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Tucson, the second-largest city in Arizona, is a blend of natural and cultural attractions, keeping tourists hooked on it. Its dry and warm climate attracts snowbirds and tourists to the city. Tucson offers all of it, whether playing golf during the winter season, getting soaked in the sun, or lounging by a swimming pool at any of the city's hotels!
Did you know? This amazing city is not only considered to be a warm winter escape but also home to ample Spanish colonial architecture, artwork, and nature conservatories.
Therefore, if you plan to spend your next vacation in this beautiful city and questions like what to do, what to eat, and where to stay start popping up in your mind, check out this travel guide. Here you'll find about the best attractions, best day tours, and best places to stay to eat!
Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tucson
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is one of the best tourist attractions in Tucson, offering a deep look at the eye-catching landscape of the desert around the city. This all-in-one museum with a botanical garden, zoo, and natural history museum is a perfect place to visit with family.
See the stunning plants and animals indigenous to the Sonoran Desert and imperiled species like a thick-billed parrot, Mexican wolf, margay, ocelot, desert pupfish, jaguarondi, ponytail chub, Sonora chub, Gila topminnow, and razorback sucker.
Tucson Mountain Park
Adding another top tourist attraction to the list that surrounds about 20,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert panorama on the west side of Tucson is home to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. You will get to see and learn about this beguiling desert vista. But, of course, most tourists come here to see the museum and witness the beautiful sunset. However, you can also indulge in horseback riding, biking, and hiking activities, on a large-scale trail system specially made for such purposes.
You can visit Saguaro National Park and Tucson Mountain Park on the same day as both places are connected.
Saguaro National Park
Next, you can go to the Saguaro National Park, another top-most visited tourist attraction in Tucson. Then, take a look at the beauty of the east and west sides of the Sonoran Desert, Rincon Mountain District, and Tucson Mountain District. We suggest you visit the east side as it is easily reachable, has a charming sight with a picturesque drive, and requires less hiking.
You can spot some incredible reptiles and animals from cactus wrens, Gila woodpeckers, jackrabbits, and lizards (Gila monsters) to North America's tallest species 'Saguaro Cactus' and desert tortoises.
Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Another best tourist attraction offering the panoramas of the Sonoran Desert is this hidden mountain park. It's situated in the southern Arizona Mountains, which further features wild west feelings and rich history. In nearby surroundings, just a tiny drive east of Tucson, this Colossal Cave is one of the biggest dry dugouts in the U.S., a perfect spot for adventurous people.
This 2400-acre park also boasts a butterfly garden, a museum, wagon rides, hiking trails, and guided horseback riding. Therefore, depending on how many days you stay in Tucson, you can visit all the three places mentioned above in one day or two as they are related and close to each other.
Tucson Children's Museum
Suppose you plan to visit Tucson with family, seeing all museums should be on your list! Tucson Children's Museum is one of the top tourist attractions for visiting families because your kids can have unlimited fun. In addition, this museum features interactive and firsthand exhibits such as a broad collection of topics related to science, arts, construction, and nature. This place is appropriate for children of all ages.
International Wildlife Museum
Talking about museums, here is another fantastic one to see in Tucson, the International Wildlife Museum, displaying more than 400 species of insects and animals worldwide. Here, you'll see numerous preserved specimens, some of which are over 100 years old and rarely seen. Moreover, the museum offers an opportunity of learning about animal habitat, their behavior, and much more.
Tohono Chul botanical gardens may not be as famous as the other bigger-scale museums and parks in Tucson. However, something special about the place makes it worth visiting. Here you will be stunned to see a marvelous variety of beautiful plants from the Sonoran Desert, including the gorgeous Cereus plant, which blossoms at night only, and over 500 species.
Are you up for some hiking? Then you should opt for some exciting activity when boredom strikes! In this case, we recommend you to visit Tumamoc Hill, located in the heart of the city, which is a bit of an endeavor. Still, in the end, you'll get a chance to watch astonishing views from the top of the hill.
You might be surprised to know this, but this vigorous walk is a famous activity to do in Tucson amongst locals. While walking, you can enjoy the delightful desert environment with a luxuriance of animals, plants, and bird life.
Reid Park Zoo
Everybody loves the zoo; it's perfect for bringing the whole family. However, this zoo is relatively small, although it does have an incredible variety of exotic animals, including bears, elephants, tigers, giraffes, lions, etc. In addition, the zoo has three smaller sections Tropical Trail, the Lee H. Brown Family Conservation Learning Center, and Expedition Tanzania.
Drive Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway
If you managed to fit this list of activities into your trip, you might be looking to do something relaxing at the end of your journey. We suggest you take some time out and drive to Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway, another top tourist attraction in the Tucson area. It's approximately 15 miles outside of Tucson. On this route, you'll see breathtaking views of surrounding valleys and mountains.
Top 5 Day Tours in Tucson
All the traveling lovers out there, get ready to experience the best things in Tucson, which you might not have heard of or seen before!
Canyoneering or Lemmon Half Day Rock Climbing in Arizona
Add some excitement to your trip by doing canyoneering and rock climbing on the same day. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced climber, learning about rock climbing, abseiling down a waterfall, or testing your adventurous skills is an excellent idea to start your day trips.
Tucson's day trips usually last for 4 to 5 hours and are close to Tucson, so you can reach anywhere easily from the hotel. The majority of tourists hailing from worldwide love this day tour to the core and wish to come back again!
The following is a guided audio tour during which you can explore Tucson's Mount Lemmon, situated in the Coronado National Forest, Santa Catalina Mountains' highest point. You will be amazed upon seeing the stunning views through binoculars of the surrounding vista as you move up to the mountain by hiking on the small trails. There are stops also available where you can click Instagram-worthy pictures.
If you love to ride on bikes, there can be nothing best for you than discovering fun facts and the vibrant history of Tucson on this guided bike tour. With the relaxing speed and diverse terrain, from silent paths to busy bike lanes of the university, this tour offers ample chances to explore the area's one-of-a-kind architecture and colorful alleys. However, this bike tour comprising a small group through the city includes a thrilling ride allowing one to look at the charming homes and beautiful shrines.
You can enjoy another bike tour, through which it will be easy for you to find the best places to eat. Tucson is quite famous for its delicious Mexican food and exceptional tacos, but where you can find the best ones is an arduous task. So, hop on this exciting Tucson Taco and Bike Tour in which you will ride to various eateries where you will have an opportunity of trying several different types of tacos.
Scavenger Hunt Adventure in Tucson by Operation city Quest
Are you looking for some unique adventure? Join this Scavenger Hunt Adventure in the city by Operation city Quest. In this tour, you and your team will explore Tucson in a different and fun way. You will get help via an App in the form of instructions to look for other items all around the city in any sequence, and it's up to you.
Furthermore, you can also give challenges to the other team for fun and, in return, get points. That's how this tour becomes more interesting and exciting.
Searching for hotels that fulfill your satisfaction is tedious and time-consuming. Therefore, it is better to look for them beforehand while planning your trip. We have shortlisted some of the best hotels in Tucson, including luxury, mid-range, and budget hotels adequate for all kinds of tourists traveling with a partner, family, or solo. We assure you will have the best stay at these city's top-rated hotels.
Best Luxury Hotel: JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass Resort Hotel
It's one of the top-most luxury hotels in Tucson, situated on a tremendous eastern side of the city and near Tucson Mountain Park. JW Marriott Hotel offers refined luxury and services with plenty of family-friendly leisure, incredible options of dining, enjoyable traditions, desert golf courses, free Wi-Fi in the patio and lobby, and a remarkable pampering facility at their Hashani Spa, and 81,000 sq. ft. space available for events.
The hotel complements the natural surroundings and features a stunning array of swimming pools, lazy rivers, dancing fountains, and waterslides where people of all ages can have fun. With awe-inspiring views, thrilling activities for the whole family, and scenery entwined with nature trails for biking and hiking, and you can make countless memories that will remain with you forever.
Most tourists hailing from different countries prefer to stay here while visiting Tucson. So, get ready to lose yourself in this four-star luxurious golf resort in the city.
If you want a unique and reasonable place to stay in Tucson, go for the White Stallion Ranch. This best mid-range hotel is just one mile from the Saguaro National Park. It offers charming western-themed bedrooms with free Wi-Fi, a terrace, an iPod dock station, bathrobes, a hairdryer, and a small fridge, with other facilities such as horseback riding, ranch activities, and an indoor hot tub, an outdoor pool, on-site dining. They make sure to make every tourist's stay a memorable one.
They also provide guided rides for both newbies and experienced riders, evening entertainment, and fun activities for children. Moreover, you can also avail yourself of facilities like a business center, fitness center, movie theatre, and tennis court. Try their delicious buffet and made-to-order breakfast daily. At the same time, you can have their lunch buffet both inside and in the open air. On the other side, you can have delicious B.B.Q. Specialties in a dinner buffet, along with drinks.
Visit Old Tucson Studios and the Sonoran Desert Museum within 18 miles of this hotel. At the same time, Tucson International Airport is just 25 miles away.
Those traveling on a limited budget or solo, looking for something fun and super cool downtown Tucson, make your bookings at The Downtown Clifton. The hotel, situated 500 meters from the Tucson Convention Center in the city, offers free private parking. They also feature unique bedrooms with all the necessary amenities like free Wi-Fi, a private bathroom, complimentary toiletries, a hair dryer, etc. There's also a seating area to relax from where you can see spectacular views of the city, garden, or the mountains, along with concierge services.
More and above that, several attractions are accessible here, such as the Tucson city Hall, Tucson Raceway Park, and Tucson International Airport. Therefore, you won't have any problem with your planned itinerary.
Satisfy your cravings at the best eateries in the city, where you will be left asking for more! Looking for the best places to eat in any new city can be tiring. So, here we have shared some of the best ones where you will find numerous options of delicious foods and drinks and won't be able to stop yourself from coming back again.
Guadalajara Grill – Fiesta
Enjoy delicious Mexican food with flair and live music in the background at this restaurant. Ignite your taste buds by trying their wide variety of yummy-scrummy dishes from Chile Rellenos and carnitas to homemade tortillas and other unconventional meals with seafood options, including lobster stuffed salmon and Chilean Sea bass or halibut enchiladas.
No matter how crowded this place is, you will have a significant experience and a meal with fantastic ambiance and friendly, quick service. They serve freshly made food at a very reasonable price. Here's the list of some highly recommended dishes by other tourists, which you must try, such as mini fajitas, freshly made salsa, cheese crisp with shredded beef, chorizo, and other extras, along with chilled margarita.
750 N Kolb Rd, Tucson, AZ 85710-1335 +1 520-296-1122
Time to give both your eyes and taste buds a treat! Visit Vivace travelers' number one choice and the best place to have a fancy outstanding Italian dinner in the city of Tucson. Satisfy your cravings by trying their vast options of tasty salads, appetizers, pasta, and main courses, including grilled fresh salmon, rock shrimp, and crab-filled breaded chicken breast that is perfectly made. Their service and atmosphere are up to the mark, and you can dine on the patio in a highly relaxed environment. Also, try escargot with artichokes, Prosciutto, Asparagus, the pear salad, Branzino, linguini with grilled salmon, Osso Bucco, veal marsala, stuffed shrimp, and beef medallions with gelato and espresso, which are most favorite among the tourists.
6440 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85718-1302 +1 520-795-7221
Whether you want to enjoy a magnificent culinary experience, satisfy your food cravings, or celebrate any special occasion, this restaurant will offer a safe and astounding evening. Enjoy their excellent and scrumptious prime steak with a handcrafted cocktail or a glass of wine after a hectic day tour. If you are tired of going to the restaurant, then don't worry. You can still have a perfect dining experience at the hotel as well, as you place an order for lunch or dinner.
The taste, presentation, delivery time, and service are impeccable, and you won't be disappointed. Instead, you will crave more! We highly recommend having dinner here and try their other thoughtfully cooked meals like New York steak, ribeye steak, lobster bisque soup, Fleming's potatoes with a superb collection of wines, and yummy lava cake for dessert. All of these are the favorite ones of every other customer.
6360 N Campbell Ave Suite 180, Tucson, AZ 85718-3172 +1 520-529-5017
Try this ultra-modern American restaurant in Tucson serving luscious dishes influenced by flavors from worldwide. Treat your taste buds with these finger-licking dishes, such as their finest American cuisine, like freshly made braised beef short rib and B.B.Q. Chicken tacos in a relaxing ambiance.
Nicely located with both indoor and outdoor seating arrangements, a good menu, and reasonable prices, this place has an eye-catching décor and offers excellent service. You will revisit this place after trying their other yummy dishes, such as seasonal salad with butternut squash, beets, and many other extras, savory short rib ravioli, roasted. Other tourists highly recommend chicken, spinach pasta, fish, and chips.
7037 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ 85704-4329 +1 520-219-4230
Flying V Bar & Grill has an entirely delicious menu created under the supervision of Executive Chef Ken Harvey. You can savor it in their homespun indoor dining area right in front of a homey fireplace or on their patio surrounded by stunning views. It would be best if you tried their famous finger-licking guacamole is freshly made by a guacamole expert who gives an excellent mix of all fresh ingredients according to your choice.
According to reviews of other travelers, we further recommend you to try their other dishes, including short rib tacos, ribeye steak, calamari, wagyu steak, etc. Overall, both food and service are remarkable, so anyone visiting Tucson should come to this place to treat themselves to a spectacular blend of taste and perfection.
7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ 85750-1341 +1 520-615-5495
We think we have shared plenty of information about Tucson, which may help you in choosing a suitable tour, place to stay and to eat. Tucson is a beautiful blend of beauty and adventure where you can capture and make countless delightful memories that will stick in your head and heart forever. Whether strolling down the roads, hiking somewhere in the mountains, looking at incredible animals and birds, or going for a scenic drive, Tucson never disappoints its visitors. Therefore, now it is up to you to figure out what you want to see, do and eat with our long list of options!
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