Oro Valley, Arizona, the home of the Arizona Distance Classic, is adjacent to Tucson in the southern part of the Grand Canyon State. This region is home to many stunning and world-renowned attractions, cultural events, and dining experiences that will educate, fascinate, and entertain visitors of all ages. Please take some time to get to know the area. Here we have listed some suggestions.
For a comprehensive listing of area attractions, events, and dining options, download or request the Official Tucson Visitors Guide.
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Considered southern Arizona's top 5 "Must See" attractions, Biosphere 2 is located north of Tucson tucked away into the hills of the high Sonoran desert with the Catalina's Mt. Lemmon resting nearby. An icon, Biosphere 2 is the world's largest, glass-enclosed active environmental laboratory — "Exploring Earth's Future." The site includes multi-media exhibits, ocean-viewing gallery, lush rainforest, self-guided and guided "Under the Glass" group tours for an additional fee.
A beautiful and well maintained trail, easy for all levels of hikers, will take visitors back to nature and back in time. This saguaro studded reserve is tucked in the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, smack in the middle of Oro Valley neighborhoods; with the feel of being away from it all.
The Santa Catalina Mountains form the backdrop for this 5500-acre desert park located near Tucson at elevations near 3000 feet. The foothills, canyons and streams of the park contain a vast array of desert plants and wildlife. The park offers camping, picnicking, hiking, bicycling, horseback riding and wildlife viewing.
Translated from the Tohono O'odham language, Tohono Chul means "desert corner", and indeed this park is a treasured piece of the desert in the middle of the city. Tohono Chul Park is a 49-acre desert preserve dedicated to increasing visitors' appreciation of the Sonoran Desert, its history and culture. As you walk down the winding nature trail through various gardens; tour through the Exhibit Hall in a renovated historic home; enjoy breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea in the Tea Room and shop in the Greenhouse and Museum Shops; you begin to understand why the desert is so cherished in Tucson.
An extensive outdoor nature park, which exists to educate the public about the unique Sonoran desert. Over 300 species of live animals and over 1,300 species of plants indigenous to the Sonoran desert are exhibited in natural habitats.
The backdrop for hundreds of western films, Old Tucson Studios offers visitors the opportunity to step back in time to experience the flavor and adventure of life in a 1880s frontier town. From the colorful western characters who roam the streets and interact with guests, to the unexpected gunfights, visitors encounter a variety of live entertainment including action-packed stunt shows, saloon revues, steam engine and mine rides, as well as historical displays and re-enactments that recapture the spirit of the Wild West.
For over 20 years during the Cold War, 54 Titan II missiles were maintained at the ready at sites throughout the U.S. This museum is an actual Titan Missile silo, the only one of these silos left in existence. One hour guided tours begin every half-hour. Walking shoes are required (no heels). The tour descends 55 steps to a level 35 feet underground. Located in Green Valley just 20 minutes south of Tucson. Take I-10 east to I-19.
This world renown attraction is where you'll see over 250 aircraft representing America's aviation history. Visitors can participate in the museum's popular Aircraft Maintenance and Regeneration (AMARC) Tour at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base where hundreds of rows of airplanes are neatly mothballed. Reservations are necessary for the tour and photo ID is required. Contact: 520-618-4801
The University of Arizona is a premier, student-centered research institution. Established in 1885 as the first university in the Arizona Territory and the state's only land grant institution, the UA embraces its three-fold mission of excellence in teaching, research and public service. The campus itself is an arboretum and the oldest continually-maintained green space in Arizona. Visitors may spend several days experiencing the history, science, and art at the many open-to-the-public attractions on campus:
Established in 1924 and located in the historic El Presidio District in downtown Tucson, the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block maintains a permanent collection of more than 6000 works of art. In addition, each year the Museum presents ten to twelve visiting exhibitions of works in all media.
The Museum's pre-Columbian collection is renowned and exhibited in the museum's newest gallery in one of Tucson's oldest territorial historic adobe homes. The historic block features five distinctive historic houses built between 1850 and 1907, and gives visitors an interesting look at life in territorial Tucson. Contact: Laurie Rufe
Mission in the Sun is a rustic adobe chapel on the 10-acre National Historic District of DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun. Designed and built in 1952 by the late Arizona artist Ted DeGrazia, the mission honors Father Kino and was dedicated to the Virgin of Guadalupe. With its colorful DeGrazia murals, rock floor, and open-air ceiling, the mission is open daily from sunrise to sunset, while the adjacent gallery is open daily from 10am–4pm. Free admission.
This desert refuge has sheltered people for over a thousand years. It has been home, shrine, hideout, challenging workplace, exciting playground and tranquil retreat. Today the 2,400-acre park is on the National Historic Register and showcases crystal-filled Colossal Cave and historic La Posta Quemada Ranch, a working ranch for over 120 years. Spend the day: take a cave tour, browse in the historical museums, relax in the wooded picnic areas, hike, saddle up for a trail ride, sluice for gemstones, enjoy a meal at fresh-air cafés and explore southwestern gift shops.
Giant saguaro cactus, unique to the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona and Northwestern Mexico surround a stunning visitor center. Take the short drive through the park to Signal Hill to see hundreds of ancient Native American petroglyphs.
Experts say the climate and soil conditions in Southern Arizona are perfect for growing grapes and many a wine-lover has agreed. Southern Arizona is home to over 13 vineyards; the closest of which is a mere 30 minutes from downtown Tucson. Go for a tasting at a specific winery or travel the Sonoita or Willcox Wine Trails for the full experience!
Cradled in the canyons of the Mule Mountains, Bisbee grew from a tiny copper mining camp in 1880 to a solid and wealthy town in 1910. The mines have closed, but a late 19th century atmosphere has made Bisbee a favorite of visitors from around the world. Visitors can stroll through charming turn-of-the-century architecture housing unique art and antique galleries, one-of-a-kind specialty shops, and charming bed and breakfasts. Bisbee's mining heritage can be experienced at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, America's only rural Smithsonian affiliate and on the Queen Mine Tour, Arizona's only underground mine tour.
Site of the West's most notorious shootout at the O.K. Corral, between the Earps and the Clantons. The town offers many gift shops and visitors can retrace the steps of historic characters in famous places such as the Bird Cage Saloon, Boothill Cemetery, O.K. Corral, and The Tombstone Epitaph.