Tucson must-see spots

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Desiree Guerrero | The Daily Wildcat D & D Pinball located on the historic Fourth Avenue, holds a collection of vintage pinball machines and arcade games, ready for customers to play.

Tucson is home to many community gems. However, those new to Tucson may not know where to go for some fun activities for all ages. Here are 10 places in Tucson to see if you want to call yourself a Tucsonan.

1. Mercado San Agustin

Mercado San Agustin is a one-of-a-kind local courtyard market, offering a variety of shopping, food, drinks and shops. The courtyard also hosts events frequently, from farmers markets during the weekday to live music shows on the weekend. 

Stop by for some local cuisine from Seis Kitchen, coffee from Presta Roasters or even some pastries from La Estrella Bakery. The market has a variety of eateries, as well as stores and a hair salon. 

Near downtown in the Mercado District area, Mercado San Agustin also is easy to get to, with it being directly on the downtown Sun Link Tucson Modern Street Car route. San Mercado Agustin is open seven days a week, with hours varying for each outlet. If you’re looking for somewhere new to go that has it all, be sure to check this place out. 

2. “A” Mountain/Sentinel Peak

A local landmark, "A Mountain," has been a Tucson staple for decades. 

The mountain is situated near the west side of town is a Tucsonan hot spot. Famous for its huge “A” symbol on its peak, it is a great place to take a drive up to and soak up some desert scenery. 

The top of the mountain offers parking, where you can stop, park and enjoy while walking some of the trails the mountain offers. The view from the top is incomparable, making it one of the most popular places to see all of Tucson.

3. San Xavier Mission

Dubbed the “White Dove of the Desert,” Arizona’s oldest European structure was founded by Father Eusebio Kino and created in 1783.

San Xavier Mission church is a historic site that many from all around the world travel to see in all its marvel. The church is a prime example of classic Spanish colonial style architecture, with the interior displaying original paintings and holy artifacts. 

The mission is on the registry of National Historic Landmarks and continues to be preserved by locals. 

4. Congress Street

Loaded with restaurants, bars and stores, there is something on this street of downtown for everyone to enjoy. 

Being one of the most historic streets in Tucson, this road has seen many changes and developments over the past few decades. Congress Street is also home to some significant sites, such as Hotel Congress, where bank-robber John Dilinger was famously captured, to the Rialto Theater, a concert hub that has hosted thousands of concerts over the years. 

The nightlife on Congress Street is unbeatable, being one of the most popular places for Tucsonans and University of Arizona students to gather at on the weekends.

RELATED: Local Fourth Avenue businesses cope with downtown changes

5. D & D Pinball 

Located on the historic Fourth Avenue, this pinball arcade is the perfect blend of classic arcade games with modern touches. Although D & D Pinball hasn’t been around for too long, it quickly gained traction and is becoming a Tucson go-to spot. 

The arcade is home a plethora of vintage pinball machines and classic favorites such as Pac-Man and 1942 and even hosts frequent tournaments. This offbeat spot makes a perfect place for any occasion, whether it’s for a date night, a family outing or even just a spot to hang out with your friends.

6. Tucson Botanical Gardens

This beautiful, lush garden that is open to the public, is a great spot to cool off in Tucson while enjoying the scenery. 

Tucson Botanical Gardens is home to a multitude of flowers and greenery. The gardens are also home to a variety of butterflies from around the world, which are seen during certain parts of the year. 

Sprawled across more than five acres, Tucson Botanical Gardens is a lovely place to take a walk, shoot some photography, or just spend a quiet evening. 

7. Get Air 

Feel like a kid again in a trampoline park located in the heart of Downtown Tucson. This industrial-style warehouse holds an extensive number of trampolines, encouraging guests to get their adrenaline pumping while having fun. 

From open trampolines to dodgeball to foam pits and challenge courses, Get Air has a mix of activities that everyone can enjoy. Open seven days a week, pop in anytime during the day or evening for some non-stop thrill and excitement.

8. Reid Park Zoo

Meet animals from around the world all while never leaving the Old Pueblo. From elephants to giraffes to a bird sanctuary, the zoo is home to hundreds of species of animals. 

Reid Park Zoo was created in 1965 and remained as a location in town that many locals visit often. Be sure to check out the many exhibits and habitats that are displayed and enjoy the many shows they hold daily. 

9. Art Museums

Tucson has a thriving art community, with people traveling from around the nation to visit renowned museums located here in town. There is an extensive amount of art museums to visit in town, from the famous DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun, to Madaras Gallery, to the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown. 

The University of Arizona also has the Center for Creative Arts, which is a photography gallery showcasing world-famous photos from artists such as Ansel Adams. Tucson has an abundance of art and galleries that locals and tourists alike gather to see year-round. 

RELATED: Q&A: UA graduate Ellery Page's honors thesis highlights the interplay of neuroscience, art and poetry 

10. Biosphere 2 

Besides art museums, Tucson is also home to some world-renowned environmental institutions. 

One must-see is the Biosphere 2. It is about a 45-minute drive north of Tucson but is definitely worth the trip. 

The Biosphere serves as an environmental research facility while also hosting daily tours for guests to explore the institute. Biosphere 2 displays various eco-system models for researchers to continue studying and learning more about our Earth’s environment. 



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