Top 10 Best Things to Do in Tucson, Arizona

What are the top attractions to visit in Tucson?

Sabino Canyon by Dulcey Lima via Unsplash

Bucket List: Top 10 Best Things to See and Do in Tucson, Arizona

The beautiful city of Tucson is known for its luscious nature and scenic deserts. It was also held by UNESCO as the first “World City of Gastronomy” and an ideal place for tourists who are into outdoor activities. Apart from the food, there are many best things to do in Tucson, Arizona, from visiting natural zoos to exploring natural wonders.

So to know more about the Old Pueblo, here are the 10 best things to do in Tucson, Arizona.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

A Coyote sleeping on a rock at the Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona by Btcgeek via Wikipedia cc
A Coyote sleeping on a rock at the Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona By Btcgeek – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Ranking first on the must-visit in Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a leading attraction featuring a zoo, natural history museum, and botanical garden. The massive park is highly rated for its outdoor visual experience, filled with the natural beauty of various cacti and succulents. It houses small cats, bobcats, ocelots, coyotes, prairie dogs, and aquatic species.

Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway

Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway by Nelo Hotsuma via Flickr cc
Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway by Nelo Hotsuma via Flickr cc

Also known as the Sky Islands or Santa Catalina, the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway is one of the most breathtaking drives tourists can head to in Southeast Arizona. The 60-mile round-trip byway features picturesque mountain views and canyon, and the drive up will take less than an hour round trip.

Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon by Dulcey Lima via Unsplash
Sabino Canyon by Dulcey Lima via Unsplash

The Sabino Canyon is a fantastic place to walk or hike. Its beautiful scenery and multiple trails are ideal for the adrenaline junkies and reconnecting with nature. Also, the significant canyon is a famous recreation spot for tourists and the locals. Visitors can make a side trip to Sabino Creek or explore wildlife inhabitants in the area.

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park by Christoph von Gellhorn via Wikipedia cc
Saguaro National Park by Christoph von Gellhorn via Wikipedia cc

When visiting Arizona, never miss seeing the southwest universal icon, the nation’s biggest cacti located at the Saguaro National Park. The 92,000-acre national park has two areas that protect the beautiful Sonoran Desert and the Saguaro cactus.

Tucson Botanical Garden

Tucson Botanical Garden by Tucson Botanical via Wikipedia cc
Tucson Botanical Garden By Tucson Botanical – Walking through the Gardens Previously published: Cover of Garden Writers Association in Zocalo Magazine, CC BY-SA 3.0,  cc

A beautiful spot right in Tucson, the Tucson Botanical Garden is a 5.5-acre garden featuring different areas such as Zen Garden, Butterfly Garden, Prehistoric Garden, Children’s Garden, and Xeriscape Garden. Established in 1964, the botanical garden also uses vehicles as plant holders and is home to wonders of nature in Tucson.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Mission San Xavier del Bac by Keyany via Wikipedia cc
Mission San Xavier del Bac By Keyany – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

If you’re into cultural history, the sacred place of Mission San Xavier del Bac is the place to go. Founded in 1972, the Spanish Catholic Church is Arizona’s oldest European structure. Its façade is an excellent masterpiece of Spanish Colonial Architecture and has intricate and vivid details up to today.

Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo photo via Pixabay
Reid Park Zoo photo via Pixabay

Another family-friendly attraction in Tucson, the Reid Park Zoo, houses over 500 animals and will take about 2 hours to explore the entire facility. Although the zoo was comparably small to other zoos, Reid Park Zoo offers a great experience featuring meerkats, elephants, flamingos, and a walk-in aviary.

Tohono Chul Park

Tohono Chul Park by Philcomanforterie via Wikipedia cc
Tohono Chul Park By Philcomanforterie – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Awarded by Travel + Leisure Magazine as one of the World’s Great Botanical Gardens, the Tohono Chul Park features the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert. The beautiful 49-acre desert garden has themed areas filled with hummingbirds and butterflies. Tohono Chul Park also offers art and garden displays and Southwestern Bistro.

El Presidio Historic District

Presidio San Agustin del Tucson Museum Richard N Home via Wikipedia cc
Presidio San Agustin del Tucson Museum By Richard N Horne – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, cc

Travel back in time as you visit the city’s oldest neighborhood, the El Presidio Historic District. The historic residential lies in the city established in 1775 as a Spanish military fort. At present, the historic district still consists of adobe and brick structures such as art galleries, the oldest Mexican restaurant, and historic homes.

Pima Air & Space Museum

Pima Air and Space Museum photo via Wikipedia cc
Pima Air and Space Museum photo via Wikipedia cc

Lastly, the Pima Air & Space Museum is ideal for kids and aeronautic enthusiasts. Visiting the museum is worthwhile, as it is held as the biggest aerospace non-government museum in the world and Arizona’s Aviation Hall of Fame, featuring over 300 aircraft on its 172-acre facility.

References

  • 25 Best Things to Do in Tucson (AZ), The Crazy Tourist
  • Law, (2021), 17 Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Tucson, AZ, Planetware

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