Trying to have an enjoyable day in Tucson without blowing your whole trip budget? Good news! We found so many awesome free things to do in Tucson.
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Do these free things in Tucson every day!
The Center for Creative Photography is a great place to visit if you enjoy looking at photography. This is one of the free things to do in Tucson where you can explore a gallery of artwork and get out of the heat of the day. While you’re visiting, you can learn more about modern photography. You can even learn about what makes Tucson such a great place for photo opportunities.
The Mission San Xavier del Bac is a church with a lot of history in the Tucson area. At this church, you can learn more about the impact religion has had on the area and what it was like in years past for people attending church in Tucson. While this is a great place to explore, keep in mind it is still an active church so there might be services going on at different times throughout the week. You do not have to be a member to attend the church services.
We found more free stuff in Tucson!
The University of Arizona Museum of Art offers free admission every day! You can get into the museum and enjoy all the different exhibits they have to offer. The museum has both permanent and temporary ones that regularly change. Make sure you check it out during each visit!
The Arizona State Museum is one of the most informative free things to do in Tucson if you’re looking to learn more about Arizona. At the museum, you can learn about how the state came to be and about how it played a key role in the country’s development. Admission is always free, but there might be some special events that cost money.
The Southern Arizona Transportation Museum shows how Tucson played a huge role in the transcontinental railroad. While you’re at the museum, you can check out artifacts from the building of the railroad. You can also take a tour of the historic depot that’s right in the center of Tucson! On Saturdays throughout the year, you can even catch a glimpse of real trains!
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Try these fun outdoor free things to do in Tucson.
The Turquoise Trail is a free walking tour of downtown Tucson. While the trail is self-led, it’s very easy to find your way thanks to the markers and informational plaques that will help you learn more about each spot you stop at in the city. While you’re on the trail, be sure to take your time and take in all the sights Tucson has to offer!
The Santa Cruz River Park is your opportunity to get up close and personal with the river. Bring a picnic lunch and make a day out of the park. The park has many opportunities for fun whether you have kids or you’re just trying to find some peace and quiet within the city. In fact, one of the trails in the park follows a route (the Anza Trail) that will go all the way to San Francisco! You’ll find plenty to do from activities for kids to interesting walking trails that you can enjoy no matter what time of year it is.
The DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun is an outdoor art gallery that almost wasn’t. This is a once in a lifetime thing you must see when you’re visiting Tucson. It is a historic district and has many different things you can explore. You can walk around and see DeGrazia originals while also enjoying the outdoor open-air market that surrounds the district.
The Brandi Fenton Memorial Park (and the splash pad) is sure to be a hit with kids in the hot Arizona heat. It’s one of the free things to do in Tucson that’s fun for both residents and tourists alike. Enjoy the playground equipment and walking trails. Have a picnic at the park and cool down from it all at the splash pad. Everyone’s welcome to enjoy the fun at this park.
Head just a little outside the city for more fun!
The Kitt Peak National Observatory is located outside of the city. In fact, it might take you up to an hour to get there depending on traffic, but if you are able to visit it, it’s one of the things you absolutely can’t miss about Tucson. At the observatory, you can look out onto the desert and take in all the beautiful sights, but more importantly, you can look up into the sky and take in the some of the clearest views in America. It’s also a great place for a photo opportunity! Don’t let the guided tour fee scare you, though! These tours do cost money, but the visitor center is free to go in and you can get a free map. Self-guided tours won’t cost you a thing and you’ll have the map as your free souvenir.
We found free things to do in Tucson on the weekends!
Tucson Museum of Art isn’t always free, but on the second Saturday of each month, you can visit for free if you’re a resident of Arizona or Sonora, Mexico. While you’re there, you’ll be able to check out all the exhibits (both permanent and temporary) so you can learn more about art in Tucson. These second Saturday events also usually come with additional free activities for you and the family to enjoy!
Children’s Museum of Tucson is the perfect place to spend your weekend! The museum is usually a little pricey, but it’s free on the second Saturday every month. While you’re there, let your kids run wild with their imaginations. They can try out different STEM activities and even ones that are related to other fields of study. Even though second Saturdays get really busy because of the free admission, the museum usually has additional activities going on for kids. These added events are worth it!