Attractions Around Tucson

Points of Interest Nearby

1.  Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum   The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is ranked on as one of the Top 10 Museums in the country and the #1 Tucson attraction. Much of the experience is outdoors.  The 98-acre Desert Museum is a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.  21 interpreted acres with two miles of walking paths through various desert habitats and many animal and plant species.  Avoid the desert heat by going early:  museum hours 7:30 am – 2 pm.

2.  Mission San Xavier del Bac

Mission San Xavier del Bac is a beautiful and historic Spanish Catholic mission located about 10 miles (16 km) south of downtown Tucson, Arizona, on the Tohono O’odham Nation San Xavier Indian Reservation. It was founded as a Catholic mission in 1692 by Father Kino, who established many missions in the Southwest.  For a virtual tour, go to the website. 

3.  Saguaro National Park   Saguaros are the iconic giant cacti seen only in Arizona, held sacred by the Native Americans.  Saguaro National Park East and West both feature drive-through loops so you can see these beautiful cacti from the comfort of your air-conditioned vehicle and stop when you wish to get out.  Trails throughout.  Well-worth seeing either one or both for their unique statuesque beauty.

4.  Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway   A beautiful drive takes you up to Mt. Lemmon, always at least 20 degrees cooler than Tucson.  There are many hiking trails and picnic sites, in addition to a small town at the top.  Site of winter skiing.

5.  Sabino Canyon National Park   A mere 3 miles from Loews Ventana, this beautiful park has many hiking and running paths, open anytime.   An excellent feature for out-of-town visitors is that it offers a narrated, educational 45-minute, 3.8-mile covered tram ride tour into the exquisite scenery of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The trams have nine stops along the tour with several restroom facilities and picnic grounds located near Sabino Creek. The tram turns around at Stop #9 and heads back down to the Visitor’s Center, at which point riders may remain on board or hike back down. Trams arrive on average every 30 minutes. A definite must-see!


  • Tucson Botanical Gardens  One of the top ten gardens nationwide.   Go early to beat the heat and see the many desert gardens and exhibits.
  • Tohono Chul botanical garden   Unique Southwestern gardens with daily tours offered.  A bistro serves excellent food.   Also features a gallery and museum shop.


  • Arizona State Museum   The Arizona State Museum is the oldest and largest anthropological research museum in the U.S. Southwest, with expansive collections for the study, teaching, and appreciation of the region’s 13,000-year human history.  The Arizona State Museum is located on land that has been home to Indigenous peoples for 13,000 years.
  • Pima Air and Space Museum  The #3 largest air museum in the country, ride a tram to the various climate cooled hangers. Also visit the 390th Memorial Museum on the same grounds, a world-class World War II museum, focused on the stories of the men in the 390th who fought in the European theater.  Features a gleaming B-17 in the interior. 
  • Boneyard tour   The Boneyard is a fascinating and vast outdoor storage area for retired planes or planes not currently in use.   The Pima Air & Space Museum offers exclusive bus tours of the Boneyard, the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARG).  The facility is located adjacent to the Museum at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. Seats are available on a “first come first serve” basis. It is recommended you purchase your tickets when the museum opens at 9:00 AM. The tour bus boards at the Pima Air and Space Museum entrance. At this time (9/2021) the tour is suspended indefinitely, but circumstances may change.  For an aerial view of the boneyard, go to:   About the Boneyard:
  • Tucson Desert Art Museum: Current exhibits include Women Pioneers of the West, New Deal Photography of Migrant Stories and Buffalo Soldiers: The 10th Cavalry Regiment Told Through the Art of David Laughlin (Buffalo soldiers were African American soldiers in the post-Civil War West)
  • Others include:  The Tucson Museum of Art, The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures and the University of Arizona Gem and Mineral Museum.


DeGrazia Gallery  or    A 10-acre National Historic District designed and built by acclaimed Arizona artist Ettore “Ted” DeGrazia.  Following a regional tradition of building a chapel or shrine in thanks, DeGrazia’s goal built an adobe mission from the ground up at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains.  Features six permanent collections of paintings that trace historical events and native cultures of the Southwest.  Just under 5 miles from Loews Ventana.

Arizona High Country Tour

If you plan to vacation a bit in Arizona, you might be interested in the northern half for a High Country Tour with cooler weather and exciting indigenous and geographically unique sites