Deep canyons, vineyards, historic parks and Southern Arizona's highest peak are all found to the south.
Above and Beyond
Heading south of downtown, there's an entirely different side of Tucson. This might be the first part of the city you see coming into Tucson International Airport and there's a lot to explore not far away. Head a bit east on Valencia exiting the airport and you'll see more planes than you knew existed at the Pima Air & Space Museum, from artifacts from the beginning of manned flight to the monstrous presence of a 787. Drive the other direction, to the west, and Tucson's casinos are close-by, Casino del Sol and Desert Diamond Casino. Not much further, a must-see on any visit to Tucson, Mission San Xavier del Bac, an incredible blend of Spanish colonial and Native American spirituality and culture.
Heading further out, wild and free is a good way to describe the lands that lie directly to the south of Tucson. Sweeping views of the city and surrounding areas can be found at the top of the Santa Rita Mountains which hold Mt. Wrightson, Southern Arizona's highest peak. Just below, one of the area's most popular activities is the hike into Madera Canyon, which is also known as a birding mecca thanks to the thousands of species that use the canyon as a waypoint during migration.
Video: Pima Air and Space Museum