Tucson is home to the world’s largest collection of saguaro cacti, more than 150 museums and galleries, and more than 100 golf courses. We’ve got history and culture galore, and it’s all within an hour’s drive from Phoenix or Tucson International Airport (if you’re here for spring training). Tucson is a modern city with a vibrant downtown that has plenty of restaurants, bars, hotels, and shops throughout the year. If you’re looking for things to do in this desert oasis along the border of Mexico then look no further! Here are 14 things we think you should add to your itinerary:
Sabino Canyon is one of the best things to do in Tucson. It’s a beautiful place to go hiking and explore. There are many different trails, so whether you’re looking for an easy stroll or a strenuous trek, Sabino Canyon has something for everyone. The scenery is stunning no matter which trail you choose!
This hike isn’t too steep or difficult, but it isn’t great for beginners either. If you’re unsure about your abilities, try one of the easier trails first; if that goes well then come back again (or check out some other nearby hikes) later on when you’re more comfortable with hiking difficulty levels. There are picnic areas throughout Sabino Canyon as well as a campground where you can stay overnight if desired!
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park is located in southern Arizona and is home to the world’s largest cactus species. The park has a large collection of wildlife that includes javelinas (wild boar), coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats, and a variety of other desert animals. There are also more than 100 bird species that live in the park year-round.
The park has over 40 miles of hiking trails available for visitors to explore on foot or bike at their leisure. Trails range from easy hikes that last no more than an hour to strenuous treks up steep hills and canyons with breathtaking views at every turn. If you’re looking for an easier trail experience but still want some beautiful scenery without having too much trouble on your way up into the mountains or hillsides where these trails begin their ascents then try out one of these suggestions:
Saguaro National Park Nature Trail – This self-guided tour lasts just over a mile round trip so it won’t take up too much time from your day but will still give you plenty of amazing sights along this short path through one corner of Saguaro’s vast acreage
Pima Air and Space Museum
The Pima Air and Space Museum is located in Tucson, AZ. It’s open year-round. The museum has over 300 aircraft on display, including a space shuttle orbiter, a P-51 Mustang fighter plane (made famous by the Tuskegee Airmen), and two B-17 bombers from World War II.
The museum also has a large collection of space artifacts, including lunar rocks and an Apollo 15 command module that was used for extravehicular activities during the Apollo 15 mission to the Moon in 1971. There are many other exhibits here too: check out their website or visit them online at https://www.pimaair.org/ to learn more about what they have to offer!
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is the largest privately owned desert museum in the world. It features a wide variety of animals, plants, and cultural exhibits that are native to this area. You can learn about everything from how to identify different kinds of cacti to how Native Americans used plants for food and medicine. You can also see live animals like snakes, lizards, and birds in their natural habitat inside an indoor zoo called Nature’s Classroom.
The Desert Museum is a great place to visit if you want your kids to learn about the environment without having them sit through an educational lecture or a boring class trip!
Tohono Chul Park
- Tohono Chul Park is a botanical garden, desert oasis, and museum with an extensive collection of native plants, cacti, and succulents. This is also one of the best places in Tucson to see wildlife.
- Located at 7366 N Paseo Del Norte in Tucson, Arizona, the park is open from 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday through Saturday and 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm on Sunday.
Tombstone is home to many of the people who shaped American history. The town was founded by Ed Schieffelin, an Arizona silver miner, and his business partner, George Gladden. They established a rich vein of silver in 1877 and thus began the town’s rich mining history. Tombstone attracted famous people from around the country, including Wyatt Earp who made his name as a lawman there before he became famous as a gunfighter.
Virgil Earp (Wyatt’s older brother) was one of three brothers who were shot dead by cowboys in what became known as “The Gunfight at the O.K Corral” on October 26th, 1881. Billy Clanton and Ike Clanton were part of this group but they did not survive that fateful day either; they died along with Morgan Earp who was also shot dead by Curly Bill Brocius and Frank McLaury during this violent shootout outside The Bird Cage Theatre where prostitutes worked upstairs while men gambled downstairs for money or more often for gold coins called “dusters” which were valued at $16 each at that period!
- Bisbee is a historic mining town in southeastern Arizona. It’s known for its art scene and the many hiking trails that lead into the mountains.
- You can also bike to Tombstone or make the drive north to Chiricahua National Monument, which has great views of the Chiricahua Mountains.
- The food scene in Bisbee is diverse; you’ll find everything from vegetarian cuisine to fried chicken at many different restaurants.
Kartchner Caverns State Park
Kartchner Caverns State Park is a state park in Arizona, USA, located south of Benson in the Sonoran Desert. The caverns are a popular tourist attraction, with over 250,000 visitors each year.
The caverns were discovered in 1974 by cavers Rick and Johnnie Allison while they were exploring an area known as “Wild Cave.” They found an opening on the north side of Rattlesnake Mountain at an elevation of 5,500 feet (1,700 m). After exploring further into the cave’s interior and realizing that it was not part of previously known cave systems in this area, they began working with the National Speleological Society to determine if this was a discovery.
With their assistance and approval from landowners Don and Florence Baker who owned most of the land surrounding Kartchner Caverns today (except for about 200 acres owned by U.S Forest Service), surveys confirmed that this was indeed an entirely new system—one with some unique features such as formations never seen before outside places like Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky or Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico!
The Loop Cycle Paths
The Loop cycle path is a paved, 14-mile bike trail that follows the route of the streetcar line that once ran through Tucson. The path runs from downtown Tucson to the University of Arizona campus, and from downtown to the Catalina Foothills.
The Loop also connects to other trails around town and can be used for longer rides.
Old Tucson Studios
Old Tucson Studios is a movie set, theme park, and film studio located in Tucson, Arizona. The original site was established in 1939 as a Wild West movie set by Hollywood producer Mervyn LeRoy while he was filming The Outlaws Is Coming.
Today, Old Tucson Studios is still home to many of the original sets used during its heyday. These include the town of Tombstone; Fort Bowie (a military post); and two saloons: The Bird Cage Theatre and El Garrote Gin Fizz Saloon. Some scenes from the 1993 classic western Tombstone were also filmed on location at Old Tucson Studios.
The theme park was opened to the public in 1960 with actors portraying famous characters from Western movies such as Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday greeting visitors as they arrived at the gates. A few years later a live-action stage show entitled “Cowboy Jubilee” was added onto both sides of Main Street depicting an actual Saturday night celebration in Tombstone’s Shooters’ Hall Saloon.
San Xavier del Bac Mission
The San Xavier del Bac mission was founded in 1700, making it the oldest in Arizona. It’s also a National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The church is still active today and can be visited for tours and prayer services. If you’re visiting Tucson, don’t miss this charming spot!
4th Avenue Shopping District
The 4th Avenue Shopping District is the main commercial district in Tucson. It’s one of the best places to visit if you want to shop, eat out, or people watch. There are many restaurants, bars, and boutiques along this street.
- The District is also home to many art galleries and museums such as the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block 21.
- With its large variety of shopping options as well as nightlife spots nearby (at Hotel Congress), 4th Avenue makes an ideal place to start your night out!
Mission San José de Tumacácori
Mission San José de Tumacácori, a National Historic Landmark, was established in 1691 by Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino. The Spanish Colonial-style adobe mission was the first Christian site north of Mexico and is located within the Tumacácori National Historical Park. Visitors can tour the museum on-site to learn about its history.
Titan Missile Museum
The Titan Missile Museum is a must-see for history buffs and military enthusiasts alike. Located in Sahuarita, AZ, it’s the only remaining Titan II missile site in the country and was built in 1963 as part of America’s Cold War defense network against Soviet Russia. Since it was decommissioned in 1982, this historic site has been preserved and turned into an educational museum that features several other exhibits as well as interactive displays where visitors can learn about what life was like for those who worked there during its heyday.
This city has so much to offer!
In 2016, the city of Tucson was named one of the best places to visit by Lonely Planet. The city is known for its diverse culture and rich history, as well as its long list of things to do and see.
If you’re looking to learn more about the history of this area while having fun at the same time, several museums offer interactive exhibits that will help you get a better understanding of what life was like during different periods in Tucson’s past. You can even take part in an educational program about local plant life or discover how Native Americans used desert plants for food and medicine.
When it comes to things to do and see in Tucson, there’s no shortage! At least once during your visit here make sure you go on a tour through old mining towns like Bisbee and Jerome; these towns have been carefully preserved so visitors can see firsthand what life was like during their prime years (which were back in 1877).
There are so many great things to do in Tucson, Arizona. We hope this list has given you some ideas for your next vacation!