10 Best Tucson Attractions and Activities You Shouldn't Miss

Tucson is home to one of the most iconic symbols of the West: the Giant Saguaro. This monolithic, sub-tropical plant can be seen along desert roads and clustered at the base of Tucson's hillsides and mountains. Get your fill of this beautiful and unique desert scenery with a visit to Saguaro National Park, which is bifurcated into two large swaths, situated on both the western and eastern edges of the city.

Another can't-miss is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, located deep in the desert of Tucson's westside. This impressive "living" museum features extensive walking trails, gardens, and unique outdoor exhibits where you can get up close to mountain lions, coyotes, and maybe even spot a javelina or two.

While you're on the westside, clear some time in your itinerary for a stop at Old Tucson Studios. Movie buffs will recognize the film studio as the location for such films as Tombstone and The Three Amigos. There are western-style shoot-outs, a fun saloon cabaret show, and plenty of carnival-like games and attractions.

History buffs will want to stop in downtown Tucson to visit the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block. You can poke around the remains of the city's historic presidio fort, and tour some of the oldest houses in the state of Arizona. 



Saguaro National Park is the only place in the world that protects the saguaro cactus, a symbol of Arizona that grows only in the Sonoran Desert. You can see the well-known plant as well as other types of desert life that have shown resilience...  Read More



The University of Arizona campus is an excellent place for a scenic stroll, with groves of ancient olive trees and shaded pathways surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens full of palm trees and cacti. Start at the UA visitor center, where...  Read More



Aviation buffs, this one's for you. The Museum opened to the public in May, 1976, with 75 aircraft on display. Since then the collection has grown to over 250 aircraft occupying 80 acres of land. The entire museum property covers about 150...  Read More

Biosphere 2 Center


Located just north of Tucson in the small community of Oracle, AZ, Biosphere 2 is a self-contained, man-made habitat that comprises all of the elements from Earth (Biosphere 1). It is a sealed glass and space frame construction with seven...  Read More

Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block


The Tucson Museum of Art houses a permanent exhibit of pre-Columbian art, Western art, Latin American art (from ancient to contemporary), modern and contemporary art, and Asian art, plus traveling exhibits. It also houses an art school and an...  Read More



Tohono Chul Park is an award-winning botanical garden in northwest Tucson. The park has been open for more than 25 years, bringing together nature, art and culture in unique and insightful exhibits. The park's gardens were designed to attract...  Read More



Located about an hour from town, Mt. Lemmon's ski lift runs year round you can use it to reach the top for skiing in the winter or hiking in the summer. And thanks to the mountain's altitude (about 9000 feet), the climate is substantially...  Read More



San Xavier is considered one of the finest examples of Mission architecture in this country. Founded by Father Eusabio Kino, today it serves as the parish church for the Tohono O'odham tribe and often hosts concerts. The elaborate interior has...  Read More



The setting for many favorite Western movies (including Tombstone, Gunfight at the OK Corral, The Three Amigos, and countless John Wayne flicks), the Old Tucson Movie Studio had become something of a cinematic legend. Though a fire destroyed...  Read More



The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of Tucson's star attractions, with good reason. Part zoo, part natural history museum, and part botanical garden, the facility is set on 21 acres and is home to numerous animals that roam freely within...  Read More


Meet Patricia Escarcega

Patricia Escarcega works as a writer and editor in Phoenix.