Arizona may have travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Find out moreOpens in new tab or window

Arizona’s second-largest city is known for its desert landscapes, mountainous regions, science scene and cosmopolitan culture. 

Tucson is a modern city and thriving science hub set amid the sparse Sonoran Desert landscape and enclosed by five mountain ranges. The warm, dry climate, national parks, hiking trails and wildlife attract over a million outdoor lovers every year. Dubbed “Optics Valley,” the city is a world leader in optics manufacturing and astronomical research.

The roots of the cultural heritage that has shaped Tucson can be seen in Native American arts and crafts, old Hispanic neighborhoods and 19th-century American architecture. Tucsonans embrace their desert surroundings and celebrate nature and the outdoor lifestyle.

Explore the scenery with a hike through Saguaro National Park. The large, fleshy cactus has come to symbolize the American West. Tucson has the country’s largest population of saguaro cacti. Learn about native flora and fauna at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. A visit to Tohono Chul Park and Tucson Botanical Gardens will also immerse you in the beauty of the desert’s plants.

Visit Biosphere 2 to see how Tucson was at the forefront of one of the most ambitious experiments of recent times. Eight people lived for two years under glass domes in the desert. Tour the facility to see how it contributes to our understanding of climate change. Visit Pima Air & Space Museum with aircraft and spacecraft revealing 100 years of aviation history.

Head into the city to experience Tucson’s artistic and cultural scene. Visit art galleries, bookstores and jewelry shops. Art aficionados will enjoy the Tucson Museum of Art, which covers an entire city block in the El Presidio Historic District in the downtown area. The institution is devoted to art from the last 3,000 years. Stay downtown to watch dance, theater, music or film performances at the Fox Tucson Theatre, a restored movie palace from the 1930s.

Tucson has a good public bus system called Sun Tran and the downtown area is easily explored on foot. If you want to travel outside the city limits and explore the desert scenery you will need to rent a car.

Where to stay in Tucson

Downtown Tucson

Downtown Tucson

3.5/5Good!(13 area reviews)

Theaters, river views, and live music are just a few things travelers like about Downtown Tucson. Sights like Fox Theatre and Children's Museum Tucson are spots to explore, and you can get around the greater Tucson area at Ronstadt Transit Center.

Downtown Tucson

Top Hotels in Tucson

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
3 Palms Tucson North Foothills
3 Palms Tucson North Foothills
3 out of 5
7411 N Oracle Rd, Tucson, AZ
The price is CA $72 per night from Sep 22 to Sep 23

This family-friendly Tucson hotel is located in the mountains, within 3 mi (5 km) of Tohono Chul Park, Oro Valley Aquatic Center and Quail Canyon Golf Course. ...

4.1/5Very Good! (2,853 reviews)

"great staff and really clean abd well kept rooms."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 14, 2020

3 Palms Tucson North Foothills
The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa
The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa
4 out of 5
3800 E Sunrise Dr, Tucson, AZ
The price is CA $157 per night from Oct 4 to Oct 5

This family-friendly Tucson hotel is located in the mountains, 2.5 mi (4 km) from Finger Rock Trail, and within 6 mi (10 km) of Joesler Village and St. Phillips ...

4.2/5Very Good! (948 reviews)

"Beauty property, nice rooms & staff was great. Covid changes things a bit but was still enjoyable"…"

Reviewed on Sep. 12, 2020

The Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
4.5 out of 5
7000 N Resort Dr, Tucson, AZ
The price is CA $197 per night from Sep 24 to Sep 25

This family-friendly Tucson hotel is located in the mountains, 0.6 mi (1 km) from Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club, and within 9 mi (15 km) of Park Place ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (971 reviews)

"Beautiful property, amazing service and amenities. And, a VIP upgrade."…"

Reviewed on Sep. 5, 2020

Loews Ventana Canyon Resort

Popular places to visit in Tucson

Saguaro National Park
Image for Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park

5/5(65 reviews)

Hike, bike or drive through fields and forests containing one of the most recognized cactus plants in the world.

Pima Air and Space Museum
Image for Pima Air and Space Museum

Pima Air and Space Museum

4.5/5(29 reviews)

One of the largest aviation museums in the world houses aircraft and spacecraft from the 1920s to the present.

Old Tucson Studios
Image for Old Tucson Studios

Old Tucson Studios

4.5/5(26 reviews)

This Western movie studio and theme park with rides, gunfights and stunt shows has been the setting for hundreds of Hollywood productions.

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Image for Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

5/5(40 reviews)

Encounter wolves, rattlesnakes, coyotes, bighorn sheep and rare plant species at this living museum in the desert.

Sabino Canyon
Image for Sabino Canyon

Sabino Canyon

4.5/5(28 reviews)

Experience the natural beauty and wildlife of a large desert canyon on foot, by car or on a narrated tram tour.

Tucson Botanical Gardens
Image for Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens

4.5/5(11 reviews)

Wander through cactus, herb and wildflower gardens and learn about desert plants in this flower-filled sanctuary in the city.

Top things to do in Tucson

Old Tucson Theme Park Admission
Image for Old Tucson Theme Park Admission

Old Tucson Theme Park Admission

CA $32
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Tucson Attractions Savings Passport
Image for Tucson Attractions Savings Passport

Tucson Attractions Savings Passport

CA $34
Per adult
72% of travellers recommend
Crazy Dash Walking Adventure of Arizona
Image for Crazy Dash Walking Adventure of Arizona

Crazy Dash Walking Adventure of Arizona

CA $14
Per adult
3Quest Challenge Scavenger hunts of Arizona
Image for 3Quest Challenge Scavenger hunts of Arizona

3Quest Challenge Scavenger hunts of Arizona

CA $14
Per adult
Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of Arizona
Image for Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of Arizona

Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of Arizona

CA $27
Per adult
Oasis Tour of Tucson
Image for Oasis Tour of Tucson

Oasis Tour of Tucson

CA $68
Per adult

Reviews of Tucson

4.2

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
48
5 - Excellent 31.57894736842105%
4 - Good
83
4 - Good 54.60526315789474%
3 - Okay
19
3 - Okay 12.5%
2 - Disappointing
2
2 - Disappointing 1.3157894736842106%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 12, 2020

The Presidio in Old Town has a nice outdoor restaurant in the courtyard. Some Vegan options. Shopping for touristy stuff in the buildings surrounding the courtyard. Easy parking nearby. We usually always stop there for lunch.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 11, 2020

Love Tucson. It’s very beautiful! .. we come for the Rock & Gem show .. love the cactus too!!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 11, 2020

Tucson is a great city to visit.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 7, 2020

Excellent, as long as you avoid the Cholla cacti.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 7, 2020

Excellent, just stay away from the Cholla cacti.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Feb 7, 2020

The city was great, spoiled only by an encounter my husband had with a Teddy Bear Cholla. Stay far away from these cacti!

Cities near Tucson

Marana featuring golf

Marana

Titan Missile Museum

Green Valley

Other places like Tucson