Tucson Travel Guide

  • San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona Aug 2010
    San Xavier del Bac, Tucson, Arizona Aug...
    by jumpingnorman
  • City of Tucson
    City of Tucson
    by danieltrue
  • Tucson
    by Kaspian

Tucson Highlights

  • Pro
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    lamentforicarus says…

     Desert beauty, rich history, and laid back attitude 

  • Con
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     Heat (May - October) 

  • In a nutshell
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    matcrazy1 says…

     City in the middle of a desert! 

Tucson Things to Do

  • Downtown

    On a typically hot late June day,I visited the Tucson Art Museum and appreciated its fine collection of Twentieth Century Art with American western themes.Painters well-represented at this relatively small art museum included Joseph Sharp,Oscar Berninghaus("Trail Through Snow"),Olaf Weighorst("Trails of Navajos"),Robert Henri,Nicholas...

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  • San Xavier del Bac Mission

    The Spanish Mission of San Xavier Del Bac was built in between 1783 and 1797. It is a National Historic Landmark, and has been in continuous use for over 200 years. It was built by Tohono O'odham laborers. The epitome of great southwestern architecture and a relic from a time when pioneers exploring the American interior came from the South instead...

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  • Pima Air and Space Museum

    There were also aircraft from other countries on display. Here you see two British Aircraft and some Russian Migs that were exported to other countries. I do not know the nomencalture for the first aircraft can one of our British friends help me with that? Info from a fellow VTer (thanks!): The RAF plane you mention is an Royal Air Force Avro...

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Tucson Hotels

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Tucson Restaurants

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  • Great Oriental Cuisine

    This restaurant serves dishes of various kinds from all over Asia and the pacific rim. Vietnam, Thailand, China and Fiji are amongst the countries represented here by their cuisine. There are also a wide variety of specialty drinks to savor. Both the food and the service was exceptional.Unfortunately, this restaurant is now CLOSED! Mandarin...

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  • Best food in Tucson

    I love this restaurant! The interior is beautifully decorated. There is outdoor seating which is very nice and where I ate. Although this restaurant is in the business district it is very quite and not much traffic. The wait staff is great and very attentive.The unique thing about this restaurant is that they have no menus. The menu actually...

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  • Good food and a gift shop!

    I have stopped in to Blue Willow several times over the years. It is a nice lunch option. Service is fast and the food is good. My only problem was that I ordered a sandwich and asked if it came with any sides. The waitress didn't so no or yes, just "would you like some chips" I said sure. So my sandwich came with a bag of chips and I was charged...

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Tucson Nightlife

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  • 4th Avenue area

    I lived in Tucson, AZ for 20 years. If you want to meet the local crowd, go to some concerts down on 4th Avenue in a bar or club (unfornately, the live jazz bar and restaraunt "Cafe Sweetwater" has closed boo-hoo but there is a club in its place). Also, many times a year, the Avenue hosts outdoor parties (other than the Street Fair) where you can...

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  • Downtown

    West of Sixth Avenue: Vaudeville: No theater is performed, but it is a fairly cool bar. Tables, chairs and pool tables are all crowded in front of medium-sized stage against a short bar. Live music most nights, usually with a cover under $5. This is where the pretentious indie crowd heads on every night but Monday. The Red Room: The Red Room is...

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  • Casino

    This Indian casino is the one most convenient to Tucson. It has 6 restaurants in addition to its multiple rooms of slots and tables.

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Tucson Transportation

  • You need a car to get around

    If you're coming as a tourist: yes, you do need a car. The most popular sites in the city, such as the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Saguaro National Park, Sabino Canyon and Mount Lemmon are virtually inaccessible without a private car. Public transit just does not reach them. However, as a resident, it is very possible to navigate the city on the...

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  • Driving in Tucson

    Driving around Tucson I must admit that I didn't have a lot of problems with finding a parking lot for my car. Surely it's not so easy to find a free parking in a downtown (there are parkometers with limited parking time at daytime in business days), but there are a lot of parkings around Tucson Convention Center. Look at my picture and follow the...

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  • Greyhound Connections

    Tucson's Greyhound station is located just off the Interstate and has no direct connectivity to the town. If you are arriving by Greyhound without any local contact, you will need take a taxi to your local accommodation.I arrived at Tucson from El Paso (TX).My ticket cost US$46.80 (accurate at October 2012) including booking fee.From Tucson I...

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Tucson Shopping

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  • Native American Crafts

    These are the very best quality Native American Art stores in Tucson. If you want to be sure that jewelry, carvings, rugs, baskets and any other type of Indian art is authentic and handmade by Native American people ,these are the stores you want to go to and buy there. There are so many fakes in the market place and it's important to keep the...

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  • Shopping Malls

    Tucson Mall has a great selection of shops to choose from. It offers large department stores (including J C Penney, Sears, Dillards and Macy's) and small specialist stores - it's a great opportunity to pick up any items you may require during your trip. MALL OPENING HOURS : Monday to Saturday : 10:00 - 21:00 Sunday : 12:00 - 18:00 The Mall also...

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  • Crafts - Other than Native American

    Explorations has a fine (and eclectic) selection of furniture and crafts from around the world. Moroccan tiles and ceramics handmade in Fez are displayed next to Chinese silks and boxes. Saris are laid out neatly within large Mexican cabinets. The small room at the front of the shop contains a kaleidoscope of pinned butterflies from the Amazon....

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Tucson Local Customs

  • General city Information

    The combination of college students, a somewhat cowboy mentality and large liberal population give Tucson a great bar scene. A few of things to know about Arizona law: 1. Bars can open at 6am every day, and some actually do. 2. Last call is at 2am. 3. Opening and closing of the bars is also tied to the general alcohol sales. Meaning that you can...

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  • Cars in Tucson

    Most drivers drive alone in their cars. Does it mean that each person has/use its own car? Hmmm... they support driving with at least 2 persons (including a driver) inside a car - as I remeber they built special lane on I-10 (only in greater urban areas like in Phoenix) called "carpool" on a freeway just for such cars. But sometimes my car was the...

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  • Tucson's Cultural Influences

    In this area there are at least two cultures mixed: Hispanic (Mexican) and Native Americans. Haha, I tried to speak with these two young smiling people on my picture in ITL Coffee Shop. I must admit that I coudn't understand them although they were talking in English. They could understand me but I coudn't them :-(((. Did they use youth or Tucson...

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Tucson Warnings and Dangers

  • Crime

    As long as you stay in the TUCSON city limits you should be fine. Do not go to South Tucson which is a city of its own. It is a working class area with gangs and lots of car theft reports. To be on the safe side, just stay north of downtown. Its definitely not one of the most dangerous cities around, but like every other large city, there can be...

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  • Encounters with desert plants and...

    Coming from the wilds of Canada, I'm used to bushwacking. "Bushwacking," means just pushing your way through plants and trees and making your own trail where there wasn't one before. Well, you can't do that sort of thing here because the flora bites back! And it hurts! Every single plant seems to have its own spiky defenses--cactus, aloe, and trees...

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  • Flooding in Tucson

    Tucsonans and other desert-dwellers are often made fun of for the idea that we freak out about a little rain. What people fail to understand though is that Tucson really does not have any sort of drainage system: it's all natural. Streets gradually flow into washes, which gradually flow into one of our "rivers" and then the water sort of gets lost...

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Tucson Tourist Traps

  • Biosphere 2

    This was one of the best tours I've ever been on, and I've been on lots of them. I remembered hearing about Biosphere 2 years ago, but learned so much about the experiments on this tour. The facility is incredible - the ocean, the rain forest. There isn't anything like it anywhere else in the WORLD. The idealism of the people who dreamed, and...

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  • Old Tucson Studios

    Although I have been to Tucson twice, I did not visit this either time, mainly because a friend who lived there when I fist went said it was a complete tourist rip off. OK I have to say, after talking to some who have been there, I would say if you have kids they would probably have a great time at Old Tucson. Be aware, however, that it is not...

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  • Trail Dust Town

    Trail Dust Town is a 4 block shopping complex made up like an old west town. It's mostly overpriced souvenirs and one restaurant.

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Tucson What to Pack

  • Pack for the Desert

    In the summer, bring a light t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. Don't forget the sunscreen. When the sun is beating and the temp is 105 F, you will burn fast. In the winter, bring a jacket with you. The days are nice. Temps in the 70's but overnight lows can drop into the upper twenties and lower thirties. Light T-shirt. No black ones. They hold...

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  • Not just desert weather

    Rain gear during monsoon season (July/Aug) is important! Winter nights are cool, temps can and do drop below freezing. And if you're heading up to Kitt Peak for star gazing, bring all your cold weather gear; you'll need to bundle up. Sunscreen is crucial; AZ leads the nation in skin cancer cases.

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  • Luggage List for the Desert

    In the summer, bring a light t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. Don't forget the sunscreen. When the sun is beating and the temp is 105 F, you will burn fast. In the winter, bring a jacket with you. The days are nice. Temps in the 70's but overnight lows can drop into the upper twenties and lower thirties. Light T-shirt. No black ones. They hold...

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Tucson Off The Beaten Path

  • Nogales, Mexico

    I read several articles on Nogales Mexico, and not having traveled there for a few years, I was unsettled about whether to go on a recent trip to Tucson. I was told not to for safety reason, by two different businesses telling me to go to Tubac instead. Years ago I noted that Tubac while pretty was considerably higher in prices although you would...

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  • Kitt Peak National Observatory.

    The road leading to Kitt Peak is Arizona Highway 86 also known as the Tucson-Ajo Highway. It runs through the Tohono O'odham Nation. You drive down 86 until you come to Junction 386 the Kitt Peak turn-off. Kitt Peak is 12 miles up the road. Please note that this is a mountain road with steep grades and lots of sharp turns. There are no facilities...

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  • Biosphere 2

    We drove about 40 miles north of downtown Tucson on State Highway 77 near Oracle to get to Biosphere 2. This is a 3.15-acre (12,700 m2) structure originally built to be a man-made, materially-closed ecological system in Oracle, Arizona by Space Biosphere Ventures - a project costing somewhere over 200 million dollars...the entrance fee though is...

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Tucson Sports & Outdoors

  • Hike Cochise Stronghold - Dragoon...

    I've always wanted to hike this and finally had the opportunity. Cochise Stronghold is about 1 hour from Tucson and well worth the drive. This is an out and back hike which makes for a long day hike. Guide books have it at 4.5 miles one way but it is longer. From where I parked my car, my GPS put the round trip at 12 miles. The entire hike I didn't...

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  • Hike Blackett's Ridge Trail - Santa...

    This is another out and back trail, and a trail I would definitely do again. I always enjoy hiking late in the afternoon and try and time it so that I can watch the sunset. Blackett's is especially good for this because as you descend back to your car you are facing the sunseting. The photos of the sun setting I have added are without any filters...

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  • Hike the Brown Mountain trail - Tucson...

    I really enjoyed this hike. I recommend doing the hike as an out and back. Also, just before sunset is especially nice.. The hike is just over 4 miles total out and back. It has a climb at the beginning then rolls along a ridge with beautiful views of the Tucson Mountains. If hike during the day be sure to bring plenty of water. If at dusk, a...

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Tucson Favorites

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  • Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

    Driving along Arizona highways I occasionally saw these birds running across the desert. It's impossible to photograph them in open wild because they are so hyper so fast. In Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum I got the opportunity to see them in captivity. Even in the cage they are still hyper and hardly stay still.

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  • Downtown Tucson

    I'm not sure what to make of the obviously new brightly colored buildings in downtown Tucson. Some city planner's idea of urban renewal. It doesn't really work. Downtown Tucson is a dead zone. People come downtown to work--brightly colored buildings are not going to coax people to stick around after work or to live in this area. In my mind, a...

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  • Desert scenery

    The flower of the saguaro cactus is the state flower of Arizona. One can see this cactus everywhere around Tucson. They can grow very tall, about 15 feet. It takes about 50 years to grow one arm, so the one on my photo must be a baby. I saw the most beautiful saguaros along a picturesque winding road, driving from Tucson to the Old Tucson Studios.

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Comments (1)

  • toddecus's Profile Photo
    Dec 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    Tucson is a way better travel vacation destination than the manicured lawns in the middle of the desert in Phoenix.

    • giampiero6's Profile Photo
      Dec 11, 2012 at 8:10 AM

      I tend to agree. Phoenix is a sprawling mini la/ golf resort. Tucson is more like a gritty Hugh plains drifter town. Nit as swanky but more character.

 
Explore Deeper into Tucson
Mt Lemmon
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Colossal Cave Mountain Park
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Old Tucson Studios
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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
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Biosphere 2
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Saguaro National Park
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Sabino Canyon
Off The Beaten Path
Tombstone and the O.K. Corral
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Tubac Artist Colony
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Desert conditions
Warnings and Dangers
Traffic Issues
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Spelunk near Tucson
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Catalina State Park
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Mt. Lemmon
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Scenic Views
Favorites
General city Information
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PIMA Air and Space Museum
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San Xavier del Bac Mission
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University of Arizona
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De Grazia Art Gallery
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Authentic Native American Art Shops in Tucson
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Tucson Museum of Art
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Arizona State Museum
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University of Arizona Art Museum
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Biosphere 2
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Reid Park Zoo
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Map of Tucson

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