Guide to Mission San Xavier del Bac

Mission San Xavier del Bac Tucson


Mission San Xavier del Bac (also commonly referred to as San Xavier del Bac Mission) is a church, school, and frequently visited tourist attraction in Tucson on the Tohono O'Odham San Xavier Indian Reservation.

The mission was named after Frances Xavier, a pioneering Christian missionary and co-founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order).

Completed in 1797, the church has Mexican, Spanish, and Tohono O'odham influences.

Dubbed the "white dove in the desert," visitors come from near and far to see the ornate and detailed artwork, to learn about the history, and to admire the careful preservation.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Where is Mission San Xavier del Bac located?

The mission is located at 1950 W. San Xavier Road in southwest Tucson.

What are the hours?

The church is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily.

The museum is currently closed.

Free tours are typically offered Monday-Saturday starting at 9:30am until 1:00 pm when the church is not in use, but tours are currently on-hold. Be sure to call in advance to check availability.

Can I attend mass at Mission San Xavier del Bac?

Yes. All are welcome, but priority is given to parishioners who have regularly been attending mass at the Mission, those who have a reservation, and those who arrive early. All remaining seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and is available approximately 10 minutes or less before the start of mass. Masks are required in the Church.

Services typically last 45-60 minutes.

Please note the mass schedule:

  • Saturday 5:00pm
  • Sunday 10:00am and 12:00pm

Why would I visit Mission San Xavier del Bac?

  • To learn about the history
  • To marvel at the intricate artwork
  • To take photographs
  • To attend mass
  • To eat indian fry bread

How much does it cost?

Admission is free. Donations are accepted.

What is the parking situation?

Visitor parking is available in a large dirt lot in front of the mission.

What should I wear?

Dress for the weather as you will be walking both indoors and outdoors. There is neither heating in the winter nor air conditioning in the summer.

What should I bring with me?

Bring water bottles, snacks, cash, and a camera. Perhaps a sketchpad, Bible, or journal?

Are bathrooms available?

Yes.

Which days are most and least crowded at the Mission?

The Mission is most crowded on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays and least crowded on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

DINING

Is outside food allowed at Mission San Xavier del Bac?

Food is not allowed in the church itself. The adjacent San Xavier Plaza sells food, however, and there are some outdoor areas where you could sit down to enjoy a snack.

Does the Mission San Xavier have a restaurant?

No. See above.

What restaurants are located NEAR the Mission?

The Mission is pretty far off the beaten path so you'll likely have to drive 10+ minutes to dine. Our top picks within a 10-mile radius are:

BABIES & KIDS

What ages would be best suited for a visit to Mission San Xavier del Bac?

Elementary age students (and older) will probably get the most enjoyment out of the artwork and museum. That said, babies and toddlers are certainly welcome.

Should I bring a stroller?

Sure. The mission itself isn’t very big, but you may walk a bit around the property. Note that Grotto Hill is closed until further notice.

Are there changing tables in the restrooms?

No.

EVENTS

Can I have my wedding or rehearsal dinner at Mission San Xavier del Bac?

The Mission was created to serve the needs of the local community. As such, the policy is "to only do marriages, baptisms, etc. for the local community. The church cannot be rented out."

MISCELLANY

Is Mission San Xavier del Bac active on social media?

No.

Are pets allowed at Mission San Xavier del Bac?

Pets are allowed in the facility if on a leash.

What else do I need to know before I go to the Mission San Xavier del Bac?

  • You may want to begin your visit by watching the 20 minute film about the history and restoration of the Mission. It plays continually between 8:00am and 4:30pm in the museum. Currently not available.
  • Check the tour schedule in advance if you would like to take a free 45-minute tour. Currently not available.
  • If you wish to light a candle, please purchase one at the gift shop or in the museum foyer for $4.
  • Photography is permitted in the church, except during mass.
  • Many people say that the fry bread that is sold in the parking lot is not to be missed! Fry bread is available for purchase on most days with the exception of Mondays.

Check out the complete list of Tucson Museums.

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