With 350+ days of sunshine each year, Tucson, Arizona is always ripe for exploration. The city boasts a vibrant history that's brimming with adventure. In the 19th century, it was a Wild West outpost that was home to legendary outlaws, saloons, and shoot-outs. Its unique Native American and Spanish influences shaped the city into a lively capital of culture, which it remains to this day. Ready for a road trip? Explore Tucson with tailored itineraries for every type of traveler.
Maximize your 24 hours in Tucson with a mix of culture, history, and nature. First, pay a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum — a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden in one. Whether you're revisiting the ice age or standing in awe at avian adventures, you could easily spend a whole day exploring the exhibits. Touch stingrays, watch raptors fly untethered, or visit the Waden Aquarium or Earth Sciences Center. Next, a pay visit to the historic Mission San Xavier del Bac — a 1797 era Spanish Catholic mission that's central to the city's story. Complete the day with a sunset view at the majestic Saguaro National Park.
Culture and history await you during a three-day deep dive into the city's story. At Tucson Museum of Art, you'll discover over 12,000 unique works of art that encompass dozens of continents and as many centuries. From painting to sculpture and everything in between, it's an art lover's oasis. After all that creativity, head back in time at Presidio San Augustin del Tucson, a recreation of the original structure built in 1775. See the remains of an 18th century pit house while enjoying a full day of historical reenactments and discussions; you'll learn all about life for the city's original settlers. When you're finished, check out the vibrant local art scene and pay a visit to premier area galleries, such as DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun or Ironwood Gallery.
With a week to kill, you can experience Tucson in all its glory. Experience the ultimate outdoor adventure at Catalina State Park — a 5,500 acre nature lover's paradise. Whether youwant to hike, bike, camp, or go bird watching (there are over 150 species of birds), this park has you covered. Next, spend a day exploring Old Tucson on foot. This movie theater and theme park will have you feeling like you're reliving life in the Old West. After, venture to the Pima Air and Space Museum — one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world. Inside, you'll find over 400 aircraft encompassing 80 acres.
If you're spending your Tucson trip with a special someone, start your getaway with a sunset horseback ride. You'll both discover breathtaking desert views on horseback; what could be more romantic than that? For even more romance, pay a visit to the Tucson Botanical Gardens, where you'll both discover thousands of blossoms and plants native to the region. After you take a hand-in-hand stroll through the gardens, book a dinner date at one of Tucson's top fine dining restaurants, such as The Cork or Le Rendez-Vous.
If you have limited time to explore, there's still plenty to squeeze into your schedule. Try more relaxing options, such as a trip to the Reid Park Zoo, a lively local zoo that houses over 500 animals. Get up close and personal with a plethora of species, including grizzly bears, tortoisses, and giraffes. After your zoo visit, take a brief tour of the University of Arizona campus learning about the history behind each and every building. Then, head downtown for a top-notch meal. Whether you're craving fast food or fine dining, Tucson's cuisine scene doesn't disappoint.
Bringing the kids? Tucscon offers fun for the whole family. Start your day off with a visit to the Reid Park Zoo, and bring the kids to one of the live animal demonstrations for an up close and personal experience with their favorite species. Once they tire of the lions, tigers, and bears, bring them to the interactive Children's Museum Tucson. This kid-friendly museum features dozens of hands-on exhibits to explore, so they'll have a blast while learning something new. Craving some outdoor fun? Bring them to Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, where they can hike, bike, jog, and take photos among striking desert surroundings.
Tucson is a lively city that hosts action-packed events year-round. If you're in town for a sports game or music festival, we've got some creative ideas to keep you busy between events. Explore Old Town Tucson, where you'll find an eclectic mix of historical structures, shopping, and dining. If you want to get a true taste of Tucson, treat yourself out to a night on the town after having a bite at Flemings Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Mi Nidito Restaurant, or HUB Restaurant and Ice Creamery.
Tucson is a city that welcomes you to explore at your own pace, so start off your trip with a visit to DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, a gorgeous art gallery and museum struck into stone. It's dedicated to legendary artist Etore "Ted" DeGrazia, so you're sure to spot some of his 15,000 pieces amidst the ever-changing exhibitions. Take a gentle walk in Tohono Chul, a selection of gardens, galleries, and even a bistro to help curve cravings after you stroll through one of the world's greatest botanical gardens. Don't leave town without taking a scenic drive along the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway; the sunset is truly eye-catching.
Take a hike through Saguaro National Park, home to the largest cacti in the country. An iconic symbol of the Southwest, these cacti will leave you in awe as you stroll through the park's many scenic trails. Don't forget bird watching; Catalina State Park boasts nearly 200 species to see. Once you've wrapped that up, make the journey to Colossal Cave Mountain Park. The name says it all; you'll be mesmerized at the colossal caves within this striking natural landmark.
Consider yourself a foodie? Tucson will delight anyone's taste buds. Stop by Heirloom Farmer's Markets for fresh, locally-grown produce. They operate five unique markets, giving you year-round access to the city's finest food. Book a foodie tour and bite your way through the city's many decadent eateries, then wine down for the night with small plates at Short Rest Tavern or Contigo Latin Kitchen.