old Tucson really ‘brings it’ with the Western experience.Whether you’re a fan of drama, comedy, or music, the gunfights and stunt shows based on traditional Western themes will fit the bill. There’s even a can-can musical in the saloon, featuring ‘Lady Vivian and her girls.’ Be sure to watch out for a traveling salesman who might try to pitch you a great deal on snake oil. In addition to all the fun and games, Old Tucson has an element that will appeal to history buffs — historians give presentations on topics like ‘The American Cowboy,’ ‘Sheriffs of the Old West’ (keeping the peace in the Wild West was no easy task!), ‘Life of a Miner,’ and ‘The Raucous Saloons.’More
Old Town Artisans

Old Town Artisans

A trip to Tucson Old Town Artisans offers a great opportunity to shop for iconic Southwest handcrafts, like Native American and Mexican pottery, jewelry and textiles. This collection of six shops from local artisans occupies a historic complex of authentic adobe buildings from 1850s. Native American handcrafts are the specialty at La Zia, which sells Navajo rugs and Kachina dolls, while Shelago's Artwerks USA has Southwest inspired pieces from a wide range of artists. And The Gypsy’s Emporium is the perfect spot to treasure hunt for vintage, kitschy gifts and souvenirs. Old Town Artisans is home to restaurant La Cocina, where shoppers grab a bite in the shaded outdoor courtyard.More

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Sabino Canyon is in southern Arizona, not far from Tucson, and draws visitors for its outdoor recreational opportunities and natural beauty. Sabino Canyon is part of the Coronado National Forest, and an incredibly popular recreation spot. Activities in the area include hiking, horseback riding, cycling, birding, and more. There's no access for private vehicles, but there are canyon tours in a tram for people who can't or don't have time to do much hiking.There are campgrounds, camping areas, RV camps, and cabins for rent near Sabino Canyon if you're interested in a longer stay, but Sabino Canyon is for day use only. Be on the lookout for native species such as gila monsters, bobcats, and javelinas – a small pig-like mammal.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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