Bathed in sunshine and dressed in blue skies, Tucson is a breathtaking city. With mountains in every direction and a beautiful mild climate for most of the year, it’s a wonderful place to call home.
If you have friends or family visiting from elsewhere, you’ll want to show off Tucson’s most beauteous and interesting spots. Time is sometimes limited though. Here are the 5 places you just gotta go.
Leave the city and your troubles behind; explore the grandeur of the Sonoran Desert in north Tucson. Sabino Canyon Recreation Area features soaring mountains, deep canyons, picnic areas, stone bridges, and pools for swimming. It’s a lovely place to walk, run, bike, pray, or talk with a friend. You’ll have a clear view of the sky and the surroundings. Night or day, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the canyon.
Remember to bring lots of water. Sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, snacks, and layered clothing are also recommended – especially during the warmer months.
Not sure which hike to choose? Seven Falls is a definite crowd-pleaser, featuring dramatic views, waterfall crossings, and a swimming pool at the end.
Show off Tucson’s modern, friendly, and delicious personality with a visit to Downtown Tucson! Take a spin on the streetcar. Catch a meal at Downtown Kitchen + Cocktails, Reilly, El Charro, or La Cocina. Maybe see a show at UA Centennial Hall or Fox Tucson Theatre? Take your time and enjoy the spinning scenery. Walk around with your camera and find creative photo opps. There’s so much to do along Congress and beyond.
If you feel overwhelmed by the area, consider buying tickets for Tucson Food Tours or Taste of Tucson. Your group will get a wonderful introduction to the city – while sampling some of the city’s top cuisine. If you’re an active bunch, Tucson Bike Tours is another way to see the city from a different “vantage point.”
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
If your guests include children or people who have never visited Arizona, the desert museum is a top choice. Part zoo, part botanical gardens, and part museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is truly a marvel. The grounds include almost two miles of paths on 21 acres. Approximately 90% of the museum is outdoors – but there are a few air-conditioned spaces including a cave, reptile & amphibian building, Warden Aquarium, and on-site restaurants.
You’ll witness the spectacular beauty of desert plants and animals, while getting some exercise and enjoying the glorious year-round sunshine that draws tourists from all over the world.
On your way in or out of the museum, stop to catch your breath at Gates Pass. The mountain pass is lined with scenic overlooks. Saguaros in every direction! Try to be there at sunset for extra splendor and romance.
Mercado San Agustin
Take a minute to quiet your heart and have a good conversation in the beautiful outdoor courtyard at Mercado San Agustin. You can shop for souvenirs, try your taste buds on a Mexican pastry, settle in for a cup of coffee at Stella, cool off with a Sonoran Sno-Cone, schedule a massage, or have a meal to remember at Agustin Kitchen.
Although relatively new, AK is a place you’ll feel right at home. The owners obviously know Tucson to a T.
Trail Dust Town
Tucson isn’t really much of a “wild west” town anymore, despite what the east-coasters and international travelers may think. Even so, it’s fun to venture back to the past for a bit of fun. Trail Dust Town is an ideal way to do so. The historical outdoor shopping center and miniature theme park has 8 shops, 2 restaurants, 1 museum, and a small attraction area with a carousel, train, and ferris wheel. There is also a stunt show on the premises, which promises a high-flying time. You’ll probably also want to make an appointment at the Barking Iron Old Time Photo Studio. Dress up as a saloon girl, cowboy, or prairie family for some antique photos that will have your whole group laughing!
Other runner-ups for taking guests? Definitely consider brunch at Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, hiking at Pima Canyon, and/or sledding at Mt. Lemmon. Tasting good tortillas is a must too.
Wherever you go, remember that the company you keep is half the fun. Laugh a lot, take time to savor, and soak up the sunshine. Of course, it would also be a good idea to tell your friends to book their trip between October and April for optimal weather and sightseeing.
WHERE DO YOU TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS IN TUCSON?