Are you planning a trip and looking for some of the top things to do in Tucson? Well you’ve come to the right place. Tucson beckons adventurers with its unique blend of natural wonders, cultural treasures, and outdoor pursuits. As the vibrant hub of Southern Arizona, this city captivates visitors with a myriad of attractions that showcase the region’s rich tapestry. From exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Saguaro National Park and immersing yourself in the tranquility of botanical gardens to delving into the fascinating world of museums and indulging in thrilling outdoor activities, Tucson offers a diverse array of experiences. Join us as we unveil the top 10 things to do in Tucson, inviting you to discover the captivating beauty and vibrant spirit that make this desert gem a must-visit destination.
Rafting with Arizona Rafting
In a state known for its deserts, you may be surprised to find rafting listed at the top of this list. It’s for this very reason that the water oasis known as the Salt River is an absolute must-see and must-experience while visiting Tucson. Check-in with Arizona Rafting and take a half-day, full-day, or multi-day rafting trip down the majestic Salt River, which runs through gorgeous canyons and then through the mystic Sonoran Desert. Learn more.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The 98 acre Desert Museum is a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium. Beyond merely an attraction, the Museum’s conservation and research programs are providing important information to help conserve the Sonoran Desert region. Learn more.
Pima Air & Space Museum
Explore over a century of aviation at the Pima Air and Space Museum, the largest privately-funded aerospace museum in the world. Experience over 270 military, commercial, and civilian aircraft including President Kennedy’s Air Force One, the supersonic SR-71 Blackbird, and a replica of the first airplane ever built-the Wright Flyer! Home of the WWII-themed event in aircraft hangers surrounded by authentic vintage aircraft. Learn more.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park protects and preserves a giant saguaro cactus forest that stretches across the valley floor near Tucson. Unique to the Sonoran Desert, the park’s giant saguaros sometimes reach as high as 50 and can live longer than 200 years. It’s no wonder they’ve been described as the kings of the Sonoran Desert. Learn more.
Tucson Botanical Gardens
Originally founded in 1964, the Tucson Botanical Gardens is a historic property in mid-town Tucson. Located on the site of the Porter property, the Canadian Garden Council named the Tucson Botanical Gardens as one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Travelling For.” Distinctive features include mature trees, expertly cultivated foliage, specialty gardens, and a magical butterfly exhibit that’s home to over 400 butterflies from 11 countries. Learn more.
The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
Located in Tucson, Arizona, this 15,560 square foot, state-of-the-art museum displays an entertaining and interactive array of antique and contemporary miniatures as well as enchanting artifacts. The museum styles itself as a mini time machine, by which the visitor sets off on a self-guided tour through different lands and times both real and imagined.
Franklin Auto Museum
The Franklin Auto Museum houses one of the largest private collections of cars manufactured by the short-lived Franklin Automobile Company. The museum features more than 25 antique and classic Franklin automobiles, as well as a collection of prehistoric artifacts collected by archaeologist Alice Carpenter. Learn more.
Hike Sabino Canyon
On the northeast edge of Tucson, Sabino Canyon offers a variety of terrain including a paved path for the lighter option, or miles of rugged ground to explore. Here, you’ll also find outstanding scenery that features steep rock cliffs and unique desert vegetation adjacent to riparian corridors. Learn more.
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Built in the 1700s, this recently restored white adobe church, representing a wonderful example of Spanish colonial architecture, is beautiful inside and out, with colorful frescoes, sculptures, and carvings. Learn more.