10 Fun-Filled Things to Do in Tucson, AZ if You’re New to the City

Nestled in the heart of the Sonoran Desert, Tucson, AZ is a city like no other. With its vibrant culture, stunning natural landscapes, and rich history, Tucson offers a unique and uplifting experience for residents and visitors alike. From hiking through the rugged beauty of the desert, indulging in the delicious flavors of the local cuisine, or immersing yourself in the city’s rich Native American heritage, Tucson has something for everyone.

So whether you’re searching for apartments in Tucson, homes for sale, or are already a local, this Redfin article will be your guide. Here is Redfin’s list of the top 10 things to do in Tucson, for both newcomers and long-time locals alike.

Downtown Tucson With Catalina Mountains In Background

1. Explore the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum all in one. Visitors can explore the diverse flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert, including native plants, animals, and geological formations. The museum also offers interactive exhibits, live animal presentations, and guided tours, providing a unique and educational experience for all ages.

The best time to visit is during the cooler months of the year, as the desert can be quite hot during the summer. The museum is easily accessible by car and is located just 14 miles west of downtown Tucson.

2. Visit the Pima Air & Space Museum

The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest aviation museums in the world, featuring over 300 aircraft and spacecraft. Visitors can explore the history of aviation and space exploration through a variety of exhibits, including vintage planes, military aircraft, and even a retired Air Force One. The museum also offers guided tours and tram rides to provide a comprehensive look at the collection.

3. Hike Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon offers stunning natural beauty and a variety of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the canyon by foot or take a tram ride to experience the breathtaking desert landscapes, lush vegetation, and seasonal waterfalls. The best time to visit is during the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat. The canyon is easily accessible by car and is located just northeast of Tucson.

4. Discover the Tucson Botanical Gardens

The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a peaceful oasis in the heart of the city, featuring a diverse collection of desert plants, tropical greenhouses, and themed gardens. Visitors can stroll through the tranquil pathways, enjoy the colorful blooms, and learn about sustainable gardening practices. The best time to visit is during the cooler months when the gardens are in full bloom.

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5. Experience the Historic Mission San Xavier del Bac

The Mission San Xavier del Bac is a historic Spanish Catholic mission known as the “White Dove of the Desert.” Visitors can explore the stunning architecture, intricate artwork, and rich history of the mission, which dates back to the late 18th century. The mission is easily accessible by car and is located just south of Tucson.

6. Sample local cuisine at Mercado San Agustin

Mercado San Agustin is a vibrant marketplace and culinary destination, offering a variety of local eateries, artisan shops, and live entertainment. Visitors can sample authentic Mexican cuisine, sip on craft cocktails, and browse unique handmade goods. The best time to visit is in the evening when the market comes alive with music and food. The mercado is located just west of downtown Tucson.

7. Explore the University of Arizona Campus

The University of Arizona campus is a hub of culture, history, and innovation, featuring beautiful architecture, museums, and botanical gardens. Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the campus to admire the historic buildings, public art installations, and lush green spaces. The best time to visit is during the spring when the campus is in full bloom. The campus is easily accessible by car and is located just west of downtown Tucson.

8. Attend a performance at the Fox Theatre

The Fox Theatre is a historic landmark and performing arts venue, hosting a variety of live shows, concerts, and film screenings. Visitors can experience the grandeur of the theater’s art deco architecture and enjoy a night of entertainment. The theater is located in downtown Tucson.

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9. Visit the Reid Park Zoo

The Reid Park Zoo is a fun-filled attraction, featuring a diverse collection of animals from around the world. Visitors can explore the zoo’s exhibits, attend animal encounters, and participate in educational programs. The best time to visit is during the morning when the animals are most active. The zoo is easily accessible by car and is located just east of downtown Tucson.

10. Discover the Tucson Museum of Art

The Tucson Museum of Art is a cultural institution showcasing a diverse collection of art and artifacts from around the world. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries, attend special exhibitions, and participate in art workshops.

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