Tucson, AZ

Travel Guide
Tucson
Arizona’s second-largest city is known for its desert landscapes, mountainous regions, science scene and cosmopolitan culture.

Tucson is a modern city and thriving science hub set amid the sparse Sonoran Desert landscape and enclosed by five mountain ranges. The warm, dry climate, national parks, hiking trails and wildlife attract over a million outdoor lovers every year. Dubbed “Optics Valley,” the city is a world leader in optics manufacturing and astronomical research.

The roots of the cultural heritage that has shaped Tucson can be seen in Native American arts and crafts, old Hispanic neighborhoods and 19th-century American architecture. Tucsonans embrace their desert surroundings and celebrate nature and the outdoor lifestyle.

Explore the scenery with a hike through Saguaro National Park. The large, fleshy cactus has come to symbolize the American West. Tucson has the country’s largest population of saguaro cacti. Learn about native flora and fauna at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. A visit to Tohono Chul Park and Tucson Botanical Gardens will also immerse you in the beauty of the desert’s plants.

Visit Biosphere 2 to see how Tucson was at the forefront of one of the most ambitious experiments of recent times. Eight people lived for two years under glass domes in the desert. Tour the facility to see how it contributes to our understanding of climate change. Visit Pima Air & Space Museum with aircraft and spacecraft revealing 100 years of aviation history.

Head into the city to experience Tucson’s artistic and cultural scene. Visit art galleries, bookstores and jewelry shops. Art aficionados will enjoy the Tucson Museum of Art, which covers an entire city block in the El Presidio Historic District in the downtown area. The institution is devoted to art from the last 3,000 years. Stay downtown to watch dance, theater, music or film performances at the Fox Tucson Theatre, a restored movie palace from the 1930s.

Tucson has a good public bus system called Sun Tran and the downtown area is easily explored on foot. If you want to travel outside the city limits and explore the desert scenery you will need to rent a car.

Where to stay in Tucson

3 Palms Tucson North Foothills
3 Palms Tucson North Foothills
3 out of 5
7411 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ, 85704
The price is $65 per night from Jul 6 to Jul 7
Stay at this 3-star family-friendly hotel in Tucson. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a 24-hour front desk. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
4/5 Very Good! (2,677 reviews)
"Nice surrounding area"

Reviewed on Jul 2, 2022

3 Palms Tucson North Foothills
Lodge on the Desert
Lodge on the Desert
3.5 out of 5
306 North Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ, 85711
The price is $127 per night from Jul 6 to Jul 7
Stay at this 3.5-star business-friendly resort in Tucson. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the bar and the helpful staff ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (1,376 reviews)
"It was a memorable experience, everything was excellent, very good customer service ,they wait us until midnight to check-in, the property was so clean"

Reviewed on Jul 4, 2022

Lodge on the Desert
Hotel McCoy - Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine
Hotel McCoy - Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine
3 out of 5
720 W. Silverlake Road, Tucson, AZ, 85713
The price is $85 per night from Jul 14 to Jul 15
Stay at this 3-star business-friendly hotel in Tucson. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms ...
4.7/5 Exceptional! (1,589 reviews)
"Great place to stay. Awesome staff."

Reviewed on Jul 4, 2022

Hotel McCoy - Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Varsity Clubs Of America - Tucson by Diamond Resorts
Varsity Clubs Of America - Tucson by Diamond Resorts
3 out of 5
3855 E Speedway Blvd, Tucson, AZ, 85716
The price is $79 per night from Jul 12 to Jul 13
Stay at this 3-star golf aparthotel in Tucson. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and a fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms in ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (1,747 reviews)
"thanks for Amanda's courtesy. we couldn't enjoy the pool for the high temperature and expose to sun rays"

Reviewed on Jun 20, 2022

Varsity Clubs Of America - Tucson by Diamond Resorts
The Lodge at Ventana Canyon
The Lodge at Ventana Canyon
4 out of 5
6200 N Club House Ln, Tucson, AZ, 85750
The price is $179 per night from Jul 6 to Jul 7
Stay at this 4-star spa aparthotel in Tucson. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 outdoor pools. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the quiet rooms in ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (654 reviews)
"Good people great food too"

Reviewed on Jun 2, 2022

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon
TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre
TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre
2.5 out of 5
384 South Williams Boulevard, Tucson, AZ, 85711
The price is $89 per night from Jul 26 to Jul 27
Stay at this business-friendly aparthotel in Tucson. Enjoy free breakfast, free WiFi, and free parking. Our guests praise the breakfast and the helpful staff ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (307 reviews)
"Enjoyed my quiet, comfortable room and very nicw staff. Will stay here again."

Reviewed on Jun 11, 2022

TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Tucson

To get the most out of Tucson and the surrounding area, you should rent a car, which is the best way to get to many of the national parks and desert attractions nearby. There are lots of rental agencies all over town. Alternatively, use the extensive local bus network and the Tucson Streetcar, which connects various locations downtown. Outside the heat of summer, cycling is also a good option for exploring the sights. Visit the Regional Transportation Authority website.Browse Tucson rental cars.

Best time to visit

If you’re looking for warm – but not too hot – weather, reasonable room rates and smaller crowds, the shoulder seasons of spring and fall are perfect for visiting Tucson. The searing heat of the summer sees temperatures routinely above 100 F (38 C), making it too hot for the hiking and other outdoor activities which are so great in this area. Winter is warm, but can be busy with visiting snowbirds.

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