20 Best & Fun Things to Do In Downtown Tucson

You’ll undoubtedly find many fun things to do in downtown Tucson, including stopping by the Hotel Congress to drink and see exciting movies at the restored Fox Theater, like the Cup Café, El Presidio, etc.

Downtown Tucson is a small yet busy city littered with refectories, shops, and legendary museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson and the Children’s Museum Tucson.

If you walk by the Turquoise Trail, you’ll be taken through historical sites such as the grand 1850s Cathedral of Saint Augustine.

Downtown Tucson is a city that is rife with regular live performances taking place at both the Tucson Arena and the Arizona Theater Company.

Let’s take a look at the various exciting things you can do while in Downtown Tucson!

Best & Fun Things to Do In Downtown Tucson

1. Café A La Carte

Café a la Carte is situated in the historic 1865 Stevens House and accommodated by the Tucson Museum of Art. It is a small yet nice country-style restaurant featuring a Monet-inspired garden patio, where you can sit to eat.

The restaurant features a fresh dinner menu designed by Mark Jorbin, the executive chef (and C.E.O.). Make sure you take part in the pastry case filled with hand-made delicacies from the pastry chef, including a signature Mixed Berry Buttermilk Cake and Chocolate Bomb.

The café features fantastic sandwiches and salads, especially their delectable baked products, amongst other delicacies.

Check out their most fabulous pastries while walking through the door. You are free to see their menu, order whatever you want at the counter, and pick your number at your dining table.

Everything about the Café a la Cart is perfect. Don’t forget their affordable but delicious burger. The restaurant also offers breakfast and lunch daily from 8 am to 2 pm. Here, dinner cannot be served during the hot summer season.

The café also has a complete bar featuring local brews, fine wines, and excellent cocktails. So why won’t you join in the fun at the Café a la Cart?

Address: 150 N Maine Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, United States.

2. The Children’s Museum, Tucson

Located within familiar environs in Pennington Street, the Children’s Museum Tucson was established in November 1986 as the Southwest Children’s Explanatory Center.

Its mission is to offer fun, play-based, interactive, hands-on learning experiences and other activities for kids and their families.

According to its founders, kids can also learn through play. So when it began to grow, it moved from the Historic Yon University to reside in its present environs within the historic Carnegie Library in 1991.

It currently occupies about 17,000 square feet and features approximately 13 exhibit centers filled with parts that inspire kids to build, create, imagine, explore, and discover.

The Children’s Museum Tucson is play-inspired learning at its best. It was expanded to Children’s Museum Oro Valley in 2015, a satellite center, particularly for kids ranging from 0 to 5 years.

Its mission was to inspire kids and their families to maximize their full potential by discovering, creating, and learning. 

Address: 200 S 6th Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, United States.

3. Cup Café

The Hotel Congress houses cup Café in Tucson’s district. Meanwhile, the Hotel Congress that accommodates the Cup café offers excellent experiences and provides the Café the atmosphere it needs to function correctly.

So it was trying to re-calibrate it to ideally provide the best services to the Tucson population. Located within a circa-1919 hotel, the Cup Café is an American café that features old-school desserts & creative entrees and brings you safe experiences with live music and fabulous drinks.

The place is famous for its tasty breakfast in an attractive setting. Its omelet bar or filling dishes present gunpowder, including eggs, potatoes, turkey chorizo, etc.

Address: hotel Congress, 311 E Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701-1811

4. El Charro Café

Built in 1922 by an entrepreneur and burgeoning chef called Tia Monica Flin, El Charro Café is Tucson’s oldest Mexican restaurant which is still in existence and run by the same family today. The term “Charro” was a concept used to refer to the peasants of the Salamanca province.

Its owner, Tia Monica Flin, most popularly known as “the Inventor of the Chimichanga,” mistakenly dropped a burro into a frying pan as she fried her currently famous El Charro ground beef tacos.

So, as the oil splashed up, in a bid to express her shock with a Spanish word that starts with “Ch,” she replaced it with “Chimichanga,” same as “thingamajig.”

El Charro Café offers many Northern Mexican and Tucson-made dishes ranging from enchiladas to tamales to mini chimis, including its stunningly tasty food.

Everyone widely considers their delicacies, including Bon Appetit to the N.Y. Times to Nation’s Restaurant News, as among America’s most iconic restaurants.

Address: 311 N. Court Avenue, Tucson, Arizona 85701

5. El Presidio Inn Bed & Breakfast, Tucson

Situated in the center of Old Tucson in the El Presidio Historic District, the El Presidio Inn Bed & Breakfast is a perfect example of an American Territorial combining the rich cultural heritage of Mexican and American buildings and traditions peculiar to Tucson. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It is a center that features regional artisan shops, lively restaurants, parks, museums, and historical attractions. From El Presidio, you can sight the University of Arizona, as you will get there with just a one-mile walk. It is also the oldest operating B&B in Tucson. 

It has several amenities like WiFi, televisions, DVD players, and a complimentary landline telephone in every guest room. Meanwhile, it has four guest rooms, including two rooms in the main building and two rooms you can assess from the courtyard.

You can find stunning luxury and quality antique furnishings, original art, and fresh flowers in its guest inns, featuring private baths, kitchenettes, fluffy bathrobes, and private entrances.

In addition, you’ll be served seasonal-inspired sumptuous homemade breakfast every morning, which is baked using organic and fresh products.

El Presidio Inn Bed & Breakfast features one menu every day. However, it offers custom meals significantly to benefit those restricted in diets.

Inside the enormous compound, you’ll find a beautiful garden filled with attractive flowers. At the center of the courtyard is an antique three-tiered stone fountain.

Address: 297 N Main Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, United States.

6. Presidio San Agustin Del Tucson

Established by Spanish soldiers in the 18th century within the Tucson district, the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson was considered the founding building of what is currently known as Tucson city. It is a museum renamed after the Tucson Presidio, which was established in 1775.

It offers people both far and near the opportunity to learn about the life of the ancient people of Tucson. The docent tours expose life for the old Native Americans, Presidio settlers, and Territorial Period dwellers in the Santa Cruz Valley.

You can also walk through the original Presidio wall and inspect the archaeological remains of a pit house and a 150-year-old classic Sonoran Rowhouse.

In addition, the Presidio San Agustin del Tucson offers educational opportunities for professional tutors, homeschoolers, and groups.

Address: 196 N Court Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, United States

7. Fox Theatre

Widely considered one of the premier centers for live entertainment in Atlanta, the Fox Theatre was initially served as a center for Atlanta’s Shriners organization.

The theatre is a 4,665 seater hall that hosts over 150 shows every year, ranging from Broadway to rock to comedy to movies.

During the December 2009 ranking by the Billboard Magazine, the Fox Theatre in Atlanta was ranked at the top of the non-residency center globally for the decade, featuring around 5,000 seats.

It also houses outstanding ballrooms, which have hosted occasions like Sweet 16s, weddings, and corporate events.

Meanwhile, the Fox Theatre is located right at the iconic side of Peachtree and Ponce, on the Midtown Mile. Here, visitors both far and near are welcome to host or take part in any occasion, and it offers various opportunities and accommodations to complete your event.

You can trust them to host any of your occasions, be it awards dinner, annual fundraising gala, trade show, product launch, or holiday party. In addition, it is spacious to accommodate bar mitzvahs, proms, alumni and university parties, non-profit fundraisers, etc.

Address: 527 North Grand BLVD. Street, Louis, MO 63103

8. Hotel Congress, Tucson

Established in 1919, the iconic Hotel Congress is a cultural landmark situated in downtown Tucson that houses several Cup Café, bars, nightclubs, music venues, and program venues in downtown Tucson, Arizona. With Hotel Congress, you are sure of great experiences.

You can enjoy the on-site nightclub and the award-winning restaurant, otherwise known as the Cup Café, which provides your favorite breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day in this hotel. From the Hotel Congress, the Tucson Convention Center is close-by (just a ten-minute walk).

The hotel features several air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi and a private bathroom. Its lounge usually hosts concerts and events amongst others, like wedding banquets.

The hotel also features original and historically preserved things like radios and a telephone switchboard from the 1930s.

Address: 311 E Congress Street, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

9. Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamy

Located in the iconic downtown center of Tucson city, the Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamy is a venue that offers American Classic Cuisine featuring meats, ice cream, and beer.

It is a classical kid-friendly center that provides everything you could ever wish for, including DJ-spun sounds.

The hub features dine-in and takeaway but without delivery. Instead, you can find homemade dishes, including grilled salmon, bourbon, dijon glaze, roasted red potatoes, arugula, garlic sautéed green beans, etc.

Chickens, steak salad, mac & cheese, and bacon & caramelized onions, amongst others, are also available at affordable prices.

Address: 266 E Congress Street, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

10.  The J. Knox Corbett House

Situated along North Maine Avenue, the J Knox Corbett House was restored and renovated in 1995 after being initially established in the Mission Revival style during the early 90s by David Holmes. It was named after the Corbett family, who lived in the building for 56 years.

It is a two-story stucco-covered brick building featuring an extensive collection of beautiful ornamental objects from the 1880 to 1930 period of Arts & Crafts.

Initially, the house was a social hub where the Corbett family frequently hosted parties, clubs, and civil meetings for several years.

It was furnished with expensive mahogany furniture and European imports. The dining room still contains a carefully constructed buffet created by one of Corbett’s workers.

The hub features a complete basement that initially accommodated a water cooling tower, among Tucson’s first air conditioning systems.

Address: 140 North Maine Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

11. Laco Tucson

Laco Tucson is a beautiful courtyard restaurant situated in the same orbit as the iconic Presidio District of Downtown Tucson and built within the walls of Old Town Artisans. It features al fresco dining, a rustic Cantina, a new center for Tallboys, and live music.

Widely considered the Best Outdoor Dining in the Best of Tucson, the Laco features a lively indoor/outdoor café for world cuisine, mid-night happy moments, and live music performances.

In addition, the restaurant features a fantastic combination of Southwestern food, sandwiches, salads, and other items.

You can move further within the canteen to taste some of their best Arizona craft beers on tap, a full bar, and house-infused spirits. Its service options include dine-in and takeaway but without delivery.

Address: 201 N Court Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

12. Maynard’s Market & Kitchen

Located within the historic train depot of Tucson, Maynard’s Market & Kitchen provides a fantastic dining experience with a seasonally-initiated monthly menu focusing on regional ingredients and purveyor partnerships.

Lying a few yards away from the spot where Wyatt Earp murdered Frank Stillwell after the Gunfight at the OK Corral, the Maynard features a takeaway counter, a gourmet shop & a bar & eatery with seasonal American fare.

Address: 400 N Toole Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

13. Southern Arizona Transportation Museum

Situated in the old records vault structure of the old Southern Pacific Depot in Tucson, Arizona, the Transportation Museum was later refurbished by Tucson city in 2004.

It was established to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret the transportation history of southern Arizona.

It primarily focuses on the Historic Depot and the displayed Locomotive 1673 to educate, entertain and provide fun to the large audience.

Meanwhile, there is no charge for entering the museum, but you’ll pay a tiny amount for the guided tours of the building only by appointment.

The museum hosts many events, including community events, downtown historic walking tours from October to March, railroad safety education, oral history event, and an operational collections department that preserves artifacts regarding transportation in southern Arizona.

Address: 414 N Toole Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

14. Arizona History Museum, Tucson

Located at northern Stone avenue, the Arizona History Museum is a building that features the public transportation history of Tucson city, its treasures, a replica of an underground mine, and artifacts of the ancient history of Geronimo and Wyatt Earp.

It is established to offer a comfortable atmosphere for every guest to enjoy its facilities. In addition, the museum is close to the Sun Link streetcar stops on University Blvd. at the Main Gate Square. Here, you’ll find many Sun Tran stops close to the museum.

You’ll find many parking spaces in front of the museum on 2nd street and free wheelchairs on a first-come, first-serve basis.

You can also access entrances, galleries, elevators, and bathrooms for wheelchair purposes. Of course, if you have well-trained service animals, you are free to come with them.

Address: 140 N Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701

15. Tucson Museum of Art

Situated in the Presidio District of downtown Tucson, Arizona, the Tucson Museum of Art, as its name implies, is an art museum and art education institution.

It comprises a 74,000 square-feet exhibition center, which occupies about a 4-acre city block, including a contemporary primary museum and 19th C. historic houses.

These historic houses have been adapted for reuse as Museum restaurants, pottery schools, and galleries. In addition, the Tucson Museum of Art has been used as a community art education center since its establishment in 1924.

It has continued as art education, which has become the museum’s primary service task via museum staff and a docent organization carrying out education and outreach events.

Its landscaped plazas host community and corporate occasions like artisans’ markets, festivals, live performances, yearly Dia de Los Muertos events, wedding ceremonies, high school proms, award ceremonies, and other community programs.

Address: 140 N Main Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

16. Rocks & Ropes of Tucson, Inc.

Located along the streets of Toole Avenue, the Rocks & Ropes of Tucson is a large indoor rock climbing structure in Downtown Tucson.

It is completely equipped and carries lots of air-conditioning that will help cool your body and features several kinds of flat walls and boulders, which serves everyone, be it beginners or the experienced.

If you are new to rock climbing, the Rocks & Ropes offers you an ideal opportunity to experience how this enthusiastic sport, balance, flexibility, energy, and problem addressing works out. 

If you are experienced, you will have beautiful moments honing your skills on the problematic boulders. The center also features a tiny studio on the second floor where skillful personnel will train others on yoga, meditation, and mat Pilates.

Address: 330 S Toole Avenue, 400, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

17.  Get Air Trampoline Park

You are welcome to the Get Air Trampoline Park, a venue that provides pleasurable events that you cannot afford to miss. Located in Downtown Tucson, you will enjoy jumping in the air on its extensive set of 20,000 square-feet trampolines, especially if you are active.

You are free to come with your family and friends, as it is a perfect family/group-friendly center to have pleasurable moments. The Get Air Trampoline Park is skillfully designed with attractive neon colors.

The park doesn’t feature not only trampolines but also foam pits, an area for dodgeball, and a basketball hoop. You can come alone if you want, as other jumpers are to pair with.

Address: 330 S Toole Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, United States

18. Play Life-size Jenga at Jacome Plaza

You can also work even when enjoying the outdoors. Jacome Plaza is a center that offers you the opportunity to kill two birds just with one stone. In other words, you can work and at the same time that you are enjoying the outdoors.

In addition, with this plaza, you are free to socialize with locals and fellow visitors in Tucson. Jacome Plaza features free WiFi in the outdoor office space, giving you a convenient time and everything you need to work or attend to anything, including your business, while the fun is ongoing.

If your only reason was to come and meet people, then several areas are provided for you to sit and socialize with them.

You are also free to bond over games like Jenga, chess, ping pong, bean bag toss, and Connect Four. The Jacome Plaza is perfect for you, especially if you are a playful and socializing person.

Address: 101 N Stone Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, United States

19. El Tiradito Wishing Shrine

For persons of the Christian religion, you are welcome to the El Tiradito Wishing Shrine, which can give you a fantastic experience. But, again, even if you are not of the Christian faith but are interested in learning religious practices, you are also free to join.

El Tiradito Wishing Shrine is a place where you can join others in lighting candles and making wishes. Some people prefer to put their prayer requests into writing and leave the papers in the shrine.

While coming, you are free to enquire from the locals about the urban legends and what the shrine is all about.

Address: 418 S Maine Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, U.S.A.

20. Alene Dunlap Smith Garden

Are you looking for something to do in downtown Tucson? Never look past Alene Dunlap Smith Garden, created in honor of Alene Dunlap Smith, a community chief in Tucson.

The garden is decorated with attractive plants and trees and features several sculptures that bend with the greens.

It gives an aura of relaxation when you breathe fresh air and worship the beauty of the peaceful garden. The Alene Dunlap Smith Garden is undoubtedly a place you can’t afford to miss.

Address: 355 N Granada Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85701, USA