Things to do in Tucson

From day trips to long weekends to packing the suitcase and hitting the road for a mini-vacation

“READY – SET – GO” trips  – Less than an hour

Biosphere II                                        
just 20 miles north of Central Tucson.

Saguaro National Park                  
Has more saguaros than Carter has pills  (does that saying date me?!)

Reid Park Zoo                                    
Reid Park Zoo is a hidden gem, nestled in the center of Tucson, and is the perfect place to enjoy time outside while discovering the wonders of wildlife.

Tohono Chul Park                            
Cultivate your appreciation for the Sonoran Desert’s natural beauty and the impression it makes on everyone who explores the “Desert Corner”.  Here the seasons inspire wondrous events both in nature and culturally.  Enjoy lunch at the café.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum  
This renowned combination zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden reflects the diverse flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert, featuring wildlife like coyotes, bears and mountain lions in their natural settings and aviaries, one for hummingbirds and the other for varied desert birds.

Tucson Botanical Gardens            
Named by Reader’s Digest as the Best Secret Garden in America, Tucson Botanical Gardens is an “oasis” in the heart of Tucson.  Have lunch at the Café Botanica.

Mission San Xavier del Bac            
Built in the 1700’s, this recently restored white adobe church, representing a wonderful example of Spanish colonial architecture, is beautiful inside and out, with colorful frescoes, sculptures, and carvings.

Old Tucson                                         
Old Tucson is “where the spirit of the old west comes alive!    Please note that it is open seasonally and to check their website before going.

Pima Air & Space Museum           
Be amazed at one of the world’s largest aircraft collections including hangars of the World War II planes, supersonic spyplanes, the world’s smallest bi-plane, plus many other unique private, military, and commercial air and spacecraft documenting the evolution of flight.  300 aircraft, 80 acres, 5 indoor air-cooled hangars.

International Wildlife Museum
The museum highlights the diversity of animals worldwide.  It explains the role of science-based wildlife management for sustainable-use conservation, with emphasis on the role of hunting in biologically responsible wildlife managements.


 “PACK A SNACK” day trips – in and around Tucson

Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway  
Mount Lemmon is a famous “sky island” with an elevation of 9,157 feet.   The overall climate is very different from that of the surrounding desert area.  Located in the Coronado National Forest, it is the home of Ski Valley in the town of Summerhaven, and is the site of Kitt Observatory.

Kitt Peak National Observatory   
Kitt Peak is known as the astronomy capital of the world, housing 26 telescopes.

Sabino Canyon        
Experience the beauty of one of the most unique Southwestern desert canyons on a Sabino Canyon tram ride. It is a natural desert oasis located in Tucson’s Coronado National Forest and is home to spectacular landsape and abundant wildlife.

Pima Canyon           
The trail is close to town (north of 1st Ave and Ina Road) and goes out and back so you can hike as far as you want.  Most hikers turn around at the dam for a 5-mile walk, about 4 hours for the leisurely hiker.

Tumamoc Hill            
This is a great hike up a well-paved hill with fantastic city views.  Since this hike is on university property it is one of the only hikes in the Tucson Mountain Range that permits night hiking, making this the perfect hike for sunrise/sunset watching.  It is a research station that has been studied since 1906.  Travel is permitted all the way to the top but on pavement only.  With continued respect this route should remain open to the public.

Tucson Mountain Park     http://webcms.pima.gove/cms/one.aspx?portalld=169%pageld=1539
A 20,000 acre desert natural preserve that accommodates many outdoor activites.

Catalina State Park             
Catalina State Park has something for kids, birders, equestrians, picnickers, serious rock climbers, hikers of all types, flowers almost year round

Kartchner Caverns

Sonoita and Elgin   
Part of the southern Arizona wine country.

Where art and history meet.  Great shopping, restaurants, golf, and remember the movie Tin Cup, yes, it was filmed here.  Make it a weekend and stay the night at Tubac Golf  Resort & Spa

Historic mining town full of arts

The most authentic western town around.

Phoenix  Just a hop, skip and jump to attend Diamondback Baseball, Coyote Hockey, Suns Basketball, Spring Training games, concerts and more.




Rocky Point Puerto Penasco, Mexico, on the Sea of Cortez.
Approximately 4 hours to enjoy the ocean and margaritas.

“The Happiest Place on Earth”
We are talking Disneyland here folks, along with the California Adventure, just 7 hours aways

Grand Canyon National Park  – 6 hours

Sedona, Arizona – 5 hours

San Diego – 7 hours

Las Vegas – 7 hours


Tucson hosts the World’s Largest Gem Show annually, ironically called the Tucson Gem Show.    It’s every February and people come from all over the world to attend

Tucson is home to the Tucson Marathon  held here annually and many runners use it as a warm up for some of the larger marathons like the Boston or New York Marathons.

Tucson is home to the annual El Tour De Tucson  Bike race each November, with thousands of entrants biking around Tucson and the outlying areas.

Tucson is home to one of the largest book fairs in the country, the Tucson Festival of Books, held in March.

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