19 Things to do in Tucson

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What to Know Before Visiting

Did you know that Tucson, Arizona, is home to the United States’ largest cacti, the majestic Saguaro, creating a landscape so unique it’s like stepping onto another planet?

19 things to do in Tucson

Tucson, Arizona, is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, offering a unique blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and vibrant culinary scenes that beckon travelers from around the globe. From the awe-inspiring vistas of Saguaro National Park, home to the iconic cactus giants, to the rich tapestry of Native American, Mexican, and pioneer history, Tucson serves as a crossroads where cultures and landscapes meet. Art enthusiasts, foodies, and outdoor adventurers alike will find their bliss among the city’s bustling markets, world-class museums, and endless hiking trails under the vast, azure skies. Whether you’re seeking to explore the depths of the ancient Colossal Cave, marvel at the stars from the Kitt Peak National Observatory, or savor the flavors of authentic Sonoran cuisine, Tucson promises an unforgettable escape into the heart of the American Southwest. Ready to embark on an adventure of a lifetime? Discover the top 19 things to do in Tucson, Arizona, and let the journey begin!

Top Attractions in

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  • 265 S Church Ave
  • 4.2 of 5
  • (297 total reviews)

The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts and casual visitors alike. This museum is renowned for its dynamic and innovative exhibitions, which showcase contemporary art from both local and international artists. The museum is housed in a beautifully restored historic building, adding a touch of charm and history to your visit. The Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson also offers an array of educational programs and events, making it an engaging and interactive experience for all ages. It’s not just a place to observe art, but also a platform to understand and appreciate the evolving nature of contemporary artistic expressions. A visit here would certainly enrich your cultural perspective and provide a unique, inspiring experience.

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  • 165 W Alameda St
  • 4.3 of 5
  • (204 total reviews)

El Presidio Plaza, located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a significant historical site that should be on every traveler’s must-visit list. This plaza is the birthplace of modern Tucson, offering a unique blend of cultural heritage and contemporary charm. It’s a place where history comes alive, with preserved adobe walls, a beautiful garden, and the Old Pima County Courthouse. The plaza also hosts various events throughout the year, including art exhibitions, music performances, and food festivals that showcase Tucson’s vibrant local culture. A visit to El Presidio Plaza is more than just a sightseeing trip; it’s an immersive experience into the rich history and lively spirit of Tucson. It’s a perfect destination for history buffs, culture enthusiasts, and anyone who appreciates the beauty of a city’s past intertwined with its present.

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  • 414 N Toole Ave
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (318 total reviews)

The Southern Arizona Transportation Museum, located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for history buffs and train enthusiasts alike. This museum offers a unique glimpse into the rich railroad history of the region, showcasing a variety of exhibits, including vintage locomotives, historic photos, and informative displays. Visitors can explore the restored Southern Pacific Railroad Locomotive #1673, a national and state historic mechanical engineering landmark. The museum also hosts special events and educational programs throughout the year, making it a dynamic and engaging place to visit. Its location, right in downtown Tucson, also means it’s conveniently close to other attractions, restaurants, and shopping. Whether you’re a history lover, a train enthusiast, or just looking for a unique experience, the Southern Arizona Transportation Museum offers an enriching and educational journey into the past.

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  • 2021 N Kinney Rd
  • of 5
  • ( total reviews)

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, located near Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for any travel enthusiast. This 98-acre museum offers an immersive experience, showcasing the stunning biodiversity of the Sonoran Desert region. It’s not just a museum, but also a zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium, all rolled into one. Visitors can explore various exhibits featuring over 230 animal species and 1,200 types of plants, all native to the Sonoran Desert. The museum also offers interactive experiences such as the Earth Sciences Center where one can explore an artificial limestone cave or the Riparian Corridor, which replicates a desert river habitat. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum provides an engaging and educational experience that brings you closer to nature, making it a worthwhile visit for individuals and families alike.

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  • 2511 W Sweetwater Dr
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (861 total reviews)

Sweetwater Wetlands Park in Tucson, Arizona, United States is a hidden gem for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. This lush oasis is a must-visit for its unique ecosystem, teeming with diverse flora and fauna. The park is home to over 300 species of birds, making it a paradise for bird watchers. Visitors can explore the park through its well-maintained trails, offering an immersive experience of the wetlands. The park is also an educational center, offering insights into water reclamation and wildlife habitat preservation. The tranquil environment of the park makes it a perfect escape from the bustling city life. Whether you are a nature photographer, a birding enthusiast, or someone looking for a serene place for a leisurely walk, Sweetwater Wetlands Park is a destination worth visiting.

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  • 1950 W San Xavier Rd
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (7177 total reviews)

San Xavier del Bac Mission, located just outside Tucson, Arizona, is a must-visit for anyone interested in history, architecture, or culture. Known as the White Dove of the Desert, this stunning 18th-century mission is a marvel of Spanish Colonial architecture, with its intricate carvings, ornate frescoes, and inspiring domes. As an active church, it serves as a testament to the enduring faith and resilience of the Tohono O’odham people. The mission also hosts a museum that provides fascinating insights into the region’s history. Not just a historical landmark, the area surrounding the mission offers breathtaking desert landscapes, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts. Visiting San Xavier del Bac Mission offers a unique blend of spiritual, historical, and natural exploration, making it an enriching experience you wouldn’t want to miss when in Tucson, Arizona.

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  • 200 S 6th Ave
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (2266 total reviews)

The Children’s Museum Tucson, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for families seeking an enriching and fun-filled day out. This interactive museum offers a wide array of exhibits and activities designed to engage and educate children of all ages. From hands-on science experiments to creative art projects, the museum provides a safe and stimulating environment where kids can learn through play. The exhibits are designed to foster curiosity, creativity, and a love for learning. Visiting the Children’s Museum Tucson not only promises an entertaining day out for the family but also a valuable educational experience for the children. It’s a perfect spot to create lasting memories while children explore and discover the joy of learning.

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  • 1013 E University Blvd
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (325 total reviews)

The Arizona State Museum, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the rich history and diverse cultures of the Southwest. As the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the region, it offers an unparalleled collection of artifacts that span over 13,000 years of history. Visitors can immerse themselves in the vibrant cultures of Native American tribes through a vast array of pottery, textiles, and basketry. The museum also hosts informative exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs that cater to all ages. The Arizona State Museum is not just a place to observe but to engage and learn. It’s a treasure trove of knowledge and understanding, making it a worthwhile destination for history buffs, culture enthusiasts, and curious minds alike.

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  • 2544 E Allen Rd
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (305 total reviews)

The Valley of the Moon in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a hidden gem that offers a unique and enchanting experience for all who visit. This magical park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a testament to the power of imagination and creativity. It is filled with whimsical stone structures, winding paths, secret gardens, and mystical grottos, all designed to inspire wonder and joy. The Valley of the Moon is not just a place, but an immersive experience that transports you into a world of fairy tales and fantasy. The park also hosts interactive events and shows that are engaging for both children and adults. A visit to the Valley of the Moon is a journey into a dreamlike landscape that sparks the imagination, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique adventure in Tucson, Arizona. The serene and tranquil environment also makes it a perfect spot for those seeking a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life.

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  • 6000 E Valencia Rd
  • of 5
  • ( total reviews)

The Pima Air & Space Museum, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit attraction for anyone with a fascination for aviation and space exploration. As one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world, it boasts an impressive collection of over 350 historical aircrafts. From WWII planes to commercial jets and spacecrafts, the museum offers a comprehensive look into the evolution of flight. Visitors can embark on guided tours led by knowledgeable docents, explore exhibits filled with captivating stories, and even experience flight simulations. The museum also hosts engaging educational programs for children, making it a perfect destination for family outings. If you’re an aviation enthusiast or a history buff, or even just someone looking for a unique, enriching experience, the Pima Air & Space Museum is definitely worth a visit.

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  • 4455 E Camp Lowell Dr
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (1531 total reviews)

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a unique and captivating destination that holds appeal for visitors of all ages. This enchanting museum is home to a vast collection of over 500 antique and contemporary dollhouses and room boxes, meticulously crafted and set in various historical periods and fantastical scenes. It’s a place where visitors can immerse themselves in a miniature world, sparking their imagination and offering a fascinating glimpse into different cultures and eras. The museum is also renowned for its educational programs and interactive exhibits, making it a must-visit for anyone with an interest in art, history, or craftsmanship. Its uniqueness and charm make it a standout attraction in Tucson, offering a truly one-of-a-kind experience that shouldn’t be missed.

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  • 5700 N Sabino Canyon Rd
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (4406 total reviews)

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona, United States, is an absolute must-visit for any nature enthusiast or outdoor adventurer. This natural sanctuary offers an unparalleled blend of desert landscapes and mountainous terrains, creating a picturesque backdrop that is sure to leave you in awe. The area is renowned for its numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy strolls to challenging treks, all providing the opportunity to explore the unique flora and fauna of the region. The tram ride through the canyon is a highlight, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery. The area is also home to a diverse range of wildlife, including deer, javelina, and a variety of bird species, making it a paradise for wildlife watchers. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply a lover of nature’s beauty, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is a destination that should not be missed.

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  • 201 Kinney Rd
  • 4.5 of 5
  • (4227 total reviews)

Old Tucson, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a unique blend of history, culture, and entertainment. This iconic location offers an authentic glimpse into the Wild West era, as it served as the filming site for over 400 film and television projects since the 1930s, including classic westerns such as Rio Bravo and The Outlaw Josey Wales. Visitors can explore the preserved western-style buildings, enjoy live stunt shows, musicals, and comedy entertainment, or even take a guided tour to learn more about the rich cinematic history of the place. Old Tucson also hosts special events throughout the year, adding to the appeal for both locals and tourists. Its combination of natural beauty, history, and entertainment makes Old Tucson a compelling destination that offers something for everyone.

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  • 3400 E Zoo Ct
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (9852 total reviews)

Reid Park Zoo, located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for nature and animal lovers. This zoo is home to over 500 species of animals, including elephants, lions, and giraffes, offering visitors an immersive experience of wildlife. The zoo is dedicated to preserving biodiversity through conservation and education, making it an ideal place for families to learn about the importance of wildlife protection. The Reid Park Zoo also offers unique experiences like feeding giraffes, riding a camel, or even a behind-the-scenes tour that brings visitors closer to the animals. Its beautifully landscaped grounds are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Whether you’re an animal enthusiast, a budding zoologist, or just looking for a fun day out with the family, Reid Park Zoo is a place that promises an unforgettable experience.

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  • 140 N Main Ave
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (991 total reviews)

The Tucson Museum of Art, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a must-visit destination for art lovers and cultural explorers. This museum houses an impressive collection of over 9,000 pieces, showcasing a wide variety of art styles from modern and contemporary to rare pieces of Latin American and Native American art. The museum’s unique blend of historic and contemporary architecture creates an immersive environment that enhances the viewing experience. Visitors can also enjoy educational programs and interactive exhibits, making it an engaging experience for all ages. The museum’s location in the heart of Tucson’s historic district adds an extra layer of cultural richness. With its diverse collection, dynamic exhibitions, and inspiring educational programs, the Tucson Museum of Art offers an unparalleled opportunity to explore the world of art.

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  • 196 N Court Ave
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (244 total reviews)

The Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum in Tucson, Arizona, United States is a must-visit for history buffs and cultural enthusiasts. This historical site offers a unique glimpse into the Spanish Colonial era, with its meticulously reconstructed fort and living history programs. Visitors can explore the original adobe-walled presidio, view fascinating exhibits showcasing artifacts from the period, and even witness live demonstrations of old-world crafts. The museum provides an immersive experience that transports you back to the 18th century, making it a standout attraction in Tucson. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or a curious traveler, the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum offers an enriching, educational experience that you shouldn’t miss.

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  • 2150 N Alvernon Way
  • 4.7 of 5
  • (3513 total reviews)

The Tucson Botanical Gardens, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is an urban oasis that offers a captivating blend of nature, culture, and history. It is a must-visit destination for anyone who appreciates the beauty of diverse plant species, tranquil landscapes, and stunning butterfly exhibits. The garden spans 5.5 acres and showcases 17 residentially scaled gardens, making it a living museum of desert flora. It’s not just a place for plant enthusiasts, but also for those interested in local history and art, as the gardens often host art exhibitions and historical tours. The on-site cafe, Cafe Botanica, serves delicious, locally sourced meals, adding to the overall experience. The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a serene retreat in the heart of the city, offering visitors a chance to connect with nature and unwind.

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  • 6541 E Tanque Verde Rd
  • 4.6 of 5
  • (3189 total reviews)

Trail Dust Town is a must-visit destination for anyone touring Tucson, Arizona, United States. This charming outdoor shopping center and historical site offers a unique and immersive experience of the Old West. Visitors are transported back in time with its vintage carousel, historical museum, and staged wild west stunt shows. It also houses several top-notch restaurants, making it a fantastic spot for food lovers. The Pinnacle Peak steakhouse is renowned for its mouth-watering steaks. For those interested in shopping, there are numerous boutiques selling a variety of unique and locally crafted goods. The nightly ‘Pistoleros Wild West Show’ is a crowd favorite, providing thrilling entertainment for the whole family. The combination of history, entertainment, shopping, and dining makes Trail Dust Town an unmissable attraction in Tucson, Arizona.

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  • Tumamoc Hill Rd
  • 4.8 of 5
  • (1197 total reviews)

Tumamoc Hill, located in Tucson, Arizona, United States, is a compelling destination for both nature enthusiasts and history lovers. This ancient archaeological site, steeped in rich cultural history, is a must-visit for its breathtaking panoramic views of the city and the surrounding desert landscape. It’s not just a hill, but a living outdoor laboratory that offers a unique opportunity to explore the vibrant Sonoran Desert life. The 1.5-mile paved trail to the top is a favorite among locals and tourists for walking, jogging, and witnessing spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Additionally, Tumamoc Hill is a hub for scientific research, with the University of Arizona conducting studies on ecology and environmental conservation. Visiting Tumamoc Hill not only offers an enriching experience but also contributes to the preservation and understanding of our natural environment, making it a worthwhile addition to any Tucson itinerary.

Most asked questions about

What are some unique activities to do in Tucson, Arizona?

In Tucson, unique activities include exploring the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, stargazing at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and experiencing the rich history at Mission San Xavier del Bac.

Can families find suitable activities in Tucson?

Yes, Tucson offers plenty of family-friendly activities such as visiting the Reid Park Zoo, hiking in Sabino Canyon, and enjoying the interactive exhibits at the Children’s Museum Tucson.

Are there any outdoor activities in Tucson for nature lovers?

Nature lovers will enjoy Tucson’s vast array of outdoor activities, including hiking in Saguaro National Park, bird watching at Tohono Chul, and exploring the botanical gardens at Tucson Botanical Gardens.

What cultural experiences can be found in Tucson?

Tucson is rich in cultural experiences with its vibrant arts scene, Native American heritage sites like the Arizona State Museum, and culinary tours showcasing the city’s famous Sonoran-style cuisine.

Is Tucson a good destination for history enthusiasts?

Absolutely, history enthusiasts will find Tucson fascinating with its well-preserved historical sites such as the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson, the historic Barrio Viejo neighborhood, and the Fort Lowell Museum.

What are some recommended places to eat in Tucson?

Tucson boasts a variety of dining options, from the authentic Mexican restaurants in South Tucson to innovative farm-to-table eateries downtown. Don’t miss trying the local specialty, the Sonoran hot dog.

How can visitors best explore Tucson’s art scene?

Visitors can explore Tucson’s art scene by touring the Tucson Museum of Art, browsing the galleries in the Warehouse Arts District, and attending art walks, such as the Second Saturdays Downtown.

What are some tips for visiting Tucson in the summer?

To enjoy Tucson in the summer, it’s recommended to start outdoor activities early in the morning, stay hydrated, and take advantage of the many indoor attractions like the Pima Air & Space Museum during the hottest part of the day.

Are there any unique shopping experiences in Tucson?

Tucson offers unique shopping experiences at places like the Fourth Avenue Shopping District, where you can find local crafts, vintage clothing, and artisan goods, and at the Mercado San Agustin for locally made products.

What are some budget-friendly activities in Tucson?

Budget-friendly activities in Tucson include hiking or biking on the city’s extensive trails, visiting free attractions like the University of Arizona campus and its art galleries, and enjoying the natural beauty of the desert landscapes at no cost.

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