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43 Things To Do In Tucson in 2022

Are you going to Tucson because it’s T-shirt weather in January? If you’re looking for some things to do in this Arizona city, you won’t be disappointed.

Sedona might be an echoing city basking in the limelight of the tourism scene. But Tucson will surprise you as much, if not more!

It’s a 226 square mile desert city in southwest Arizona, home to over 500,000 Tusconans. Its stunning charm lures 6.8 million eager tourists yearly, ready to explore what Tucson City has in its pockets.

Your experiences won’t run dry (and never will) when you visit “the Old Pueblo”, from outdoor adventures to mesmerizing art galleries, and without a doubt, delicious food.

If you’re scouring for a colorful and fun-filled vacation, immerse yourself on a memorable trip to Tucson.

Here are the best 43 things to do in Tucson that you need to try.

43 Things to do in Tucson, Arizona

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Explore Saguaro National Park

What’s special about this place?

The Saguaro National Park covers 91,715.72 acres on Tucson’s east (Rincon Mountain District) and west side (Tucson Mountain District). Like its namesake, it’s a deserted oasis filled with towering saguaro cacti growing as high as 78 feet. Graced with beautiful hiking trails, vistas, and mountains, you’ll be in wonderment amidst the heart of Old West scenery exploring Saguaro National Park’s grounds (bonus, the great Sonoran Desert also has massive portions within the area!).

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Go all out as a nature adventurer when you spend your day scouting the Saguaro National Park. Novice hikers and seasoned outdoor enthusiasts can choose from numerous trails. Saguaro National Park also has paved roads running throughout its grounds that you can trace so you and your family can soak the beautiful sceneries from the comfort of your car.

What to do here?

On the west side of the park, few beginner-friendly hikes are conquerable, such as the Hugh Norris Trail and Valley View Overlook Trail, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is also nearby. On the east, the Mica View Trail, Cactus Forest Trail, and Desert Ecology Trail are out for you to trek. Drive through the Cactus Forest Drive (still on the east) if you don’t want to hike or go camping overnight (needs permit).

Best Time to Visit

You can explore the area from sunrise to sundown all year round. You’ll need a pass to enter the Saguaro National Park costing $15-$25, valid for a week. Start your journey as early as possible, so you don’t burn yourself into a crisp and have more time to detour to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum!

If you plan to stay overnight, pack up a reliable and comfortable tent to shelter you. Check out our in-depth guide of the best tents you’ll find in the market and get one for your Tucson trip!

Learn more about Saguaro National Park here!

Visit Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block

What’s special about this place?

The 4-acre Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is a treasure trove full of the city’s colorful past accounts since its establishment in 1924. Aside from its 74,000 ft.2 museum hosting over 8,000 pieces, the historic block has five vintage homes to showcase the various cultural themes that encompass Tucson’s history. Learn and discover the city’s roots and pamper your eyes with creative artworks by touring the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

This local attraction is a must-visit if you’re someone whose priority during travels is to dig deep into culture and history. The creative masterpieces in the Tucson Museum of Art and history will also feed the artist in you. If you’re still searching for another worthwhile site to add to your itinerary, this landmark deserves a spot on the top.

What to do here?

See indigenous artworks as old as 1000 years old, European collections from William-Adolphe Bouguereau and Marino Marini, and contemporary creations like photographs, installations, and mixed media. Take a stroll by the houses like the Mexican-themed La Casa Cordova, the ceramic studio Romero House and the 2-story Mission Revival-inspired J. Knox Corbett House. There’s an on-site souvenir shop where you can grab an item to take home as memorabilia of your trip.

Best Time to Visit

You can visit the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block between Thursday and Sunday, from 10 AM until 5 PM. Be there around 4 PM if you want to stay away from tourist crowds. Save a few bucks when you drop by during the first Thursday of any month when admission is at no cost between 2 PM and 5 PM.

If history runs in your bloodstream, a trip to Savannah will keep you alive. Check out the Hostess City of the South for a rewarding cultural adventure!

Learn more about Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block here!

See the residents of Reid Park Zoo

What’s special about this place?

Sitting within Reid Park, the 1965 Reid Park Zoo cradles over 500 animals within its 24-acre area across four various exhibits. Both big and small animals are to see and interact with, from elephants, lions, and rhinos, to flamingos and cave roaches. Other than learning about its resident critters, there’s also a carousel and their train that scours the grounds to help you navigate around Reid Park Zoo easily.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A visit to this wildlife hub will delight your little ones, especially the close encounter programs offered at Reid Park Zoo. A trip here will warm your heart if you love animals. If you’ve never fed a giraffe before, this is your chance to give it a try!

What to do here?

Say hi to the giants of Reid Park Zoo, such as elephants, bears, and giraffes. Observe African wild dogs, jaguar anteaters, and capybara as they go about their day. It might not be a great idea at first, but check out the giant cave cockroaches (it grows as long as 4 inches!), then entertain yourself by hopping aboard the train before taking the children to the Coz Wildlife Carousel.

Best Time to Visit

Drop by anytime between 8 AM and 2 PM daily, with fewer tourists in the area around 1 PM. Other events at Reid Park Zoo that you can attend for a good cause are the Movie Night Out and Dr. Zoo, so check out their website for an updated calendar. Refuel your energies after all the walking at the on-site café with some burritos or nachos.

Learn more about Reid Park Zoo here!

Try a Sonoran Dog at El Guero Canelo

What’s special about this place?

Any Tucson trip is simply not complete without biting the tasty local favorite Sonoran Dog. It’s a combination of a hot dog wrapped with bacon, dazzled with tomatoes, beans, jalapeno salsa, and finished with mayo and mustard, all between a bolillo bun. Get yours from hands-down best in town, El Guero Canelo serving delicious Sonoran Dog and other Mexican fares in Tucson since 1993.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If you’ve never had Sonoran Dog before, you need to drop by El Guero Canelo to baptize your taste buds. The relaxed ambiance inside El Guero Canelo is also great for traveling families. Sampling one or two Sonoran Dogs from one of the best restaurants in Tucson is a must-do if you’re a self-proclaimed certified foodie!

What to do here?

Since El Guero Canelo has three branches in Tucson, you can easily find one near you as you wander through the streets. Aside from their signature Sonoran Dogs, they also have Sammy Dogs, which includes two weenies cooked the same way. Marry your meal with additional flavorful burros, tacos, and quesadillas, side it with guacamole and chips, and a sweet hint of Arroz con Leche for a delectable finishing touch.

Best Time to Visit

All their locations at south, north, and east Tucson are ready to serve you with yummy Sonoran Dogs any day of the week, as early as 9 AM, with various closing times: 9 PM (Sunday), 10 PM (Monday-Thursday), and 11 PM (Friday-Saturday). If you don’t like thick crowds, come for breakfast once they open. El Taco Rustico is within walking distance, meaning you can indulge in Mexican food without any hassle!

Learn more about El Guero Canelo here!

Selfie with A at Sentinel Peak

What’s special about this place?

One of the best spots in the city for a sightseeing escapade is the 2,897-foot high Sentinel Peak, a.k.a. the A Mountain with a 1.7-mile trail. Spot it easily from downtown with the 160-foot tall letter A decoration built back in 1916, offering viewpoints dazzling hundreds of visitors per day, offering a mesmerizing overlook of the city. It’s part of a 272-acre Sentinel Peak Park that any traveler needs to hike for a complete Tucson trip.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Whether you’re a biker or a hiker, pro or not, the trail up to Sentinel Peak is enjoyable for all skill levels. You can drive up to A to avoid tiring the kids too much if you’re with family. Adding pictures with A in your social media feed will attract more followers if you’re an influencer.

What to do here?

From the base, you’ll notice thick volumes of saguaros cacti and lots of volcanic rocks. Observe the picturesque vista, with the surrounding mountains and the city proper under, and capture as many snaps as possible. There are also a couple of picnic tables ready to use if you want to stop by for a picnic.

Best Time to Visit

Sentinel Park is accessible from sunrise to 8 PM. Be there as soon as the sun is out to avoid its scorching heat since the peak is exposed. Time your visit before sundown to witness the romantic sky with your special someone and stay a bit more watching the city lights come alive.

Learn more about Sentinel Peak here!

Travel back in time at Presidio San Agustin del Tucson

What’s special about this place?

Presidio San Agustin del Tucson sitting along North Court Avenue will take you back to 1775 Tucson before the state signed up with the union in 1854. The Spanish settlement Tucson Presidio, which started the development of what is now known as Tucson, is the highlight of the attraction. Learn about the city’s history beyond glass cases and embark on an immersive discovery journey at the 2007 Presidio San Agustin del Tucson.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If you’re passionate about history, you’ll be grateful for setting aside time to visit here. It’s also a worthwhile site where your children can have fun while absorbing valuable knowledge. Presidio San Agustin del Tucson is a local landmark anyone visiting the city needs to see.

What to do here?

Discover the lifestyle of people back in the day within the Presidio as you walk the site with replicas of era-appropriate barracks and homes, canyons, and a copy of the storage room. The infamous attraction is the pit house used by Native Americans dating as old as 2,000 years old. There are also reenactments by actors dressed as soldiers, demonstrations about cochineal bugs, food, medicinal history, and a hike at Turquoise Trail for an additional fee.

Best Time to Visit

Unlike most attractions, Presidio San Agustin del Tucson is crowd-free during weekends, from 9 AM until 3 PM, and take note that they’re closed between Monday and Wednesday. Guided tours are also available at no extra cost, so check out their updated calendar on the website. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is nearby too, why not skew them two for a cultural trip.

Learn more about Presidio San Agustin del Tucson here!

Spend few hours at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

What’s special about this place?

The 98-acre Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a nature haven catering to 1,200 plant species with a total of 56,000 floras, more than 12,300 animals, and a collection of artworks in its museum, throwing you in the heart of Tucson’s local environs! Since opening in 1952 near Saguaro National Park, this crowd-favorite has given its guests a fusion of zoo, garden, museum, and child-friendly activities, bound to spread eco-awareness to anyone visiting.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A trip to Tucson is simply incomplete without a visit to Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, so make sure you drop by. It’s a must-see for anyone wandering the city, whether you’re with kids, a nature lover, traveling solo, with friends, or with a partner. There’s just no excuse for skipping this remarkable Tucson attraction.

What to do here?

Experience Sonoran Desert’s ecosystem by the gardens, check out the Warden Aquarium, see Mexican gray wolves, prairie dogs, jackrabbits, bobcats, and beavers and get in touch with a stingray. Get acquainted with the regional geology and let your eyes sparkle with the rich collection of minerals on display. Masterpieces by artists like Sheridan Oman, Nick Wilson, Rachel Taylor Ivanyi, and Michael Lee add more life to the diversity of the museum.

Best Time to Visit

Journey through the natural environs at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum any day of the week, between 7:30 and 2 PM. Save yourself from herds of tourists and the brutal temperature when you come as soon as they open. Remember to put some sunblock on just to be prepared.

Sedona also has an unlimited selection of open trails to conquer. If you enjoy trekking under the sun, then you might want to see what Red Rock Country can give you.

Learn more about Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum here!

Quiet time at San Xavier del Bac Mission

What’s special about this place?

San Xavier del Bac Mission is one of the south’s most beautiful Catholic churches with Moorish/Byzantine-themed architecture, married with the Mexican-Spanish-Baroque mix of interior themes. A.k.a. The White Dove of the Desert, Saint Francis Xavier founded the church in 1962 and is still operating today. Be mesmerized by its structural allure and the story behind its development visiting the San Xavier del Bac Mission, listed under the National Register of Historic Places.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

You don’t have to be a Catholic or a believer to feel the serenity of San Xavier del Bac Mission. Its architectural design is a sight sure to amaze your eyes even if you don’t believe in almighty power at all. The peace inside the church is ideal if you want to escape from all of your stresses, some introspection, and spiritual rejuvenation.

What to do here?

Wander the gardens and see the state-of-the-art interior dazzled with paintings, murals, statues, and murals. Observe the vintage elegance of the main altar and the high dome over the church’s intercept, packed with creations from various artists, still unclear who up to this day. Maybe attend a mass or enjoy the architectural marvel of San Xavier del Bac capturing pictures of the breathtaking interior.

Best Time to Visit

The church is open daily from 9 AM until 2 PM, with very few visitors on Mondays and Tuesdays. Grab the opportunity to join a tour running for 45 minutes at no cost at all, led by a knowledgeable docent. San Xavier del Bac Mission also hosts regular Sunday service and if you want to attend one, drop by their website for the mass schedule.

Learn more about San Xavier del Bac Mission here!

Sunset at Gates Pass Scenic Overlook in Tucson Mountain Park

What’s special about this place?

The 20,000-acre Tucson Mountain Park opened in 1929, currently a hiking haven with trails running approximately 62 miles overall, with a firing range, lots of picnic areas, and the infamous Gates Pass Scenic Overlook. It’s notorious for breathtaking sunset views of the valley, mesmerizing its visitors daily during half-light from 3,172 feet high. Bask in Tucson’s picturesque natural panorama from the top of Gates Pass Scenic Overlook!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

It’s one of the most romantic things to do in Tucson for couples, so don’t miss it. If you want to see the city’s beauty from a good vantage point, Gates Pass Scenic Overlook is the best place. Complete your travel plans with this local attraction queuing up the headlines.

What to do here?

Check if you have plenty of space left in your camera, and take the unlimited snaps you need to take to capture the area’s charm! See plenty of saguaros, birds, and wildflowers that heavily populated the mountains. Bring some snacks for a romantic picnic while relaxing watching the sunset.

Best Time to Visit

Gates Pass Scenic Lookout is accessible from sunrise until sunset. It’s a popular site to locals and tourists alike, so expect it to be heavily trafficked, especially before sundown. It’s also just a few minutes away from Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Old Tucson, so it’s a rewarding detour after immersing yourself in local culture.

Learn more about Tucson Mountain Park here!

Stop by Pima Air and Space Museum

What’s special about this place?

Fly high when you come to Pima Air and Space Museum near Tucson airport, an 80-acre facility keeping over 400 aircrafts in its keeps. It’s known as one of the most massive private aerospace museums on the planet. After it opened in 1976, Pima Air and Space Museum educates its visitors with jaw-dropping exhibits spread through six hangars, plus the infamous Boneyard, an outdoor collection of over 4,400 salvaged aircrafts parked in open desert space.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A stop at Pima Air and Space Museum will be a rewarding experience if you’re an aviation fanatic or perhaps a pilot yourself. Taking your kids here will put a smile on their faces, especially if you have little boys (you might just add fuel to their interest in the field). If you’re still short on things to do in Tucson this weekend, add this top-rated attraction to your travel plans.

What to do here?

Your admission includes a tour to WWII hangars and the Main Hangar, plus the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame, the Dorothy Finley Aerospace Gallery, and the 390th Memorial Museum. Some of the aircrafts you’ll see are the “Super Guppy” Aero Spacelines 377G, “Kansan” Beechcraft AT-11, “Supercobra” Bell AH-1W, and the “Flying Fortress” Boeing B-29. The AMARG Boneyard tour on the tram will make your jaw drop (not even exaggerating!)!

Best Time to Visit

You can visit the Pima Air and Space Museum any day of the week, starting at 9 AM until 3 PM. If you wish to avoid the mobs of tourists touring the area, make your way as soon as they open or an hour before they close.

Learn more about Pima Air and Space Museum here!

Taste the fares at BOCA Tacos y Tequila

What’s special about this place?

The Mexican-inspired scratch kitchen BOCA Tacos y Tequila along 4th Avenue will keep you wanting more. With a wide variety of 26 taco flavors and more than 40 tequilas, refuel your appetite and your soul dining at this restaurant for the best salsas you’ll ever have. Cooking yummy food since 2010, savor authentic Mexican-Sonoran servings when you reserve a table at BOCA Tacos y Tequila.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Your family can easily enjoy the cozy ambiance by the indoor patio, and you and your furry friend can savor meals by the outdoor patio while taking in the local scenery too. They also have a diverse array of veggie options and are willing to accommodate your dietary needs, making them one of the most loved restaurants in Tucson. You’ll have nightmares missing out on the tasty menu of BOCA Tacos y Tequila.

What to do here?

Pamper your appetite with delectable creations by Top Chef Maria Mazon such as the all-time favorite camaron, with grilled or beer-battered fried shrimp marinated in chipotle, lime, and butter. Chow down The Burro for flavors that burst in your mouth, with guacamole, carne asada with cabbage wrapped in a flour tortilla, plus some quesadilla on the side. Push it all down with signature drinks like Boca Cadillac, pineapple express, and red sangria for a relaxing finish.

Best Time to Visit

Eat at BOCA Tacos y Tequila between Monday and Wednesday, from noon until 3 PM when they’re least busy. They also have happy hours daily, starting at 4 PM, ending at 6 PM, and from 6 PM until they close at 9 PM. Don’t deprive yourself of these delicious treats when you visit any day, starting at 11 AM, from Friday until Sunday, and noontime for the rest of the week.

Learn more about BOCA Tacos y Tequila here!

Drive along Cactus Forest Drive

What’s special about this place?

This paved loop trail within Saguaro National Park, running 8 miles long, will take you through the beautiful vistas of the desert. Cruise along with the one/two-way combo Cactus Forest Drive and befriends with the Sonoran Desert’s out and back beauty, going elevated as high as 3,227 feet. Trace the road moderately, there are sharp turns everywhere, and other outdoor lovers like bikers, hikers, and horseback riding enthusiasts also take Cactus Forest Drive.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If your car is smaller than 35 feet long and 8 feet wide, taking your vehicle is the best option, especially during the summer season. It’s the most practical way to explore the area if you have little kids on your travels. Don’t miss the opportunity to jump into the heart of Sonoran charm at Cactus Forest Drive if you’re a nature lover and an outdoor explorer.

What to do here?

Grab a brochure by the visitor center for a detailed guide of Cactus Forest Drive. You’ll see saguaro cacti (though as thick as on the west side of the park) and see the stunning view of neighboring mountains like Santa Catalina and Rincon. Wildlife surrounding Cactus Forest Drive starts to wake up around sunset, so you might not see much on your visit, but that doesn’t reduce the picturesque beauty of the place!

Best Time to Visit

You can drive through Cactus Forest Trail as soon as dawn breaks or before sundown to avoid the unforgiving heat. Pack up lots of water, stay hydrated and keep your sunblock on if you plan to hike or bike instead. It also offers a gorgeous sunset view while desert wildlife noises start filling up the air, so don’t miss it.

Bring a reliable water bottle for your own good. Sonoran Desert heat is deadly hot, and you want to stay healthy for your future travels.

Learn more about Cactus Forest Drive here!

Drop by at Old Tucson

What’s special about this place?

A famed location for more than 400 movies, Old Tucson began its life in 1939 as setting for the 1940 film Arizona and has since attracted lots of blockbusters for its authentic Wild West feels, from Gunfight at O.K. Corral to Dirty Dingus Magee and Hot Bath an’ a Stiff Drink. Now operating as a theme park with classic wagon rides, stunt performances, recreated saloons, and history narrations, travel back in time at Old Tucson.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Touring here will be a worthwhile experience for anyone visiting Tucson, particularly if you have a soft spot for the Wild West. Your kids can also safely enjoy the rides and have fun watching stuntmen demonstrate oldies lifestyles and action. If you’re a culture geek, Old Tucson is a must-visit for you.

What to do here?

Let your little ones hop on the antique carousel, cars, and train rides, then head to the Heritage Square, Shelton Hall, and Native Village for a unique Wild West vibe and pair it with a movie about Tucson history. Plenty of food options are also available to refuel you, like fares from Grand Palace Hotel and Saloon and Pony Express Pizza and More.

Best Time to Visit

Old Tucson is open from Thursday to Monday, starting 4 PM until 7 PM, but please stay on the lookout for the updated schedule. The time is just right when the brutal heat has already died down, so no need to worry about roasting yourself. Besides, you can easily slip inside the properties for some shade, and cold refreshments are just within reach.

Learn more about Old Tucson here!

Nature-bathing at Tohono Chul

What’s special about this place?

Enjoy a piece of paradise and visit the 49-acre Tohono Chul, infusing nature, culture, and art in an oh so good way since it opened in 1985. It’s a home to both local and exotic plant species, a total of 500 plants. This Arizona attraction is also a sanctuary to numerous animals, more than 350 gallery items, plus the on-site restaurant Garden Bistro to recharge you with delicious food and flavorful fares.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Tohono Chul is a slice of Eden that every nature lover visiting Tucson needs to save in their itinerary. It’s a treat that each member of your family will fall for, and even your youngsters will love the ambiance here. Easily escape into peace when you drop by at Tohono Chun if you feel like you’re about to explode from the stresses of life.

What to do here?

See the Desert at Night and Vegetable Harvest painting by Michael Chicago, ceramic works like the Pot with Fire Clouds, Pueblo Friendship Pot, and the Zuni Fetish Bowl. Walk around the rich garden exhibits like the Penstemon Garden, Desert Palm Oasis, Sin Agua Garden, and the Children’s Garden, where you can let your little ones loose amidst nature, observing birds, monarchs, and other wildlife. Catch some avocado toast, grilled shrimp street tacos, and prickly pear chicken croissant

Best Time to Visit

You can visit Tohono Chul throughout the week, between 8 AM and 4:30 PM. Monday and Tuesday are both crowd-free all day, but no matter what time you visit, there’s rarely anyone around when you come an hour earlier before they close. Tohono Chul also has their happy hour happening every Friday, from 4 PM to 8 PM.

Learn more about Tohono Chul here!

Sit for a seafood feast at Kingfisher

What’s special about this place?

Serving the freshest and most delicious seafood cuisines since 1993, Kingfisher near Tucson Botanical Gardens ranks on top restaurants in Tucson for straight-outta-sea fares. Be filled up with flavorful cooking, yummy pastries, and kicking cocktails, served like you’re a royalty wearing plain Ts and a pair of a slip-on. Kingfisher’s Summer Road Trip will take you to different southern regions with distinct flavors in a dining experience you’ll love!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Kingfisher is a must-visit for every seafood lover wondering where to eat in Tucson. The ambiance is also welcoming if you’re with family or a partner, and their customer service is top-notch. For every food lover wandering around the city, saving a table at Kingfisher won’t disappoint you!

What to do here?

Start with flavorful Cesar Salad, bite of Kingfisher Burger, with bacon, fries, and gorgonzola, dazzled with roasted peppers, slaw, and caramelized onions. There’s no going wrong when you try House Smoked Ruby Trout and Macadamia Nut Crusted Hawaiian Fish or decide to go for some Oyster Bar Tasting with grilled shrimp, trout, and scallops. Treat your sweet tooth with White Chocolate Cheesecake or a glass of Pacific Rim Ice Wine for a relaxing finish.

Best Time to Visit

Reservation is a must, so save your table in advance. Kingfisher is serving tasty food between Tuesday and Saturday, from 11 AM and 9 PM. Dinners at Kingfisher can be a bit crowded, so opting for lunch is the best option (unless you’re out for a dinner date).

Learn more Kingfisher here!

Check out The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature

What’s special about this place?

“Small but terrible” exists for a good reason, and The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature is the proof of it. After its establishment in 2009, the 10,000 ft.2 museum in Tucson hosts more than 300 pieces of meticulously made needlepoint work and roomboxes, showing how a small object can inspire when made with a big heart. Both vintage and newly collected miniature items are displayed on the exhibits, ready to surprise the curious in you!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Your kid’s eyes will glow with marvel once they see the collection at The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature. If you’re an artist or an aspiring one, there’s plenty of inspiration to absorb here. Tick off this Tucson attraction down for a memorable tour you’ll remember for a long time, whether you’re traveling alone, with family, or as a couple.

What to do here?

Test your eyesight focusing on their permanent collections, such as the 1988 Essence of Islands Book Collection made by Annie Herzfeld as a replica of Island Books Bookstore and the 1991 Colonial Room complete with household equipment like bowls, pitchers, a spinning wheel, and cranberry picker. You won’t believe the intricate details of The Carriage House Antique Store, Silver Queen Collection, and the 2″ Sally Hemings figure, all of which will leave you in awe!

Best Time to Visit

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature welcomes guests as early as 9 AM until 4 PM, from Tuesday to Sunday, except on Wednesdays when they close early at noon. Drop by once they open at 3 PM if you want to avoid the herds of people visiting the museum. It’s equipped with AC, meaning you can comfortably stroll around, especially during hot afternoons.

Learn more about The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniature here!

Trace the trails at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

What’s special about this place?

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is heavily flocked by tourists, and you need to experience its wonder to figure out why. Find it at the base of Santa Catalina Mountains molded by nature, where you’ll go deep into Tucson’s natural beauty on a 3.8-mile paved trail, with 3,000 feet of elevation, rich in unmatched vistas and rich biodiversity to offer. Experience some raw wilderness of the city when you drop by at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The area is well-loved by adventure seekers and nature lovers alike for the plethora of options. There’s something fun waiting for you, whether you’re a first-time hiker or a seasoned outdoor enthusiast. If you’re not in the mood for legwork, you can also opt for the tram ride for a low fee to avoid tiring yourself out.

What to do here?

There are two main ravines: the Bear Canyon and the Sabino Canyon, and both are accessible by foot and tram. But for an adventure-packed hike, take the former to chase the 2.5-mile Seven Falls Trail with 917 feet elevation, where you’ll also see bobcats, quails, and Gila monsters. After trekking and crossing over creeks, you’ll be rewarded by stunning cascading falls, crashing its waters over rocks to cool you off and revitalize your energies.

Best Time to Visit

The gates at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area are open 24/7 all year-round. DeGrazia Gallery and Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway are within a short distance, and they make a good package if you come to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. We can’t emphasize this enough, but remember to stay hydrated for your health and safety.

Make sure you’re wearing comfortable water shoes. If you still don’t have one, check out our in-depth review of the best water shoes today. You’ll find one that suits your preferences. Have a pair to make the most out of your trips!

Learn more about Sabino Canyon Recreation Area here!

Try the menu at Tito and Pep

What’s special about this place?

Sitting in the vibrant Midtown neighborhood, Tito and Pep serves its customers with authentic Tucson flavors and prepares their plates with southwestern tang. After it opened its doors in 2018, the restaurant satisfied the appetite of uncountable hungry visitors with delicious food and soothing drinks. Don’t deprive yourself of an exceptional dining experience, and head to Tito and Pep whenever you’re in Tucson.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The lively ambiance inside, paired with top-notch services, is ideal for families who want to taste delicious fares while sharing stories over the table. The menu at Tito and Pep is a must-try for every gastronome wondering where to eat in Tucson. If you want to dig in on yummy treats without high-end prices, this is the right place for you.

What to do here?

Don’t miss the mouth-watering grilled octopus with salsa macha, tomato, and avocado, and marry it with crispy calamari, grilled salmon, and trout for some seafood fest. Then soothe your sweet tooth with their Rosemary and Orange Olive Oil Cake made of crushed pistachios, luxardo cherries, and whipped cream. Finish your meal with a glass or two of Spanish Poquito or Italian Gradis’ Ciutta to wash it all down.

Best Time to Visit

Reservation is a must at Tito and Pep. They are open between Wednesday and Sunday, from noon until 9 PM. Lucky Strike Bowl is just a few skips away, so why not recharge at Tito and Pep after a fun time striking pins down!

Learn more about Tito and Pep here!

Let the kids loose at Children’s Museum Tucson

What’s special about this place?

Unleash your children into an engaging yet educational learning experience at the 17,000 ft.2 Children’s Museum Tucson. A host of 13 exhibits since 1986, all of which will keep their brain ticking and creative juices flowing. “Knowledge is Power” indeed, and at Children’s Museum Tucson, you won’t have any trouble educating your children with wisdom to arm them for life.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If it’s always been a drag to have your little one studying, you might have trouble taking them out once the museum is about to close. That’s just how fun it is! And even though Children’s Museum Tucson is child-focused, both young and young at heart will imminently love the place.

What to do here?

Unleash their inner-musician striking the xylophones and drums at Music Garden, be an explorer at Sense of Place scouting the grounds of Sabino Canyon, and experience being a public safety officer. Learning human anatomy is made more fun at Bodyology, animal care can’t be more engaging at Pet Vet, and discovering gravity feels like magic. Painting at Imagine is a creative journey with no limits they’ll surely keep in mind for a long time!

Best Time to Visit

There are rarely any groups flocking Children’s Museum Tucson between Tuesday and Friday, all day from 9 AM until 5 PM, closing a couple of hours later on Thursdays. Discovery Nights happen every Thursday with free admission, running from 5 PM-7 PM. If you don’t want your family to be amidst a thick crowd, avoid Sundays.

Learn more about Children’s Museum Tucson here!

Road trip at Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway

What’s special about this place?

The only spot in the city that’ll make you forget you’re within desert environs. The 27-mile Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway transforms from Tucsonan heat to the cool temps surrounded by pine trees with just over an hour of driving at Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,159 feet. With numerous hiking and camping options, jaw-dropping viewpoints, and its own little town along the way called Summerhaven, driving along Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway will leave a mark forever.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

A road trip at Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway is a must-do for anyone visiting, especially those who prefer nature over city bustles. It’s also a great escape hatch from the brutal heat of the desert. If you’re still scouring the internet for what to do in Tucson, touring the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway on wheels needs to be at the top of your travel plans.

What to do here?

Notice how the surroundings change into greens while the temperature drops as you drive to a higher elevation. Recharge your energies with baked goodies from Mount Lemmon Cookie Cabin at Summerhaven or pack up snacks and stop at Marshall Gulch Picnic Area. Make sure you have plenty of space in your camera storage and take unlimited pictures at every scenic vista you find along the way for lots of memorabilia and social media feed.

Best Time to Visit

You can drive up to Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway any time of any day all year. But if you choose to go at nighttime, stay on the road for your safety. Accommodation options are available at Summerhaven, so you can book your stay in advance if you wish to stay overnight.

If you find pleasure amidst mountains, Sedona also has numerous treasures that you need to check out!

Learn more about Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway here!

Family game at Lucky Strike Bowl

What’s special about this place?

The oldest bowling center in the city, the 1955 Lucky Strike Bowl, is a family-owned and operated gaming space equipped with 32 bowling lanes and other entertainment amenities like pool tables and arcades. They have the on-site bar Pizzano’s with delicious treats, so You’ll also have no trouble in case hunger bothers you. At Lucky Strike Bowl, there’s nothing but nonstop fun and excitement!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Not many people are pleased with the customer service at Lucky Strike Bowl, so not highly recommended if you’re with kids, but the equipment is some of the most up-to-date in town. Whether you’ve never tried your hand at taking down pins or you’re a seasoned bowler, playing some rounds here will be a fun experience. It’s also an ideal place if you’re with friends looking for mini competitions while in Tucson.

What to do here?

Push your skills to the limits and play friendly matches with your friends. You can also head to the pool tables if you’re not into throwing the ball. Aside from the classic games, you can also test your luck with the claw machines by the arcade area. Grab some carbs from the bar like pizza, burgers, or meal baskets with chicken and fries, or head to Tito and Pep for more yummy options!

Best Time to Visit

Lucky Strike Bowl is open daily, from 12 PM-11 PM, between Sunday and Thursday, closing an hour late on Fridays and opening at 9 AM on Saturdays. If you want to stay clear from thick tourist volumes, be there once they open, before the crowd starts picking up around 3 PM. Save a few bucks when you drop by Monday-Thursday, from 9 PM-11 PM for a 2-hour unlimited rounds game for only $10!

Learn more about Lucky Strike Bowl here!

Discover the past at Arizona History Museum

What’s special about this place?

Deep dive into Grand Canyon State’s past at Arizona History Museum, member of Arizona Historical Society. Unearth the state’s history and discover its Spanish heritage, developing Arizona into what it is today. With four permanent exhibits and a few rotating ones, see preserved artifacts and other documents to enlighten your perspective of the old-time accounts that once happened in Tucson, Arizona, including the Wild West and Tucson’s modern-day transformation.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The exhibits at Arizona History Museum will keep even your little ones engaged in active learning and wonderment. It’s a gold mine that every history nut needs to explore. Even if you’re not fond of museums, this one will make you think twice!

What to do here?

Get to know John Slaughter, Wyatt Earp, and Geronimo. Priceless items once owned by Empress Carlotta and Emperor Maximilian are also on exhibit, along with colonial silver and transportation evolution. Don’t miss the chance to walk inside the 1870s mining tunnel and absorb local history at Tucson’s Black History, Mine Workers of Bisbee, and Agua Caliente Park (just to mention a few).

Best Time to Visit

Arizona History Museum is operational from Tuesday until Saturday, starting at 10 AM and closes at 2 PM. Twin your culture trip with the next-door Arizona State Museum. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block is also just 10 minutes away, so why not pair your local history journey with its creative scene for an in-depth Tucsonan experience!

Learn more about Arizona History Museum here!

Observe artworks at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

What’s special about this place?

Owned by artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia, the 10-acre DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun showcases around 15,000 of his artworks and other exhibits of his personal life across several Pueblo-Revival-inspired structures, the most famous of which is the 1965 art gallery. Ted mastered various art techniques during his lifetime, including oil paintings, ceramics, sculptures, and so many more. Now, it’s recognized under the National Register of Historic Places, charming its visitors with rich creativity and history.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Maybe Ted isn’t globally famed, but once you step inside DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, inspiration oozes whether you’re a pro artist yourself or an aspiring one. The peacefulness inside is also relaxing after you hike up Sabino Canyon Recreation Area. If you’re trying to have some me-time, DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun’s ambiance will give you the space you’re searching for.

What to do here?

See Ted’s painting tribute to Padre Kino, while Cactus Patch was about the struggles of conquistador Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca on a crusade across the Americas. Other prominent permanent artworks are Ho’ok, Winds from the East, Gaonera, and Tambolero. There’s also his private chapel, Mission in the Sun, damaged by fire in 2017, leaving almost all murals that Ted made himself unrecognizable.

Best Time to Visit

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is open everyday, between 10 AM and 4 PM. Be there an hour before they close if you want to avoid the heavy crowd visiting the attraction. But when art runs in your bloodstream, coming here no matter what time it is, is better than missing out on the golden masterpieces at DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun.

Learn more about DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun here!

Get a breather at Tucson Botanical Gardens

What’s special about this place?

Tune into nature and explore the serenity of the 5.5-acre Tucson Botanical Gardens and its 17 garden exhibits, located at N. Alvernon Way since 1964. Their Butterfly Garden will get you in the heart of its flying residents, a collection of more than 400 colorful butterflies! With thick trees popping everywhere, luscious plants and flowers, plus the on-site Edna’s Eatery, it’s the ideal place to mellow down while in Tucson!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If you’re dying for some quiet time, you’ll be glad that you set aside some time to visit Tucson Botanical Gardens. The rich greenery inside this paradise is a treat for every nature lover and family. Life’s demands can be choking, so if you feel like you need to catch a breather, Tucson Botanical Gardens is the right place for you!

What to do here?

Discover plant life at Children’s Discovery Garden and soothe your nose with scents in Herb Garden and what medicinal plants are local to Tucson. See ancient floras at Historical Gardens, visit the quaint Mex-Tex-inspired Nuestro Jardin, and experience native life in the Sonoran Desert at Plants of the Tohono O’odham Path. Take time introspecting at Zen Garden, where you can comfortably sit and close your eyes, listening to the surroundings to detox your mind of worries.

Best Time to Visit

They’re open daily, from 7:30 Pm until 3:30 PM. You can grab avocado toast, fruit and yogurt, and a cup of cappuccino from Edna’s Eatery for breakfast if you decide to start your day at Tucson Botanical Gardens. Besides, it’s more peaceful with rarely anyone in the area.

Savannah also hosts numerous luscious greeneries! Check out our in-depth guide of the Hostess City of the South.

Learn more about Tucson Botanical Gardens here!

Go mountain biking

What’s special about this place?

One of the best ways to explore Tucson’s beauty is pedaling through the nature trails. Go at your own pace, stop wherever you want while burning some calories and basking in the charm of the city. Rent yours from Home Grown Mountain Biking, a prominent 2016 biking rental company, with plenty of units to choose from to assure you’ll have the hands-down best tour riding two wheels!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Most of the trails are relatively easy, meaning there’s no need to be a professional cyclist to have fun throughout the journey. Even if it’s your first time scouting natural grounds, you can safely ride. If you’re tired of all the walking, renting a mountain bike is a great alternative.

What to do here?

If you plan to rent a mountain bike all day long, one of the best paved trails in Tucson is the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway. It’s packed with picturesque overlooks, and the temperature will keep you cool as you go higher. Alternatively, you can pedal through Saguaro National Park and Sabino Canyon Recreation Area or bike your way through downtown landmarks.

Best Time to Visit

Home Grown Mountain Biking is operational everyday, starting at 9 AM until 6 PM. You need to call them ahead of time to reserve your spot and see which bikes are available for rent. The friendly staff will also give you the trail information before you start your journey.

Remember to bring lots of water! You don’t want to be assaulting heat-exposed trails without any drink to keep you hydrated!

Learn more about Mountain Biking in Tucson here!

Savor options from Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant

What’s special about this place?

After opening in 2005, the family-owned Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant served Tucson with anything plant-based with creative and mouth-watering twists. With a wide variety of menus, the restaurant has become one of the most loved establishments in the city for its contribution to the vegan community. Take your appetite to a new turn when you sit down for a meal at Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant, cooking healthy options packed with delicious flavors and served with excellence!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If you think that vegan means dull, tasteless and boring, then dine at Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant and see how you’ll instantly change your view. If you’re a health-conscious traveler, search no more and head here for organic dishes. It’s a casual outdoor patio eating joint where even your little ones will willingly munch on the delicious veggie servings.

What to do here?

Take your breakfast pick from tofu scrambles with the Mediterranean, Country, and Italian tang, as well as sautéed kale, spinach, arugula, and mushroom. Burgers took a whole new height as well, such as their Wildcat, stuffed with soy-made patty, vegan bleu, sriracha mayo, and caramelized onions. Maybe pair up your apple kale smoothie with banana cake, raspberry brownie, and lemon poppyseed cookie for a sweet escape!

Best Time to Visit

Lovin’ Spoonful’s Vegan Restaurant is cooking yummy fares between Thursday and Tuesday, from 11 AM until 9 PM (except on Sundays when they close early at 3 PM). There are fewer customers around 3 PM, while dinners are heavily flocked. Make your reservation, or you’ll regret missing out on this local gem.

Learn more about Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant here!

Scout the trails at Arthur Pack Regional Park

What’s special about this place?

Arthur Pack Regional Park is an in-city oasis with 11 trails that you can conquer within its grounds. The park is also a host to about ten fields for softball and baseball, a basketball court, golf course, soccer field, a playground, and numerous ramadas where your family can rest, with ADA-accessible amenities. Have a taste of the Sonoran desert without drifting too far from city comforts at Arthur Park Regional Park.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The trails here are mostly flat, meaning both seasoned and first-time hikers can enjoy the journey here. It’s also a great spot if you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking some off-road biking adventure. If you’re wandering with your fur baby, you can take them on the leash for a walk (be responsible and clean up after them!).

What to do here?

Take a hike at the 2.17-mile Maeveen Behan Trail easily, or opt to go for a bit of a challenge at Maeveen Behan to Crooked Tree Loop. Both trails offer a piece of desert environs packed with saguaro cacti flowers and blue palo verde within the heart of the city, with coyotes, rabbits, and birds along the way. Let the kids drain their energy at the playground and enjoy a meal together by the ramada.

Best Time to Visit

Arthur Pack Regional Park is typically heavily crowded around sunsets. But for the rest of the time throughout the week, you can explore the area without any heavy tourist traffic from 7 AM until 6 PM. Begin your hiking journey early since the trails are exposed to avoid toasting yourself.

Don’t let thirst bring you down! Get one of the best water bottles in the market today. Pack up lots of water to keep you hydrated and alert throughout your outdoor adventures.

Learn more about Arthur Pack Regional Park here!

Utter some prayers at the Cathedral of Saint Augustine

What’s special about this place?

The Cathedral of Saint Augustine is not only the oldest institution of the Catholic faith in Tucson, but its architectural magnificence is also a sight that leaves its visitors in awe. It was established in 1858, while the church’s construction finished in 1968 with two spires, a Spanish-Colonial-Revival design, and can currently accommodate 1,250 people. Quiet the modern life chatters and listen within while admiring the striking elegance of the Cathedral of Saint Augustine for a revitalizing tour!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

This Catholic Church is a must-visit if you’re a devoted member of the congregation. But if you’re not from the same sect, or you don’t believe in higher almighty power at all, the structural allure of the Cathedral of Saint Augustine is a wonder you need to witness. For anyone searching for a place for some quiet me-time, it’s one of the most recommended sites in Tucson.

What to do here?

The façade of the Cathedral of Saint Augustine is designed with carvings and surrounded by numerous stained glass windows. Over decade-old sculptures, like the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Conception, can also be observed outside. The Cathedral of Saint Augustine is also a home to the 600-year old Pamplona Crucifix from Spain weighing 2,000 pounds.

Best Time to Visit

See the latest schedules of typical visits, mass, and confessions from their official website. Cathedral of Saint Augustine is typically open to the public during weekdays, from 7 AM until 4 PM. Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block and Children’s Museum Tucson is only a few minutes away, so you can easily slip here to relax and recharge after a demanding day.

Learn more about Cathedral of Saint Augustine here!

Spelunking at Colossal Cave Mountain Park

What’s special about this place?

The 2,400-acre Colossal Cave Mountain Park hosts one of the most massive dry caves in America, with a 3.5-mile surveyed pathway and 71oF temperature throughout the year, listed under the National Register of Historic Places. Before starting its life as a tourism spot in 1954, it served as a Hohokam civilization settlement in 900 AD, a safe house for 19th-century criminals, and a guano mine. Witness its natural allure, stalagmites, and stalactite, spelunking inside Colossal Cave.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

There’s a tour that you can join whether you’ve never tried caving before or you’re an outdoors expert. They also offer a family-friendly option where you and your little ones can safely explore Colossal Cave. For you, all nature lovers out in Tucson, know the other side of the greeneries to complete your trip!

What to do here?

Tours last at least 40 minutes long, running as deep as six stories where you’ll see helictites, flowstone, and box work. In intermediate and advanced tours, ladder climbing, squashing yourself through narrow passageways, and clambering to the darkest and deepest trenches of Colossal Cave will challenge you. Trail riding and camping are also available if you want to stay above the ground.

Best Time to Visit

You need to make advanced reservations, especially for the more advanced tours. Colossal Cave Mountain Park is ready to give you outdoor fun daily, from 9 AM until 3 PM (Monday-Thursday), and closes an hour later for the rest of the week. Keep in mind, if you decide to sign up for more challenging tours, lights and helmets are inclusive, but you need a BYO pair of gloves.

Stay comfortable wearing a pair of the best hiking shoes available right now. Save your feet, and don’t spoil the fun!

Learn more about Colossal Cave Mountain Park here!

Family day at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park

What’s special about this place?

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park is a family-focused 56-acre Tucson park complete with basketball courts, splash pads, picnic tables, open fields, shaded playgrounds, a garden, and dog parks. It’s dedicated in memory of Brandi Fenton, a 13-year old, free-spirited Tucsonan who tragically passed away in an accident involving cars. It’s the ideal outdoors option where you can enjoy a stroll, roam on a bike, or relax and people-watch.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

It’s a must-visit if you’re on a Tucson vacation with your family, especially if you’re short on time. Make your budget last a little longer by coming to Brandi Fenton Memorial Park with free admission. It’s the place to let time pass by or burn some calories while on holiday.

What to do here?

Let your kiddos spend their energy sliding, climbing, and running, share a picnic, see the children’s sculptures and let them refresh by the splash area. The park sits on the banks of the Rillito River, don’t skip the opportunity to scout the trail while pedaling. Tucson Botanical Gardens is also within close distance, the ideal detour if you want to mellow down after all the hype at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park.

Best Time to Visit

Brandi Fenton Memorial Park is open throughout the week between 6 AM and 10 PM, and choose weekdays if you don’t like ending up amidst herds of tourists. But if you don’t mind a bit of socializing and making new friends, weekends are your best bet. If you plan to stay out of the splash area, bring some sunscreen to avoid roasting yourself on brutal temps!

Learn more about Brandi Fenton Memorial Park here!

Visit Trail Dust Town

What’s special about this place?

Trail Dust Town began its life in 1962 as a shopping center, and over time, it gradually transitioned into an all-purpose entertainment hub. With nine stores in its premises, operated by the 3rd generation of the founders, it now offers shopping, dining, and entertaining activities. Delicious food, a rich museum, vintage rides at PollyAnna Park, and a Wild West stunt show from the Pistoleros will send you back in time with no time machine needed!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

This local hotspot is an all-in-one place that you can come to if you’re in Tucson on a tight budget. The kids will love riding the carousels and going up slowly on the antique Ferris Wheel. Its ambiance at Trail Dust Town is something that an avid Wild West fan is bound to love experiencing.

What to do here?

Ride aboard the Miniature Train, put your shooting skills to test at the Shooting Gallery, and take old-time pictures at Barking Iron Old Time Photo Studio. Savor a tasty cowboy-inspired steak from Pinnacle Peak, or go light with servings at Millie’s Pancake House before the pistoleros put on an action-packed show. Besides, witnessing what old-time Tucson is like at Trail Dust Town, just sightseeing and observing, is free and priceless at the same time!

Best Time to Visit

Trail Dust Town is open as early as 6:30 AM and closes at 9 PM, with no heavy tourist volume all day long, except on weekends when it starts picking up around 4 PM. No matter what time you choose to come around, you’ll be lost in the timeline at Trail Dust Town!

Learn more about Trail Dust Town here!

Wander through Arizona State Museum

What’s special about this place?

Dig deep into the 13,000-year history not only of Tucson but of the entire state at Arizona State Museum within the campus of the University of Arizona. It’s an 1893 cultural cradle to over 3 million artifacts and items, including the world’s most massive collection of Indian baskets, with 35,000 pieces in its keeping. Enrich your knowledge of the previous civilizations and their development throughout history into the Arizona State Museum.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Arizona State Museum is a treasure trove that every history geek traveling in Tucson will love. If you want to give your kids an engaging learning tour, this place is your bet. Taking some time observing here will be a rewarding experience if you’re still searching for another entry in your itinerary.

What to do here?

Check out the fiber collections at Weaving Through Time Exhibit and the fragile pieces at The Pottery Project, showcasing the voices of the indigenous people in the region. See over 500,000 photo negatives and prints at Saving an American Treasure and experience Mexican heritage at Wrapped in Color. James S. Griffith’s collection of Yaqui and Mayo masks are also on display, the wooden pieces holding priceless value on Pascola rituals.

Best Time to Visit

Arizona State Museum is only operational between Tuesday and Friday, from 10 AM until 4 PM. Arizona History Museum is a neighboring attraction, so why not slip in after a journey through Arizona State Museum for a culture-packed Tucson trip!

Learn more about Arizona State Museum here!

Biking at Rillito River Park

What’s special about this place?

Stretching long on a 12-mile paved path, the Rillito River Park is a part of 131-mile The Loop accommodating runners, bikers, dog owners, and equestrians, with the overlooking view of Catalina Mountains and Rillito River. Wildlife encounters are also common along the tree-lined riverbank, and water fountains are available at every intersection. Get your blood flowing while basking in the natural beauty of the surroundings at Rillito River Park!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The trail is easy to follow, beginner-friendly, and ADA accessible. Meaning even if you’re with kids or having trouble with movement, you’ll have no hassle being outdoors at Rillito River Park. It’s a trail where people of all ages, fitness levels, and interests will love exploring!

What to do here?

Aside from hiking and biking, bird watching is also one of the most loved activities here, along with wildlife observation where you might spot cottontails, roadrunners, and coyotes. Remember to bring your camera! Lots of picturesque backdrops are along your path!

Best Time to Visit

Rillito River Park is accessible daily, starting at 6 AM, until it closes at 10 PM, be there once the dawn breaks for a peaceful and breezy ride. If you’re with your special someone, sunsets here are one of the most romantic in Tucson. Monsoon season can bring flocks of people to Rillito River Park since it fills up the typically dried-out river.

Pack up a dependable water bottle that you can refill by the fountains. Dehydration is no good in any sense!

Learn more about Rillito River Park here!

Eat at El Taco Rustico

What’s special about this place?

Taste authentic Mexican food options at the counter-served El Taco Rustico, offering twelve meat options and four vegetarian-friendly choices. The restaurant has quickly become one of the most loved food joints in Tucson since opening in 2020. Traditional burrito, tacos, gorditas, churros, parrilladas and sopes, you name it, El Taco Rustico have it in its menu!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The casual ambiance is very relaxing. So if you’re with friends or your family, sharing food and stories over the table is more enjoyable at El Taco Rustico. The menu here will please your taste buds if you’re a fanatic of Mexican cooking.

What to do here?

Some of the wide meat options you can expect are Red Chile Beef, Carne Asada, Chicharron, Costilla, Birria and Bisteq Encebolado. Try out the customer-favorite Quesabirria, with taco dazzled with rich cheese, paired with traditional stew, beans, and rice, which you can also ask for the Keto way. Tortas made with your choice of meat, lettuce, tomato, avocado, cheese, and onion will make you crave more!

Best Time to Visit

You can eat at El Taco Rustico Monday to Sunday, from 7 AM until 9 PM. If you come during peak hours, you might end up waiting for a bit, so if you can be there for breakfast before the customers come flooding in at 10 AM, the better. El Guero Canelo is also just within a few minutes, so why not take an all-Mexican food trip!

Learn more about El Taco Rustico here!

Hiking at Catalina State Park

What’s special about this place?

The 5,500-acre Catalina State Park sitting at the base of Santa Catalina Mountains has been an oasis to around 5,000 saguaro cacti and 150 bird species since it opened in 1983. It’s famed for its hiking trails that reach as high as 3,000 feet in elevation. Explore the natural jewels of Catalina State Park trekking, challenging your mind and body while absorbing the desert vibes of the region!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The park hosts numerous trails that both newbie and seasoned hikers will enjoy. Your kids and your furry friend Fido can tag along, so You don’t have to be a professional for the most part! If you’re aching to conquer Tucson heights, there’s plenty of ways to do so at Catalina State Park.

What to do here?

Take loop trails like the 1-mile Birding Trail, Romero Ruins Interpretive Trail, and Nature Trail for easy outdoor journeys. Get your adrenaline fix assaulting the Sutherland Trail running for 9.1 miles, with steep climbs before you reach the summit at Mount Lemmon at 5,900 feet! Go camping or download the Junior Ranger activity guide for your kids that they can use to complete tasks to become an official member, complete with a button and badge!

Best Time to Visit

Catalina State Park is ready to accommodate outdoor lovers as soon as they open at 5 AM daily and closes at 10 PM. Staying overnight is one of the best things to do here. You’ll experience the nighttime environs while stargazing!

Make sure that you’re wearing the best pair of hiking boots on your journey! Sore feet are no good while traveling!

Learn more about Catalina State Park here!

Ride all you can at Funtasticks Family Fun Park

What’s special about this place?

Home to the biggest laser tag arena in the city with three stories of 5,200 ft.2 world-class indoor facilities, plus six other attractions, including the town’s one and only Kiddie Land with five child-friendly rides. The 5-acre Funtasticks Family Fun Park has been giving its visitors nonstop family entertainment since 1994. Cactus Springs is also on the highlight, raining down 1000 gallons from massive buckets tipping down every 10 minutes!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Though Funtasticks Family Fun Park is designed mainly for kids under 12, it’s a fun-filled entertainment hub where each member of your family can enjoy. There’s nothing more beautiful than seeing your kids smiling and laughing. If amusement parks are one of your favorite spots whenever you’re traveling, then this place should be on the top of your list.

What to do here?

Test your skills swinging the club in the 18-hole mini-golf course, smash the buttons playing arcade games, and show off your groove on a classic Dance Revolution machine. Race on go-carts, safely crash on a bumper boat, play family tag competition and let the kids loose at Kiddie Land riding Frog Hopper, Kiddie Roller Coaster, and Crazy Taxi before Cactus Springs for a splashathon like there’s no tomorrow!

Best Time to Visit

You don’t need to wait in line just to hop on the rides if you visit during weekdays when it’s crowd-free all day from 10 AM until 8 PM. Time your visit on a Friday when they close three hours later than usual if you want extended fun. Even if you come at noon, the heat only adds to the energetic atmosphere at Funtasticks Family Fun Park!

Learn more about Funtasticks Family Fun Park here!

Explore isolated ecosystems at Biosphere 2

What’s special about this place?

Experience space-like (almost) isolation at the 3.14-acre Biosphere 2 run by the University of Arizona, the world’s largest enclosed ecosystem up to date! After finishing construction in 1991, it served as a research facility that kept people isolated for two years, exploring and learning throughout its seven biomes, complete with each ecosystem on the planet. Unveil ecological interactions, learn about space survival, and unearth scientific discoveries at the state-of-the-art Biosphere 2.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Whether you’re a science geek or not, the unique environs inside the research facility will capture your curiosity. Its straight-outta-future architectural design is a sight that’ll leave anyone amazed. If you’re searching for cool things to do in Tucson, checking out Biosphere 2 is one of the best choices.

What to do here?

Before you head there, you need to download their app to guide you during your tour inside Biosphere 2. Some of the ecosystems you’ll see include rainforest, savannah, fog desert, ocean mangrove, and agricultural land. Plunge into the heart of wilderness when you stroll through the exterior one-way path and the wooden boardwalk across the entire facility.

Best Time to Visit

Biosphere 2 welcomes visitors daily, starting at 9 AM until 4 PM. Save yourself from herds of curious heads when you come to the research facility on a weekday. Missing out on stepping foot at Biosphere 2 is still worse than maneuvering your way through crowds!

If you enjoy unique attractions, taking a trip to Austin will give you memorable experiences and discover why “Keep Austin Weird” is an echoing tagline that many people love!

Learn more about Biosphere 2 here!

Bowen Stone House along Yetman Trail

What’s special about this place?

A.k.a. The “stone house” was home to Ruby and Sherry Bowen in the 1930s, looking after 2,000 acres of land in the Sonoran Desert. Easily found along the Yetman Trail, running for only a couple of miles long (roundtrip), with its trailhead at Camino del Oeste. Enjoy the scenic views along the way and take a peek at the past at the Bowen Stone House.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

The trail is hard enough to be a little challenging for beginners but accessible enough that even if you haven’t hiked before, you’ll still have fun outdoors. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun tracing Yetman Trail as a pro hiker. The Bowen Stone House is a double treat that every nature and history lover will appreciate.

What to do here?

There are plenty of signs to guide you along the way, passing through lines of Saguaro cacti along with yellow wildflowers. Most parts of the house were worn down, but the fireplaces, foundations, and walls are still intact. Spending some time in Bowen Stone House itself was a rewarding slice of serenity, so pack up some picnic to munch while resting and savoring the mountain views from the windows before heading back.

Best Time to Visit

The trail is open from sunrise to sunset and is always peaceful, with no flocks of hikers on the way. But go early if possible to avoid the deadly heat, especially in the summer seasons (make sure you bring sunscreen and lots of water). Monsoon season and spring bring out the beautiful wildflowers, with more tolerable temperatures.

Wear comfortable shoes! If yours is giving up, you might want to check out our in-depth review of the best hiking boots today for a new pair.

Learn more about Yetman Trail here!

Bird watching at Agua Caliente Park

What’s special about this place?

Meaning “warm water”, the 101-acre 1985 Agua Caliente Park has three artificial ponds where warm spring water rotates, serving home to numerous wildlife, including a rich collection of birds. The historical 1920’s ranch house still standing up to this day can be seen, plus hiking trails, walkways, and picnic tables within the park’s grounds. Keep out of the famous overcrowded parks and enjoy the open skies bird watching at Agua Caliente Park!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Agua Caliente Park is one of the most charming picnic spots in Tucson if you’re with your family. If you’re a bird-watching enthusiast, or you enjoy nature in general, taking a tour of this park will be a worthwhile experience for you. It’s also another rewarding attraction where you can have a fun time at no cost at all!

What to do here?

The park offers guided bird watching tours for $5, but admission to the park itself is free. You can go hiking or take a walk around, and you’ll come across starlings, ravens, hummingbirds, quails, old-world sparrows, and plenty of ducks. Bring some snacks and drinks (alcohol not permitted) to share over the picnic area while enjoying the view at Agua Caliente Park.

Best Time to Visit

Agua Caliente Park is open to the public everyday, starting 7 AM until 6 PM, with bird-watching tours every Thursday. It’s peaceful all day long without any heavy flocks of tourists between Mondays and Fridays. Tree shades are limited, so remember to wear a hat, sunglasses and put some sunscreen on.

Learn more about Agua Caliente Park here!

Wilderness awareness at International Wildlife Museum

What’s special about this place?

With a mission to educate the world since 1988, the 40,000 ft.2 International Wildlife Museum showcases over 400 wildlife species from across the globe through taxidermy, dioramas, and interactive exhibits. Though this local attraction doesn’t get as much publicity as it deserves, you’ll be in wonderment with their vast collection of birds, insects, and mammals, displayed with their natural habitats in the background. Learn about wildlife preservation and conservation at the International Wildlife Museum.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

It’s a great place to increase your children’s awareness. You’ll appreciate the brain behind the whole operation of the International Wildlife Museum if you’re an eco-warrior. If you don’t like seeing lifeless stuffed animals, this is not the right place for you (be assured that there’s no animal hurt for the sake of the displays).

What to do here?

Check out underwater ecosystems at Fishy Bizness with fishes and colorful corals. The permanent collection includes lions, tigers, penguins, crocodiles, bulls, mammoths, and giraffes. Two of the world’s most gigantic puzzles also found their home at the International Wildlife Museum, with 42,000 pieces and 33,600 pieces, needed to be completed!

Best Time to Visit

The International Wildlife Museum is only open for tours between Thursday and Sunday. They start welcoming visitors around 9 AM and close at 5 PM on Thursday and Friday, and at 6 PM on Saturday and Sunday. Be there as soon as they open if you want to steer clear off of the crowds.

Learn more about International Wildlife Museum here!

Morning walk at Himmel Park

What’s special about this place?

Take a quick morning escapade into the 24.3-acre Himmel Park. Since its establishment in 1935, the city park has developed over time with a swimming pool, eight tennis courts, two playgrounds, four soccer fields, a basketball court, paved paths with trees lining up, plus its on-site library spanning 6,989 ft.2 and a grassy amphitheater. Stay active on the go when you welcome the day at Himmel Park.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Himmel Park is an ideal spot if you value staying fit while on vacation. The child-friendly amenities will keep your little ones active while having fun. Go to Himmel Park to save some dimes, enjoying local Tucson scenery without spending anything at all!

What to do here?

Push your limits running laps, join a tennis game or watch a soccer match at one of the open fields. Let the kids run, slide and swing at the playground while you unfold your picnic rug and get the snacks out. If you’re in no mood to be active, simply enjoy the breaking of dawn while relaxing on a bench.

Best Time to Visit

Expect that the park is moderately trafficked, and it’s the typical daily scenario. Be there early, around 6 AM, for a more peaceful and crowd-free setup. Besides, the temperature can be brutal during later hours. The swimming pool is only open to the public during the summer months, between June and August.

If you don’t have a picnic rug, get the best bang for your buck with the best beach blanket to cover all your outdoor needs!

Learn more about Himmel Park here!

All-day fun at Golf N Stuff

What’s special about this place?

Providing entertainment to both locals and visitors since 1977, Golf N Stuff was first known as Golf N Things before changing in 1985. They’re complete with bumper boats, go-karts, two mini-golf with 18 holes, an inflatable laser tag arena, over a hundred arcade machines, and seven batting cages, and all-day smiles and enjoyment are simply inevitable! Be young again and play to your heart’s content at Golf N Stuff!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

All the attractions at Golf N Stuff are focused on giving people of any age and walks of life the kind of fun they will forever remember. Spending a day here is one of the best things to do in Tucson as a family. If you love theme parks, you need to set aside time for this local favorite.

What to do here?

Prepare to get wet hopping aboard the bumper boat, equipped with a water-gun as you cross the waves and fight off others, then collect tickets by the arcade machines and claim a souvenir from the prize center. Test your baseball skills by trying to hit the ball running as fast as 80 mph! Double up the fun when you pair up Golf N Stuff with the neighboring Trail Dust Town just within near distance!

Best Time to Visit

Golf N Stuff is ready to give you unlimited offers throughout the week, starting at 10 AM, closing at 9 PM on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, an hour later on Thursdays, and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Hop one ride after another when you come during weekdays when fewer people are in the amusement park.

Learn more about Golf N Stuff here!

Fishing at Sahuarita Lake Park

What’s special about this place?

Sahuarita Lake Park is home to a massive 10-acre artificial lake going as deep as 12 feet, with a 1-mile long paved walkway with numerous exercise stations along the way. It’s famed as a great fishing area due to its accessibility, plus its turquoise blue glimmering waters. For a mellow day, fishing at Sahuarita Lake Park is the best way, with 242 trees giving shade throughout its ground!

Who’ll enjoy it here?

If you want to just let time slip by while relaxing, fishing is an effective strategy to unwind while in Tucson. It’s a sport that people of any skill level, even first-timers, will find fulfilling. Picnic areas are also available for families and groups, and outdoor lovers will love the trails at Sahuarita Lake Park.

What to do here?

Some of the marine life you’ll catch at Sahuarita Lake Park are sunfish, bass, trout, and catfish. The park is also dense with acacia, mesquite, oak, and palo verde, along with murals painted on structures and recycled materials representing the culture and nature in the region. Trek the Llano Grande Trail (part of Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail) or enjoy a few minutes of nature walk before your fishing adventure begins.

Best Time to Visit

Fishing at Sahuarita Lake Park is available throughout its open hours, from 6 AM until 7 PM everyday. The park is rarely crowded unless it’s 6 PM on a Saturday. Remember, you’ll need to get a fishing license from the Arizona Game and Fish Department before you can fish.

Learn more about Sahuarita Lake Park here!

Old Tucson Studios

What’s special about this place?

This is where they made the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Newman, John Wayne, Eastwood and Estevez played notorious cowboys here. Eat some really awesome BBQ while Wild West players go around in costume, including cancan girls.

Who’ll enjoy it here?

Kids will love it here (children under 3 get in for free). But lovers of western films and all things Wild West really enjoy the shows, the scenery and authenticity of visiting these sets.

What to do here?

All park shows are included with the entrance fee. Watch cowboys shoot it out with the sheriff while scenes of the wild west play out before your eyes. Walk into a saloon and experience what passed for entertainment and the night life in the time before electricity. There are several restaurants, moderately priced that are both current types as well as Wild West authentic.

Best Time to Visit

Having survived the Covid pandemic, Pima County sold Old Tucson Studios so that it continues to celebrate the Wild West. Around $20 entrance for adults, about $12 for kids. Come early in the day to avoid the hard Arizona sun and so you can enjoy a great BBQ in the shade. Open all year round.

Learn more about Old Tucson Studios here!

That wraps up our Tucson travel guide!

Which places do you want to visit?

Where do you plan to eat?

What activities do you want to try?

Though one thing is certain. No matter what you end up doing in Tucson. You’ll have lots and lots of memorable fun!

Are you out for a deep cultural trip? Visiting Presidio San Agustin del Tucson, Arizona State Museum, and Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block, and San Xavier del Bac Mission?

A yummy-filled foodie experience trying out Sonoran dog? Or dining at Kingfisher, El Taco Rustico, and BOCA Tacos y Tequila? How about an organic dinner at Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegan Restaurant?

Do you dream of staying outdoors? Scouting Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, and Catalina State Park?

Or out for fishing and mountain biking? Driving up Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway and Gates Pass Scenic Overlook?

Is it a family holiday? Checking out Children’s Museum Tucson, Reid Park Zoo, Old Tucson, and Pima Air and Space Museum? How about playing at Lucky Strike Bowl?

Whether you’re a solo traveler, with your special person, family, or friends, there are literally unlimited things to do in Tucson.

Entertaining and worthwhile local attractions are waiting to amaze you!

Don’t let anything stop you from making that Tucson trip you’ve always dreamed about a reality.

Stuff up your backpack and slip into your hiking bootsGear up and head for the exit. Experience Old Pueblo’s lively culture, rich nature, delicious food, and welcoming people!

Happy travels!

FAQ

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Tucson

What are the free things to do in Tucson?

Budget travel doesn’t mean you need to miss out on amazing attractions in the city. Make some of the most worthwhile Tucsonan memories you’ll carry when you try out these activities:

Is Tucson safe?

Just like every other city, Tucson isn’t a hundred percent safe or deadly. Measuring the overall crime rate in the area, a 3,960:100,000 crime ratio was recorded: 688 violent crimes and 3,272 property crimes.

It means that the crime possibility is as high as 1:25 and higher than the 2,580:100,000 national average.

These crimes concentrate in a few communities such as the Mountain View, Avondale, Palo Verde, and Blenman-Elm neighborhoods.

Some of the areas considered to be the safest include Tucson Park West, Houghton, Armory Park, and Prince Tucson.

Just keep in mind that the eastern, northern, and nearby the U of A, are the safest. While those on the southern and southwestern portions of downtown are in the red zone.

But as SOP, whether you’re traveling or not, be mindful of your surroundings, never leave your important belongings in the open and exercise extra caution once it’s dark.

When’s the best time to visit Tucson?

Unlike other tourist destinations, summer is a big no-no unless you’re traveling on a budget.

Tucson summers can be brutally hot, with triple digits hitting the temps, making it impossible to be out and about, especially if you love the outdoors. But for the same reason, most accommodation options in the city offer lower rates.

The winter season, between November and March, is the peak season. With the snow plaguing almost every other part of the country, tourists flock to Tucson for its warmth, which also means high hotel rates. Make sure that you book your room ahead of time, at least a month, to be clear whether it’s available or not.

Spring (April until May) marks the best time to visit Tucson. Summer hasn’t kicked off yet, the winter coldness is still lingering, and the sun is out all the time. The average temperature ranges between 68ºF and 95ºF, perfect for outdoor adventures. During this time, hotels are also available at reasonable rates.

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