Just moved from Long Island to Tucson Arizona. Does anyone have suggested places to visit?
Heya! If you’re into…
nature Mt. Lemmon in Coronado National Forest and Wasson Peak in Saguaro Nat Park (especially if being surrounded by gargantuan, ancient cacti is still novel to you!) The mycological herbarium at U of A is also pretty amazing, if ya like mushrooms.
nightlife Exo is both coffee shop and bar, but the cocktails they mix at night feature regional botanicals like creosote and chiltepin, and they make their own tepache. Mr. Head’s is a solid dive on a street filled with bars. The Shelter is literally in a fallout shelter, and it’s vintage-themed and delightful.
eats If you wanna try the local specialty, El Güero Canelo makes a mean Sonoran Dog… in fact, they won a James Beard Classics Award for it. The Parish is a bit of a wildcard—they do New Orleans/Southwestern cuisine, from “hot wings” frog’s legs to goat cheese chile rellenos. Go for dinner, it’s all incredibly thoughtful and fun, and it’s tucked in a random strip mall… welcome to Arizona!
Sabino Canyon’s also great for hiking! If you go there, be sure to wander around the little trail near the visitor’s center to say hello to its crested saguaro.
Mt Lemmon is about 2 miles from me as I see its beauty every day. U of A is only about 3.5 miles away so these are some excellent suggestions that I will be doing over the next month. Thank you so much. Sincerely, Greg Gibbons.
Just a short list of my favorites:
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
- Hike in Saguaro National Park (but wait until it is cooler)
- Tucson Botanical Garden
- Visit San Xavier del Bac
- Visit Kitt Peak National Observatory
- My favorite is about a 40 mile drive outside of Tucson (east) to Kartchner Caverns State Park. Take all the available tours. Kartchner Caverns State Park | Arizona
There is no better introduction to Tucson than the Day of the Dead parade downtown; it’s usually held around Nov 2 (check online). The historic and iconic Hotel Congress is a good before gathering place and it ends near the also-wonderful Mercado. Don’t just watch, honor someone you’ve lost by walking.
Go to the famous Gem Show in mid-February at UA, see world-class photography at the UA photography museum, go the 4th Ave fair (November?), and get to know 4th Ave in general. The farmers’ market at Phillips Plaza is a weekend favorite.
Old Tucson is an American movie studio and theme park just west of Tucson, Arizona, adjacent to the Tucson Mountains and close to the western portion of Saguaro National Park. Built in 1939 for the movie Arizona (1940), it has been used for the filming of many movies and television westerns since then, such as Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Rio Bravo (1959), El Dorado (1966), and Little House on the Prairie TV series of the 1970s-1980s. It was opened to the public in 1960, and historical tours are offered about the movies filmed there, along with live cast entertainment featuring stunt shows and shootouts.
I’ve only been for the Wild Wild West Steampunk Convention, but it’s a really neat location.
Tucson Mountain Park is always good…especially if you are into hiking or photography.
I’d highly recommend a hike through Aravaipa Canyon, northeast of Tucson, combined with an overnight camp. Permits are limited, so you’ll need to plan in advance, but it’s an oasis, absolutely beautiful.
Bisbee is worth a day or weekend trip, a former mining town turned artist colony. Get reservations for Cafe Roka, the top dinner spot in town.
Visit the Titan Missle Museum and Biosphere Two since you now live in Arizona.
Biosphere 2 is a wonderful place to visit just outside of Tucson. The architecture is astonishing as was the project. I love going back to see how the vegetation is progressing and sometimes the changes are quite surprising.
The “Boneyard” at Davis-Monthan AFB is a great place to visit for anyone interested in aviation. There are hundreds of retired aircraft out in the open air. It has evolved into “the largest aircraft boneyard in the world”. There is also a lovely little museum.
Not in Tucson, but a short drive from there is Tombstone. A walk along the main street is fun and gives one a real feeling of the Old West. The old courthouse is very well preserved and a wonderful place to see some history through its exhibits. Wyatt Earp’s home is also open to the public and quite charming.
Tucson is surrounded by four mountain ranges, so there are enough trails to meet any desire: easy or difficult … popular to rarely used. Running water year round, pine mountains, dry desert. Take your pick:
Always take water. Best not to hike in summer except early mornings.
If you like music there is a Tucson Symphony Orchestra, several civic orchestras with free to low cost concerts, all kinds of country, rock, or folk groups. The University of Arizona has many events … some fantastic concerts & masters or doctoral recitals are free:
If you like to ski, Mt. Lemmon has snow most winters: Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley
If you like books, don’t miss the Tucson Festival of Books running two days in March with authors from new or unknown to world famous: http://tucsonfestivalofbooks.org/
If you haven’t visited the Grand Canyon yet, plan at least two days for a drive up north. A hike down to the Colorado River & back on Kaibab & Bright Angel Trails will take a full day if you’re in good shape. Take lunch & plenty of water.
Coming soon (every October) - Tucson Meet Yourself. Some Tucsonians go every year … everybody in town should go at least once: https://www.tucsonmeetyourself.org/
Most newcomers like to drive to Nogales & cross the border for shopping & dinner. Try it once at least. Some Arizonans visit Mexico often; others rarely or never. Rocky Point is the closest beach town, but farther south you can find empty camping & diving areas to popular & crowded tourist favorites.
My parents grew up in Tucson & I was born here in 1950, so I could write pages. Enjoy my town!
If you are interested in day trips, there’s wine county in the Wilcox area and the Sky Islands, around the Sonoita/Elgin area. It’s about an hour to each area. I live in the Elgin Area, and love it. BTW, it’s about 5-8 degrees cooler up here, at about 5,000 feet. But remember, if you go wine tasting, you’re drinking at altitude!
Just outside of Casa Grande, there are the legendary domes. Approximately a mile south of interstate 8. Though there are a few signs around stating it’s private property, what’s left of the fence doesn’t keep anyone out. Keep in mind the domes are old, and probably not structurally sound…so if you do go, use caution. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Tucson.
It’s been mentioned before, but the Desert Museum is a lot of fun. Part zoo, part botanical garden, part museum… it’s all great.