Visiting Tucson & Southern Arizona
Southern Arizona is just about ready to cool off. And western communities from Gila Bend to Safford to Douglas are celebrating by getting outside and enjoying the cool autumn breeze with a variety of festivals, community get-togethers, sporting events, and more.
One way to enjoy the saguaro-covered Sonoran beauty of southern AZ is by embarking on a scenic driving tour – the I-10 and Southern Arizona tour traverses six of the region’s top tourist stops.
While not as adventurous, taking in a football game at Tucson's Arizona Stadium – home of the University of Arizona Wildcats – does offer an up-close view of southern AZ sports culture. The Wildcats play home games until late December.
The Tucson Museum of Art invites artsy adventurers to enjoy an evening of full-boded wine, food, and premiere fine art displays in November for the CRUSH Wine, Food & Art Festival.
Interested in renewable resources and living off of the land? Then don’t miss the Edible Plant Tour and Tasting in December at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. The event is scheduled to include tasty treats from the garden, demonstrations from on-site garden chefs, and more unique fun.
One of Tucson’s oldest celebrations is back for more – the Annual La Fiesta De Los Vaqueros is scheduled for February at the Tucson Rodeo Grounds. The festival is set to include PRCA-sanctioned events as well as live entertainment, a parade, and so much more.
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Saguaro National Park spans over 91,000 acres. The Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District offer scenic hiking and biking trails and magnificent views of majestic saguaro cactus forests. Explore over 165 trails or ask about guided tours at the visitor center (3693 South Old Spanish Trail in Tucson). In addition to the protected saguaro, the park is brimming with barrel cactus, prickly pear and several varieties of succulents.
Take a tour of Old Tucson Studios. The film site was the setting for many western movies and TV shows. The Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway northeast of Tucson travels 30 miles along the Santa Catalina Range. Enjoy scenic overlooks and the Mt Lemmon SkyCenter. Kartchner Caverns State Park, near Benson, features the world’s longest soda straw stalactite. Visit the Discovery Center to view exhibits and enjoy a fun day of spelunking in the cave.
Tucson’s Kino Sports Complex hosts Major League Soccer pre-season events in January and February. Training starts with Preseason Training Camp and culminates with the Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The signature soccer event attracts elite athletes from the league’s soccer teams and fans from all over the world. Meet your favorite soccer players, take photos and get autographs at free events throughout the pre-season.
Presidio San Agustin del Tucson in Old Town features museum exhibits and living history interpreters. St. Augustine Cathedral in downtown Tucson was inspired by the Cathedral of Queretaro in Mexico. The architectural gem is one of the most photographed landmarks in the city. Constructed in 1800 by Franciscan priests, Tumacacori National Historical Park in Tubac offers interpretive exhibits on the three missions preserved within the park. The museum building is a National Historic Landmark.
Beginners and avid golfers have 40 golf courses to choose from in the Tucson region. See PGA golfers in action at the Tucson Conquistadores Classic at the Omni Tucson National Catalina course in March. All skill levels are welcome at the Oro Valley Community Center’s Conquistador and Cañada courses. Crooked Tree is one of five City of Tucson municipal courses.
Begin your ride in Tucson and take I-10 just 30 miles to Green Valley. Visit the Tubac Arts District and head further south to Nogales for border town shopping. Head east on Hwy 82 and stop off in the historic mining town of Bisbee. Travel north on AZ-80 to explore the Old West town of Tombstone. Take I-10 just 25 miles north to Benson and stop off at Gammons Gulch to see western movie sets.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum combines indoor and outdoor experiences. Set on 21 acres, the museum features two miles of walking trails and a botanical garden. Explore the natural history museum, visit the aquarium, and see wildlife presentations featuring a variety of desert animals and birds. The Bird Cage Museum in Tombstone pays tribute to the building’s past as a theater, saloon and gambling parlor during the Wild West days of the silver boom.