Our most recommended things to do in Tucson

Tucson: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Admission Ticket

1. Tucson: Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Admission Ticket

Experience the magic of the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum with this attraction ticket. Traverse two miles of walking paths across 21 acres of desert landscape and uncover the diverse flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert region. Exchange your voucher for a ticket in the fast-tracked Pre-Purchased Tickets line and begin your journey through the animal and plant life which abounds in the Sonoran Desert. Take a stroll through over 55,000 species of plants. Admire wildlife such as coyotes, javelinas, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep in naturalistic habitats. Bird lovers delight in visiting the Museum's two aviaries, one which is solely dedicated to hummingbirds. Learn about how the museum has worked to protect the natural systems of the Sonoran Desert Region. Find out about its mission to inspire people to live in harmony with the natural world by fostering love, appreciation, and understanding of the Sonoran Desert.

Tucson: 5 Line Zipline Course over Sonoran Desert

2. Tucson: 5 Line Zipline Course over Sonoran Desert

The Zipline EcoTour will give each person the opportunity to zip across and learn about the Sonoran Desert flora and fauna while pushing the limits of their comfort zones. This includes a ride on 5 zipline spans ranging in length from 400-1,500 feet. The last and longest run is a dual line making it possible to zip alongside a friend or loved one! In between ziplines, plant your feet back on the ground and explore the desert landscape from our short hiking trails. Familiarize yourself with different types of plant life such as ocotillo, agave, and different types of cactus. While you are ziplining and hiking, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife: desert spiny lizards, gila monsters, javalina, deer, and even bobcats inhabit the property! There is water provided along the trails. Located just one hour north of Tucson, and two hours south of Phoenix enjoy the scenic drive out to see us in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains. The views from our property overlook the San Pedro River Valley, the Galiuro Mountains, Tonto National Forest, and the Catalina Mountains. True to the desert landscape, the views are sweeping and will not dissapoint!

Box Canyon and Pinal Mountains Half-Day ATV Tour

3. Box Canyon and Pinal Mountains Half-Day ATV Tour

Explore the extreme northeast corner of Florence, Arizona on board a thrilling Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Located halfway between Tucson and Phoenix, the Box Canyon and Pinal Mountains make for an ideal day out from both cities. The dirt trail that will set your blood racing is about 30 miles long, and you will have 3.25 hours to play. Once your guide has equipped you with safety equipment and received a short training, head off along dirt trails that twist, turn, and bump up and down the Pinal Mountains. Climb up and over the front range of the mountains. At the same time, your guide points out Indian petroglyphs left behind by the ancient Native Americans.  Another point of interest is an old adobe building that served as a way station for the Butterfield Overland Stage Coach Company during the 1860s. For a short time, it also serviced the Pony Express on what was known as the "Butterfield Route." The real highlight of the tour is Box Canyon. You'll be in the canyon for about 6 miles. Get set for the drama of the middle 3 miles, a slot canyon with walls only about 10-20 feet apart and 900 feet high on both sides!

Tucson Tour: Saguaro & Mt. Lemmon Self-Guided Audio Tour

4. Tucson Tour: Saguaro & Mt. Lemmon Self-Guided Audio Tour

Welcome to Shaka Guide's audio tour app, your companion for exploring the captivating sights of Tucson, Arizona. Get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through two iconic destinations: Saguaro National Park and Mount Lemmon. As you begin your tour of Tucson with the Shaka Guide app, prepare to be amazed by the beauty and diversity of the Sonoran Desert. The app will provide informative and engaging audio commentary, sharing insights into the unique ecosystems, rich history, and fascinating geology of the region. Your first stop is Saguaro National Park, where the towering saguaro cacti steal the show. Learn about these magnificent giants and their importance in the desert ecosystem as the app guides you through the park's scenic drives and hiking trails. Don't miss the Cactus Forest Loop Drive or the Signal Hill Trail, where you can witness the stunning landscape dotted with hundreds of saguaros. Continue your journey to Mount Lemmon, a majestic peak that offers respite from the desert heat and treats you to breathtaking alpine vistas. The app will guide you through the scenic Catalina Highway, also known as the Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway. Marvel at the changing landscapes as you ascend to higher elevations, passing through various life zones. Once you reach the top, explore the wonders of Mount Lemmon. Enjoy panoramic views from Windy Point Vista, where you can see for miles across the Tucson valley. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of activities to indulge in on Mount Lemmon. Hike the picturesque trails that meander through pine forests, such as the Aspen Loop Trail or the Marshall Gulch Trail. Experience the thrill of rock climbing or try your hand at fishing in one of the mountain lakes. As you drive back to Tucson, the Shaka Guide app will continue to provide interesting commentary about the region's history, culture, and local attractions. You'll discover hidden gems, unique dining options, and recommendations for further exploration in Tucson. With the Shaka Guide app as your knowledgeable companion, your tour of Saguaro National Park and Mount Lemmon in Tucson will be enriched with fascinating stories, natural insights, and practical information. So, grab your phone, download the Shaka Guide app, and get ready to embark on an extraordinary journey through the diverse landscapes of Tucson, Arizona.

Tucson: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne and Breakfast

5. Tucson: Hot Air Balloon Ride with Champagne and Breakfast

Enjoy a morning among the clouds on a shared 45-60-minute hot air balloon flight. After your hot air balloon flight, relax with a post-flight champagne toast and balloonist's ceremony. Fill up on a continental breakfast, and take home commemorative flight certificates. Soar thousands of feet in the air for an overview of the valley. Skim over the trees and cacti. Learn about the history, flora, fauna, and landmarks of the land from your pilot. After your hot air balloon flight, relax with champagne at a traditional balloonist's ceremony. To conclude your hot air balloon ride, you'll be inducted into the ballooning society and awarded the Certificate d’Ascension En Machine Aerostatique, a memento of your journey.

Tucson: Botanical Gardens Admission Ticket

6. Tucson: Botanical Gardens Admission Ticket

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 it one of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling 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. The tropical butterfly exhibit features hundreds of butterflies and beautiful blooming orchids. Keep your eyes peeled for hummingbirds, cardinals, quail, butterflies, olive trees, dwarf citrus trees, bearded iris, wildflowers, and cacti. There’s also art exhibits and galleries and the chance to have breakfast or lunch in an outdoor setting.

From Phoenix: Tombstone and Bisbee Day Tour

7. From Phoenix: Tombstone and Bisbee Day Tour

Start your tour with a scenic 3-hour drive to the town of Tombstone. Learn about the region from your knowledgeable guide as you relax in a luxury vehicle. Stop to admire beautiful views of Saguaro National Park and snap photos of the largest saguaro cactus field in the Southwest. Once in Tombstone, wander through the old town and check out the main street. After lunch, you’ll see a thrilling 30-minute staged gunfight. After around 2.5 hours exploring Tombstone, continue to the copper mining town of Bisbee. This scenic town is situated in the mountains and was once the largest copper mining community in America. Stroll the street to see restored and historic buildings and preserved copper workshops. Browse the local shops before heading back to your accommodation.

Tucson: Flandrau Science Center Entry Ticket

8. Tucson: Flandrau Science Center Entry Ticket

Learn about the world and the sky with admission to the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium. Enjoy a variety of exhibits that explore sharks, space, and fossils, and stay after dark to see Jupiter through a telescope. At the heart of the University of Arizona campus, enter Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium. After showing your ticket, head in to explore the universe, from earth to space. Get your young children excited about science with interactive elements, games, and activities. Older children and adults alike can learn about bugs, sharks, black holes, and space. Consider adding as a full-dome planetarium experience while you're there. Metalheads can pop into the Planetarium for a laser show featuring music by Pink Floyd and Metallica. Sroll through the many exhibits. Learn about the importance of bugs for the environment, discover the largest scale model of the surface of Mars, and see ancient fossils. Throughout the year, changing exhibits focus on biology, energy, and optics and weave in ground-breaking UA research, revealing the world of science careers for budding scientists. After dark, meet with a volunteer astronomer at the Flandrau Observatory. Peer through a 16-inch telescope to see Saturn's rings, the cloud belts of Jupiter, and the Andromeda galaxy.

Saguaro National Park Self Guided Driving Audio Tour

9. Saguaro National Park Self Guided Driving Audio Tour

Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will function as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map. Purchase one tour per car, not per person. Everyone listens together! Note: This 21+ mile-long tour covers the essentials of Saguaro National Park in 2-3 hours. This self-guided driving tour features both West and East Saguaro National Park. Start by downloading the Action Tour Guide app, which will serve as your personal tour guide, audio tour, and map, all in one! Once downloaded, your journey through West Saguaro National Park starts adjacent to 4960 W Ajo Highway in Tucson. As you drive, dig into the secrets behind the park’s majestic mountains. Learn how they began as mere mud and hear about the tectonic changes that shaped them! Then see the Old Tucson Theme Park, a movie set turned into a totally unique theme park. Next, stop at the Gates Pass Scenic Lookout for enchanting views of Tucson’s ancient rock formations. You’ll meet Thomas Gates, the pass’s namesake and hear about his eclectic life as a pioneer, gambler, entrepreneur, and prison superintendent! As the journey continues, take in the grand Saguaro cacti. Uncover how they sustain the park’s wildlife, and how the Tohono O’odham once used these iconic succulents! Next stop is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, featuring all kinds of exhibits about the natural wonders of the desert. Get to know rugged homesteaders like Emilio Carillo, whose successful cattle ranch attracted a rather greedy gang and nearly cost him his life! For more drama, you’ll learn about the area’s mining history and unearth stories full of embezzlement, greed, and kidnapping! The journey continues onto the Valley View Overlook Trail, one of the most popular (and scenic) hikes in the whole park. As you drive on, get the wild story behind the park’s formation, covering eight decades! Discover the mysterious petroglyphs of Signal Hill and get acquainted with Geronimo, who lived not far from this very park! The East Saguaro Tour begins at the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center in Tucson. Get the stories of the Hohokam, then stop at the breathtaking Sonoran Desert Outlook. Next, you’ll find out just how courageous the bighorn sheep really are! Hear how they can scale cliffs and balance upon precipices. Speaking of wildlife, you’ll also get some ferocious facts about the local mountain lions.As you continue, you’ll reach the Cactus Forest Trail, an incredible path through the park’s famous cacti. Stop by the scenic Riparian Overlook, then continue on to the famously beautiful Tanque Verde Ridge Trail. Your tour concludes here.

Tucson: Arizona State Museum Entry Ticket

10. Tucson: Arizona State Museum Entry Ticket

Take your entry ticket and visit the Arizona State Museum. Established in 1893, the museum is the oldest and largest anthropological research facility in the U.S. Southwest, home to the world's most comprehensive collections of Southwest Indigenous pottery and Native North American basketry. During yours visit see the museum's core and temporary exhibits. Learn about thousands of years of fiber-weaving traditions in "Woven Through Time: American Treasures of Native Basketry and Fiber Art." Explore the 2,000 year history of pottery-making in "The Pottery Project." Renowned for its excellence in preserving, interpreting, and sharing the material culture of the U.S. Southwest and northwest Mexico, the museum's extensive collections are among the most significant resources in the world for the study of American Southwest’s 13,000 year human history.

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What people are saying about Tucson

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 43 reviews

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a great and extraordinary museum. Usually you stay here for 3-4 hours. It's a great place for families and children. All the animals of the desert can be seen on site. Since 80 percent of the museum is outdoors, it is important to wear a hat, water (can be refilled free of charge at water points in the park) and good sunscreen. Have fun exploring the desert museum.

Brian was our driver/guide. He was on-time, very friendly and knowledgeable and was great with the grandkids. We had a great time ! He taught us a lot of things about desert. We would highly recommend

Our driver/guide was phenomenal. Super respectful, and knowledgeable about the desert. Cactus Jack is the best out there!!!

Our Guide Bill was awesome!!! Very knowledgeable and helpful.