Are you looking to save for a house in Tucson, or simply want to enjoy the city without breaking the bank? Look no further! With this list of 10 free things to do, you can experience the best of what Tucson has to offer without spending a penny. From scenic hikes to historical landmarks, this guide has something for everyone. So, pack your picnic basket, grab your walking shoes, and get ready to explore the vibrant city of Tucson for free.

1. See the beauty of Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts in Tucson, Arizona. Spanning over 165,000 acres of protected land, this park is home to the iconic Saguaro cacti, as well as a diverse range of flora and fauna. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the park offers a variety of trails for all skill levels, making it an accessible and enjoyable experience for everyone. From breathtaking vistas to scenic desert landscapes, Saguaro National Park offers an abundance of natural beauty for visitors to enjoy for free.

2. Take a stroll through the Fourth Avenue Shopping District

The Fourth Avenue Shopping District in Tucson is a lively and eclectic area that is popular among visitors and locals alike. With its numerous local shops, cafes, and restaurants, it’s a great place to stroll around and take in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city. This shopping district is known for its vibrant atmosphere and has something for everyone, from unique boutiques and vintage shops to lively bars and cozy cafes. Whether you’re looking to do some shopping, grab a bite to eat, or simply enjoy some people-watching, the Fourth Avenue Shopping District is the perfect free thing to do in Tucson.

3. Discover the rich history of Tumamoc Hill 

Explore the 860 acres of land in Tucson at the Tumamoc Hill ecological reserve, managed by the University of Arizona College of Science and Pima County. This historical site boasts a rich history, including a 2,300-year-old abandoned settlement perched atop its hill and ancient Hohokam petroglyphs that remain in the area. For history buffs, this free activity is a must-visit, offering a unique opportunity to discover the rich cultural heritage of Tucson

4. Explore the majestic University of Arizona 

If you’re living in Tucson, you’re definitely familiar with the University of Arizona. As the first university in Arizona and a land-grant institution, the university boasts impressive architecture that will captivate your visual sense. Surrounded by stunning mountains and lush greenery, the University of Arizona offers a breathtaking visual experience that is not to be missed. This free activity is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates beautiful landscapes and magnificent buildings.

Sunset view of Tucson Arizona looking from Mt Lemmon

5. Drive the Scenic Sky Islands Byway

Take a drive on the Sky Islands Scenic Byway, also known as the Catalina Highway, for a breathtaking experience. Spanning 27 miles, this paved road leads you to the upper parts of the mountain range, offering stunning views of lush greenery, canyons, and mountains. From the comfort of your vehicle, you can immerse yourself in nature’s finest and rejuvenate your mind. This free activity is a must-do for anyone who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of city life and connect with the beauty of nature.

6. Take a walk in Reid Park

Reid Park is a large park located in Tucson, Arizona that provides a wide range of recreational activities for the community. The park features a beautiful lake, walking trails, a playground, and picnic areas, making it an ideal place to spend a relaxing day outdoors. Whether you’re looking to go for a walk, have a picnic, or simply enjoy some downtime, Reid Park has something for everyone.

view of san xavier mission in tucson arizona on bright sunny day

7. Visit the Mission San Xavier del Bac

 Built in the late 1700s, this beautiful structure serves as a testament to the Spanish colonial era and is a prime example of Spanish colonial architecture. Despite its age, the Mission San Xavier del Bac is still an active Catholic church, making it a living piece of history. Visitors can tour the interior of the mission and admire its stunning artwork, frescoes, and intricate stonework. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or religion, this free cultural destination is a must-visit for anyone living in Tucson

purple door in the bario viejo neighborhood of tucson

8. Experience the charm of Barrio Viejo 

Discover the rich cultural heritage of Tucson in the historic Barrio Viejo neighborhood. With its charming adobe houses, vibrant Mexican bars, and the Tucson Convention Center, this area is a fusion of the past and present. The well-preserved traditional houses are a stark contrast to the modern structures in the area, creating a unique and beautiful landscape.

9. Discover the scenic Rillito River Park

The Rillito River Park is a popular recreational spot in Tucson that offers a unique combination of nature and outdoor activities. The park is a linear park that follows the Rillito River, making it a scenic destination for walks and bike rides. With its walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and other amenities, the Rillito River Park is the perfect place to spend a relaxing day in the sun or to enjoy a fun outdoor workout. Whether you’re a nature lover, a fitness enthusiast, or just searching for a scenic place to relax, this free thing to do in Tucson is a great option.

sabino canyon in tucson after rain

10. Take a challenging hike to the beautiful Tanque Verde Falls

Embark on a 1.8-mile hike with 393 feet of elevation to the Sabino Canyon waterfalls, located between the Tucson and San Pedro River Valley. This popular trail is perfect for adventurous and nature-loving people. Although the hike may be challenging, the reward at the end is worth it with breathtaking views of lush greenery along the way and stunning waterfalls. At the end of this free activity, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and awe.


Learn more about Tucson:

12 Things to Know Before Moving to Tucson, Arizona

The Best-Kept Hidden Gems in Tucson According to Locals

7 Tucson Outdoor Activities to Try When the Temps Drop

Is Tucson a Good Place to Live? 10 Pros and Cons to Consider

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