Best Time to Visit Tucson, AZ, for Weather, Prices, and Crowds

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A city skyline with a mountain range in the background
When to visit Tucson depends on factors like your budget and weather preferences

Tucson is the second largest city in the state of Arizona and a popular travel destination for nature, history, and southwestern cuisine.

From nearby Saguaro National Park and its namesake cacti to picturesque Mt. Lemmon towering over the landscape to the city's north, visitors to Tucson get no shortage of scenic nature views.

Then there are museums like the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Pima Air and Space Museum. And don't miss out on some of the top Sonoran-style Mexican food in the United States.

But planning the perfect Tucson vacation is more than knowing where to go and what to do, it's also knowing when to visit for the best weather and prices. Choosing the best time to visit Tucson, AZ, can significantly impact your trip.

By the end of this article, you'll know which months are busy with the highest prices and which months offer the best deals and most enjoyable temperatures.

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Best Time of Year to Visit Tucson, AZ

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Tucson Vacation Planning Questions

An old orange wagon with luggage on top
You can learn about Tucson's rich cultural heritage and history while on vacation
Saguaro cacti with white and yellow flowers next to a blue sky
Spring is the best time to visit Tucson, AZ, to see the native saguaro cacti flowers

When is the best time to visit Tucson, AZ?

The city remains popular with travelers throughout the year, but the best time to visit Tucson, AZ, is in March and April in the spring and October and November in the fall.

During these periods, you'll find fantastic weather (highs in the afternoons ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit most days), fewer crowds, and some of the year's best prices on flights and hotels. You also won't find a better time of year to enjoy outdoor activities, like learning about Tucson's history on a guided bike tour.

The winter (December-March) has excellent weather, especially compared with most other locales. But crowds can be high with hotel prices to match. Expect extreme heat and frequent rain during the summer (June-September) monsoon season.

Manuela Durson/
An entrance to an airport with a "Tucson International Airport" sign
You can easily reach the city by flying to Tucson International Airport

When is the cheapest time to fly to Tucson, AZ?

Visitors to the city can fly into Tucson International Airport, located about a 15-minute drive from downtown. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport are also options, but you'll have to drive approximately two hours from each to reach Tucson.

The cheapest time to fly to Tucson, AZ, is usually in late March as the winter is ending and the spring off-season is beginning. Not only will you find fewer crowds in March, but also sunny skies and daily highs ranging from 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Winter is peak season in Tucson as travelers flock to the city for its warm climate and exceptional events like the Tucson Jazz Festival and Tucson Rodeo. You can find affordable flights during these months, but accommodation will likely be pricey.

The best month to visit Tucson later in the year will be October or November, when tourists clear out, and flight prices decrease after the summer travel season ends in September.

A vast desert filled with different cacti and greenery covered hills under a blue sky
Saguaro National Park turns vibrant green after Tucson's monsoon season

When is the rainy season in Tucson?

Officially speaking, the rainy season in Tucson runs from June 15th through September 30th. However, monsoon season, as the rainy period is known locally, usually starts at the beginning of July.

You'll see the heaviest rainfall in July and August. While still part of the rainy season, September experiences far less precipitation than the previous two months, with the likelihood of rain decreasing as the month progresses.

If you plan to spend time outdoors during the monsoon season, schedule your activities early in the day. With high temperatures regularly reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit in June and July, the afternoon heat and humidity can overwhelm some travelers.

Winter is the best time to visit Tucson, AZ, to see some snow on the mountains
You may see snow around the Santa Catalina Mountains in winter

Does it snow in Tucson?

Although it's possible to encounter snow in Tucson, it isn't very likely. With average lows above 40 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the winter (December-March), snow is a rare occurrence in the city.

Because of the area's temperate weather, winter is one of the most popular seasons for traveling to Tucson. Visitors leaving behind colder weather welcome daily highs that top 70 degrees Fahrenheit by February.

You'll likely find snow atop the Santa Catalina Mountains northeast of the city, so for an unforgettable wintertime experience, go on a scenic tour of Mount Lemmon. This mountain is the highest peak of the Santa Catalina range and is just a short ride from the heart of Tucson.

A three-story brick building with many windows and a "Hotel Congress" sign
Hotel Congress is an affordable option with a bar, lounge, and music venue

What are the cheapest hotels in Tucson, AZ?

If you're looking for quality Tucson accommodation at a reasonable price, check out the DoubleTree by Hilton Downtown Tucson. Situated at the southern end of downtown, near the Tucson Convention Center, it offers a great location and some of the best rates in the area.

For an even more local experience, book a room at Tucson's Hotel Congress. Built in 1919, the hotel is a historic city landmark and worth checking out for its restaurant and lounge, even if you don't stay there.

The best time of year to visit Tucson, AZ, to find cheap hotel rates without the scorching summer (June-September) heat will be either in April and May or October and November.

dba duplessis/
A sign which reads Tucson Inn next to a blue sky with white clouds
There are many motels in Tucson, like the Tucson Inn or Best Western Royal Sun

What is the cheapest motel in Tucson?

Choosing the right motel can be stressful, but it's one of the most critical parts of your vacation. To put your mind at ease, book a room at the Best Western Royal Sun. This is one of the best-rated and cheapest motels in the area.

In the colorful Dunbar Spring neighborhood, the Best Western Royal Sun sits minutes from downtown Tucson and is close to Interstate 10. It's a great central base for exploring Tucson and the surrounding region.

If you're traveling during the busy winter (December-March) season, book far in advance to get the cheapest rates and the best selection of motels.

An aerial view of a golf course with a mountain range in the back
Recreational activities in Tucson are best enjoyed during spring

What is the average temperature in Tucson?

Depending on when you visit, Tucson will be either warm or hot. You're in the wrong place if you're looking for chilly weather. Even during the middle of winter (December-March), daily highs average around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

By May, the temperature will top 90 degrees Fahrenheit most days and likely won't drop back below until October. Temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit are commonplace during the summer months of June through August.

For most travelers, the best time to go to Tucson for good weather is during the spring months of March and April or the autumn months of October and November. Average highs during these months range from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Tucson

A tilling field with mountain ranges in the background on a sunny day
Tucson has something to offer visitors in all seasons

Winter in Tucson

Winter (December-March) is the busiest time for travel in Tucson, and for a good reason. The weather is great this time of year, with average highs ranging from 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit most days. Rain is uncommon, with most months seeing less than an inch of precipitation.

There's a plethora of prominent events all season long, including the Tucson Fringe Festival, which runs every January and features avant-garde performances at venues across the city. In addition, in late January and early February, the world-famous Tucson Gem, Mineral & Fossil Showcase brings over 65,000 visitors to this large-scale convention.

It isn't easy to top winter in Tucson, but with beautiful weather and a constant flow of world-class events, expect to find hotel prices at their highest of the year. Book well in advance to get the best deals.

Spring in Tucson

Crowds begin to thin out by the beginning of spring (March-June). Hotel rates are decreasing, and the weather is a 'relatively cool' 80 degrees Fahrenheit most days. However, you can expect daytime highs above 100 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of June. April and May see the lowest rainfall of the year.

Early-to-mid spring is one of the best times for outdoor activities in Tucson, from hiking the Seven Falls Trail to going canyoneering or rock climbing at Mt. Lemmon. April is also a great time for film buffs to visit Tucson as it hosts the acclaimed Arizona International Film Festival, the state's longest-running film event.

Summer in Tucson

If there's one word to describe summer (June-September) in Tucson, it's "hot." Expect June and July to have daytime highs above 100 degrees Fahrenheit more often than not. August and September are slightly better, but most days will still top 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

The summer can also be wet, with the rainy monsoon season running from mid-June through the end of September. Most of that rain, however, occurs in July and August. So, between the heat and rain, September is the best time to travel to Tucson during this season.

You'll find the lowest hotel prices during the summer but prepare for the brutal heat. Plan for indoor activities like visiting the International Wildlife Museum or the Children's Museum Tucson if traveling during these months.

Fall in Tucson

The fall (September-December) is one of the best times to vacation in Tucson if you want a balanced blend of weather, prices, and crowds.

Hotel rates increase from their summer (June-September) lows, but the painfully hot weather gives way to daily high temperatures below 90 degrees Fahrenheit in October. By December, you can expect highs under 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you're traveling in the fall, take advantage of the great weather and go on a behind-the-scenes Tucson tour. You'll get to see Arizona landmarks that are located in Tucson and get to know the city's hidden charm.

Or, if you're adventurous, take part in El Tour de Tucson, an annual bike event that draws more than 7,000 riders to routes ranging from a one-mile fun ride to the competitive 102-mile Century route.

In Summary

If you're still deciding when to visit Tucson, you'll find the best mix of weather and rates in the early spring months of March and April. May is also fantastic, but the temperature rises by the end of the month.

October and November are great for visiting during the fall but expect slightly more rain than during the drier spring. Winter has the most temperate weather of the year, with daily highs around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and some of the biggest crowds and highest prices.

You'll find reasonable rates during the summer, from June to September, but frequent rainfall and temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit keep many travelers away.

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Written by Jonathan Davis

JDavis WRITER Jonathan is a Florida-based travel writer who can't seem to stay in one place for long. With more than two decades of trips under his belt, Jonathan has a wealth of information to share about travel within the United States and abroad.

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