Explore Tucson

Top Things to Do in the Tucson Area

Tucson is a two-hour drive south of Phoenix and boasts an artistic, historic and nature-inspired character. Art and shopping districts display native, skilled and eccentric works; museums and attractions carry a historic presence; and nearby towns offer insight to the Wild West days along with opportunities to browse for crafts. Many of Tucson’s top things to do are just as educational as they are fun, and there is plenty to choose from any time of the year. 

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Botanical garden, zoo and natural-history museum, all set on 21 acres of desert. Visitors encounter more than 300 animal species, including such Sonoran Desert animals as Gila monsters, mountain lions and prairie dogs, as well as 1,300 plant varieties.

Pima Air & Space Museum

One of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world, featuring over 300 historical aircrafts and more than 125,000 artifacts, including a moon rock. The exclusive tour of the U.S.

Mission San Xavier Del Bac

Moorish and Byzantine styles were blended to build this church from 1783 to 1797, resulting in one of the finest examples of mission architecture in the United States.

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun

Built by acclaimed Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia, this 10-acre national historic district has six permanent collections of paintings that trace the history and native cultures of the Southwest.

Old Tucson

Visit famous movie and TV sets and enjoy Wild West-style entertainment such as gun fights and musical reviews. Guided tour highlights park scenery and movie history, and a miniature train ride into the nearby desert. Variety of dining venues offering BBQ, brews, ice cream and more.

Trail Dust Town

A recreated 1880s Western town. Stroll the town square, ride the miniature train, watch a stunt show, pan for gold or dine at Pinnacle Peak steak house.

Biosphere 2

Conducts earth-systems research in a glass-enclosed world microcosm that welcomes visitors, wowing them with a real rainforest, a million-gallon ocean, green-technology systems and firsthand experiments about future life on our planet. “Under the Glass” tours are guided.

Kartchner Caverns State Park

This massive cave system was discovered in 1974, kept hush-hush until its fragile features could be properly protected, then cautiously opened to public tours in two phases (1999 and 2003).

Kitt Peak National Observatory

This observatory is frequented by master astronomers and students alike, all clamoring for time to use one of the more than 20 telescopes managed by Kitt Peak. Visitors, however, need not wait for months to have a peek.

Reid Park Zoo

A full-flight, walk-through aviary, two white rhinos, and the opportunity to feed giraffes from eye-level platforms are among the lures of this city zoo.

Fourth Avenue

Street-lined shopping district of art galleries, boutiques, cafes and bars along the city's streetcar route. Arts & crafts booths set up shop twice yearly for the Fourth Avenue Street Fair. 

Tohono Chul Park

This 49-acre park was cited as far back as 1980 by the Tucson Audubon Society for preserving a swath of desert as a public greenspace. Gardens contain individual plant identifiers.

Tombstone & Bisbee

The Old West town of Tombstone sits about an hour southeast of Tucson. Tombstone prospered as a silver-mining town in the 1880s, and survived in the 20th century thanks to visitors’ curiosity about the town’s infamous bygone residents, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, and their legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral.

Tubac

Just 40 minutes south of Tucson is the historic village of Tubac. It was established in 1752 as the first Spanish fort in Arizona, but now the town is largely populated by working artists.