Things to do in Tucson
Tucson's mild climate and the areas cultural and historic uniqueness make it perfect for all types of events and the Arizona Riverpark Inn hotel is conveniently located to Southern Arizona's many attractions.
Area Events. While in Tucson, or prior to your trip, make plans to explore the area, attend a festival or concert, see a film, visit a museum or attend a sports event. Tucson offers something for everyone -- fiestas to music and film festivals, gem shows to sports. Explore the distinctive cultural heritage of Tucson and the surrounding area. With its fusion of European Catholic and Native American traditions you can attend Yaqui Easter ceremonials, a Mariachi Festival, visit the Poetry Center, the Arizona State Museum's Mexican mask collection, the astronomical research site on Kitt Peak, go bird / wildlife watching, attend an art walk or attend a dark sky program. Tucson is one of only 14 cities in the U.S. with a symphony as well as ballet, opera and theatre. Outdoor sporting opportunities abound. And, if you are a cycling enthusiast, Tucson recently received national recognition when USA Today named it one of the 10 Best Bike Cities in the Country. Bicycle events such as the El Tour de Tucson, are plentiful, while key rides include those around The Loop, a multi-use trail developed around Tucson/Pima County. There are currently 630 miles of striped bike paths, 72 miles of shared use paths, over 100 miles of residential bike routes and over 300 miles of mountain biking paths.
Family Friendly. Tucson is family friendly and there are a number of things to do with children including Breakers Water Park, Funtastics Family Fun Park, Golf N Stuff, the Reid Park Zoo, the Children's Museum of Tucson, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Old Tucson Studios and the Pima Air and Space Museum. Do remember to check local listings to confirm time, location and fees where applicable.
Now is a fabulous time to visit Tucson! Play golf, visit a spa and check out the economic boom in downtown Tucson while discovering the things that make Tucson a vibrant desert community.
- 12/02 – Judy Collins in concert at Fox Tucson Theatre
- 12/02 –Pima Community College Jazz Ensemble at Proscenium Theatre
- 12/05 – A Sondheim Evening at Crowder Hall
- 12/05-05 – Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul
- 12/05-07 – Luminaria Nights at the Tucson Botanical Gardens
- 12/06 – Tucson Golf Expo at the Randolph North Golf Course
- 12/06 – Santa Landing at the Pima Air & Space Museum
- 12/06-07 – La Fiesta de Guadalupe at DeGrazia Gallery
- 12/07 – Broadway Goes Hollywood at the Berger Center for Performing Arts
- 12/09-11 – Christmas at San Xavier - the 18th Annual Concert
- 12/11-13 – Pedrito Martinez at Club Congress
- 12/11-20 – Christmas My Way -- Sinatra Bash at the St. Francis Theatre
- 12/12-13 – Holiday Nights at Tohono Chul
- 12/12-13 – 4th Avenue Winter Street Fair
- 12/12-14 – USTA Southwest Adult 65 and Over League Invitational at the Tucson Racquet Club
- 12/12-14 – Beauty and the Beast at Centennial Hall
- 12/12-14 – Luminaria Nights at Tucson Botanical Gardens
- 12/13 – Sounds of Winter Concert at the Fox Tucson Theatre
- 12/13-14 – A Southwest Nutcracker at Tucson Music Hall
- 12/13-14 – Christmas Native American Arts & Crafts Show at Mission San Xavier
- 12/13 – Luminaria Festival at Tucson Presidio
- 12/13-27 – Winterhaven Festival of Lights
- 12/14 – Winterhaven Run Through the Lights 5K
- 12/14 – Fox Tucson Theatre presents Randy Houser "Like A Cowboy"
- 12/14 – Tucson Boys Chorus Holiday Concert at UA Crowder Hall
- 12/18 – Merry-Achi Christmas at Fox Tucson Theatre
- 12/20 – 20th Annual Downtown Parade of Lights
- 12/20-21 – Magic of Christmas : Tucson Symphony at Tucson Music Hall
- 12/26-28 – The Nutcracker Ballet at Tucson Music Hall
- 12/27 – Mannheim Steamroller at UA Centennial Hall
- 12/267-01/02 – United States Tennis Assoc. Winter Nationals at Reffkin Tennis Center
Please note that information shown including dates, venues, and times are subject to change without notice and fees may apply.
The Pueblo Gem & Minerals Show at the Arizona Riverpark Inn. The 2014 show was a great success and remains the most diverse jewelry, gem and mineral show in Tucson -- a premier buyer's location for more than 30 years. The Tucson Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase is one of the largest gem extravaganzas in the world and some 55,000 of the world's buyers and sellers of rock of all shapes and sizes travel to Tucson for gem shopping. The 2015 Pueblo Gem & Mineral Show dates are January 30-February 11, 2015.
The El Tour de Tucson, one of America's largest organized cycling events. Registration opens mid-to-late January of 2014 for the 2014 event which takes place on November 22, 2014. Register early for a low rider number and for the lowest fees possible. and remember to make your reservations to stay at the Riverpark Inn in downtown Tucson, the closest hotel to the downtown start / finish line. The Arizona Riverpark Inn, a WSC Sports Official Hotel, is the perfect place to stay whether you are a professional or amateur cyclists riding for fun. Call our toll-free number (800.551.1466) and be sure to ask for our special El Tour de Tucson rate during this premier event.
Did you know that in 2013 Tucson was placed in two national Top-10 lists for urban cycling in the country and that the recently expanded Rillito River Park Trail -- a 23-mile path offers traffic-free access to Tucson and Pima County parks and trailheads? When completed, The Loop, an eventual 131-mile shared use path will encompass the major river systems of the Tucson region. You can also bike the Santa Cruz River walkway, directly behind the hotel, which connects to the Rillito River Park Trail. The Santa Cruz section of the path is the western most portion of the 55-mile urban bike loop.
Did you realize you can take a behind-the-scenes look at how University of Arizona engineers and scientists build the next generation of giant telescope mirrors? Reservations are required to tour the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab, call 520.626.8122. Cost is $8 for students and $15 for adults. If, however, you would like to look through the largest public viewing telescope in the Southwest you can visit the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter and participate in their SkyNights Program. Visit skycenter.arizona.edu for reservations. Fees Apply.
Whether you are attending a special event or an alumni meeting, high-school or military reunion, conference or an annual meeting the Riverpark Inn is the perfect hotel. We welcome you to Tucson and encourage you to take time to enjoy what our city has to offer.
Make your hotel reservations today for the Arizona Riverpark Inn so you, your family and friends can at one of the areas nicest hotels while experiencing all that Tucson has to offer.
- Biosphere 2. Did you realize that Time Life Books recently named the Biosphere 2 "one of the 50 must-see wonders of the world"? Come check out this man-made wonder, located in Oracle, Arizona, this facility is entirely made of glass, standing at 4,000 feet above sea level at the base of Santa Catalina Mountains. Visitors can enjoy a beautiful drive just north of Tucson to check out this unique space exhibit dedicated to exploring the environment that’s sure to please any science enthusiast. During "Discover Nights", each Saturday in October visitors for the first time in 20 years will be able to go inside Biosphere 2 at night! Each evening will be a night of stargazing and hands-on science activities that can be enjoyed by the entire family. There are multimedia displays, as well as a bookstore and cafe. New programs and events are offered monthly and kids are free every Saturday. For more information call 520.838.6200.
As the cultural and historical heart of what was the "Old Pueblo", downtown Tucson has something for everyone. Downtown Tucson boasts ten nearby historic districts, plus the arts district, which is the home of many unique galleries and artist workshops. Downtown is Tucson's cultural hub and features performances by local theater, opera, symphony and ballet companies, as well as touring Broadway Shows and national performing artists. Downtown Tucson’s historic landmarks include St. Augustine Cathedral, the old Pima County Courthouse and two historic railroad depots. There is plenty of shopping, great restaurants, night spots and more. Take the Presidio Trail walking tour of downtown Tucson and don’t miss anything!
The Rialto Theatre.
Established in 1920 the Rialto Theatre is dedicated to offering the most diverse possible array of entertainment in an historic setting for downtown Tucson. The Rialto hosts a broad array of performers and talent, including rock bands, heavy metal, hip hop, indie, and jam bands as well as jazz, flamenco, country film and comedians -- everything from Rock to Bach, to borrow a favorite phrase from a 70's infomercial. The Arizona Riverpark Inn hotel is the perfect lodging choice for you and your friends when attending events at the Rialto. Visit www.RialtoTheatre.com for details regarding forthcoming shows.
Tucson Mercado San Agustin (MSA).
The Mercado San Augustin is located West of I-10 in the Menlo Park neighborhood of downtown on the corner of the Avenida del Convento and Congress Street. Focused on small, independent business growth, this will be Tucson's first public market with a number of small businesses and a vendor mix of retail and restaurants that offers a little something for everyone. The open courtyard at the center provides a relaxed atmosphere while the businesses include a rentable kitchen, a med spa, Transit Cycles, San Agustin Trading Company and La Cabana, Aguiar, Mast, Pamela Tillman's personal collection, Blu -- A Wine & Cheese Shop, La Estrella Bakery, Stella, and Sonoran Sno Cones. Agustin Brasserie under the direction of Ryan Clark, the winner of the 2012 World Margarita Championship and 3-time Tucson Iron Chef. The restaurant, an Open Table winner in 2014, is open for lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch. Visit mercadosanagustine.com for additional information.
Tucson Mission San Xavier del Bac.
This historic church has been restored to look as it did in the 1790's when it was built. A visit to the mission will take you back to the old days of Spanish exploration and settlement in Mexico and the American southwest. The Mission is still served by the Franciscan Friars and is an active church for people in the area. The Mission welcomes visitors with a historical video and freedom to tour one of the finest example of mission architecture when service is not in progress.
Tucson Reid Park Zoo.
Come and visit the 24-acre campus with more than 400 different animals from all over the world including the seven-acre expansion, the Expedition Tanzania exhibit which opens on March 28, 2012. The new exhibit features an elephant habitat with a pool and a mud wallow that accommodates a family of three African elephants. An orphaned mountain lion club has recently been adopted and is now the newest resident of the Mountain Woodland habitat and two rescued grizzly bears arrived at the zoo in July 2013. Always check the website to learn about new arrivals as well as new opportunities for guests to interact with staff and observe animals. The zoo is constantly evolving with ongoing classes, programs, camps and special events. You might even be able to go behind the exhibits and cages and get a glimpse of how the zoo operates! Did you know that you can even schedule a birthday party at the zoo?
Tucson's Mt. Lemmon.
Take the scenic road to the top of Mt. Lemmon for spectacular views of the entire valley. Mt. Lemmon is the United States southern-most ski center and is 20-30 degrees cooler year-round. Mt. Lemmon and Summerhaven are nestled among the lush forests of the Coronado National Forest and are one of the Southwest's "sky islands". Mt. Lemmon is also home to the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter, a not-to-be-missed attraction (reservations required).
Saguaro National Park in Tucson.
The giant Saguaro cactus is familiar to us all from John Wayne's movies. It is the living symbol of the American West and gives its name to this national park, whose two districts feature more than 164 miles of hiking trails. Saguaro National Park is a must-see for visitors and a must-do for backpackers and hikers.
Old Tucson Studio.
Arizona’s “Hollywood in the Desert.” Since 1939, more than 300 feature films and television westerns featuring scenes of the Arizona desert have been filmed here. Film and television shoots are going on throughout the year. A great place for a special party, Old Tucson Studios has spacious facilities, top-flight banquet menus, and of course lots of entertainment including stunt shows, gunfights and musical revues as well as unique shops. See OldTucson.com for additional information.
Tucson Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Astronomy buffs will not want to miss this. The Kitt Peak National Observatory is actually the hub of a group of observatories that conduct nighttime observations of the stars, planets and galaxies, and daytime observations of the sun. The observatory is just 56 miles southwest of Tucson and has a visitor’s center, open daily.
Tucson Tohono Chul Park.
There is no better place to enjoy the breathtaking beauty of the Sonoran Desert than Tohono Chul Park. When the wildflowers come out, it’s truly a spectacular sight. Events such as lectures and workshops are regular features.
Tucson Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.
Aviation enthusiasts will want to visit the base, only 8 miles east of the Riverpark Inn, which has the largest aircraft storage facility in the United States. Tours to the public can be arranged through the Pima Air & Space Museum.
Tucson Pima Air and Space Museum.
Ranked as the sixth best aviation attraction in the United States according to traveler ratings, the Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the world's largest, non-government funded aerospace museums. Adjacent to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, the museum occupies 80 acres with over 300 aircraft and spacecraft. Enjoy the 80-acre tram tour plus the exclusive Z "Boneyard" / AMARG weekday bus tour (for an additional fee, ID required) or take a docent-embellished walking tour. The Pima Air & Space Museum's new restaurant, the Flight Grill is now open. The new quick-service grill features an expo kitchen, comfortable furniture and floor to ceiling windows. You can enjoy a variety of foods from the restaurant or the patio as aircraft take-off and land just across the street at David Monthan Air Force Base.
Tucson Sabino Canyon.
Talk about history. Columbian mammoth wandered the area around 12,000 B.C. Later local Indian tribes used the creek for irrigation purposes. Cavalry soldiers in the 1800's came to make use of a swimming hole that’s still there today. Hiking trails, an outdoor tram ride, a museum and six galleries of displays and pictures round out the offerings of this unique Tucson attraction.