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Sights & Sounds of Tucson

Having trouble deciding what to do in Tucson? The possibilities are endless, but here are some suggested days for your planning needs.

 

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Day 1

 
Become familiar with Tucson's past, present, and future on a city tour including El Encanto Estates (a historic neighborhood), the University of Arizona, downtown historic districts, and "A" Mountain. Make sure to include the Arizona Historical Society, with its fascinating array of long-term exhibits recounting Arizona's history from Spanish colonial times through the 20th century.
 
 
Break for lunch and shopping at Old Town Artisans, located in downtown Tucson's El Presidio Historic District. Housed within the 150-year-old restored adobe buildings are six distinctive shops and galleries, featuring contemporary and traditional art and fine crafts from hundreds of local and national artists.
 
Mission San Xavier Del Bac at Sunset

Sunset at Mission San Xavier del Bac

Southside District
 
Visit Mission San Xavier del Bac, the oldest intact European structure in Arizona and one of the finest examples of Spanish mission architecture in the United States. Founded in 1692 by a Jesuit missionary, Father Eusebio Francisco Kino, the mission was created to serve, as it still does, the Tohono O'odham ("Desert People") of the village of Wa:k. Visitors can learn about the history, architecture, culture, and surroundings of the mission -- known as "The White Dove of the Desert" --  during docent-led tours, which are free (donations accepted) and last approximately 45 minutes. Find tour information on the Patronato San Xavier website (patronatosanxavier.org).
 
Enjoy dinner and try your luck at one of Tucson's casinos, Desert Diamond Casino or Casino Del Sol. Or enjoy dinner at one of Tucson's many award-winning Mexican restaurants like El Charro or Café Poca Cosa
 

Day 2

 
Take a drive-through tour of Saguaro National Park West and get a breathtaking view of thousands of saguaros, the giants of the desert.
 
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Ringtail
 
Break for lunch and a tour at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, which tells the unique story of the Sonoran Desert region. More than 300 species of live animals and 1,400 species of plants indigenous to this unique ecological area are exhibited in naturalistic habitats. Stop at Old Tucson, the famous movie location, and theme park. Take a step back in time and enjoy watching a simulated gunfight and saloon show. 
 

For the evening, dine at one of Tucson's many steakhouses, some even offer authentic Western entertainment. 

Day 3

 
Enjoy the views at Sabino Canyon Recreation Area - a true desert oasis. The narrated ground-tram ride lasts 45-minutes and travels through some of the most camera-worthy scenery in the Tucson area. Head west to DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, built to showcase the unique Southwestern art of Ettore "Ted" DeGrazia. The gallery is a unique adobe construction with beautiful decorative features and contains rooms exhibiting DeGrazia originals on subjects such as Padre Kino, Cabeza de Vaca, and Yaqui Easter.
 
Break for lunch at La Encantada and experience an upscale outdoor specialty shopping center that celebrates the splendor of old-world Spanish traditions alongside modern sophistication. It features plazas, fine dining, and the trendiest national and local retailers.
 
 
Drive south to the Pima Air & Space Museum, where more than 250 aircraft are on display, representative of America's aviation history. This impressive aircraft collection ranges from the first (a replica of the Wright flyer) to the ultimate flying machine, the famous SR-71A Blackbird.
 
Dine at a Tucson Originals restaurant, an organization of many of Tucson's best independent fine dining, casual, and neighborhood restaurants preserving Tucson's culinary sense of place by encouraging the support of local establishments.
 
 
 

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