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Tucson

Known for Museums, Universities and Deserts

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

How do you get to Tucson?

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.

Best neighborhoods to visit in Tucson

Things to do in Tucson

Hike, bike or drive through fields and forests containing one of the most recognized cactus plants in the world.

Experience the natural beauty and wildlife of a large desert canyon on foot, by car or on a narrated tram tour.

This Western movie studio and theme park with rides, gunfights and stunt shows has been the setting for hundreds of Hollywood productions.

One of the largest aviation museums in the world houses aircraft and spacecraft from the 1920s to the present.

Encounter wolves, rattlesnakes, coyotes, bighorn sheep and rare plant species at this living museum in the desert.

Wander through cactus, herb and wildflower gardens and learn about desert plants in this flower-filled sanctuary in the city.

Tour a jungle, desert, savanna grassland, mangrove wetlands and an ocean, all housed under one roof in the desert.

The glamour of the 1930s comes alive in a restored movie palace that’s now a popular downtown arts venue.

Tickets & Tours

Celebrating 80 years in 2019, Old Tucson is where the Spirit of the Old West Comes Alive! This theme park lets you walk the streets featured in your favorite western movies. Experience an array of live shows including gunfights, stunts and high-kicking saloon music and dance shows.

Tickets & Tours

Channel your inner gumshoe and put your sleuthing, problem-solving, and perception skills to the test during an hour-long race against the clock. In a themed escape room, work with your team to find clues, solve puzzles, and piece together the mystery to get out of the room before time runs out.

Tickets & Tours

Using your smartphone, you'll be given nearly 150 objects to find during your scavenger hunt. You'll then wander throughout the downtown area searching for the items. Once you've found the object, you'll send a photo in to score points.

Tickets & Tours

Get a taste for the Tucson of yore with full-day admission to the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum. Take an entertaining tour of a reconstruction of Tucson's founding fortress, and interact with intrepid 18th-century trailblazers at this educational site in the heart of Old Pueblo.

Tickets & Tours

Embark on an interactive tour of Tucson, exploring the city while following clues and completing unique challenges. See landmarks and historical sites including the Cathedral of Saint Augustine, Fox Theatre, and Hotel Congress while you solve puzzles that lead you on a memorable tour.

Tickets & Tours

Quench your thirst for savings. The Tucson Attractions Passport is an entertainment value for the whole family, offering 2-for-1 admissions and other discounts at over 80 attractions, museums and shopping areas. Most of the gated attractions offer 2-for-1 admission discounts.

Visitor guides from our travel experts

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