10 Tucson Landmarks You Have to Visit

5 min read

Destguides may receive commissions from purchases made through affiliate links in this article.

A city skyline with a clear blue sky and a mountain in the background
Tucson is a desert city that's home to many natural and historical landmarks

Where winding desert roads and tall cacti meet city skylines, Tucson is a true icon of the American Southwest. Located in Southern Arizona, Tucson is also part of the Sonoran Desert.

From the beauty of the landscape to influences of native Sonoran cultures, Tucson is often referred to as "The soul of the Sonoran Desert." An authentic foodie city, Tucson is also world-renowned for its cuisine. In fact, the city's food is so treasured that it was deemed a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, one of two in the United States.

Additionally, this sprawling city is full of history, culture, and outdoor adventures. Whether you have only a few days or an entire week to visit, here are ten Tucson landmarks that are a must-see!

Heading to Tucson and planning last-minute?

To make the most of your visit to Tucson, we recommend you book entrance tickets and tours soon. Below are some top recommendations to get you started.

☂️ Top tours and experiences in Tucson

10 Tucson, Arizona, Landmarks

Tucson Landmarks Video

Check out our highlights video of Tucson landmarks.

Tucson Landmarks Map

A map of Tucson landmarks. Use the map to explore all of the points of interest.

Tucson Landmarks Map

Show Interactive Map
A desert with different cacti on a clear sunny day
Saguaro National Park was named after the Saguaro cacti that grow across the region

Saguaro National Park

Sprawling over 91,000 acres in the Sonoran Desert, Saguaro National Park is home to giant cacti, stunning mountainscapes, and diverse plant and animal life. The park is named for the rare Saguaro cactus found throughout this region. Interestingly, this species of cactus can grow to over 40 feet!

Along with seeing these famous cacti, you can find plenty of hiking and biking trails within Saguaro National Park. If you're lucky, you may also glimpse some of the park's rare wildlife, like the javelina or a Gila monster.

Finally, if you can stay in the evening, the park is known for having some of the most unique and colorful sunsets in the Southwest.

El Presidio Historic District

A window into the past, the El Presidio Historic District is one of the most famous Tucson historical sites and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Within the historic Downtown Tucson district, a collection of buildings that span hundreds of years of history brings Tucson's story to life through preservation sites, museums, and historical theatre.

You can explore these famed streets and Tucson monuments on foot, stopping at museums, galleries, and shops while admiring the original Adobe architecture. Within walking distance, you also have Barrio Viejo, a historic neighborhood filled with colorful 19th-century Adobe homes.

Rock formations at the top of a mountain
The HooDoos at Mt Lemmon, part of the Santa Catalina Mountains, are a must-see

Santa Catalina Mountains

No visit to Tucson is complete without a drive through the Santa Catalina Mountains. Winding roads will lead you through several picturesque viewpoints from mountain tops to the valley floor. In addition, there are several places to stop for a picnic, hike, or take a dip in a natural pool.

If you're a rock climber, you'll want to grab your gear and head to Mount Lemmon, the highest peak. Mount Lemmon rises 9,000 feet above the desert floor and has many climbing routes.

The abundance of outdoor recreation and stunning scenery make the Santa Catalina Mountains one of the most popular landmarks in Arizona.

San Pedro Chapel

Built in 1932, San Pedro Chapel served as a cultural center and place of worship for the Old Fort Lowell community for many decades. Although it is no longer an active chapel, the site remains a cherished landmark for its historical and cultural significance.

Today, visitors come to admire the Chapel's original Adobe architecture set amongst the breathtaking desert backdrop. It's also a popular place for weddings and special events and a favorite of photographers.

Charles T. Peden/Shutterstock.com
Tohono Chul Gardens is one of the Tucson landmarks that's perfect for nature lovers
Tohono Chul Gardens showcases a wide variety of flora and fauna

Tohono Chul | Gardens, Galleries, and Bistro

Highlighting the beauty of the Sonoran Desert region, Tohono Chul has been referred to as "the crossroads of nature, art, and culture." Intertwined with the natural landscape at Tono Chul, you'll find nature trails, botanical gardens, and art galleries.

Native birds can also be seen throughout the preserve, including brightly colored hummingbirds. Additionally, an on-site garden bistro offers a place to relax and enjoy a meal surrounded by gorgeous landscapes.

Arizona State Museum

The Arizona State Museum was founded in 1893. It is one of the oldest research facilities for anthropology in the U.S. Southwest and one of the most famous landmarks in Tucson, Arizona.

During a visit, you can learn about ancient cultures through exhibits, artifacts, and historical literature. The museum holds an impressive collection of over three million objects, including over 300,000 unique archaeological artifacts.

Red and yellow vintage aircraft on a sandy open area
Pima Air and Space Museum features 400 vintage aircrafts

Pima Air and Space Museum

Home to 400 historical aircraft, the Pima Air and Space Museum is one of the largest of its kind. The museum holds a fascinating collection of air and spacecraft, from World War II-era military planes to aerospace artifacts.

The exhibits are spread out over an 80-acre airfield and throughout several hangars. You can explore at your leisure or take a guided tour for more in-depth information on the exhibits. The Pima Air and Space Museum is among the most popular on the list of Tucson sights and attractions.

Catalina State Park

At the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Catalina State Park offers a peaceful yet wild retreat and is known for its jaw-dropping landscapes, from mountain vistas to flowing streams and tall Saguaro cacti.

There are endless opportunities to hike, bike, horseback ride, and camp. It's also a popular spot for birdwatching, with over 170 species of birds found within the park.

A desert full of various cacti with mountain ranges in the background
Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is one of the most popular Tucson landmarks

Sabino Canyon Recreation Area

A beautiful oasis tucked into the Santa Catalina Mountains, the Sabino Canyon Recreation Area is one of the most popular Tucson, AZ, landmarks. The canyon is an outdoor adventurer's paradise with endless recreational opportunities like hiking, biking, rafting, and rock climbing.

You'll find miles upon miles of trails, rushing streams, and wildlife among the rolling hills and rocky cliffs. You may spot an elusive mountain lion or Gila monster if you're lucky!

Mercado San Agustin

A marketplace that has it all, Mercado San Agustin features a casual open-air courtyard and vendors offering many food and shopping options. It's the perfect place to spend a few hours admiring the architecture, browsing unique vendors, and grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat.

The square also hosts various events, from live music and artistic performances throughout the week to farmers' markets on the weekends. It's the perfect place to wind down after a day of outdoor adventure in the desert.

In Summary

There is so much to see and do in this charming city, and this list is just a small sample of the many famous landmarks to see in Tucson. The area has something for everyone, from outdoor adventurers to history buffs and foodies!

Give us feedback about this article

Written by Lauren Rey

L_Rey FORMER WRITER Lauren might be based in Florida, but she is always plotting out a new road trip route with her partner-in-crime, Pickles. Pickles is a mixed-breed rescue dog that loves hiking, road trips, and Starbucks as much as her mom does!


Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Thank you for subscribing

We will be in touch soon with discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

Want to keep exploring?

Subscribe for discounts on tickets and hotels and our latest guides.

By entering your email address you agree to our terms and conditions, Privacy policy, and consent to receive emails.