Fun things to do in Tucson

  • San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona Aug 2010
    San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona Aug...
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    The Venomous Mexican Beaded Lizard
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Tucson

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    Horseback Riding at Tanque Verde Ranch

    by starship Updated Sep 21, 2010

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    If you like horses and horseback riding, Tanque Verde Ranch just maybe the place for you! No matter what your skill level, you can participate in one of the daily rides as well as go on special rides for adults and children. Even though I have much more experience riding English style, Western riding is still a lot of fun. Horses are assigned to riders based on the person's size and sometimes on skill level.

    Just being around horses was heaven for me, but a real highlight was the "Breakfast Ride" to "The Homestead," a stopover up in the foothills. The terrain encountered on the Breakfast Ride was sometimes easy and sometimes treacherous if you know enough to be afraid of your horse falling. Most of the journey is on moderately sandy to very rocky and ascending terrain, but some of it can be quite steep and rutted. Always there is the reward of a great, hot, campfire breakfast after about 45 minutes of riding. The ranch hands used a wood-fired stove to cook blueberry or chocolate chip pancakes, bacon, sausage, hashbrown potatoes, coffee, hot chocolate, etc.

    There is always opportunity to see wildlife and capture magnificent views of the desert wilderness on your rides--I saw my first jackrabbit on a ride. Mostly you pay attention to where you are going and what your horse is doing!

    Also available are loping rides and even calf-penning competitions! This gives you lots of opportunity to improve your riding skills and spend time with the horses.

    The thing that made me furious was seeing idiots who thought they could ride, but couldn't, treat their horses so badly -- pulling constantly on their horse's mouths and jerking the reins, and kicking the horses. If you know how to ride and know anything about horses, you know that being light-handed on the reins and doing a little bit of clucking will certainly give you the desired response in most cases.

    Leaving the paddock Getting ready to ride out on the trail A hot breakfast on the trail!!
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    Hike the Douglas Spring Trail

    by starship Updated Apr 15, 2013

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    If you're a hiking enthusiast, try hiking the "Douglas Spring Trail." The 11.8 miles roundtrip trail leads into the Saguaro National Park which lies at the foot of the Rincon Mountains.

    Although it's a somewhat desolate-looking area, the trailhead parking lot was always filled with cars, (some with bike racks) and horsetrailers indicating that there is a good possibility of seeing other folks somewhere along the line. The Douglas Spring Trail begins at an elevation of around 2,870 ft and tops out around 4,800 ft. You'll get a lot of topigraphical variety with sand, dry washes, and rocky foothills, as well as the ability to go off on other trails such as "Bridal Wreath Falls," "Garwood Loop," "Tanque Verde Peak," "Three Tank Junction" or the 250 foot climb to the "Carrillo Trail. You will find the Douglas Spring Campground at an elevation of 4,800 ft. where you can grab some shade, and if you wish to remain overnight in the park. NO FIRES ARE ALLOWED!! A privy is on sight.

    I admit I am in no kind of shape for such climbing, especially in high temperatures, and would never put a horse through that. I am, however, up to some long walks to see all types of cacti and wildlife (but not wishing to become anyone's meal!!). While riding or walking I saw my first jackrabbit, roadrunner, prairi quails, and gilamonster. Watch out for javalinas, rattle snakes, scorpions, bobcats, coyotes, and mountain lions.

    NOTE: Bring plenty of water and hydrate yourself well beforehand, bring high-energy snack food or more, especially if you plan to be on the trail overnight. Remember the desert gets very cold at night so plan accordingly. In summer, wear hats & sunglasses and use lots of high quality sunblock.

    Douglas Spring Trailhead Some of the hiking territory ~ beautiful!! Trail leads into Saguaro National Park - postcard
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    The Owls Club Mansion

    by lamentforicarus Updated Jun 4, 2004

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    The Owls Club Mansion is a superb example of the Mission Revival style popular in the Southwest in the early 1900s. Its ornate facade, designed by Southwestern architect Henry Trost, is reminiscent of the San Xavier Mission. Located in Tucson's historic Block, the Owls Club is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The Mansion is named after a bachelor's club which occupied the building in 1902.

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    Gem and Mineral Show

    by Basaic Updated Feb 10, 2009

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    Throughout the month of February Tucson hosts the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. It is not just one show, however, and is a constantly changing show in a variety of locations. People come from all over the world to show gems, minerals, fossils and a variety of other items. I look forward to it because my cousin comes down from Berkeley and we have dinner together. The photos are from his display. The third photo is a 7 million year old skull of a huge hyena type animal. It can be yours for $12,000. His store is listed on VT under Berkeley Shopping Tips. The 2009 Gem and Mineral Show is kicking off the end of January and will last most of the way through February. The show is smaller this year due to the economy and prices are cheaper.

    Bone Room Display Display 7 million year old skull.
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    The Steinfeld Mansion

    by lamentforicarus Written Jun 4, 2004

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    The Steinfeld Mansion, located in Tucson's Historic Block, was constructed in 1898-1899 by Henry Trost. This building was originally leased to the exclusive Owls Club by Levi Manning until the Club moved into their own Mansion (The Owls Club Mansion) nearby. In 1907, Albert Steinfeld, owner of the Steinfeld & Co. department store, purchased the residence. The building was his home until 1934, when he died and Benedictine Sisters turned the Mansion into a convent. It was sold in 1958 to the American Legion, which used the building for storage. Saved from demolition by an investment firm in the late 1970s, the building is now regarded as a heritage site, and is listed on the National register of Historic Places.

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    Pima County Courthouse

    by lamentforicarus Written May 31, 2004

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    The Pima County Courthouse, built in 1927 on the site of an earlier adobe courthouse, is one of Tucson?s treasured landmarks. The building is beautifully fashioned in the colonial style, and its magnificent dome is an exquisite mosaic of yellow, blue, green, and red tile. Displayed on the second floor of the courthouse is a section of the Tucson Presidio?s wall, a reminder of the area?s history.

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    University of Arizona Visitor's Center

    by Basaic Written Aug 26, 2008

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    Your first stop if you plan to visit the University of Arizona should be the Visitor's Center on the corner of University and Euclid. The friendly staff there will be happy to give you a brochure and a map and make recommendations to maximize your enjoyment of your visit. Parking is by meters so make sure you have quarters. 25 cents gets you 15 minutes. Visitor Center hours are 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday. You will have to pay for parking; but it is not too expensive. The 2nd Street Garage is centrally located and costs no more than $7 for a full day. I think I paid $4 for about 3 hours.

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    Another Benefit of Mountains

    by bocmaxima Updated Jun 6, 2006

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    There are several great spots to see Tucson around the area.
    The closest is "A" Mountain, home of the Big "A" near Downtown. The official name is Sentinel Peak, which is also what you see on the signs. There is a drive around the top that offers some great views of Downtown and the rest of the basin. The park is only open sunrise to sunset though, so seeing the lights is not an easy option. There is a parking lot near the base, where you can park and walk up, but this isn't always a good idea at night as that particular lot sometimes has partiers hanging out at it.
    The most famous is probably Windy Point, which is perched at about 6000' above sea level (over 3000' above the basin) in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The Catalina Highway goes right up to this spot, and it was made very nice by the forest service recently, but it's also very crowded, especially on the weekends. Windy Point is also very cold in the winters, when it begins to really deserve its name.
    A little harder to get to, but good for city lights is Redington Pass. This is in the Rincon Mountains, so it's not quite as high, and is separated from the city, so the view isn't quite as good. It's also a dirt road leading up, and has no facilities. It's nice for romance though, as it's much more secluded than other spots. Tanque Verde Road east until it turns to dirt, wind up the switchbacks and park off the road when you find a suitable view.
    My favorite though is Mount Bigelow. Perched at a little under 9000', this is where several local TV and radio stations have their antennas. During the day, you can walk through a small meadow to an outcropping of rocks for a great view of the eastern and central parts of the basin. At night, there is relatively no one in the mountains, so you can sit in your car right at the top and watch the lights. Catalina Highway, right on Mount Bigelow Road. Right at the fork, follow the road to the end at the gravel parking lot. (CLOSED IN WINTER)

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    Old Main

    by Basaic Updated Aug 26, 2008

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    Many years ago when the university first opened, students used to ride their horses to school and hitch them to the posts near the Main Building which is now called "Old Main". Old Main is located near the center of the campus. Note the blue emergency light in the right foreground of the picture. They have those spread throughout the campus so if there is a medical emergency or a student feels threatened they can push the button the light goes off and the Campus Police respond very quickly

    Old Main Old Main
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    The Quad

    by Basaic Written Aug 26, 2008

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    The University of Arizona has a nice strip of lawn through the main part of campus. It is a nice place to relax in the sun, play Frisbee, or whatever. The UA Campus is also the oldest continually-maintained green space in Arizona. More than 50 campus trees are the only existing specimens of their kind in the state. For more info, check out the website below.

    Greenspace
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    Outdoor Wall Art

    by blueskyjohn Updated May 25, 2013

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    There is some incredible wall art and graffiti through out the town of Tucson.

    Main photo - corner of 4th avenue and 8th street

    2nd photo - Side play ground of the Goodwill building at the corner of 4th Ave and 8th St.

    3rd and 4th photos - A warehouse on Oracle, between Drachman and Speedway

    5th Photo - a healthy restaurant on Stone near the corner of 6th St.

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    • Photography

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    Pool fun

    by Simonneeddy Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Go site seeing. Even take the local bus to tour the city. Go to a movie on a really hot day to cool down.
    There are so many places to visit that you need a good way to get around, a car or if you are lucky like I was a daughter to drive you to all the great places. Tours are available all over.

    Pool fun
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    Tucson Sunsets

    by bocmaxima Written Jun 6, 2006

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    The best sunsets can be had at Gates Pass, which is in the Tucson Mountains down Speedway Boulevard (which becomes Gates Pass Road).
    The best time to come is in the spring or fall when the sun is nearly directly west and sets over the distant mountains. Gates Pass overlooks the sprawling Avra Valley.
    You can simply watch it from the parking lot, or you can be adventurous and climb the rock peaks to find a better or more secluded spot.

    May 2006 May 2006 Near UA
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    The Stadium

    by Basaic Written Aug 26, 2008

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    This is the stadium where the University of Arizona plays some of its games. They have a small museum called the Jim Click Hall of Champions which highlights the careers of famous Arizona sports stars. Admission is free. Hours are 9AM to 5PM Monday through Friday and 12PM to 5PM Saturdays. The museum is closed on Sundays and holidays. Please note that the hours may change on game days.

    The Stadium
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    Main Gate Square

    by blueskyjohn Updated May 15, 2013

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    Main Gate Square is a two block radius of restaurants, specialty stores and clothing stores. it is nestle in the campus of the University of Arizona, on University Blvd. between Euclid and Park Avenues. There are 23 restaurants and 7 cafes/dessert places. Also amongst the stores are a number of clothing stores and Salons. It is a nice place to relax in the evening and great for lunch. Parking could be an issue

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