One of Tucson's best free attractions is the Mission San Xavier del Bac, located about nine miles south of downtown Tucson on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation. The mission is a great example of eighteenth century southwest mission architecture, with colorful interiors, a desert courtyard, museum and gift shop.
There's also a small marketplace in the parking lot where you can shop for Native American jewelry, art and other Southwestern wares. The mission is an active place of worship, so please be mindful of the local mass schedule. If you come on a Sunday, enjoy a tasty piece of authentic fry bread from the vendors that set up in the parking lot after mass.
Tucson is a thriving university town, which means it offers many free arts and cultural attractions. One of the best is the Center for Creative Photography, located on the University of Arizona Campus. The museum hosts several exhibitions throughout the year, many of which feature the works of well-known photographers.
Even the most casual art lover will enjoy a visit to DeGrazia's Gallery in the Sun. The beautiful museum and garden were the home and studio of Italian artist Ted DeGrazia, who adopted Tucson and the southwest as his permanent home. Wander through the rustic, artful courtyard, take in the mountain views, and explore DeGrazia's impressive body of work in the museum.
Finally, explore Tucson's history with a visit to the historic Presidio San Agustin del Tucson, a re-creation of the Tucson Presidio built in 1775. The site is still home to many historic buildings, and the museum offers free admission on the third Saturday of the month.