With temperatures ranging from 40 to 75 degrees, winter in Tucson can be the best season for all your favorite activities from hiking to shopping to dining. Tucson keeps the summer vibes going all winter long with lots of sunshine and very little humidity. Whether you live in colder climates or just want a change of scenery, Tucson has something for everyone.
Many travelers enjoy Tucson for its Saguaro National Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, or the University of Arizona. Since Tucson is surrounded by six mountain ranges, hikers can find every type of view and trail to match their goals. Meanwhile, the small city offers all the amenities while also maintaining its small-town feel.
8 Best Winter Tucson Activities
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
Titled a museum, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is actually more of a zoo with most of the experience being outdoors with animals. The facility has 98 acres of land, hosting 230 animal species and 1,200 local plant species. Wandering through the pathways and exhibits will offer visitors an up-close look at desert wildlife and plant life.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum also offers four restaurants. To see more activity from the animals, be sure to arrive early in the day or near the end of the day. If you forget your own sunscreen, on-site bathrooms have sunscreen dispensers.
The Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway
One of the best ways to explore the scenery of southeast Arizona is by traveling on the 60-mile, round-trip Mount Lemmon Scenic Byway. With canyon and mountain views, this byway will offer a showstopping landscape while also providing an interesting array of plant life from the lower Sonoran vegetative life zone to the high forests of the Canadian zone. Enhance your getaway with a picnic at one of the scenic overlooks.
Saguaro National Park
Named after the infamous saguaro cactus, this 91,327-acre park is considered a national treasure by some and a must-visit for others. Split into an east and west part on either side of Tucson, the park has the Rincon Mountain District and the Tucson Mountain District. Both districts have a visitor center, plenty of hiking, and many saguaro cacti. The Tucson Mountain District is particularly recommended for its breath-taking views of the sunset.
Mission San Xavier del Bac
Nicknamed the White Dove of the Desert, the Mission San Xavier del Bac is a gorgeous Roman Catholic Church built in the 18th Century. A blend of Moorish, Byzantine, Renaissance, and Mexican architectural styles makes this church a particularly interesting experience. This National Historic Landmark can be enjoyed during a weekly mass, through a guided tour, or just for photos.
Pima Air & Space Museum
As the largest air and space museums in the world, the Pima Air & Space Museum is a must-see when in Tucson. The museum features an X-15A-2 aircraft that set the altitude record by reaching the edge of outer space in the 1960s. The 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group offers an area featuring dozens of out-of-work aircraft. This stop is a great educational experience.
Franklin Auto Museum
Car lovers will enjoy the Franklin Auto Museum with its extensive representative examples of Franklin automobiles and a library of research materials. While Franklin Automobile Company was producing vehicles from 1960 to 1934, the company developed many innovations for the private transportation mobiles. This hidden gem is literally at the end of a dirt road.
From comedies to sci-fi spoofs, the Gaslight Theatre has it all. The family-friendly atmosphere is great for everyone, also serving alcohol, soft drinks, popcorn, pizza, and more. The theater offers shows every night of the week, and the weekend features three shows on Saturday and Sunday. Shows sell out quickly so be sure to select your day and time.
University of Arizona
The University of Arizona isn’t just for students. The campus sprawls across central Tucson, offering a number of different attractions from the Arizona State Museum to the UA Museum of Art. Meanwhile, shoppers will find a number of vintage and budget-friendly shops. The UA campus has a little bit of everything.
Quick List for Tucson Winter Activities
- Hike the Seven Falls at Sabino Canyon
- Plan a trip to see the Winterhaven Festival of Lights
- Ride the Tucson Streetcar
- Hike Tumamoc Hill
- See the butterflies at Tucson Botanical Gardens
- Enjoy the miniatures of The Mini Time Machine Museum of Miniatures
- Tour the Colossal Cave Mountain Park
Whether you call Tucson home or are visiting, this gorgeous desert city offers so much to do. And the wintertime is the best time to do it. With cooler temperatures and lots of sunshine, Tucson’s winter is perfect for indoor and outdoor adventures.
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