From downtown to the outskirts of town, find Tucson highlights for travel-trade professionals.
Take a guided or self-guided tour of historic downtown Tucson. Walk the Turquoise Trail for an overview of landmarks and attractions. Visit the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block for a look at restored 1800s adobe buildings that house galleries of noted permanent and traveling art exhibits as well as a charming cafe. Museum docents are available to conduct walking tours of downtown streetscapes with advance notice.
Shop at Old Town Artisans. This historic 1850s-era complex houses an entire block of shops and restaurants. The 15-room marketplace features saguaro-rib ceilings, handmade bricks, and a leafy central courtyard as well as works by regional artisans for sale. Enjoy lunch at La Cocina Restaurant in Old Town Artisans or at nearby at El Charro Café, Café Poca Cosa, or one of many other delicious downtown restaurants.
Desert Botanical Gardens
Explore the Tucson Botanical Gardens. This urban oasis of five-and-a-half acres features 15 specialty gardens that surround visitors with beauty and inspiration. They include butterfly, historical, wildflower, and a traditional Mexican-American neighborhood garden with more than 1,200 different types of plants. Depart for lunch and tour Tohono Chul. The tea room is a delightful spot for indoor or outdoor patio lunches. The park consists of lush gardens, quiet grottoes, and well-groomed trails in a 49-acre preserve surrounded by the bustling city.
Tucson in Flight
Tour the renowned Pima Air & Space Museum. The museum, one of the largest of its kind in the world, features 300+ military, commercial, and private aircraft representing 100+ years of aviation history. With few barriers, you can actually touch many historic air- and spacecraft, including WWII bombers, President Kennedy's "Air Force One," the world's fastest "SR-71 Blackbird" spy plane, the B-52 bomber that launched the rocket-powered X-15 and much more on its 80 acres.
Exclusively through the Pima Air & Space Museum, tour the "Aircraft Boneyard," the AMARG (309th Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group), a Davis-Monthan Air Force Base open-air storage and aircraft technology-updating compound, which is the only facility of its kind for all the U.S. military and government. The non-federal-holiday weekday bus tour highlights the 4,000+ aircraft organized on 2,600 acres. To take a tour of the AMARG Aircraft Boneyard, you must make a reservation in advance. Tour schedules fill up very quickly and often for months in advance, so it is advisable to book your tour well before you visit. To book a tour, contact Pima Air & Space Museum by email or phone, 520-618-4805.
Travel just south of Tucson to Green Valley to visit the Titan Missile Museum, a National Historic Landmark. Descend underground to explore the Titan II Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Site 571-7 for an eye-opening taste of the Cold War. This is the only publicly accessible ballistic-missile complex in the world. Experience a simulated countdown/launch sequence. Tours on the hour. See their website for special tour options.
Video: Pima Air and Space Museum
Historic Southern Arizona
Tour the beautiful Mission San Xavier del Bac. Often called the "White Dove of the Desert," the mission was established in the late 17th century by Spanish missionaries. The more than 200-year-old structure is recognized as one of the finest examples of Spanish mission architecture in the United States of America. The mission still serves its Native American parishioners, which makes it unique in the former Spanish Southwest Mission system. Spend time shopping in the historic village of Tubac. Arizona's oldest European settlement provides both the ruins of a 1752 Spanish Colonial fort to explore, as well as unique shopping--ranging from Southwestern-style spices to regal paintings of Western life. Enjoy lunch at the Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, a historic 500-acre ranch. The resort offers a refreshing change of pace, with a pleasant dining room equipped to handle groups.
Video: White Dove of the Desert