22 Fun Things to Do in Tucson, AZ | 2024 (with Photos)

Ata Ahmadi

Ata Ahmadi - Travel Writer

Published: June 29, 2023

Hey there! I'm Ata, and I'm thrilled to share with you the top 22 fun things to do in Tucson, AZ in 2024. Get ready to explore this incredible city through my personal experiences and vibrant photos, ensuring you have an unforgettable time!

Fun Things to Do in Tucson, Arizona

Arizona is known for its Sonoran desert region, which covers a large portion of the state.

The Sonoran desert is home to a variety of unique desert animals, such as rattlesnakes, coyotes, and javelinas.

Many visitors come to Arizona to experience the beauty and ruggedness of the arid landscape, with attractions like the Grand Canyon and Sedona's red rock formations drawing in tourists from around the world.

The state's desert corner is also a popular destination for those seeking outdoor adventures, with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, and off-roading.

Despite its harsh environment, the Arizona desert is teeming with life and is a fascinating place to explore.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Top Choice Hotel

Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

Our Top Choice Restaurant


Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

Whiskey Tango Nightclub

Best Time to Visit

Sunny winters, avoid extreme summers when visiting Tucson.

Average Temperature

Hot climate, with average temperature around 80°F.

Transportation Options

Bus, car, bike, walking - various options available.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

When it comes to Tucson, United States, I have a personalized recommendation for you that will truly make your visit unforgettable. Start your journey by immersing yourself in the vibrant culture of this enchanting desert oasis. Wander through the historic downtown area where you'll find charming shops, local art galleries, and delicious eateries. Don't forget to stop by the Tucson Museum of Art, which showcases an impressive collection of contemporary and traditional artwork. As you explore the city, keep an eye out for the stunning murals that adorn many of the buildings, telling stories of Tucson's rich history and diverse community. To experience the true beauty of the region, hike up one of the surrounding peaks, such as Mount Lemmon, where you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the desert landscape. End your day with a visit to Saguaro National Park, known for its towering cactus forests and jaw-dropping sunsets. Tucson is a city that will captivate your heart and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

For a dose of adventure in Tucson, I have a hidden gem that I know you'll love. Step off the beaten path and venture to Kartchner Caverns State Park. Descend into a world like no other as you explore the stunning underground formations that have been thousands of years in the making. Take a guided tour to learn about the geological history of the caves and marvel at the intricate stalactites and stalagmites. After emerging from the cool depths of the caverns, head to the nearby Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. This unique attraction combines a zoo, botanical garden, and natural history museum all in one. Walk among desert plants, observe native wildlife, and learn about the fascinating ecosystems of the Sonoran Desert. Finally, don't miss the chance to indulge in Tucson's famous culinary scene. From Southwestern cuisine to international flavors, the city offers a plethora of dining options that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether you're exploring nature's hidden wonders or savoring the flavors of the region, Tucson will leave an indelible mark on your soul.

What You'll Need to Bring

  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Hat or cap
  • Water bottle
  • Light clothing for warm weather
  • Camera or smartphone for capturing memories
  • Travel guide or map for navigating the city
  • Money or credit cards for expenses
  • Personal identification documents
  • Medications or first aid kit (if necessary)
  • Snacks or food on-the-go

Tucson, located in the United States of America, is a city known for its beautiful desert landscapes, rich culture, and outdoor activities. When packing for your trip to Tucson, make sure to bring essentials like sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun. Don't forget to pack a water bottle to stay hydrated in the warm weather, as well as light clothing suitable for the desert climate. Ensure you have a camera or smartphone handy to capture the stunning scenery and memories of your trip. It's also recommended to bring a travel guide or map to navigate the city and get the most out of your visit. Don't forget to bring money or credit cards for expenses, personal identification documents, and any necessary medications or a first aid kit. Finally, it's a good idea to pack snacks or food to have on-the-go during your adventures in Tucson.

What Not to Miss

  1. Saguaro National Park
  2. Tucson Botanical Gardens
  3. Mission San Xavier del Bac
  4. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
  5. Mount Lemmon
  6. Pima Air & Space Museum
  7. Old Tucson
  8. Reid Park Zoo
  9. University of Arizona
  10. Downtown Tucson for local shops and restaurants.

What to Avoid

  • Overpacking: Tucson's warm climate makes it unnecessary to pack heavy winter clothing.
  • Bikeriding on busy roads without proper safety gear: Tucson has beautiful scenic trails for biking, but it's important to wear helmets and follow safety precautions.
  • Leaving valuables unattended: Like any other city, it is best to keep your valuables safe and not leave them unattended.
  • Not hydrating enough: Tucson's desert climate can get hot and dry, so it's important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Ignoring the local wildlife: Tucson is known for its diverse wildlife, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings and respect the animals.
  • Walking alone at night in poorly lit areas: It's best to stick to well-lit and populated areas for safety reasons.
  • Trespassing on private property: Respect the boundaries of private property and follow any posted signs.

1. Check out the Arizona Sonoran Desert and Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona Sonoran Desert and Sonora Desert Museum

The Sonoran Desert is a vast and diverse region that covers parts of Arizona, California, and Mexico. It is known for its unique local flora and fauna, including saguaro cacti, mesquite trees, and a variety of desert animals such as coyotes, rattlesnakes, and javelinas.

One of the best places to learn about the Sonoran Desert and its inhabitants is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Located in Tucson, Sonoran desert region, the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned attraction that combines a zoo, art gallery, botanical garden, and natural history museum into one immersive experience.

At Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, visitors can see and learn about desert plants, animals, and geology through interactive exhibits, live animal presentations, and guided tours. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has been recognized for its commitment to conservation and sustainability, with initiatives such as water harvesting and renewable energy sources.

This is a great place to visit if you are in Tucson with kids, as it is both educational and super fun. Just try not to overspend in the exciting gift shop.

2. Spend the Day at the Old Tombstone Western Theme Park

Old Tombstone Western Theme Park

The Old Tombstone Western Theme Park is a popular attraction located in the historic town of Tombstone, Arizona.

The park is designed to transport visitors back in time to the Wild West of the late 1800s, with themed attractions, live entertainment, and interactive experiences.

Visitors to the Old Tombstone Western Park can experience life in the old west through a variety of activities, such as watching gunfights and saloon shows, horse riding, panning for gold, or taking a stagecoach ride.

If you have always wanted to experience the Wild West, now is your chance.

3. Hike the Sabino Canyon and Enjoy at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

Sabino Canyon is a popular outdoor destination located in the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona. Sabino Canyon is known for its stunning natural beauty, rugged landscape, and diverse flora and fauna.

The canyon is home to several hiking trails that offer visitors the opportunity to explore the area's unique ecosystem. Some of the most popular trails include the Sabino Canyon Trail, Seven Falls Trail, and Phoneline Trail.

Visitors can also take a tram ride through the canyon, providing a unique perspective on the area's natural wonders.

4. Marvel at the Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens

The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a beautiful outdoor oasis located in the heart of Tucson, Arizona. Botanical Garden is home to a diverse collection of desert plants, flowers, and trees, as well as several themed gardens ****that showcase the unique flora and fauna of the region.

Visitors to the Tucson Botanical Gardens can explore several different gardens, each with its own distinct theme and focus. The botanical gardens include the Zen Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Cactus and Succulent Garden, and the Barrio Garden, which showcases traditional plants and trees of the region.

In addition to its outdoor spaces, the Tucson Botanical Gardens also features several indoor exhibits, including a butterfly exhibit and a gallery showcasing the work of local artists.

This place also includes a Children's Garden, where your kid will learn about the lifecycle of plants.

5. Walk On the Wild Side at Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo

Reid Park Zoo is a popular destination located in Tucson, Arizona. It is home to over 500 animals representing more than 100 species, including elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, and more.

The Reid Park Zoo features several unique exhibits and habitats that allow visitors to get up close and personal with the animals. These include the African Savannah, the South American Rainforest, and the Adaptation Zone, which showcases animals that have adapted to extreme environments.

Reid Park Zoo is home to an astounding array of animals and is a firm favorite with locals and tourists alike.

6. Explore the Trails of Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is a protected area located in southern Arizona, just outside of Tucson. Saguaro National Park is named after the iconic saguaro cactus, which is the largest cactus species in the United States and is known for its distinctive shape and towering height.

When you visit Saguaro National Pak, you will see it is divided over two districts. The Tucson Mountain District and the Rincon Mountain District are separated by the city of Tucson.

Each district offers visitors unique opportunities to explore the natural beauty and diverse wildlife of the national park.

7. Mosey on Through Trail Dust Town

Trail Dust Town

Trail Dust Town is a popular Western-themed attraction located in Tucson and an exciting place to visit in Arizona. It is a replica of an old Western town, complete with wooden boardwalks, saloons, and a variety of shops and restaurants.

Visitors to Trail Dust Town can take a step back in time and experience the Old West through a variety of attractions and activities. These include a historic museum, a miniature train ride, and a Ferris wheel that offers stunning views of the surrounding area.

8. Pima Air and Space Museum

Pima Air and Space Museum

The Pima Air & Space Museum is one of the largest aviation museums in the world, located in Tucson, Arizona. You can visit over 400 aircraft at the Pima Air Space Museum, ranging from historic military planes to commercial airliners and spacecraft.

Visitors to the Pima Air & Space Museum can also explore a variety of exhibits and collections that showcase the history and technology of aviation. These include the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial Museum, the Space Gallery, and the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame.

9. Visit the San Xavier del Bac Mission

San Xavier del Bac Mission

San Xavier del Bac Mission is a historic Spanish mission located just outside of Tucson. Situated in the downtown area, San Xavier del Bac is a Spanish Catholic Mission that sits on the Tohono O'odham San Xavier Indian Reservation.

San Xavier del Bac was founded in 1692 by Jesuit missionary Eusebio Kino and is one of the oldest and most well-preserved missions in the United States. The mission is known for its stunning Baroque architecture, which features intricate carvings and frescoes that were created by local Native American artists.

The most notable feature of the mission is its white stucco exterior, which has been meticulously restored over the years to maintain its original beauty.

Arizona History Museum

The Arizona History Museum is a museum located in Tucson, Southern Arizona that is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of Arizona and its people. It is operated by the Arizona Historical Society and is part of a network of museums and research centers throughout the state.

The Natural History Museum features a variety of exhibits that cover different aspects of Arizona's history, including the state's early Native American cultures, the Spanish and Mexican colonial periods, and the American frontier era.

There are also exhibits that explore the state's natural history, including displays of the geology, flora, and fauna of the region. One of the museum's most popular exhibits is the "Treasures of the Santa Catalina Mountains," which showcases the rich mining history of the region and features a collection of minerals, fossils, and artifacts that were found in the area.

The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum is a unique art gallery located in Tucson, Arizona. The gallery is dedicated to the work of Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia, who is known for his vibrant, colorful depictions of the Southwest.

This Arizona museum features a variety of DeGrazia's paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, as well as a reconstructed Mission in the Sun chapel that DeGrazia built on the property. The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum is unmissable.

11. Discover the Wonders of The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures

The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures is a unique interactive museum located in Tucson, Arizona that is dedicated to the art and craft of miniatures. Even within the colorful and diverse art world, this is a unique and unusual attraction.

This Tucson, AZ museum features a collection of over 500 miniature houses, rooms, and scenes, ranging from traditional Victorian-style dollhouses to more modern and contemporary art pieces.

12. Take a Drive Up the Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway

Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway

The Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway is a beautiful drive that takes visitors from the desert floor of Tucson, AZ up to the summit of Mt. Lemmon, the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

The byway is known for its stunning natural beauty, with sweeping views of the desert below and the rugged mountains above. The drive up Mt. Lemmon offers visitors a chance to experience the dramatic changes in landscape and climate that occur as they climb in elevation.

13. Explore Tucson Mountain Park

Tucson Mountain Park

Tucson Mountain Park is a large nature preserve located in the Tucson Mountains just west of Tucson, AZ. Popular among nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike, the park was established in 1929 to protect the remote range.

The park covers over 20,000 acres and is known for its beautiful desert landscapes, rugged mountain terrain, and abundant wildlife. The park features a variety of hiking and biking trails, ranging from easy nature walks to more challenging mountain climbs.

Visitors can explore the park's many scenic vistas, rocky canyons, and winding washes, taking in the stunning natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert.

14. The Children's Museum Tucson

Children's Museum Tucson

The Children's Museum Tucson is a fun and educational destination for children and families located in Tucson, Arizona.

The museum offers a variety of interactive exhibits and activities designed to engage and entertain children while also promoting learning and exploration.

This museum is a must-visit location if you are traveling to Tucson with kids.

15. Enjoy a Moment of Quiet Contemplation at the Cathedral of Saint Augustine

Cathedral of Saint Augustine

The Cathedral of Saint Augustine is a historic Catholic church located in downtown Tucson, Arizona. Built in the late 19th century, the cathedral is one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in Tucson.

It has served as a spiritual and cultural center for the local Catholic community for over a century. Even if you are not religious, this spot is a gorgeous example of architecture. The stone façade of the Cathedral features many Indigenous desert plants, such as yucca and saguaro blossoms.

16. Enjoy the View from Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak National Observatory

Kitt Peak National Observatory is a world-renowned astronomical observatory located on the summit of Kitt Peak, a mountain in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.

The observatory is home to over two dozen optical and radio telescopes operated by a variety of institutions, including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the University of Arizona, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

17. Hit the Trails at Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park

Catalina State Park is a beautiful desert oasis located in the Santa Catalina Mountains, just north of Tucson, Arizona.

The park covers over 5,500 acres of pristine Sonoran Desert landscape, and it offers visitors a variety of recreational activities and natural wonders for nature lovers to explore.

One of the main attractions of Catalina State Park is the hiking trails, which wind through the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains and offer stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape.

The park has over 5 miles of trails, ranging from easy nature walks to more challenging hikes that lead to the tops of the mountains.

18. Browse the Arizona State Museum

Arizona State Museum

The Arizona State Museum is a world-renowned museum located on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.

It is the oldest and largest anthropology museum in the Southwest United States, and it is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the region's indigenous peoples.

The Arizona State Museum has an extensive collection of artifacts, folk art, and exhibits that showcase the history and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Southwest, including the Navajo, Hopi, Tohono O'odham, and Pueblo communities.

19. Go Caving at Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Colossal Cave Mountain Park

Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a popular outdoor recreation area for outdoor enthusiasts located just east of Tucson, Arizona.

The park is home to the historic Colossal Cave, which is a unique geological formation that was formed over millions of years through the action of water and minerals.

Visitors to the park can take guided tours of the cave, which take them through a series of underground chambers and passageways. The tours offer visitors a chance to see the stunning rock formations and learn about the history and geology of the cave.

20. Escape the Heat at Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon

Madera Canyon is a picturesque nature preserve located in the Santa Rita Mountains, just south of Tucson, Arizona.

It is a popular destination for hikers, birdwatchers, and nature enthusiasts, and is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse wildlife.

The canyon is home to over 250 species of birds, including several rare and endangered species such as the Elegant Trogon and the Mexican Spotted Owl.

21. Relax and Walk at Coronado National Forest and Santa Cruz River

Coronado National Forest

Coronado National Forest is a vast and beautiful national forest located in southeastern Arizona, encompassing over 1.7 million acres of land.

The forest is named after the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who was the first European to explore the region in the 1500s.

The forest is home to diverse plant and animal life, including many species of cactus, as well as deer, elk, black bears, and mountain lions.

One of the most prominent features of the Coronado National Forest is the Santa Cruz River, which flows through the forest and provides important habitat for a variety of wildlife.

22. Step Onto a Movie Set at Old Tucson Studios and Visit the Arizona Campus

Old Tucson Studios

Old Tucson Studios, is a popular theme park and movie studio that is designed to look like an old Wild West town. The park offers a variety of attractions and activities, including live gunfights, vintage train rides, and tours of movie sets used in famous Westerns.

Just a short distance from Old Tucson is the University of Arizona. The Arizona campus is home to a variety of colleges and schools, including the College of Fine Arts, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the College of Engineering, among others.

The university is known for its academic programs and research, as well as its sports teams, while Old Tucson Studios offers a fun and engaging look at the history and culture of the American West. Hit both in one day for a full cultural experience.

FAQs Regarding Fun Things to Do in Tucson

Let's look at some of the most frequently asked questions relating to things to do in Tucson.

What is Tucson AZ best known for?

Tucson, AZ is best known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and cultural diversity. The city is surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, including the Sonoran Desert, Tucson Mountains, and the Santa Catalina Mountains. Tucson is also known for its vibrant art scene, with numerous art galleries.

Where can I have an authentic Western experience in Tucson?

Those looking for an authentic taste of the Old West can head to the nearby White Stallion Ranch and take part in horseback riding activities or explore the western-themed town. You can have really great time riding horses to breakfast at the White Stallion Ranch. Or, head to the Tucson Presidio San Augustin Museum.

Is downtown Tucson cool?

Downtown Tucson is considered a cool and vibrant area with a lot of character and unique attractions. In recent years, the downtown area has undergone a revitalization and is now home to numerous restaurants, bars, shops, and galleries. The area also hosts regular events and festivals, such as the 2nd Saturdays Downtown Art Walk and the Tucson Festival of Books.

Is Tucson good for kids?

Tucson can be a great place for kids to visit. There are many family-friendly activities and attractions in and around the city. You can go to the botanical garden in Tucson with kids or marvel at the natural Tucson beauty on a hike or bike ride. Another great Tucson attraction for kids is the Saguaro National Park. If you are visiting Tucson with kids, there is an abundance of fun to be had.

Summing Up: 22 Fun Things to Do in Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, AZ is a great spot for a day trip or a longer vacation stay. It is a city loved by locals and tourists alike for its Wild West connections, Mexican cuisine, and giant cacti. There are also plenty of evening activities in Tucson, AZ that you shouldn't miss out.

You can head to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum to learn about the local history and culture, wander around the botanical garden, or explore the northeastern outskirts of Tucson and take in the peaceful picnic spots.

Overall, Tucson, Arizona is a diverse and dynamic city that offers a memorable and fulfilling vacation experience. Remember to book any tours or airport transfers in advance if you want a friendly local to do all the driving for you.