Tucson is a stunning city in Pima County, Arizona. It famously houses outdoor desert landscapes and a vibrant downtown area well-known for its art scene and gastronomy. Many activities are available because of its diverse regions, from hiking and enjoying the parks to museums, historic sites, and an array of breweries.
Not sure what to see while exploring Tucson? Don’t forget to check out these ten places when visiting Tucson, Arizona.
If you’re looking to pack different activities into one day, check out the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. This Arizona museum is home to all things related to the Sonoran Desert, including a zoo, botanic garden, natural history museum, and art gallery. You can easily spend hours at this museum exploring the different options. For those who enjoy creating art, the gallery also offers art classes.
Saguaro National Park is separated into two sections that surround the downtown area of Tucson. This famous desert landscape lies partially in the Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District. The park is named after the largest cacti in the US – the Saguaro, visible throughout the park’s various areas. Bring your hiking boots to trek through the stunning area or bike along the trails.
When you visit Tucson, you’ll find this craft brewery to be one of the best. The Borderlands Brewing Company sits in downtown Tucson and is a local favorite that serves drinks like Horchata Cream Ale and Prickly Pear Wheat Ale. The brewery is located in a 100-year-old building and offers outdoor and indoor seating, with dog-friendly areas. You can also grab some excellent tacos or nachos during a stop here.
Another excellent spot to visit is the Reid Park Zoo. This location focuses on conservation and animal protection. Here, you can spend time with 500 different species of animals, from bright pink flamingoes to black-and-white ruffled lemurs. You may even see a wedding here, as it is popular for special events.
San Xavier del Bac is a historic church located on the Tohono O’odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. This Catholic church features stunning architecture and rich history dating back to the 1700s. Head to this National Historic Landmark for a peek into the past, and the tranquility found here.
The Coronado National Forest is another stunning location to spend time. It houses the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Sabino Canyon, various caves, beautiful wildflowers, and abundant wildlife. There are many hiking trails here and opportunities for wildlife viewing, boating, mountain biking, and even rock climbing.
The Tucson Botanical Garden splays out over 5.5 acres of land and features many plants and wildlife to view. Here, you’ll find a butterfly garden, cactus garden, backyard bird garden, and many additional sections to explore. There’s also a southwestern restaurant inside the gardens that offers seasonal menu items for breakfast and lunch.
This scenic byway is also known as Catalina Highway Scenic Drive. It is an excellent way to see Tucson’s various landscapes. This highway allows visitors to drive 27 miles to the top of Mount Lemmon while offering views of the Coronado National Forest and the Sonoran Desert. Multiple lookout points are offered for stunning panoramic views of the surrounding rock formations, lush forest, and incredible mountain views.
DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum is another must-see in the Tucson area. This gallery features multiple historic buildings outdoor, offering Southwestern art and unique architecture thanks to the builder and artist Ted DeGrazia. This museum provides a look into the artist’s life as tours of his house are available, along with rotating art exhibits for a unique experience.
The Parish is one of the top restaurants in Tucson, featuring Southern fusion food like cast iron cornbread with sweet bourbon butter and beer-battered catfish. Inside the restaurant, you’ll find a lively atmosphere and decorations reminiscent of New Orleans. The Parish offers many events throughout the year, including live music and themed holiday celebrations.
Tucson is a gorgeous area with diverse activities for those of all interests. Whether you choose to spend your time in nature or explore the museums backed by the Arizona Historical Society, you’re bound to enjoy your time in this location.