Despite its growing size, Tucson still embodies its small-town charm. This helps it stand out against metropolitan behemoth Phoenix and ritzy Scottsdale. Deeply rooted in Hispanic heritage, the wide variety of cultural activities in Tucson draw in travelers looking for a change of pace.
Not all of Tucson’s attractions come from beyond the border. This southwestern town is home to the University of Arizona, the first university in the Arizona territory. Between the college atmosphere, its rich history, and natural splendor, this Pima County town is a one-of-a-kind oasis offering many unique things to do.
The clear skies make for a beautiful backdrop as you explore the desert city. The galleries in the Catalina Foothills district offer respite from the more rigorous outdoors activities, as do the Tucson Botanical Gardens.
The best things to do near Tucson include:
With so many families and college students residing in Tucson, its only natural that the city is full of affordable activities for everyone. Spend your time in the great outdoors making use of the ample trails, or visit the Center for Creative Photography on the U of A campus.
Other cheap things to do near Tucson include:
The Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum has it all, including outdoor exhibits, a zoo, and botanical gardens. And the Pima Air & Space Museum has both relics and prototypes of past aircrafts.
For Hollywood buffs, Old Tucson Studios is a former set for TV westerns like “El Dorado” and “Little House on the Prairie.” Today, it’s a family-friendly theme park.
Popular attractions for tourists near Tucson include:
Since the expansion of the University of Arizona, Tucson continues to grow economically. The city relies heavily on “snowbirds,” the annual visitors who migrate south during colder months.
Exciting activities near Tucson include:
Hotel Congress in downtown Tucson has it all — live music, food vendors, and the first floor turns into a dance floor when the sun goes down. For a taste of the Tucson nightlife, University of Arizona students will direct you to Fourth Ave., downtown Tucson, or one of the city’s many nearby casinos.
Nighttime activities near Tucson include:
The Rialto is the biggest concert hall in Tucson and is a frequent stop for major touring artists. And the Tucson Convention Center hosts a wide range of events and festivals. Events are also regularly held at the Pima County fairgrounds on weekends. And on the 2nd Saturday of every month Downtown Tucson holds a street fair and an art walk free to the public.
Other weekend activities near Tucson include:
Spend the day out in the desert at the White Stallion Ranch just west of Tucson. Experience a wide range of family-friendly dude ranch activities, including horseback lessons, a petting zoo, and meals.
Some fun things to do with kids near Tucson include:
The Sonoran desert is famous for its colorful landscape. With so much natural beauty, its easy to find romantic things to do. Stroll hand in hand and watch the orange-purple sunsets or sit in Reid Park and gaze at the starlit skies.
Other date night ideas near Tucson include:
It's common to see large groups meeting for dinner in the historic Fourth Avenue or brunch at the Baja Cafe. Finding group activities is easy in Tucson due to the large college student and family demographic.
Things to do with your friends near Tucson include:
Tucson hosts the annual Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil event every winter. The event brings thousands to town to trade, collect, and hunt. It’s held in a number of different locations, creating outdoor and indoor activities throughout Tucson.
There are several things to do indoors in Tucson:
Nestled near the Saguaro National Park and the Santa Catalinas, Tucson offers plenty of things to do outdoors. And with a history steeped in the earliest years of Spanish exploration of the southwest, there are abundant sightseeing opportunities at each monument and museum.
Other active things to see and do in Tucson include:
This desert metropolis is filled with one-of-a-kind attractions. Some of the best things to do in Tucson is to experience local culture and businesses, like the Saguarohenge at Pima Prickly Park and the eegee’s slushies on a warm day.
Other must-see places and activities near Tucson include: