Things to do in South Tucson

About South Tucson

Visitors should not miss the historic Mission San Xavier del Bac, the awe-inspiring Saguaro National Park, and the educational Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. These attractions define the cultural and natural landscapes of South Tucson.
Families can enjoy the engaging exhibits at the Children's Museum Tucson, see the diverse wildlife at Reid Park Zoo, and explore the universe at the Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, all providing family-friendly learning experiences.
Outdoor activities abound in South Tucson, with favorites including hiking at Saguaro National Park, cycling along the Santa Cruz River, and enjoying the many city parks offering playgrounds and sports facilities.
For indoor fun, explore the Pima Air & Space Museum, enjoy the botanical beauty inside the glass-enclosed Tucson Botanical Gardens, or discover local history at the Tucson Museum of Art.
Popular tours in South Tucson range from historic walking tours through Downtown Tucson to culinary excursions sampling the local Southwestern cuisine, and art tours featuring street murals and local galleries.
The Pima Air & Space Museum, Tucson Museum of Art, and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum are among the most visited, offering a wide range of historical, artistic, and natural exhibits.
On rainy days, indoor tours of the Pima Air & Space Museum or the curated exhibitions at the Tucson Museum of Art offer cultural enrichment away from the weather.
Quick and educational experiences include the self-guided tours of the historic El Presidio neighborhood or the Tucson Museum of Art's highlights, both perfect for a shorter visit.

Best Things to Do In South Tucson

Discover the vibrant culture and attractions South Tucson offers with our immersive self-guided audio tours.

South Tucson: El Tiradito Wishing Shrine

What is it?
A unique cultural landmark known as the only "wishing shrine" in the United States.
Why you should go?
El Tiradito Wishing Shrine stands as a testimonial to timeless legends and contemporary aspirations. Visitors from far and wide come to pay homage, light candles, and make wishes amid this storied locale. The site's poignant legacy, infused with tales of lost love and hope, is captured through an evocative audio tour, revealing why El Tiradito remains an integral part of the spiritual identity of South Tucson and a uniquely compelling place to visit.

South Tucson: Reid Park Zoo

What is it?
A family-friendly wildlife park offering educational programs and up-close animal encounters.
Why you should go?
As a lush sanctuary in the heart of the city, Reid Park Zoo provides unforgettable wildlife experiences among meticulously recreated habitats. This attraction celebrates biodiversity and offers engaging educational opportunities, making it an essential feature on any itinerary. Audio tours enhance the visitor connection with wildlife conservation stories, enriching the exploration of this zoological oasis. For families compiling a list of fun things to do in South Tucson, the zoo is an unmissable highlight.

South Tucson: Barrio Historico

What is it?
A historic neighborhood showcasing rich cultural history through its architecture and community events.
Why you should go?
Strolling through the Barrio Historico is akin to walking through a living museum, with its well-preserved adobe homes offering a window into a bygone era. Step off the beaten path and immerse in the vibrant essence of South Tucson's historical underpinnings. With thoughtful audio guides revealing the narratives of this district, visitors gain deep appreciation for the traditions and architectural marvels that stand as testaments to the city's cultural richness.

South Tucson: Saguaro National Park

What is it?
A sprawling national park famous for its dense population of giant saguaro cacti and diverse desert terrain.
Why you should go?
Nature's grandeur unfolds in the vast expanses of Saguaro National Park, where the iconic cacti create a skyline synonymous with the American Southwest. Ideal for hiking, photography, and wildlife viewing, the park's audio tours provide context to the spectacular sights and underscore the fragility and resilience of this desert ecosystem. It's a fundamental addition to the South Tucson excursions for those looking to experience the natural beauty and ecological diversity of the region.

South Tucson: Mercado San Agustin

What is it?
A lively public marketplace and gathering space celebrating local culture, art, and cuisine.
Why you should go?
As South Tucson's culinary and social epicenter, Mercado San Agustin invites visitors to relish in the symphony of flavors and vibrant commerce within its bustling confines. The mercado is not just a place to shop; it is an experience that captures the essence of community connectivity. Informative audio tours articulate the market's role in nurturing local business, making it a true highlight for those wishing to engage with South Tucson's heart and soul.

South Tucson: Mission San Xavier del Bac

What is it?
A stunning example of Spanish Colonial architecture and an active mission church.
Why you should go?
Known as the "White Dove of the Desert," Mission San Xavier del Bac is a must-see for its breathtaking architecture, rich history, and ongoing cultural significance. Visitors can admire intricate frescoes, ornate statuary, and a sense of peaceful spirituality that pervades this sacred site. Engaging audio tours illuminate the mission's role in the community and the stories behind its preservation, making it one of the top things to do in South Tucson.

South Tucson: Sentinel Peak Park

What is it?
An iconic hill with panoramic views of the city, locally known as "A" Mountain.
Why you should go?
Sentinel Peak Park offers breathtaking vistas and a snapshot of the region's geology and history, giving insight into the things to see in South Tucson. The journey to the peak is complemented by an enlightening audio narration detailing the significance of the site, from Indigenous history to its current status as a beloved landmark. It's the perfect outdoor escape for those seeking a mix of nature and education in their South Tucson activities.

South Tucson: Tucson Botanical Gardens

What is it?
An urban oasis featuring a rich variety of desert plants and peaceful garden paths.
Why you should go?
Tucson Botanical Gardens is a verdant retreat from the city's hustle and bustle, showcasing a stunning collection of arid-land plants from around the world. Strolling through the themed gardens offers a serene experience, complementing what to do in South Tucson for those who love nature and tranquility. The gardens' audio tour adds depth to the visit, exploring the flora's ecological and cultural importance, making it one of the best things to do in South Tucson.

South Tucson: Pima Air & Space Museum

What is it?
One of the largest air and space museums in the world, featuring over 300 aircraft.
Why you should go?
The Pima Air & Space Museum is an aviation enthusiast's dream, with vast hangars and outdoor displays that tell the story of aerospace innovation and history. This extensive collection, from vintage planes to modern spacecraft, is accompanied by informative self-guided audio tours, making it a compelling destination for first-time visitors. The museum is an educational and awe-inspiring highlight among South Tucson excursions.

South Tucson: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

What is it?
A unique fusion of zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, and natural history museum.
Why you should go?
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum provides a comprehensive exploration of the Sonoran Desert's ecosystem. It seamlessly blends live animal exhibits with geological and botanical displays, offering a multifaceted experience. Audio tours enrich the journey with insights into the conservation efforts and native species that define the region. Participating in this excursion is a memorable and educational addition to the best South Tucson tours.

TOP-5 tours in South Tucson for first time visitors

  • Explore the colorful murals and historic architecture while delving into the cultural heritage that defines the things to see in South Tucson.
  • Dive into the local cuisine and bustling markets to understand why finding what to do in South Tucson always leads to culinary adventure.
  • Uncover the hidden gems and local haunts that rank high on the list of places to visit in South Tucson, narrated by residents.
  • Take a journey through the serene landscapes and outdoor South Tucson activities that showcase the city's natural beauty.
  • Discover the best South Tucson tours that combine fun things to do in South Tucson with insightful stories of the city's past and present.

Fun things to do in South Tucson with kids

From educational adventures to exciting interactive experiences, South Tucson is brimming with attractions that cater to families and provide joyful memories for children. First on the list is the Reid Park Zoo, a spectacular wildlife haven where kids can come face-to-face with animals from around the globe and participate in hands-on learning activities. The zoo's immersive habitats and engaging exhibits make it more than just a visit—it's a journey around the world's ecosystems. Next, the Children's Museum Tucson offers youngsters a chance to indulge their curiosity through interactive exhibits that promote play and discovery in the fields of science, technology, and the arts. Lastly, families can head out to explore the lush landscapes of Saguaro National Park, where children can marvel at the towering namesake cacti and partake in junior ranger programs. These experiences are all accompanied by enriching audio narratives, making every moment in South Tucson educational and entertaining for the young and young-at-heart.

Things to do in South Tucson with family

South Tucson is a family-friendly destination filled with activities that blend education, culture, and recreation. The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum stands out as an all-in-one experience where children and adults alike can learn about the flora and fauna of the Sonoran Desert through live animal exhibits, an aquarium, and botanical displays. It’s a living museum that offers encounters with nature unlike any other. For a dose of history and architecture, families can visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac, known as the "White Dove of the Desert." This historical gem provides a chance for families to appreciate the exquisite artistry of the mission and learn about its significance through compelling audio narrations. Lastly, a day of fun and splashing awaits at the Oro Valley Aquatic Center, which features water slides, a lazy river, and an interactive splash pad perfect for beating the South Tucson heat. Each venue comes to life with self-guided audio tours, rendering these attractions as informative as they are enjoyable.

Free things to do in South Tucson

When it comes to enjoying South Tucson without a price tag, there are plenty of attractions that promise memorable experiences. Nature enthusiasts will find solace and beauty in the vast expanses of Saguaro National Park. Here, families can hike among the giant saguaros, take picturesque photos, and immerse themselves in the majesty of the Sonoran Desert—all free of charge. For a slice of history and art, visitors can embark on a self-led mural tour of the city, where vibrant street art showcases the talents and cultural stories of the region. Additionally, the DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Museum is an enchanting stop, offering a glance at the adobe architecture and the artistic legacy of Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia, set amidst the picturesque foothills. Audio tours available for download can enrich these experiences, allowing families to gain deeper insights into the sites at no extra cost, making them some of the best things to do in South Tucson.

Cheap things to do in South Tucson

Affordable adventures in South Tucson allow visitors to enjoy enriching experiences without straining their budgets. The Tucson Botanical Gardens, with a modest admission fee, present an urban sanctuary where guests can explore a variety of garden styles and a butterfly greenhouse. Engage with nature's colors and textures, and enhance your visit with the educational content from audio tours. At the Pima Air & Space Museum, aviation buffs can get an economical ticket to view one of the world's largest collections of aircraft and spacecraft, gaining insights into the history of aviation through expertly crafted self-guided audio tours. For a mix of recreation and history, the Historic Fourth Avenue offers a range of inexpensive or free activities, from window shopping at quirky boutiques to discovering local eateries, all while enjoying the eclectic atmosphere of one of Tucson’s most vibrant districts. Each of these top attractions underscores the diverse array of things to do in South Tucson with family or friends.

Things to do in South Tucson for couples

Couples looking for romantic and engaging activities in South Tucson will find a trove of delightful experiences. A visit to the serene Tucson Botanical Gardens offers a tranquil escape amidst lush flora, where partners can stroll hand-in-hand through enchanting themed gardens. The gardens set the stage for intimate moments, further enhanced by educational audio tours that detail the plant life and conservation efforts. For a taste of local culture and art, lovers can explore the gallery-lined streets during the Second Saturdays Downtown event, where music and performances fill the air, creating a perfect backdrop for a date night. To cap off a day of exploration, a sunset drive to the top of Sentinel Peak, also known as "A" Mountain, provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the city—an ideal spot for couples to watch the sky change colors as they reflect on the day's adventures, making it one of the most memorable things to do in South Tucson for couples.

Things to do in South Tucson at night

When the sun sets, South Tucson reveals a vibrant nightlife that promises entertainment and discovery. An evening stroll through the Historic Fourth Avenue district allows couples and groups alike to experience the pulse of the city, with a variety of unique shops, bars, and live music venues that light up the night. Here, the self-guided audio tours bring local history to life, offering stories and tidbits about the area's iconic spots. For starry-eyed dreamers, the University of Arizona's Steward Observatory offers public evening viewings, inviting visitors to gaze at celestial wonders and learn about the cosmos. These stargazing sessions are an awe-inspiring way to spend a South Tucson night. Additionally, food connoisseurs can embark on a culinary adventure by hitting one of the many food truck rallies or late-night eateries, where the flavors of South Tucson come alive, enhanced by tales and tastes of the region’s culinary heritage through downloadable audio guides, making them ideal night-time South Tucson activities.