Things To Do in Tucson

Discover the many fun and exciting things to do in Tucson during your stay at The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa. Whether you’re looking to delve into ancient Native American culture, want to energize yourself on the nearby hiking trails, or simply relax and enjoy our perennially sunny climate, there are plenty of things to do in Tucson that offer an assortment of diverse and exciting excursions.


While Tucson has its share of malls and shopping centers, it also has a variety of hidden gems throughout the city featuring local, independent retailers. Exploring these unique markets will yield souvenirs and treasures reminiscent of your time in the Old Pueblo.

  • Plaza Colonial

    This historic locale draws on the architecture of Spanish Colonial Mexico, with the main plaza building topped by an Old World-style copper dome. This newest addition to the Foothills area includes clothing boutiques, a bank, both med spa and day spas, galleries, and restaurants.

    2870 E. Skyline Drive (1.2 miles away)
    (520) 577-0163

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  • La Encantada Shopping Center

    This upscale, two-level, outdoor specialty center brings world-class upscale shopping options to Tucson. Shops include Brooks Brothers, St. John, Louis Vuitton, Coach, Anthropologie, Cole Haan, Apple, Tiffany & Co., and Crate & Barrel.

    2905 E. Skyline Drive (1.3 miles away)
    (520) 299-3566

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  • Casas Adobes Plaza & Courtyard

    The Casas Adobes Plaza is home to a distinctive mélange of upscale boutiques, beauty salons, and charming restaurants, which feature fine artisans, masterful chefs, celebrated works of art, inspired home furnishings, and chic fashions for the most discerning tastes. Events are often held in the courtyard or surrounding stylish grounds.

    7001 – 7153 N. Oracle Road (3.6 miles away)
    (520) 299-2610

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  • St. Philip’s Plaza

    St. Philip’s Plaza delivers Tucson’s finest local boutiques, galleries, and restaurants, many with peaceful outdoor dining options. You’ll delight in the colorful gardens, tiled courtyards, beautiful fountains, and mission-style architecture of St. Philip’s Plaza.

    4280 N. Campbell Avenue (4.0 miles away)
    (520) 529-2775

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  • Arts & Culture

    The city is home to a wealth of artists and art galleries. Visitors can explore Gallery Row for a nearby introduction to this thriving scene and the University of Arizona boasts theatres where Broadway musicals and plays take place, along with international music performances.

  • Gallery Row

    This complex of nine galleries collectively represents regional and national artists working in all mediums, including Native American and Western styles, as well as contemporary painting, crafts, and jewelry.

    3001 E. Skyline Drive (1.5 miles away)
    (520) 298-0390

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  • DeGrazia Gallery In The Sun

    This legendary landmark of Southwestern art and architecture was created by Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia. As a national historic district, the 10-acre Foothills retreat includes an adobe art gallery, gift shop, Mission in the Sun, and DeGrazia’s former home and gravesite. Free admission. Open Daily 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

    6300 N. Swan Road (2.5 miles away)
    (800) 545-2185

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  • University of Arizona

    The University of Arizona was Arizona’s first university, and is considered the leading public research university in the American Southwest. It features the Center for Creative Photography, UA sports, McKale Center and performing arts, Flandrau Science Center, and the Arizona State Museum.

    1013 E. University Blvd. (8.1 miles away)
    (520) 621-5130

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  • Attractions

    Tucson’s attractions are like no other city. From our Old West history to unique desert plants and wildlife, there is plenty to see and do in every part of the sprawling city.

  • Tohono Chul Park

    The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a historical oasis in the heart of town. These gardens deliver a sense of beauty, inspiration, and education about the natural world. There are sixteen different gardens within the grounds, which represent a variety of horticultural traditions and botanical themes.

    2150 N. Alvemon Way (6.6 miles away)
    (520) 326-9686

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  • Tucson Botanical Gardens

    The Tucson Botanical Gardens is a historical oasis in the heart of town. These gardens deliver a sense of beauty, inspiration, and education about the natural world. There are sixteen different gardens within the grounds, which represent a variety of horticultural traditions and botanical themes.

    2150 N. Alvemon Way (6.6 miles away)
    (520) 326-9686

    Visit Official Website

  • Reid Park Zoo

    19 acres of lions, tigers, and bears … oh my! The Reid Park Zoo offers a wide range of animals for viewing and lots of fun activities. Feed the giraffes, ride the zoo train, or stop by the Kenya Get Wet interactive play area (bring a towel!). Hint: Animals tend to be most active and visitor attendance tends to be lowest early in the morning and just prior to closing.

    900 S. Randolph Way (11.9 miles away)
    (520) 791-4873

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  • San Xavier Del Bac Mission
    Full-Day Adventure

    Acclaimed as finest example of mission architecture in the U.S., this historic site is located southwest of Tucson on the Tohono O’odham Reservation. For the first time in its 214-year history, free guided tours are now available. The 45-minute tours are led by specially trained, volunteer docents, who explain the Mission’s history and its lavishly decorated interior, the richest and most ornate in the Southwest. This active parish includes a gift shop, crafts shop, and has a café nearby.

    1950 W. San Xavier Rd. (21 miles away)
    (520) 294-2624

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  • Pima Air & Space Museum
    Full-Day Adventure

    Explore over 100 years of aerospace history at the Pima Air & Space Museum. The 80-acre facility houses over 300 historical aircrafts, from a Wright Flyer to a 787 Dreamliner. The museum also offers exclusive access to the 2,600-acre “Aircraft Boneyard”/U.S. military and government aircraft storage facility.

    6000 E. Valencia Rd. (17 miles aways)
    (520) 574-0462

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  • Old Tucson Studios
    Full-Day Adventure

    Just 15 minutes from Tucson at the base of the Tucson Mountains is a preserved slice of Americana—Old Tucson. Passing through the gates of a western frontier town, visitors are transported back to a time when fearless men with six shooters ruled the Old West. The studio served as the setting for the more than 300 movies and television productions filmed at the location since 1939. Enjoy world famous stunt shows, gunfights, and high kickin’ saloon girls in musical revues along with unique shops and restaurants, horseback rides, a vintage carousel, and more!

    201 S. Kinney Road (21.5 miles away)
    (520) 883-0100

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  • Arizona Sonora Desert Museum
    Full-Day Adventure

    The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is a world-class natural history museum and is one of Tucson’s most beloved treasures. Noted as “the most distinctive zoo in the United States,” it is a combination zoological park, natural history museum, and botanical garden. Visitors have the opportunity to view the Sonoran Desert’s collage of desert wonders through flora, fauna, and geologic displays. Docents are on hand to answer questions and often have a bird, reptile or mammal out for guests to meet face to face. Gift shops and lunch are also available.

    2021 N. Kinney Rd. (23 miles away)
    (520) 883-1380

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  • Biosphere 2
    Full-Day Adventure

    Biosphere 2 is the largest man-made, self-sustaining ecosystem ever built. You will experience firsthand this engineering marvel through a trail system which travels along a variety of ecosystems, including a 40-foot ocean cliff where you can look down into the million-gallon tropical ocean. Where once scientists were sealed into the Biosphere, guests can now go under the glass themselves and learn about the ongoing research and education led by the University of Arizona.

    32540 S. Biosphere Rd., Oracle, AZ (28.6 miles away)
    (520) 838-6200

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  • Colossal Cave
    Full-Day Adventure

    Colossal Cave is one of the oldest established attractions in Arizona. The Cave temperature presently hovers between 70 and 71°F and stays the same year-round. The surrounding park, which offers riding stables and trail rides, is open every day of the year with summer and winter hours. Regular Cave Tours are offered to the public and no reservations are required, or select from more adventurous choices such as candlelight tours, ladder tours, or the Wild Cave Tour, where you can follow in the footsteps of early explorers through rarely seen passageways.

    16721 E. Old Spanish Trail, Vail, AZ (31 miles away)
    (520) 647-7275

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  • Kartchner Caverns
    Full-Day Adventure

    At Kartchner Caverns, you’ll discover 100-foot high ceilings dripping with multi-hued stalactites and floors jutting up with matching stalagmites. Kartchner is a wet “live” cave, meaning water still percolates from the surface and calcium carbonate features continue to grow. The Rotunda/Throne Room Tour is a half-mile, 1.5-hour walking tour, which includes an intimate look at a variety of formations and colors that makes this cave one of the top ten in the world.

    2980 AZ-90, Benson, AZ (60 miles away)
    (520) 586-2283

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  • Kitt Peak National Observatory
    Full-Day Adventure

    The world’s largest collection of optical telescopes is located high above the Sonoran Desert under some of the finest night skies in the world. Kitt Peak, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, is home to 24 optical and two radio telescopes representing eight astronomical research institutions. Guided tours are offered daily at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 1:30 p.m. and group tours are available by appointment.

    56 miles southwest of Tucson via State Route 86 on the Tohono O’Odham Reservation
    (520) 318-8000

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  • Outdoor Recreation

    The great outdoors are all around us here in Tucson. Those seeking recreations which let them get active while also exploring the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert will find that opportunities abound.

  • Sabino Canyon

    A nature photographer’s dream, steeped in history, Sabino Canyon offers an open-air, outdoor motorized tram with a 45-minute narrated tour that gets you up close and personal to this desert oasis. Along the 3.8-mile trail, the tram makes nine stops with panoramic views. A variety of hiking trails are also available, ranging from easy to challenging.

    5900 N. Sabino Canyon Road (5.6 miles away)
    (520) 749-2861

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  • Spanish Trail Outfitters

    It doesn’t get much better than horseback riding through the majestic Catalina Foothills. Local riding trails offer a unique opportunity to view the diversity of the Sonoran Desert, and are just minutes from the resort. Enjoy the cooling shade of mesquite woodlands interspersed with giant saguaro cacti and an ancient Hohokam village site.

    8500 E. Ocotillo Drive (7.1 miles away)
    (520) 749-0167

  • Saguaro National Parks
    Full-Day Adventure

    Tucson is home to the nation’s largest cacti. These majestic, giant saguaros, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of Tucson. Here you’ll have a chance to see these enormous cacti silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset or enjoy a roadside picnic or nature hike in a stunning landscape. Hint: Take plenty of water with you, and tell the front desk or family member if/where you plan to hike, and when you plan to return.

    East: 3693 S. Old Spanish Rd. (20 miles away)
    (520) 733-5153
    West: 2700 N. Kinney Rd. (25 miles away)
    (520) 733-5158

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  • Mt. Lemmon
    Full-Day Adventure

    Mount Lemmon, with a summit elevation of 9,159 feet (2,792m), is the highest point in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It is located in the Coronado National Forest by following Catalina Hwy up to Summerhaven, a small town at the top of the mountain near Ski Valley. Along the way, visitors will experience dramatic variations in temperature, as well as changes in flora and fauna. Plan to stop at the Mount Lemmon Station Observatory, Windy Point Lookout, and numerous camping and picnic options along the way—and bring snow clothes during cold winter months!

    Mt. Lemmon Scenic Byway (40 miles away)

  • Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter
    Full-Day Adventure

    Mt. Lemmon SkyCenter is an exceptional science learning facility located at Steward Observatory’s “sky island” observing site just north of Tucson. The SkyCenter builds upon the uniqueness of the 9,157 foot summit of Mt. Lemmon and on the extensive knowledge base at the University of Arizona. SkyNights is a night-time observing program that provides the opportunity to peer beyond the blue horizons of our southwestern skies and explore astronomical wonders through the LARGEST public dedicated telescope in the Southwest.

    9800 E. Ski Run Rd., Mt Lemmon, AZ (41 miles away)

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  • Mt. Lemmon Ski Valley
    Full-Day Adventure

    Ride the Ski Lift in summer or winter and experience the beautiful foliage of the forest or winter snow. The ride to the summit takes about 1/2 hour and covers approximately one mile. You depart at the base of the ski area near 8,200-foot elevation and climb to 9,100 feet. The drive up to Ski Valley, along the Catalina Highway, takes approximately one hour from The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa and will encompass varied elevation and temperatures changes. A restaurant, snack bar, and general store are located in the small city of Summerhaven and Ski Valley area.

    10300 E. Ski Run Rd., Mt Lemmon, AZ (42 miles away)
    (520) 576-1321

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  • Mountain Biking

    Tucson Mountain Biking Trails are some of the best in Arizona! If you’re a mountain bike enthusiast, you’ll need to add the Catalina Mountains and the stunning Sonoran Desert to your list of challenges to conquer. Follow this link to a fairly comprehensive list of major trail networks, with the most popular and known routes. The list of trails North of Tucson include several that are not far from the resort, such as Rail X and Honeybee Canyon. Additional mountain bike trails can also be found here. Hint: Many of these biking trails are popular for hiking as well.

  • Nature Hiking Trails

    Mountain and desert hiking is a popular activity within the Sonoran Desert. There are hiking trails for every difficulty level, including day trips (long and short), kid-friendly hikes, and backpacking excursions. Hundreds of hiking trails boast magnificent surroundings, including quite a few only a short distance from The Westin La Paloma. Research dozens of hiking trails in North Tucson, and NW Tucson. Hint: Take plenty of water with you, and tell the front desk or family member if/where you plan to hike, and when you plan to return.