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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

Hotel McCoy - Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine
Hotel McCoy - Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine
3 out of 5
720 W. Silverlake Road, Tucson, AZ
The price is $99 per night from Jul 13 to Jul 13
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of Tucson Convention Center, Children's Museum Tucson, and Fox Theatre. Rialto Theatre and University ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (1,339 reviews)
"Very cute updated retro place to stay! Love the outside and inside. The only thing I'd suggest is better clothing storage options. No closet to hang clothes and no chest of drawers, this didn't matter to me this time as we were only there one night, but staying longer it would have been an issue. ..."

Reviewed on Jun 21, 2021

Hotel McCoy - Art, Coffee, Beer, Wine
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
4.5 out of 5
7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ
The price is $161 per night from Jul 8 to Jul 8
This family-friendly Tucson hotel is located in the mountains, 0.6 mi (1 km) from Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Park Place ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (1,048 reviews)
"The stay was peaceful and the grounds were gorgeous. The staff was courteous, knowledgeable and friendly."

Reviewed on Jun 17, 2021

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa
The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa
4 out of 5
3800 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ
The price is $170 per night from Jun 30 to Jun 30
This family-friendly Tucson resort is located in the mountains, 2.5 mi (4 km) from Finger Rock Trail, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Joesler Village and St. Phillips ...
4.1/5Very Good! (956 reviews)
"great"

Reviewed on Jun 21, 2021

The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa
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.
TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre
TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre
2.5 out of 5
384 South Williams Boulevard, Tucson, AZ
The price is $100 per night from Jul 9 to Jul 9
Situated in Tucson, this aparthotel is 1.2 mi (2 km) from Park Place Mall and 2.2 mi (3.5 km) from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Randolph Golf Complex and Gaslight ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (257 reviews)
"Loved it. My parents came to visit me and my fiancé and our stay was great."

Reviewed on May 31, 2021

TownePlace Suites Tucson Williams Centre
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Tucson
TownePlace Suites by Marriott Tucson
2.5 out of 5
405 W Rudasill Rd, Tucson, AZ
The price is $116 per night from Jun 29 to Jun 29
Situated in a national park, this aparthotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Tucson Mall, Tucson Convention Center, and Arizona Stadium. University of Arizona and ...
4.3/5Excellent! (66 reviews)
"Love the kitchen, desk, tv."

Reviewed on Apr 10, 2021

TownePlace Suites by Marriott Tucson
New! Studio W/patio - 12 Mi to Saguaro Natl Park!
New! Studio W/patio - 12 Mi to Saguaro Natl Park!
Tucson, AZ
Situated in Tucson, this apartment building is 5.3 mi (8.5 km) from Saguaro National Park and within 12 mi (20 km) of Sus Picnic Area and Signal Hill Trail. ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (11 reviews)
Great relaxing stay
"Beautiful neighborhood, beautiful nature all around, I was alone this trip for some golf but would feel comfortable bringing my wife next time, ENJOYABLE"

Reviewed on Apr 20, 2021

New! Studio W/patio - 12 Mi to Saguaro Natl Park!
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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