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Top Things To Do In Tucson

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.

Tour for Four or Eight People at Southern Arizona Transportation Museum (47% Off)
Southern Arizona Transportation Museum
Tucson
4.5
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$12.00 $6.25
47% discount_off
Tour for Four or Eight People at Southern Arizona Transportation Museum (47% Off)
General Admission for Two or Four to the International Wildlife Museum (Up to 37% Off)
International Wildlife Museum
Tucson
4.8
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$20.00 $13.00
35% discount_off
General Admission for Two or Four to the International Wildlife Museum (Up to 37% Off)
Admission for Two, Four, or Six to Superstition Mountain Museum (Up to 38% Off)
Superstition Mountain Museum
Apache Junction
4.7
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$13.50 $8.75
35% discount_off
Admission for Two, Four, or Six to Superstition Mountain Museum (Up to 38% Off)
One-Year Individual or Family Membership to the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona Campus
Arizona State Museum
Tucson
4.5
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$40.00 $20.50
48% discount_off
One-Year Individual or Family Membership to the Arizona State Museum on the University of Arizona Campus
Year-Long Individual or Family Membership at The University of Arizona Museum of Art (Up to 42% Off)
The University of Arizona Museum of Art
Tucson
4.8
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$50.00 $29.00
42% discount_off
Year-Long Individual or Family Membership at The University of Arizona Museum of Art (Up to 42% Off)
20-Minute Gates Pass Tour or 25-Minute Downtown Tucson Tour for Three from Volare Helicopters (Up to 30% Off)
Volare Helicopters
Marana
5.0
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$405.00 $285.00
29% discount_off
20-Minute Gates Pass Tour or 25-Minute Downtown Tucson Tour for Three from Volare Helicopters (Up to 30% Off)
One-Hour Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride for One or Two from Arizona Balloons, Inc. (Up to 27% Off)
Arizona Balloons, Inc.
Phoenix
4.9
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$200.00 $155.00
22% discount_off
One-Hour Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride for One or Two from Arizona Balloons, Inc. (Up to 27% Off)
Wine Tasting Package for Two or Four at The Windmill Winery (Up to 38% Off)
The Windmill Winery
Florence
4.6
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$40.00 $29.00
27% discount_off
Wine Tasting Package for Two or Four at The Windmill Winery (Up to 38% Off)

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:

  • Learning about the Copper state at the Arizona State Museum
  • Marveling at the stars and planets at the Kitt Peak National Observatory
  • Taking a photo with the giant A on Sentinel Peak
  • Hiking through the Saguaro National Park
  • Exploring the University of Arizona Campus

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:

  • Driving out to see the scientific wonder of Biosphere 2
  • Exploring the historic San Xavier del Bac Church
  • Seeing nationally protected saguaro on Cactus Forest Drive
  • Visiting the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block
  • Walking the Turquoise Trail in Downtown Tucson for history

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:

  • Grabbing a cup of joe at Crave Coffee Bar
  • Unleashing your inner teenager at the Tucson Mall
  • Getting a quick and clean cut at jcuts
  • Trying some authentic Mexican cuisine at Goyitas
  • Catching the latest blockbuster at Harkins Theatres Tucson Spectrum 18

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:

  • Dancing on the rooftop at the Playground Bar & Lounge
  • Trying your luck at winning it big at the Casino del Sol
  • Enjoying the daily happy hour or the late night food at Dante’s Fire
  • Listening to live mariachi at Guadalajara Fiesta Grill
  • Having dinner and drinks at DOWNTOWN Kitchen + Cocktails

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:

  • Play with the animals at the Funny Foot Farms
  • Bounce off the walls at the get Air trampoline park
  • Spend the day riding rides at the Funtasticks Family Fun Park
  • Spend the day learning at the Children's Museum Tucson
  • Play a round of putt putt at Golf N’ Stuff

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:

  • Find your inner balance with yoga at Studio 520
  • Get a mani and pedi at A Lasting Touch salon
  • Sip some wine and learn to paint with Paint Nite
  • Learn the mysteries of science at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium
  • Relax with a full body therapeutic massage at Zen by Olivia

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:

  • Riding your bike all around Tucson on the Loop
  • Hiking the Signal Hill Trail to see ancient petroglyphs
  • Visiting the animals at the Reid Park Zoo
  • Exploring the Sabino Canyon located in the Santa Catalina Mountains
  • Admiring the desert landscape up close on the Douglas Spring Trailhead